Hey bitterroot, Where's the best place to buy one of those tarptents, they look like the way to go! Ive been looking at getting the Fly Creek UL1 but after you've mentioned the Contrail I'm really liking the looks of it! How long have you been using one and hows it holding up? Thanks for the great Info.
I purchased mine directly from Tarptent:
The only durability issue I have had was I punched a hole through the top of mine through user error. I did not get my trekking pole seated in the grommet before cranking the guy lines down. I fixed it with silicone sealant and spare material from Tarptent. I have used it for three seasons, and it is otherwise like new.
One caveat with Tarptent is you seam seal it yourself with silicone and mineral spirits. It is easy to do, but takes a little time. Instructions on seam sealing are included. I was able to do it myself without trouble. You can also pay Tarptent to do it for you.
You can also buy an inexpensive center pole to use instead of a trekking pole, and it works OK, but the trekking pole is the way to go. I have also used sticks (worked surprisingly well) and just guyed out to an overhead branch. Tarptents are very versatile.
I look out for your posts Bitterroot Bulls. When I see your name on the forum I make sure I look at what you've said. You have some good posts on here! Thanks
I forgot to mention the one (minor) thing I don't like about the Contrail. The front vestibule closes with Velcro. It is kind of annoying compared to a zipper, but it actually holds better than I thought. I have been in some pretty good winds in that thing without it coming open.
Great it sounds like a good system for the backcountry type hunting! Thanks a lot for the info. I think ill be purchasing one soon!
As far as the pad sleeve goes, it is really nice when you change positions a lot: I do too. I always ended up off my pad and with my bag twisted around me before I switched to Big Agnes.
How late in the season have you used that tarp tent BB?
I have an REI sub-kilo that I really enjoy. It's so light and packable, yet warm and cozy down to about 15 degrees. Weight is 1.8 lbs. They are pricey at about $360, but I got mine for about $100 at one of those awesome REI blowout sales. I got it in 2009, and it's held up great (although I use it in a bivy sack much of the time).
I suggest getting a compression sack for whatever you buy if it doesn't come with one. You don't want to store your bag in the compression sack, but when you hit the hills the extra compactness is really nice. Forgive me for stating the obvious here!