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Reviews > Shelters > Tarps and Bivys > Tarptent Double Rainbow > Nancy Griffith > Owner Review by Nancy Griffith

November 12, 2007


NAME: Nancy Griffith
AGE: 41
LOCATION: Northern California
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (59.90 kg)

I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania and since then in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and now in the Sierra Nevada of California. Most of my trips are section hikes or loops from a few days to a week. I mostly hike in the summer and fall. I've recently discovered the virtues of lightening the load by updating some older gear, but I'm not an ultralight backpacker …yet.


Manufacturer: Tarptent
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$250
Listed Weight: 40 oz (1134 g)
Measured Weight: 40 oz (1134 g)
Other details:

The Tarptent Double Rainbow is a lightweight single walled 3-season tent that can be pitched by staking or made free-standing by using trekking poles. It has one long aluminum shock-corded pole that runs the length of the tent and one short 18" (45.7 cm) pole that runs perpendicular at the peak. This pole can be removed but the tent can also be rolled with this short pole intact. The tent has a 'bathtub' floor with clips to help retain the bathtub shape. The photo below shows the clips on the smaller Rainbow tent. Both sides of the tent are made of netting and have a door. Both sides also have a nylon beak that can be staked out and zipped. See photo. Photos courtesy of Tarptent.
Tarptent Double Rainbow


Field information
I first used the Tarptent on an overnight backpacking trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail (Northern Sierra Nevada mountains, CA) from 7300 - 8350' (2225 - 2545 m). It was summer with temperatures 50 - 80 F (10 - 27 C). The humidity was low with no rain. We camped in the trees on dirt.

I also used it on a week-long trip in King's Canyon National Park (Southern Sierra Nevada mountains, CA) from 5,000 - 11,978' (1524 - 3651 m). The temperatures were in the 30 - 80 F (0 - 27 C). Campsites varied from dirt in the trees to rocky, sandy soil in the open. There was no rain the entire week and only one day of threatening rain. Nights were clear.

Customer Service:
When I ordered the tent, I had a few questions about how the trekking pole pitching worked, so I left a message at the phone number on their website. Henry Shires promptly returned my call and explained in detail the function of the tent. They were on backorder with an estimated 3 week delivery but actually came in a bit earlier. We opted to pick it up ourselves since Nevada City is close to our home. Henry walked through the entire set-up and tear-down with us and was patient with all of our questions.

On our first trip, I noticed a hole in the netting where it attaches to the nylon tent material. Actually, the stitching had missed the netting and left a hole. Upon returning home, I dropped it off at Tarptent. Henry repaired it and shipped it to our house via overnight mail at no cost. We were without a tent for less than a week. He also sealed the seams since I hadn't gotten around to that yet.

This light weight tent was easy to pitch and store. The design is ingenious with all of the features of a conventional tent. This is a 2-person tent and has doors on both sides which are convenient. It isn't roomy, but it fits two sleeping bags side-to-side with some room for clothing and gear at the head and foot. Additional gear like packs and shoes can be stored outside under the side beaks.

With the doors zipped closed it is insect proof and with the beaks zipped down, it is weather proof. However, with the beaks zipped closed a large amount of condensation formed on the inside overnight even on dry clear nights. The tent dries quickly, but if we wanted to get an early start, I had to shake it out and stuff a slightly wet tent.

This tent floor is a 'bathtub' configuration that allows the floor material to be clipped up the sidewall of the tent. This closed off some ventilation, but it helped to keep the nylon tent bottom beneath me rather than sliding off of the edge and having my sleeping bag right on the ground (through the netting). Photo courtesy of Tarptent.
'bathtub' clips

I tried pitching the tent using trekking poles to make it free-standing. It worked fairly well, but I found it easier to just stake it out. It does seem nice to have the option in case I end up needing to pitch it on a rocky site that isn't easily staked. I had some difficulty with the trekking pole wanting to spin around and slip out of the pocket that holds the handle of the trekking pole. It seemed that the order in which the center hook and loop strap was secured made a difference.


Overall, I am very pleased with this tent. It is very lightweight, but provides all of the protection of a bug-proof shelter unlike other lightweight options (tarps) that I have tried. I need to experiment more with the ventilation/condensation, but I am confident that this tent will serve us well for many trips.


Light weight
Dual doors
Insect proof
Quality/light weight of the tent stakes
Excellent customer service


Condensation if fully zipped
No windows...isolated from outside if fully zipped


Nancy Griffith

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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