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I’ve long been a fan of the humble flat tarp. What they lack in whistles and bells, they more than make up for in simplicity, versatility, pack size and low weight … and shelters don’t come much lighter than the Trekkertent cuben flat tarp.

Ample room as a half pyramid.


The tarp’s made from 25g/m cuben and features 8 perimeter tie-outs plus a single ‘lifter’ tie-out in the centre, that might not be many but it’s enough to allow a good variety of pitching options. I’m glad to see the tarp measures a full 1.5m x 2.5m which is that little bit longer than the majority of solo tarps … the extra 100mm – 200mm really does make a difference, particularly if you’re on the tall side.


Careful where you get undressed.


Seams and tie-outs are always a potential weak point on cuben shelters, to prevent any nasties, Trekkertent have triple layered and bonded these areas, the tie-outs are actually stitched through 9 layers of cuben! … there’s not much point having an ultralight shelter if you can’t use it in anything worse than a gentle breeze.

3 layer bonded centre seam.


The tarp weighs 125g, that’s right 125g which is about half of what a similar sized silnylon tarp weighs. If you add another 150g for lines, pegs and a pole, then you’ve got yourself a full shelter set-up for around 275g … which is less than the weight of 80 tea bags.

Cuben does have a bit of a reputation for making taught pitches difficult, the problem is usually attributed to the materials lack of stretch. It’s not really something I’ve had any issues with in the past and this time was no different, no creases, no flappy edges, just a nice tight pitch without needing to over-stress the material … maybe I’m just lucky. Something else cuben won’t do is stretch when it gets wet, so no matter how much it rains in the night, your perfect pitch should still be a perfect pitch the following morning.

Taught pitch … easy.


It’s very easy to think that something so light (and nearly see through) must be fragile, well besides being handmade in Scotland, the tarps are also tested there. Quite often the venue for testing is at the top of some of Scotlands highest mountains. It’s probably a fair bet that if they can withstand the conditions up there, then you won’t do it much harm even with regular use.

Something else cuben has a reputation for is been expensive. Due to the basic material costs all cuben shelters appear expensive when compared to anything else, so while £140 seems like an awful lot of money it’s actually ‘cheap’ when compared directly to ‘like for like’ products from other manufactures … have a search on-line and you’ll see what I mean.

So, if the ‘fast and light’ ethos drives your adventures, then the Trekkertent cuben tarp will help you get lighter … but getting faster’s sadly down to you.

Trekkertent

2 Comments

  1. Jon says:

    Have you pitched this tarp using a bike instead of a pole? Is it still possible to get a tight pitch?

  2. I've never tried it using a bike Jon. I'm not generally a fan and find the additional weight of poles a small price to pay for the extra versatility and superior pitch … however, there's no reason why it can't be pitched with a bike as support.

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