Tarptent Double Moment
$349, 3 lbs. 4 oz.
With a preference for backcountry tents that are lightweight and stable, I’m willing to sacrifice capacious living space and the convenience of freestanding models, and I’ve seen tunnel-style designs that stand up well to strong winds despite their low total weight. Intrigued by the Double Moment’s space-to-weight ratio, I took it out on a five-day backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border in late March and a three-day backpacking trip on the Royal Arch Loop in the Grand Canyon, to see how it would hold up.
A two-person, double-wall tent with two doors and vestibules, and an interior with mesh walls and a solid, fabric ceiling that can be detached from and pitched independent of the rainfly, its standout selling point is a good space-to-weight ratio: At just over three pounds, it’s a bit too heavy to be called “ultralight,” yet is certainly lightweight for two people. And the seven feet of length, plus a peak height of 45 inches, create nice headroom and living space even though the 27 square feet of floor area isn’t exceptional. It had adequate living space for sharing with a 5-foot, 10-inch friend in the Grand Canyon, and with my five-foot-tall son in Paria Canyon. The vestibules are each big enough for boots and a mid-size pack, plus sliding buckles on straps outside the doors allow you to increase vestibule space while proportionately reducing the width of your interior living space.
Not freestanding, it pitches using an arch pole over the tent’s peak and short, collapsible, carbon-fiber struts at each end that help give the tent its structural integrity. While you never have to remove the struts from the rainfly, they are removable and you can substitute trekking poles to shave four ounces of weight. An optional, 8-ounce pole makes the tent strong enough to handle a snow load, according to Tarptent. (I didn’t test that.) The Double Moment held up well through a night of steady rain in the Grand Canyon. But on an evening when strong gusts kept shifting direction—preventing us from pointing the tent’s foot end into the wind, which would be its most stable positioning—wind hitting the side walls bowed them in until we stacked large rocks to anchor the ends, all four corners, and the vestibules. Pitching it on dirt in wind would demand more stakes than the two end stakes that come with the tent. Vertical inside walls overhung by the rainfly ensure against rain coming in when you enter or exit (unless the rain is blowing sideways).
It’s kind of tedious to pitch and take down, partly because the pole sleeve is so narrow that I had to wrestle the pole through it, and partly because the guyline system that helps support both ends has to be tensioned perfectly—I found that requires some patience to get it right until you get to know it. The tent is also easier to pitch in dirt than on a flat, sandstone slab where we had to substitute rocks for stakes. The Double Moment packs away to a moderately compact 5×18 inches in its stuff sack.
With the caveat that this tent requires a little more thought and work to figure out how to pitch it effectively before you’ll pitch it quickly, it’s a good choice for people—especially tall folks—looking for some extra space while keeping their shelter weight reasonably low.
See also my stories:
“10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier”
“7 Pro Tips For Avoiding Blisters”
“The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun”
“Ask Me: How Do We Begin Lightening Up Our Backpacking Gear?”
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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