Cloudburst Tarptent

This is the ultralight tent of choice for two in my mind.

It's an incredibly light 38 oz., and goes together in a breeze.

The quality and workmanship is excellent in this tent, and I love that I am buying a tent from a passionate backpacker in California who decided to start sewing his own one day, than handing over my hard earned cash to the pockets of a big company like Mountain Hardware or REI.

This is a "Tarptent" – it's a compromise between a regular tent and sleeping under a tarp. It has a waterproof floor and bug netting all around, so little critters can't get in at night.

The only downside for me so far of this tent, is that as it's a single-wall tent, depending on the dewpoint you can get condensation on the inside. It's not a problem until you bump your head on the top and it starts dripping.

Available direct from TarpTent for $225.

17 thoughts on “Cloudburst Tarptent

  1. Eric

    Brett, thanks for the informative site. I’ve backpacked for years and just this year investing in all my ultralight gear. I wanted your opinion on the Cloudburst. I had decided not to go with it as we live in Seattle, and I thought the bathtub floor may not be high enough and the design in general may not be up for the kind of rain we get here, but I noticed that you live here too! So has this held up in some serious rain and wind for you? I am concerned going out with ultralight down bags and stuff. Nothing sucks more than a wet tent. Let me know what you think. Thanks- Eric

  2. brett Post author

    hi eric,

    my floor is the non-bathtub model and so doesn’t raise up a few inches like the newer model. The first few inches above the floor are open-mesh for air flow (with closeable flaps for rain-time).

    the cloudbust was new for me last year and so far – i’ve taken only one really heavy down pour in it. in that incident i knew a heavy rain was coming and so dug a very shallow diversion trench in the dirt around the tent. no water penetrated the floor, although i’m not sure if that was due to the trench or not – but it made me feel better psychologically :).

    we did get a small amount of wind-blown-rain come in the entrance – nothing that two well planted poles and a black trash bag didn’t fend off though.

    the cloudburst dripped from above in the morning, but mostly due to condensation from having low air-flow from the entrance being blocked-up.

    i haven’t had it in high-winds or snow at all yet. in one area of very cold winds, we adjusted camp by building a ‘wall’ along the sides of the tent from rocks to act as a wind-breaker and prevent the icy wind from cutting in during the night. of course, we were careful to restore the rocks to their random locations after we broke camp.

    my take on the whole ultralight thing is that you simply have to look for creative ways to adjust your environment to prevent the elements from penetrating. you always have something in your pack that you can use in some way or another.

    i’ve read many people’s write ups on the cloudburst and tarps in general who swear by them in heavy rains – and stay bone dry.

    if you don’t go with the cloudbust, let me know what you pick for the weight – i’d be interested in your choice.

    -brett

  3. dennis

    i really like the setup of your gear list. adding the thumbs is a nice touch. i am curious tho on why you chose to take a tarp/tent instead of a tarp. myself, i live in vancouver b.c. so the weather is similar and i love to do my trips in the north cascades during the late summer. i’ve carried an integral design siltarp 2. the weight on that is 0.9 lbs.

  4. brett Post author

    Hey Dennis,

    Thanks for the feedback. Three reasons on the TT:

    1. I’m still sort of easing into the whole ultralight thing.  I’m intrigued with the idea of a true tarp but realize I have a lot to learn about pitching it right in various conditions. The tarp-tent was a good compromise to get the weight down in a foolproof way.

    2. I don’t really like crawly things. The Tarpnet has mozzie & insect netting.

    3. The Tarptent was a stretch on convincing Theresa – especially how exposed it can be. I think a tarp would be a tougher sell. That said, she’s a big fan of the Tarptent now, so maybe it’s time to push the envelope…

    -B.

  5. Brad

    Hi Brett,

    Thanks for all the great info on ultralight backpacking. I am taking up backpacking seriously for the first time in about 10 years (save for one painful trip a few years back) due to back surgery in 1999. I love backpacking and finally decided to get my butt back in shape and do the ultralight thing. I am still in the process of adjusting my gear list and trying to get a base pack weight of 15lbs or less.

    I am very interested in Tarptents and am likely going to purchase one in the next couple weeks. I was curious why you chose the Cloudburst model. Looking at the comparison chart on the TT site, it the Squall seems to have all the features of the Cloudburst with a bit more room and for a few less ounces. I know that you bought yours a year or two ago so maybe the models were different then. Anyways, any more info or opinions would be quite helpful!

    thanks!
    Brad

  6. brett Post author

    Hey Brad,

    The answer is pretty simple – at the time I didn’t hike with Poles. The Squall requires them to get to that weight range. Now that I do use poles – I think the Squall 2 would probably get my vote.

    Best of luck on getting back into backpacking!
    -Brett

  7. Kishore

    Hi Brett,
    We’ve always backpacked with a conventional tent squeezing 2 adults and an 85 lb and an 18lb dog in the Marmot Aeolos 2P tent. We now have a 20+ lb addition in the family that I’ll be carrying in additon to the gear. I don’t want to buy a 3 person tent (though some new ones from Big Agnes are under 5lbs). Like you, I’d rather support a smaller guy than the multi chain big stores. While I might have finally sold the tarptent concept to my wife (who is unsure about the bug proof), I was curious if you had any comments on durability, the fact we have 2 dogs and a baby. I am seriosuly considering the 3 person Rainshadow 2 with the sewn in floor. If I had the choice, I would go with my 5×10 Siltarp, but would never fly with the wife (plus wouldn’t want my dog bugging wildlife or other campers).

  8. brett Post author

    Hey Kishore,

    Hhhmm… not sure what to suggest. I’ve always felt that with any ultralight gear – it’s somewhat fragile and you have to take extra special care of it. The floor of my TT is pretty solid – although mine is an old model – and I hear it’s changed quite a lot, but the walls are very thin silnylon fabric.

    If I were backpacking with a two dogs and a baby in tow, I think I’d look for something more durable. All depends on your goals – and how much money you wanna blow trying differint things out πŸ™‚

    Let me know what you decide – we have our first baby (7 month old) that I’d love to start taking with me this summer…

    Good luck!
    -brett

  9. Kishore

    Hi Brett,
    Thanks for your response. I’ll try and check in with Backcountry.com (I think they carry some of these tartpents). BTW, have you picked up a child carrier for your summer hikes? I inherited Kelty Kids Explorer, but am finding it rather bulky & heavy (maybe ok for backpacking). I tried a friend’s Deuter Kid Comfort II and really liked it. With an additional 20+ lbs to carry, anything to shed some weight.

    Thanks again.
    Kishore

  10. Stevie

    The owner of Tarptent, Henry Shires. Backpacks with his big dog. His wife him and the dog share a Rainshadow 2. It’s a three person 2 1/2 lb TarpTent. He does not use a footprint and has rarely ever heard of a floor leak from anyone.

    Silnylon is super strong for it’s weight. It can be pitched very taught and can hanlde the pressure, but it can be susceptible to abrasion so don’t carry it on the outside of your pack.

    Silnylon is easily repaired with silicone sealant.

    Condensation is not a problem if you pitch it correctly. His and other tarp tents are very well ventilated.
    There is a tendency to pitch tarps and tarp tents too low and block ventilation when it gets cold out. This will cause condensation. Let some air flow through to stay dry.

  11. Tom Murphy

    Thank you for the great UL gear list.

    I am almost 12 pounds heavier then you in the Sleep & Carry Gear section. That is where I hope to improve the most.

    When I compared your list to mine and found that I have the following extras. I would appreciate knowing if you think they are all luxuries.

    underwear
    low gaiters
    whistle
    bic lighter [clear so that I can see fuel level]
    matches in w/p container
    firestarter [lint]
    extra pair of eye glasses in case
    4 electrical tie wraps [for repairs]
    watch
    small plastic trowel [never liked digging scat hole with stick in New England]
    advil
    hand sanitizer, purell bottle, 2 oz
    Guidebook – relevant sections [in baggie]
    Cell phone [in baggie]
    candle lantern & book (paperback) [ok these are true luxuries but I am a solo hiker]
    REI mini thermometer
    camp shoes [teva water shoes – use to ford streams it no rocks]
    shoulder strap container for camera

    Thanks,
    TJM

  12. brett Post author

    I would appreciate knowing if you think they are all luxuries.

    [brett]
    all the little stuff adds up! but i’m happy to give you my take.

    underwear
    [brett] i skip it. my shorts have a mesh lining, which works fine. depends on your comfort level, you could take 1 spare pair and just field-wash each day.

    low gaiters
    [brett] i take this sometimes if it makes sense. beach hiking for example. i use the montbell stretch at 1.5 oz per pair:

    see: http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/sand-between-my-toes/

    whistle
    [brett] i replace a buckle on my backpack with one with a built-in whistle. easy to find, and didn’t impact the pack weight.

    bic lighter [clear so that I can see fuel level]
    [brett] i actually do take one of these. i should update my list to include it. it’s very light though – i take a tiny one.

    matches in w/p container
    [brett] i have a bundle of waterproof matches in my 1st aid kit. it’s in a baggy – so unlikley to get wet. no need for a ‘heavy’ 35mm film container πŸ˜‰

    firestarter [lint]
    [brett] i don’t usually; but probably won’t add much weight.

    extra pair of eye glasses in case
    [brett] i take extra contacts. i guess it depends on your comfort and how blind you are without them. worst case, if i lost all my contacts i figure i could hike out without enjoying the scenary – but atleast find my way to the car – and i keep a spare set in there.

    4 electrical tie wraps [for repairs]
    [brett] duct tape is normally enough for most repairs. i wrap it around my poles so i don’t count it as ‘pack weight’ only worn-weight.

    watch
    [brett] yeah – i wear one.

    small plastic trowel [never liked digging scat hole with stick in New England]
    [brett] sounds like a luxury, but ground is soft in PNW. πŸ™‚

    advil
    [brett] in my 1st aid kit

    hand sanitizer, purell bottle, 2 oz
    [brett] nah. i’m not sure i’d ever use it, i’d rather wash with a small drop of dr. brommers and some water.

    Guidebook – relevant sections [in baggie]
    [brett] i usually re-print sections i care about onto a sinle sheet of paper.

    Cell phone [in baggie]
    [brett] i never take one on the trail. never get reception, so pretty much dead weight.

    candle lantern & book (paperback) [ok these are true luxuries but I am a solo hiker]
    [brett] hey – whatever brings you comfort and makes you get out there!

    REI mini thermometer
    [brett] i use the one built in to my watch

    camp shoes [teva water shoes – use to ford streams it no rocks]
    [brett]
    nope. hiking in trail runners means i’m always wearing my camp shoes πŸ™‚ for stream crossings i just get wet feet and let them dry out on the trail.

    shoulder strap container for camera

    [brett]
    my camera is so small, i put it in my pocket for quick-access.

  13. coleman tent

    Tarptent is also very breezy on windy day, but on calm damp days it fails to breath. This failure combined with the lack of a double wall creates the perfect situation for major condensation problems. It is a minimalist tent. Which effectively offers the solo backpacker a spacious tent that weighs in at under 700g.

  14. NW Runner

    Just returned from hiking the WCT with a girl ten years older (60) and ten pounds lighter (120) than me so we had to take pack weight seriously. Our borrowed Double Rainbow Tarptent attracted a lot of attention.

    Some Brett-Disciples (2 nice couples from Calgary complete with umbrellas and gourmet self-prepared dehydrated dinners) ask me to contact you with my tent particulars. I can see there is no need – you already had your own!

    Really found your website helpful. Hope to do Wonderland next year if the snow levels drop and will be trolling for more insights.

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