Product review

09 Jun, 2020

Tarptent Stratospire 2

Tested by: Russ

Cost (including seam sealing):

GBP

Weight:

g

Nights used:

Nights

Times replaced:

Replacements

Watch first look video

First look

I’ve always prefered one-person tents due to their small footprint, setup speed and lighter weight. But there comes a time in every hiker’s life when they’d like to share their adventures, so when it came to choosing a new two-person tent, I couldn’t have been happier than with the Tarptent Stratospire 2. I was so happy with my Zpacks Solplex tent and still am, it’s a fantastic tent made out of Dyneema Composite Fabric, so it’s very light in weight and extremely packable, so why not buy a Zpacks Duplex or a Hyperlite Mountain gear Ultamid?

 

Why the Tarptent Stratospire 2?

I had the Zpacks Duplex, HMG Ultamid 4 and a few other tents under my radar for a while, but figuring out which one would be best suited for 2 on a thru was difficult due to four main factors; weight, price, headroom and stability. I decided to ask my trusted audience what they thought through Instagram stories and community polls posted on YouTube and it was clear that either the Zpacks Duplex or the Tarptent Stratospire 2 were the preferred choices. So why not the Duplex?

The Zpacks Duplex is an incredible tent. Its lighter weight, popularity, packability and good reviews made it a tempting choice, but I never saw two people using one on the Pacific Crest Trail. When speaking to fellow thru-hikers they all said that for two, while the Duplex is brilliant for one, it would be difficult to camp 2 people comfortably on a multi-month hike in all conditions and also have room for two people’s gear. Also, while the Duplex is very light, one person can comfortably carry it, but if being used for 2 people, the other hiker can carry stakes and extra gear to account for the tent carrier’s extra weight. It was these insights from others that made the Tarptent Stratospire 2 a clear choice.

If purchasing a 2-person tent for a thru-hike is on your to-do list, it’s important to take weight, price, headroom and stability into account. The Duplex would be too expensive and flappy in high winds with the DCF wall, the headroom is questionable for 2 hikers and condensation is more of a problem with a single-walled tent. But with two people, being able to split the cost, share the extra weight and also have a very comfortable night’s sleep is what drew me more to the Stratospire 2.

 

Where are you taking it first?

We plan to take the Tarptent Stratospire 2 out for a spin on the West Highland Way once the COVID-19 pandemic has blown over. I’ll then connect up to the Cape Wrath Trail from Fort William with it for further testing. So for now, this is just a first-impressions article on the tent.

 

Build and quality

As I’m so used to my Zpacks Solplex made of Dyneema Composite Fabric, it was time to also test out a tent built of Silnylon. On the PCT I saw many hikers using tents made of this flexible, stretchy and comparatively cheap material. What I love most about it is that you can achieve these really tight, crease-free pitches. The nylon stretches in the wind and gives more stability in a storm, whereas DCF tends to flap much more. The downsides to Silnylon are that it’s much heavier than DCF and can sag when wet and lose tension during your stay, but a simple adjustment to the height of the trekking poles will solve that problem.

After the first setup, the level of quality and attention to detail is obvious, they even paint sealant on the floor of the tent to stop your sleeping pad slipping around during the night; a nice touch. The tent’s incredibly strong and the design makes for a very sturdy and simple pitch.

 

Packability

The only major setback with the Stratopsire 2 has to be packability. It’s more difficult to roll up than DCF and the carbon fibre struts add a lot of space to the packed size of the tent. Silnylon is also very slippery when bunched up which also makes it more difficult to pack tightly. But with two of us, we can share some of the space as mentioned before and we saved a ton of money getting it made in a cheaper fabric.

 

Value for money

While to Stratospire 2 is an expensive tent when sat next to say a Lanshan 2 or OEX Phoxx 2, when Compared to the Zpacks Duplex retailing at $599 (£475) the Stratospire 2 is a larger, roomier, stronger and more capable tent for 2 on a thru for much less at just $359 (£284). Us this side of the pond sadly need to pay import duty which cost me £70 but being able to split the cost dramatically brought the price down. Tarptent also makes a Dyneema Composite Fabric version called the Stratosipre 2 Li (lithium) which weighs just 779.6g but is 6 inches shorter and over $300 more expensive.

I doubt we’ll get sick of spending countless nights in the Stratospire 2 compared to the Zpacks Duplex and it will be our tent of choice for extended trips for many years to come. That’s why the Tarptent Stratospire 2 is great value for money.

Gallery

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Overview

  • Durability 70% 70%
  • Stability 80% 80%
  • Packability 40% 40%
  • Headroom 80% 80%
  • Value for money 80% 80%

BPros

  • Light for a 2-person tent
  • Good quality
  • Incredible headroom
  • 3/4 season
  • Easy setup
  • Durable
  • Stable in high winds
  • Available in stock

CCons

  • Not seam-sealed as standard
  • Bigger packed size
  • Expensive
  • Only available from the USA

Specs

Price:

From £283.54 at tarptent.com

Weight:

From 1.176kg (41.5oz)

Sleeps:

2/3 people

Pitch time:

5 – 10 minutes

Seasons:

3/4 depending on inner

Design:

Trekking pole

Fly sheet:

Silnylon

Inner:

Bug mesh

Ground sheet:

Sylnylon

Poles:

2x trekking poles

Pegs:

6

Vestibules:

2

Doors:

2

Inner dimensions (h, w, l):

122cm x 132cm x 218cm

Fly Hydrostatic Head:

3,000mm

Features

  • Wind-resistant fly
  • Large inner volume
  • 2x vestibules
  • Vented ends
  • Removable carbon struts
  • Full perimeter hem pullouts
  • Integrated gear pockets
  • Integrated vestibule clips
  • Easy setup
  • Double-walled
  • Reflective spectra cord guylines
  • Integrated guyline adjusters

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