Frequently Asked Questions

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Warranty and Repair

What is the Tarptent return and warranty policy?
Tarptents are fully guaranteed against fabric and workmanship failure and you, the orginal purchaser, may return one uninjured for a full refund within 90 days of purchase if not satisfied. That means you can set one up, even try it out overnight, and then decide if it's something that will work for you. Tarptents that have been used in the field will be evaluated for resale and partial credit returned to the original purchaser. Tarptents that have been seam-sealed with urethane or anything else other than silicone, applied as directed in the Tarptent product directions, will not be accepted. Lightweight stakes are designed to be inserted and removed by hand and not warrantied against breakage due to striking with feet or rocks. We stand behind every Tarptent and will make every effort to repair or replace products that fail due to defects in workmanship or materials. Normal wear and tear repairs will be done on a "non profit" basis and we will provide a price quote before beginning the work. In many cases, we charge only for the return shipping.
How do I arrange for repair?
Please order a repair authorization. In most cases we charge only for the return shipping.
How can I get a spare part or fabric to do my own repair?
Please call or email us. Small parts and scrap fabric are free of charge. Stakes and guylines can be found in the webstore.
I have a small tear in the fabric. How can I fix it myself?
Very small tears or pinholes in the roof or floor are best repaired by applying pure silicone to the wound and letting it dry. Larger tears are best repaired by coating the area with pure silicone and then gluing down a patch of siliconized ripstop nylon cut to fit the wound. Netting tears are best stitched up. Scrap siliconized ripstop and no-see-um netting are available at no charge on request.
My zipper no longer zips properly. How can I fix it myself?
Zipper sliders spread apart due to accumulated dust and grit in the zipper coil. Zipper sliders can be crimped back together or are easy to replace and we are happy to send you new ones. Please refer to the slider replacement instructions and contact us for new sliders.

Manufacturing and Materials

Where are Tarptents made?
All Tarptents are made from US materials in Seattle, WA.
What are Tarptents made of?
Tarptents are made of the lightest and highest quality materials available.
Roofing High tenacity, 30d, 1.1-ounce/yd2 ripstop nylon, impregnated with silicone. Final fabric weight is approximately 1.5 ounces/yd2.
"Solid" fabric liners and interiors are made with high tenacity, 30d, calendared 1.1-ounce/yd2 uncoated ripstop nylon.
Netting No-see-um polyester. Fabric weight is approximately 1 ounce/yd2. Some shelters use 0.7/yd2 nylon.
Guylines Non-stretch, 2-mm reflective cord with a spectra core. In a Kelty branded package, it's called "Triptease Lightline™". Weight is approximately 1 ounce/50 feet.
Stakes Easton aluminum. Stakes are 6" long and weigh 0.3 ounces (9 g) per stake. Some shelters use 8 3/4" stakes weighing 0.45 ounces (13g) per stake
Poles Easton aluminum 7075-T9 .344in/8.74mm and 0.340in diameter tubing. Weight is approximately 0.5 ounces/foot. Some models use 0.355in/9mm poles. Carbon poles are Easton 6.3 series.
Flooring Sewn-in: same material as roof(but in black)
Groundsheet: Tyvek HomeWrap. Weight is approximately 1.8 ounces/yd2.

Product Questions and Comparisons

How do I choose one model over another?
There is an extensive compare and contrast checklist feature on the Compare Features page. Select various capacities and features to find the one best suited to your needs.
Do Tarptents come with stakes and poles?
Yes. Every Tarptent comes with one or more poles, stakes, guylines, and a stuffsack. The Contrail, Notch, Squall 2, Rainshadow 2, StratoSpire 1, and StratoSpire 2 work best with trekking pole support. If you are not a trekking pole user we offer optional lightweight and inexpensive front poles that can be ordered with the shelters. We recommend two of our poles for the Notch, Squall 2 and Rainshadow 2. The Rainbow and Double Rainbow set up securely with the 6 included stakes but those shelters can make use of trekking poles for deploying the porch feature or for free-standing setup.
Do Tarptents need to be seam-sealed?
Yes. All seams over your living space should be sealed. Silicone is the only material that will stick to the fabric. Urethane sealer will flake off. An inexpensive product that works well is GE Silicone II clear sealer/glue. It is available as a squeeze tube in most US hardware stores or in the Tarptent Store. Set up the tent ouside in a well-ventilated location. Mix about a tablespoon of silicone with a couple of tablespoons of mineral spirits(paint thinner) and then apply the solution with a small foam brush. Add more mineral spirits if the solution gets too thick. The goal is heavy olive oil consistency. Avoid skin contact and breathing fumes. Please refer to the seam-sealing video to see the full procedure.

We offer seam-sealing kits ($6-$8) containing premix silicone, a foam brush, and a latex glove in the webstore.

We also offer seam-sealing as a service ($30) if you would like. Please note that seam-sealing is weather dependent and that it takes a few days to complete the process.

Should I order a groundsheet?
It depends on the conditions you expect to encounter and your style of camping. The sewn-in flooring is remarkably tough and does not usually require a separate groundsheet. We just never see floors come back for repair. Tyvek groundsheets are very tough and great for sleeping out or taking a break but generally heavier than you need just for floor protection. For use on very rocky ground and desert conditions where puncture wounds are possible, a light--2 mil plastic is fine--floor protector will do the job.
Do the Rainbow and Double Rainbow require trekking poles?
No trekking poles are needed for either model. For free-standing setup, the Rainbow needs at least 51" (130 cm) poles and the Double Rainbow needs at least 55" (140cm) poles. An additional 5 cm helps a lot. Pole tip extenders can be made from PVC pipe or, alternately, aluminum trekking pole tip extenders are available in the webstore. A 6" PVC pipe extension adds 4" to the trekking pole length (since you you lose 2" in the overlap).
What's the difference between the Notch and StratoSpire 1 and 2?
Think of them as size regular, large, and extra large. They step up/down in weight by about 7 ounces each. The Notch sleeps one only and is a double wall, double door/vestibule version of the Moment with trekking/vertical poles instead of an arch pole. The StratoSpires offset the trekking poles for more volume and headroom and add an extra door panel to increase the vestibule space. The StratoSpire 1 can sleep two and the StratoSpire 2 can sleep 3.
Can I use my trekking pole as a Tarptent front pole ?
Absolutely. A trekking pole is stiff and strong and increases wind performance. Flip the trekking pole over and insert the pole tip into the Virga/Virga 2, Contrail, Squall/Squall 2, or Rainshadow 2 apex grommet. Standard pole height is 45" (48" for the Rainshadow 2) but can be adjusted upward to a practical limit of about 50" (54" for the Rainshadow 2). The Sublite requires 53" (135cm) or longer trekking poles. The StratoSpire 1 requires 46" (117cm) poles or longer; the StratoSpire 2requires 48" (122cm) poles or longer.
How do I clean a Tarptent?
Tarptents can be hand washed in mild soap and water. We use and recommend Woolite® Fabric Wash. An easier way to remove most accumulated dust and grime is to set up the shelter, soak a towel in regular tap water, and then wipe down the fabric surfaces with the wet towel. Use a circular motion and rinse as neccessary.
I lost the instruction sheet, where can I get another one?
Downloadable product instructions (PDF) for all models can be found here.
Can I order extra stakes and lines?
Yes. These items are available in the store. Other replacement items are also available. Please contact us for a quote.
Do you offer carbon fiber poles?
Yes, as of April, 2013, we now offer Easton carbon fiber arch poles on selected models. The poles take 30-40% more loading before breaking than the comparable aluminum poles and are noticeably stiffer (and thus flex less under wind or snow load). There is some loss of "toughness" - they are more susceptiple to damage due to abrasion and crushing (rocks, feet) so comparable care given to the rest of the tent materials must be exercised. Weight savings per pole ranges from 1/2 ounce to 2 ounces.
Is silicone-impregnated ripstop nylon waterproof?
Silicone impregnated ripstop nylon is waterproof within "normal operating conditions." In very heavy rain and high velocity wind-driven rain some extremely light interior misting is normal and equivalent to increased interior humidity.
How should I pitch my Tarptent in a storm?
Tarptents with low ends should be pitched low end into the wind and rain. Tarptents have excellent rear protection and can be operated even without the front beak if the rain is coming from the rear or directly overhead. In side-driven rain, restake the front corner(s) as needed to lower the sidewall(s) and prevent side spray. There are also side pullouts halfway along each long side to help with side wind and rain. Put just enough tension on the sidewall to prevent it from caving in but avoid pulling the ridgeline down. In front-driven rain, deploy the front beak and move a foot or so back from the netting door. If possible, take advantage of natural windbreaks to limit front-driven rain.