Tent Review: Tarptent Saddle 2

Questions about equipment and supplies to bring on a trip (including reviews).

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Ingo
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Tent Review: Tarptent Saddle 2

Post by Ingo » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:02 pm

I picked up the Tarptent Saddle 2 for my I.R. trip this spring and thought I’d share my thoughts. I use a 2 person tent solo, and my previous 2 person “solo” tent was almost 5 lbs all up. A couple years ago I got a 3 person (for 2) that is lighter than that, so my choice was to bring my 3 person for myself, or look for a replacement. My absolute criteria was that I’d save a minimum of 2 lbs and hopefully closer to 3. After that, reliability, comfort, ease of setup, you know, the usual. I was open to non-freestanding and single wall options, although I considered double walled to be preferable.

The Saddle 2 is the 2 person version of the TT Notch. Double walled, trekking pole design. It is new this year (2017). I don’t have better pics than on their website here: https://www.tarptent.com/saddle2.html.

What I like:
- Seemingly infinite number of possible ventilation options: Can open up all four sides, close up tight, or any combo in between. Can raise/lower the height of the tent to control how far the vestibules are off the ground, one side or both.
- Easy setup, just watch the video and practice once or twice. The system for staking the ends is great and allows some flexibility for finding the best ground, avoiding rocks and roots. Minor tweaking to get a perfectly taught pitch.
- Pitches with (only) 6 stakes.
- Heavier/stronger fabric than comparable weight freestanding tents.
- Cheaper than comparable freestanding tents.
- Neutral color.

What I find a little annoying:
- The netting/floor can slide/move around a bit. The interior hangs from the tarp and the corners are attached to stake out points with straps, but the floor corners are not staked down tight like most other tents. If pitched on a slope I would pay more attention to adjusting the corner straps before putting anything in the tent. This is a trade-off with the pitching options, so a rather minor issue for me.

Not sure about:
-The vestibules do not have zippers, but rather a clip and Velcro. It took a couple nights to get used to, and is a little awkward to clip/unclip one side from the other when things are tight. Started getting used to it, but time will tell.

Other thoughts:
The specs say 2lbs 5oz, includes 6 stakes, guylines, and bag. That was right on. My final all up weight is 2lb 10oz, adding 2 short end poles, 4 extra mini groundhog stakes, polycro ground cloth, longer guylines, handle-up adapters, and 2 bottle caps. The end poles are necessary to use it solo. I decided to use my trekking poles handles down as designed, but use the handle-up adapters to protect the cork handles. The bottle caps help keep the end poles from pushing into soft ground.

The vestibule stakes hold the tent up. If relying on 6 stakes I would bring 2 longer ones (e.g. regular groundhogs) for these. But I will probably just bring a couple extra smaller ones and guy out the peak if weather dictates—why I replaced the guylines with 10-12 ft ones. I did not have enough wind to put it to the test. I have no reservations about using the tent in a blow, however, so long as there are at least 2 good staking/anchor points.

I’m 6’0 and headroom is adequate and it is plenty long. With 2 people the netting may be a little close to the face due to the triangular shape at the ends, but I can’t say how it compares similar size/weight tents. Overall it is very spacious as my solo tent, and think it would be comfortable (enough) for 2, even if you’re not in love with each other (gear outside, of course).

It’s easy to see how you could pitch the tent without poles and the ridgeline strung between 2 trees if you had to—or 1 tree and 1 pole. Keep thinking I should try that to see how hard it would be to get the height and tensions right. And since I canoe more than backpack, I should try pitching it with paddles too.

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Base654
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Re: Tent Review: Tarptent Saddle 2

Post by Base654 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:13 pm

Thanks for the review. I have seen that in a couple pictures recently and wondered what it was. Unfortunately, my tent still works, so no upgrades for me this year.

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