Tarptent Notch

quasi-UK owners thread

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19/04/2012 at 06:24
I bought a Tarptent Notch. I'm living in USA but I visit UK and intend to use the Notch in UK camping trip later this year, and ultimately may relocated back to UK.

If anyone wants to ask questions regarding Tarptent Notch for UK conditions please ask....

I've only currently pitched it in the garden. Tarptent give a full refund when its returned in perfect conditions, so I'm just doing that til I'm sure its worthwhile keeping.

Good stuff:-

It is a small pack size, it is smaller than the Terra Nova Laser Competition I have.

All fly fabric has a straight line to a peg. So less flapping. Quieter in wind.

It is approx the same weight as the TN LC if you compare like/like with poles+pegs, both about 850g. The Notch though is lighter if you use trekking poles, which I know not everyone does but if you read on, really the Notch should be considered for those who DO use poles, other tents probably should be considered if you don't. So really if you do go for the Notch its a weight saving as you are double-purposing your poles.

Very long. I'm 5'8"-ish and I've got oodles of room at both head and foot ends. However as its quite narrow at the ends, so my gear will tend to keep at the head and foot ends.

In "storm mode" when it is at its lowest setting, even sat up on a thick airbed, I do not scrape my head inside, plenty of headroom. In more aired mode at max height even more room, more than I'll need. Taller persons though will benefit from the height.

Only 4 pegs and a very quick non-faff idiot-proof pitch.

Two vestibules. Depends on your expected usage patterns but for me that is useful for cooking away from the wind when the wind shifts, or storing kit on one side and not blocking exit. In my case I tend to have a bike one side which is large and blocks the exit, hence why I picked the Notch.

Variability of height and hence airflow, so higher for cooling vs lower for when its windy/cold. This is primarily for when using trekking poles but if on soft ground the supplied poles just push them into the earth.

The poles present a kind of security option for campsites when you're asleep, you can tie your porch-stowed kit to the pole and if someone were to try to tug it free you'd be woken. I've had stuff stolen once from a site near Keswick so its the back of my mind. My bike is expensive for example.

It is not expensive.

It does not LOOK expensive.

Less good stuff:-

If you lower the fly for more warming, the porch is lower down so less room for taller stuff. That's an issue for a fixed-size bike.

It is quite narrow inside at the ends. If you're my size it really doesn't feel an issue as the narrowing is way above head or past feet and in the bit you're sleeping, its fine. For taller folks your head could end up in a narrow spot.

The solid inner option, whilst I'm sure many will find interesting, it is not lining up its mesh with the venting of the outer flysheet. The fly has a pull-back foot/end feature but the inner doesn't have the same feature, so if you're warm and you want to get a breeze through, you can't.

Its grey. To me, Lord Anthony, Lord Tebbit grey. But.. that adds to the "why steal from me" look. So I prefer it. Others mind find it grey depressing.


I have photos/vids. I had a few issues with the TN LC which I initislly focus on in the Notch to see if resolved, that dominates the initial photos/vids.
Edited: 19/04/2012 at 06:29
19/04/2012 at 09:31
Good stuff Nigel.

Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/

19/04/2012 at 14:06
I will have to start a Stratosphire thread next
19/04/2012 at 19:04
Stephen, SS1..... I still have a thought to return it for a SS1 because of the porch size issue for my bike. Apart from that I think its close to perfect Add some guy-lines at the pole apex, possibly buy a mesh-inner for warmer dustless conditions, and then apart from snow loading it will cover all situations. It is so small and short its daysack size possibilities. I know you got the SS1 before the part-solid inner option.

I'm fairly sure I can lower just one porch facing strong wind and stow bike in the other porch.

I'm making a groundsheet for $5 with some Tyvek, partly to cover the porch area which usually become a muddy quagmire, partly to protect groundsheet.


4 pegs!!! 4 pegs!!! My TN LC used 12.
19/04/2012 at 19:35
Hiya Nigel,

The SS1 is really nice, I am going to try it out in Ireland on my next trip.
I got some extra peg points put on mine.

I think I used 8 pegs when I used the Ss1 last time.

Cheers,
19/04/2012 at 21:00

I'm kicking myself a little, I had discussed with Henry adding some guy attachments at the pole apex but I plain 'ole forgot at order time. I might return it to have them fitted. Two reasons:

  • Ease of pitching and strength. Remember only 4 pegs so each matters. The pegging point at the vestibile is a fairly steep angle and the Notch pegging sequence is end1, end2, vestibule1, vestibule2. I think the SS1 begins pegging at the vestibule so its got different issues. The Notch end pegging points you've got all the fiexibility to get a good grounding, away from sodden soft earth and away from any stones so can put in a longer Easton 8" peg and the force on the end pegs is going to average quite near horizontal. So the end pegs won't move, the tent will tear before those come out, and I'm not worried there. However, the vestibule pegs are pegged later and you have a little flexibility in/out on pegging location with the slipline, but not much so if you've got some soft earth / stones you might not get that good a grounding. Also the force on the vestibule pegs is more like 45degs so quite some peg-pulling-up force potential.  So to relief the stress on the vestibule peg, a guy pulling in same general direction just further out. I can put a guy around a trekking pole but it has to route inside the vestibule so suffer the same issues of finding a good pegging point.
  • Extra venting options, can fully open the vesituble its entire width and the shelter still stays up. Think starwatching mode.

As the Notch is only 4 pegging points you need all 4 or its a collapse.

FYI the supplied Easton poles, they bend very easily. When I simulate strong wind they move a fair bit. The trekking poles I'm looking at fold up small to 14.7" which is similar to the Notch's packed length and have locking parts so should be solid.

19/04/2012 at 21:10

I did not use the extra tie of points but they where available if I wanted them.

Regarding the Easton poles I don't think the shelter would be anywhere near as stong if they were used in lieu of treking poles.

One issue I did have on first US trip was the trail was so damn flat that my poles ended up strapped to my pack for the whole weekend, thats why I have held on to my Scarp when I bought he the Hillie Soulo.

The weight of the poles and the SS1 was the same as the Scarp, these days I only use Poles with Flickloks as the Screw type poles drive me bloody bonkers.

19/04/2012 at 21:31

I did not use the extra tie of points but they where available if I wanted them.

The SS1 now has some snow-loading attachment points to use some short sticks. Good idea, if the same were done with the Notch it is drifting more into 4 season. Not like the Scarp though as the Scarp has the crossing arches and solid inner roof (little mesh).


Regarding the Easton poles I don't think the shelter would be anywhere near as stong if they were used in lieu of treking poles.


The chance of breakage is slim but my observance from watching tents at campsites unstitch from the ground is the springiness in the poles basically wiggle the pegs out (deform, straighten, deform, straighten...). Again, you don't have that problem with the Scarp due to the long guy line attached to the hoop. Additional guy attached at pole apex will both increase the bend on the Easton poles (more pulling down force) and reduce chance of peg pulling. So really, if its hoolie, you need solid trekking poles.

The optional Easton poles from TT are so light+cheap+small, even if you are using trekking poles, I'd argue its worthwhile taking one of the Easton poles as a spare if you managed to break the trekking poles.  2oz / 57g say TT, my scales say 50g.


One issue I did have on first US trip was the trail was so damn flat that my poles ended up strapped to my pack for the whole weekend, thats why I have held on to my Scarp when I bought he the Hillie Soulo.

I've not used trekking poles, apart from one when I was healing an injury, but from reading reviews, flat is when you'd meant to use them the most for speed? They also have some knee-relieving benefit on descents too. Little ascending benefit which is why I'm looking at these which pack small so not poking out my backpack. So according to pro-trekking fans you should have used them all day and got there quicker / gone further. 

The weight of the poles and the SS1 was the same as the Scarp, these days I only use Poles with Flickloks as the Screw type poles drive me bloody bonkers.

Hmmm, so if you're not using the trekking poles when walking, why didn't you buy another Scarp? I know why you didn't get a Notch as concerned too small. If its only a backpack storage, the Notch is ample big enough for anyone not tall+wide. Higher roofline, only pertinent area smaller is the width of the sleeping area. After I buy the trekking poles I'll measure/photo the sleeping area, I reckon it will be wide enough via lowering the poles, using the fact the solid inner and battub allow me to widen the base, bringing the batchtub nearer the ground. I'll post later what Franco showed - the Easton poles I have not won't let me do this easily.

I'm going for a single Flicklok with nesting segments will be the strongest with flexibility to adjust for the 105cm-115cm the Notch needs (actually 100cm-120cm to allow for unevenness in the campsite).

Edited: 19/04/2012 at 21:43
19/04/2012 at 21:39

This image from Franco on BPL shows the basic idea to widen the Notch's inner via lowering the pole and moving it out, via the velco bringing the inner with it. Once I saw this I knew I'd figured around all the main issues with the Notch's size. FYI you can do this one or both sides to fit with the desired vestibule/inner size split.

http://cache.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1330041698_58089.jpg


Lord knows why this is bottles of water rather than 8-pack of bear....

19/04/2012 at 21:41

I should of added that in parts the trail was so tight (trees and bushes) that poles would of only got in my way, all a bit weird as I am used to open mountain.

The going really was like a doddle even at fast pace with a heavish pack (it was still winter)

I still have the Scarp as I did not sell it in the end

19/04/2012 at 21:44

That does offer a nice space

19/04/2012 at 21:47
I'm sure Twiglegs would like you to sell your Scarp but I understand, keeping it in Ireland means less suitcase when visiting from USA. I do something similar in England.
19/04/2012 at 21:51

Twiglegs got one from the US, I still have mine in the their also, my mothers house is rammed with sentimental tat and clothes

I am hoping to buy a wee holiday cottage in Ireland soon will have penty of storage space.

19/04/2012 at 22:10
I didn't get mine from the US, it came from the far off land called Devon, courtesy of fellow OM member TMM.

Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/

19/04/2012 at 22:14
It did not have far to go so Twigs, I do remember buying a Laser Comp from TMM many moons ago
19/04/2012 at 22:38
Nigel, you have mail.

Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/

20/04/2012 at 01:19

FYI I've packed it up. For some reason, I don't seem to have it as well rolled as when it was delivered

However, packed its measuring as diameter 4.5 inches and length 16 inches (TT says 3.5" x 16") with the Easton poles insides. That's a volume of 2.7L (but if I could pack it better then it should be 1.7L according to TT). On my low-tech kitchen scales its 900g, it should be 850g, and I've not seam-sealed it yet. It's a bit shorter and a bit wider than the TN LC.

20/04/2012 at 01:34
If you are using trekking poles you do not need any extra attaching points to use side guylines.Just attach the guyline to the pole tip, as in this shot.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e389/Francophoto/Notch-opened.jpg


You still use the same peg,so the guyline will be just under the door panel when sealed up
Franco
Edited: 20/04/2012 at 01:35
20/04/2012 at 01:37

Does it pitch right to the ground if the poles are lowered (like a laser comp does) or is there always a few inches gap at the bottom?

20/04/2012 at 01:56

Not having seen one of these types of tent before, would they cope in a 'hoolie', close to what a Scarp would?

 What about coping in wind on open ground?

 I'm not thinking about buying one, either Notch or SS, I like my Scarp too much.

 Just wondering.


Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snake bite..... and furthermore always carry a small snake.   W.C.FIELDS.

Walk, climb, camp. Just get out there

 

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