Tarptent Scarp 1 long-term review

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Over the past three years, the shelter that I’ve used most is the Scarp 1 from Tarptent. I reckon I’ve used it for about thirty nights in all sorts of conditions. I think it’s time to do a proper long–term user review.

Of all the tents I’ve owned, and there have been quite a few, I think it’s the best all rounder. It may not be the lightest, but it has the best combination of features and characteristics of any tent I’ve used, including the late lamented Phoenix Phreeranger.

So what do I like about it?

Storm-worthiness: The Scarp is probably one of the most storm-proof one man, double skin tents on the market. I’ve been in some horrendous storms, most notably below Scafell a couple of times and the Scarp has shrugged off strong winds and torrential rain with ease. Indeed, it seems to be very stable whatever the direction of the wind, comparing favourably against tunnel tents and geodesics, which generally need to be pitched end to the wind. The key to its stability is the Pitchloc ends, which mean, unlike the Terra Nova Laser Competition, the ends are rock solid. Not only does this control and significantly reduce the flapping of the fly sheet, it helps take the strain off the single transverse hoop. The hoop is stabilised by the side guys but can be further strengthened by my pole arch tension modification (there’s a new variant on the way BTW). There is also the option of making the tent totally bombproof with the crossing poles, although I’ve yet to encounter conditions where I’ve needed them. Clearly, they are a great option for exposed pitches and camping in snow. They also make the Scarp virtually free standing. Just about the only one man tent I can think of that is stronger is the Hilleberg Soulo, which is a good deal heavier and more expensive.

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Roominess: Comparing the Scarp with similar tents like the Laser Competition and the Akto, the Scarp is more spacious. It’s certainly larger than the Comp and it makes better use of its footprint than the similar sized Akto. The rectangular inner with decent headroom at either end beats the Akto and Comp hands down. Unlike the Comp, it doesn’t feel like sleeping in a coffin. While individually the porches are smaller (than the Akto or Laser Comp), having two gives tremendous flexibility for storage, particularly in bad weather, where one porch can be used for wet gear. Two porches give some flexibility if the direction of the wind shifts, unlike tents with a single porch. The porches are also large enough to cook safely with a gas stove. Although the Scarp has a similar floor area to the Akto, the rectangular shape of the inner means it’s more usable and can easily accommodate a full size air mattress, rucksack and miscellaneous loose gear. Even when I’ve been holed up in the Scarp all day because of bad weather, it’s never felt claustrophobic.

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Ease of pitching: The Scarp is very easy to pitch and takes very little effort to pitch perfectly. Both the Akto and Laser Comp are notoriously difficult to get a taut pitch. With the Scarp it’s a doddle. If it’s windy, peg the the corner guys of the non–door end. Insert the pole into the pole arch, then pull the tent out and peg the door end corner guys. Straighten the end middle poles and peg the guy lines. Peg the pole arch guys and then readjust the other guys to get a taut pitch. It’s so simple. Even on uneven ground, I’ve yet to have a bad pitch. It’s virtually impossible to get wrong. Because it’s held in shape by the corner guys, it’s much easier to accommodate uneven or poor ground than having pegging points directly attached to the fly sheet, a particular problem on the Laser Comp. Detaching the inner to pack separately if it’s needed in bad weather is also simplicity. Having two doors also makes it easier to wipe down the inside of the fly sheet to reduce the damp from condensation before packing. I’ve found the Scarp to be significantly less prone to condensation than the Laser Comp or Akto, probably because of the roof vents.

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I think those are the areas in which the Scarp excels. Of course, it’s not the lightest tent in its class. With all my mods and seam sealing (a bit OTT, it has to be said), mine weighs 1.55kg without pegs, similar to the Akto and a bit heavier than the Laser Comp. Both the MLD Duomid and Trailstar are lighter with OookWorks inners but the Duomid is not as storm–worthy and the Trailstar has a significantly larger footprint. In any case they are both rather different tents, utilising trekking poles as supports, which should be taken into account when comparing weights.

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No tent is perfect. One of its charms for me is that I’ve been able to improve it with some tweaks (see my Scarp mods). The two best I think are the pole arch tensioners and the door threshold cords. It’s also worth re–guying it with thicker cord to avoid the end guys slipping. All the seams and the crossing pole loop need to be sealed with silicone sealant to ensure that the fly is totally waterproof.

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If I was being picky, some of the stitching is not as neat as it could be. I think the pole arch material could be less “sticky” as inserting or removing the pole, particularly when wet can be a trial. I’ve also added a stitch on the sleeves of the Pitchloc struts so the struts don’t slip out.

There are things I’d like to see on a Scarp mk3:

1) Decent pockets on the inner tent. The current ones are pathetically small and in the wrong place.

2) Diagonally opposing doors. Instead of having both doors at one end, why not have them diagonally opposing so that whatever the direction the wind is coming from, one porch will be sheltered.

3) Inverted T doors on the inner. The current J zips make it slightly awkward to reach one end of the porch. I much prefer inverted T zips which allow the whole side to be opened.

4) Threshold cords and pole arch tensioners as standard.

5) Double side guys like the Akto.

6) Zip pullers. I’ve made my own but it would be better to have ones as standard.

7) PU coated groundsheet. The new F10 Nitro Lite has a lightweight PU coated groundsheet which is not slippery and has a higher hydrostatic head compared with the Scarp.

8) Inner tent door tie backs. Why not use elasticated loops and toggles? Much better than the ribbon ties supplied.

9) Snap clips to secure crossover poles.

10) Better quality mesh on doors.

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From my perspective, the Scarp now has a serious rival in the F10 Nitro Lite 200. I can see myself using the Nitro Lite quite a bit. It’s about 100g lighter, packs smaller and has a much larger inner, big enough to be classed a 2–man tent. As a classic tunnel, I expect it to be pretty storm–worthy, although perhaps not quite as good as the Scarp. However, it is much larger inside and has a good sized porch. Ease of pitching is similar to the Scarp. All in all, it looks a pretty good competitor to the Scarp, with the added bonus of taped seams.

At the moment, I still think the Scarp is the best all rounder, particularly with the flexibility of using the crossing poles to make it a true winter mountain tent. It really is a fantastic tent for Northern European backpacking conditions. Perhaps the best recommendation is that I’ve often missed it when I’ve taken other shelters instead.

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84 thoughts on “Tarptent Scarp 1 long-term review”

  1. very interesting review Robin. You say the porches are on the small side, but I think
    they are actually quite good . Must be around 2ft at the center point ? A lot better than my Power Lizard . A tent that I am rather disappointed with -good floor space
    but poor internal design with drooping inner and triangular ends, rather than square
    like the Scarp. Also flaps a lot,and was almost flattened in a stormy ( but sheltered)
    trip around Buttermere end Sept.
    I am quite tempted as I have been interested in the Scarp for some time. Looked at the Duomid but not for me. I like the Soulo very much,and have worked out could
    shave around 300 grams off the weight quite easily.Only problem is height could be
    better.
    Thanks for the timely review, and look forward to other comments.

    1. The porch is small compared with the Akto/Comp but you get two of them! I like having two and there’s ample space for cooking and storage.

  2. Excellent review Robin. Enjoyed that. Very through and insightful. I’ve not personally used a Scarp in vain but have come across it on camps many times and it’s always impressed me on so many levels.

    In truth I do prefer other tents, but then I’m fortunate enough to own several and use others too.

    I believe you’re suggestions for a MK3 would make the Scarp the perfect all rounder backpacking tent. Especially for those who wish to use just the one shelter (or at least can only afford the one shelter let’s not forget) all year round. I’d certainly rank it as so.

    You refer to the F10 Nitro Lite – indeed I’ve been astounded at it’s storm worthiness recently. It really is excellent. The irony is, that on one particularly stormy night, I was camped out with a friend, Pete. Who brought along his Scarp.

    Both shelters performed well. And arguably the Scarp more so by being much more rigid in it’s design. But it was funny to note that Pete took a look at the Nitro and commented on how much more roomy and liveable the tent was and he would seriously consider purchasing one. Yes, it packs more punch for space to weight ratio, but I couldn’t help at the time to smirk – thinking I’d rather be in the Scarp that night!

    Even so, all was well with both shelters come dawn. I slept like a log, and the Nitro despite some serious bashing came out unscathed. Needless to say so did the Scarp.

    All tents have their foibles, and some spec wise with materials (never mind design) are better in the long run with use than others. And yes sadly some do encounter the odd issue or fault with a particular model. But considering all of your points and more, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The Scarp is an excellent all rounder. No doubt about it. It deserves it’s high regard in the backpacking community.

    1. Thanks Terry. IMO the Nitro is the first tent to challenge the Scarp. The space is phenomenal for the weight. I’m looking forward to using it. If I had to own only one tent, I suspect it would still be the Scarp.

  3. An informative, interesting review and very well illustrated. Thank you.

    I considered buying a Scarp but have been seduced by tarps, principally the Golite Cave 1, a great favourite. BTW, a Trailstar and Oookstar together weigh about 700g, depending on design details. My trekking poles come in just under 400g.

    I’ve raved about Oookworks quality before but, in view of your comments on T zips and the quality of the Scarp’s mesh, perhaps I can be permitted to praise Sean once more. I was surprised to catch myself experiencing a warm glow as I climbed out of the dark, dank, premature evening and into my Trailstar’s cosy inner last week. It took about 500g off the weight of my accommodation. I love that Oookstar.

    1. The Trailstar is still tempting. It was interesting to listen to the interview with Ron Moak on the Outdoors Station and his comments about the problems of quality control for small manufacturers. OookWorks are up there with the best (like MLD).

  4. Good review that.
    If I didn’t already have a Warmlite 2R & a Trailstar + Oooknest, and 2 kids still at College, & 2 Labradours, and …. I would be tempted.
    I thought seriously after the Warmlite broke on Ingelborough.
    It was either the Scarp or the Trailstar. Close call.
    It is what the Akto could have evolved into had they made the effort.

  5. Everytime I see a review by you on the scarp Robin, I feel my hands moving towards my wallet 😀
    I love the design and it does irk me that companies like Hilleberg rest on their laurels and dont improve or innovate as much as other people. Having said that, its great for companies like Tarptent! The Akto has had its day and really is in need of updating.
    I’ll stick with the laser comp for now which is good for 90% of my camping needs and when the weather is horrendous swap out for the Trailstar
    I am liking the look of the Nitro 200 too and it will be a bit of a problem for you deciding which tent to take out each time! 😀

  6. Good review Robin.

    Whilst I agree the Akto would benefit from an update, the overall quality and finish of the Akto is far superior to the Scarp IMO.

    1. Having owned an Akto, I agree on quality (although the same could be said of MLD,Terra Nova, Oookworks or Vango). However, for me, the quality is reasonable and is outweighed by the superior design. Not knocking the Akto, but it’s been left behind.

  7. Having owned something from each of the companies mentioned, I agree quality is very good. I’d include Lightwave too, having owned a T0 Trek, which was excellent. Although, for me, Hilleberg does have the edge.

    Anyway, I thought it was worth pointing out the quality issue as it was enough of an issue for me to sell my Scarp and revert back to my Akto.

    If the pitchloc system was to appear in another tent / shelter though, I’d certainly be interested. The rest of the design isn’t that radical or of interest to me.

    1. While my Scarp has not been perfect, I’m not unhappy with the quality. Apart from the Pitchloc system, I prefer the rectangular inner, better head room, ventilation and two porches of the Scarp compared with the Akto.

  8. Great review Robin. Very thorough and base don lots of use. I bought an Akto a couple of years back and have generally been happy with it, other than the very irritating fault Hilleberg could so easily cure ie the tie back on the fly sheet door fails to hold properly and the door regularly unrolls- dangerous if cooking in the porch. I take a clothes peg to help fasten it up! If I had known about the Scarp 1 I might have got one instead – I can not justify the luxury of both.

    I also have had a Trail Star since last summer and appear to be the only person in the entire world who is not not entirely convinced by it. Mainly I struggle in the TS with my height (6′ 3″). It’s not the headroom. Rather, despite the theoretical masses of floor space, the centre pole means you have to sleep close to the TS sides. If you are tall then either the foot end of your sleeping bag tends to try to go out under the sides, or your face is right in the material as it has no vertical wall at all. Or for me, usually, both these things happen. I have not used it on a lower height setting yet but think this would make the problem worse as it would lower the angle of the walls still further. Hard to explain all this but I know what I mean!

    At the moment I am trying to decide which of the two to take on the 2013 TGOC.

  9. The Scarp is a great tent; I’ve got about three times as many nights in mine and its performed well. I don’t really use the generous space it affords – but rather like it.

    I still have the original ‘high cut’ fly – although use the UK one now as the buckle bust on the other – of the two I prefer the high cut one (must mend it). Mine weighs in at 1400 all in – and now even lighter once I use my new Easton Full Metal Jackets 😀

    The zip cover is a PITA as it binds with the zip too often.

  10. If i was replacing my Moment, it would be with the Scarp 1.. No two ways about it.
    Yes there is lighter, but i think it is a superb piece of kit.And the enhancements should be taken up by Henry.

  11. Thanks very much Robin for your detailed comments and especially your suggestions for improvements. I will take them to heart and you can expect to see at least some of them appear in future revisions.

    The only suggestion we are unlikely to do is the “T” zipper. We’ve used T zippers in the past and they tend to be much more problematic in dusty and buggy environments. We can certainly look at changing the angle and curvature to allow a larger opening.

    One note regarding the mesh is that I suspect you got one with the ultralight (0.7-ounce) mesh rather than the 1-ounce mesh. We use 1-ounce mesh in the Scarp now but we did do some earlier runs with 0.7-ounce mesh. There’s so little mesh that the weight difference is a few grams.

    Regarding the arch pole tensioners, a really effective technique now is to run a cord between the clip/rings at the top of each interior door. That internally braces the pole and prevents the arch from getting deflected downward under wind/snow load.

    Lastly, re: the F10 Nitro Lite 200, I have two comments:

    The first is that every tent is a compromise and the Nitro Lite is no exception. To save weight, Vango has chosen to use 15D fabrics on both the fly and interior. I have no qualms about 15D on the low stress interior–we might move to such fabrics in the future–but 15D on the fly (and 20D on the floor) is engineering in lower stress and abrasion resistance than is possible with 30D fabrics. We will not go below 30D on flooring or fly fabrics on our tents such as the Scarp built for more extreme weather.

    The second is the Nitro Lite price. £500.00 ! (retail price listed on the Vango website — perhaps cheaper in stores?) Seems like robbery to me. I/we take great pride in not gouging our customers. For that kind of price, we could retire a whole lot earlier.

    Anyway, happy hiking in 2013 and please feel free to contact me if any of you have any questions/comments/concerns about our shelters.

    Henry Shires
    henry@tarptent.com

    1. Thanks for your comments, Henry.

      Shame about the T zip, but it’s personal preference rather than a deal breaker. If you extended the base of the zip further, it would enable the door to be opened further. I’ll try the pole arch cord as it’s a good idea with no weight penalty. Good decision to have a heavier gauge mesh. Mines ok but I’m careful with it.

      As I’ve said on a number of occasions, if I was limited to one tent, the Scarp would be the one I would choose.

      Interesting observations on the F10 Nitro. I bought mine for £348. Still not cheap, but you have to remember in the UK we have a 20% sales tax (VAT) when comparing with the US. Nevertheless Tarptent prices always seem good value even taking into account shipping and duty.

      It will be interesting to see how the lightweight materials of the Nitro shape up. I’ve not had a problem with the Scarp groundsheet, even when one pitch flooded. However, it is quite slippery (I’ve applied strips of sealant across the floor to help grip) and there has been some comments on the web that silicone coating tend to wear and degrade faster than PU.

    2. Henry I regret letting my Scarp 1 go. Big mistake. It is the best tent I ever used and I will state here I have never done business with anyone as creative and supportive as yourself. Good luck with 2013 and future product development.

  12. Wow – good job getting Henry Shire’s comments. I bought one a few months back on the strength of your earlier reviews (and some other positive comments, not least James of Backpacking Bongos). I’ve played with it but looking forward to the extended use it will get this year (around 50 days straight). I think what’s tipped it is the stability and durability of it, the real killer of course is the double porch – something I’ve wanted for a while.

    I have an Akto and a Comp.. My bond with my Akto is quite deep, I am not hanging it up yet but it will be interesting comparing it with the Tarp Tent. I found though the price of the Scarp (including the importation etc.) very reasonable and Henry Shires was a pleasure to deal with.

    1. I enjoyed using my Akto but it’s been superseded by the Scarp and Comp. I gave mine away. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the Scarp, especially in bad weather!

  13. Good read Robin, been looking at the Scarp 2 for me and the GF, I have a Sololite and love it, so naturally was looking at the Duolite, but think the room in the Scarp 2 will be much better, esp with the stuff girls take along 😉 99% there for getting one, just need to work out all extra charges. Thanks for making my mind up, and the GF’s, showed it her a few months ago and she likes it very much.

  14. Hi Mike Mac,

    around £35 I think. I got a note from the parcel force and I had to pay up before they sent it. I read an article that sterling will drop value against the dollar this year so perhaps now is a good time.

    Mark/One Swedish Summer.

      1. If you have an iPhone or iPad, there’s a useful free app called DutyCalc which calculates duty and does a currency translation between any country.

  15. A bit late to catch Henry but maybe he’s watching…?

    I’ve had a Scarp for 2 years. I used on 2011 TGO – inc. the nights when the blogging trailstar owners went for hotels 😉

    It’s the best solo tent I’ve used (first ‘decent’ tent was a Saunders Spacepacker)

    The pitchlok corners and the fabric panel cuts used by Tarptent are great design

    I agree the Akto materials/build quality is better, but design/feature wise Scarp wins .

    A great tent which only needs a little improvement.

    supplied guys are poor quality (mine ‘ruptured pretty quickly) and a little too short – need tails after the knots so gloved hands can grab. I changed mine.

    In wet and very windy weather, many of my upper lineloc 3’s slipped in wet and wind with the supplied lines. A slip hitch after tightening sorts this, (if the guys were long enough!)

    So, Thoughts for a MK 3:

    Door zip flaps – line them with grosgrain or some stiffer fabric so they don’t snatch? Mine has 2 holes in the flap from zip jams 😦 . One I thought I’d have to cut it free- (was dark and raining)

    Like Robin I find Pole sleeve is sticky when wet and a pain – why PU and not 70D silnyon?

    No to opposing doors! – I like the fact that both doors can be opened for views/ventilation when tail into a breeze. Opposing doors would lose this feature. Winds rarely change that drastically here unless at dusk on the coast(when you should be able to predict that) If they do, you are probably in a hoolie and the doors will be closed anyhow?

    Lose the roof vent on the windward end – in driving rain it has let rain through at the edges of the velcro. One decent vent on the lee side ought to do it?

    Don’t like the zip vents at each end – they often open of their own accord in the wind. Could they be simpler/lighter? (without a zip).

    Surely a T zipped inner option is viable? Would be much better/more useful IMO. I don’t get Henrys comment about dust etc – any zip would have the same issues unless one always leaves both pullers up high?

    Not bothered about zip pullers – part of the fun is making your own and ‘exploring’ the tent.
    Not bothered about pockets – I never use them – ok on a taut innered geo, but on a floppier hanging inner not so simple.

    I really believe a Forest Green Flysheet would sell well in Europe. (even with a yellow pole sleeve!)

  16. Oh yeah,

    I’ve never used my crossing poles (nor felt the need) . just the mid panel lifter with a walking pole and guys.

    A fly version without the attachments for the x poles would be great ( a littlecheaper to make too?). Especially if it was forest green 😉

  17. Mole (or indeed Robin), what did you use to replace the guys? I might be inclined to source some Hilleberg guys (lasted well on my Akto at around 4 years)?

    I note your comment re Forest Green, I prefer that too – easier to stealth camp in England/Wales. Mark

  18. Hi . I used something similar to Robin. 3mm braided line from English Braids (who make the Dyneema Line BPL UK sells). Ron Bell(MLD) has stated that he supplys 3mm line as he has tested many <3mm sleeved lines and found they all had the potential to slip with lineloc 3's in wet and windy conditions. This needn't be an issue if you tie the line off with a slip hitch once tightened, but not possible with the lines Tarptent supply as there is no 'spare' – they are cut (and tied off) very short.

    1. It would be quite tight. Some people do. It’s 80cm wide. Personally I’d go for a bigger tent like the Force Ten Nitro Lite 200 which is a true two man tent and the same weight.

  19. I have owned Laser Comp at the time I bought it in ’08, back then it was between the Akto and Laser Comp. It was for context of bike+camp so wanted something which packed small and light for hike+camp and I’ve used it for both across many trips many nights across all seasons. The single biggest problem with LC has been condensation which is worse in the valley campsites. In one camp in Wasdale last year I had enough of it, my sleeping bag getting damp from the inner walls and I had to delay packing to allow morning sun to dry my stuff out. It was also flappy noisy in even light wind but that wasn’t the deal-breaker issue. It never leaked and never fell down.

    I owned a used Scarp for 1 week, it didn’t get active use but I did side-by-side pitching in the garden. The issue was it had condensation inside, NOT AS BAD as Laser Comp but still sufficient to be concerned. I had the Scarp with the solid inner, I left it erected a couple of nights and tried fly high/low but it will was not really drying quickly.

    I had a Scarp vs a different TT – Notch – side by side and Notch allows a high fly all around which you can pull near to the ground if you need to and its part-solid inner has mesh roof and solid sides. The Scarp choice is all-mesh or mesh-only upper sides. I prefer the Notch method as the solid sides keep wind-blow damp/dust off and forces the air through the roof air wand it has much less condensation.

    As to stability, the Scarp as designed is very stable, the struts the full width of both ends are a major reason, it is less flappy and holds it shape better in the wind than the Laser Comp – so Scarp is a good storm-proof design. The Laser Comp would bend and flap but stay erect, on the inside of the Laser Comp you’d have the sides pushed into the sleeper. If had the choice for a wild camp I’d go with the Scarp for sure.

    The Notch as designed is not stable in wind but it is easy to solve, you attach guy lines to the top of the trekking poles place 1 inside away from roof vent, two outside through vent and they go at right-angles. If you do that both side it ends up a 10-peg immovable very stable design which you can tune how breezy you want it on the fly height. You can also tighten it from inside.

    As shown here

    http://s334.photobucket.com/user/NigelHealy/media/Notch%20vs%20Scarp/MVI_1971.mp4.html

    So in the Notch vs Scarp competition I passed the Scarp on and stuck with the Notch.

    You then have Notch vs Stratospire 1 option, the Stratospire 1 now comes with a solid inner of the same principal as the Scarp’s solid inner (mesh on upper doors), but that’s a different thread.

    I live in USA and fly a few times a year to UK so I get luxury of accessing both market’s tents. I see mention of price, and TT’s prices are very keen in USA for the quality and weight. A straight exchange-rate only comparison makes TT very competitive. Certainly if someone can combine with a flight to USA you can legally enter UK with the TT as there is a tax-free threshold of “You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 without having to pay tax and/or duty.” which is about $590 which amply covers any TT.

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/arriving/arrivingnoneu.htm

    The Force Ten Nitro Lite tent, it looks similar in a few angles to the TBS Spirit 200+ I owned, I would never go to the sloping sides near inner design again as I had one trip where the inner touching outer at the foot and sucking in water and in one case the inner was drooping enough that in a flash flood the water got over the bathtub and filled the tent. So I only go for the inner well clear of outer and a high bathtub. I see from your other Nitro later review you have damp issues at that same point I had with the Spirit.

    I also initially began camping with outer-only tents and with Tarps because they were the lightest, back in ’80s and I will never go back to them as they suffer from wildlife intrusion and getting a good barrier to flash floods. I know those can be overcome with attention and some prefer tarps for other reasons. The weight now of Tarptents with a true double layer (picking how much mesh you want) is the same weight as bivy+tarp with less wildlife intrusion and easier to keep a wet/dry zone for kit. With now many TT with dual entry its getting hard to justify other than a TT in my opinion. I see some have visited USA and had a TT delivered to a hotel.

  20. I really like your blog and this post is particularly helpful. I’m going to Patagonia (Torres del Paine) this winter, with winds up to 160 km / hr…..do you think the Scarp 1 will suit my needs? And as long as I silicone seam the seals, is it fully waterproof? Also, would you recommend bringing along the cross-poles (they are an additional 12 oz!)
    Thanks!

    1. The honest answer is that I don’t know. With crossing poles, my guess is “yes”. I think you need to consult others who have been to Patagonia. They can advise you better than me.

  21. Hi, Robin,

    I hope to complete the GR20 this summer. The pitches are notoriously stony which makes it hard to hammer in pegs (especially after a knackering hike).

    Would I be able to simply pitch the Scarp I using only the crossing poles and leaving the pegs at home to save some weight?

    Also, it says on the Tarptent site the poles are optional. Does this mean you pay extra for them?

    Cheers,

    Darren

    1. Yes they are extra cost. The crossing poles make it free standing but don’t properly tension the fly sheet fabric. It will be ok, but not perfect.

  22. Hi Robin,

    I came across your long term review while searching for tarps. We are looking for a lightweight tent to replace my tera nova voyager, which we find very cramped. I see that tarptent also make a scarp 2, My questions, is do you still rate the scrap 1? is the scarp 2 the same just bigger or is there a better alternative in 2015 for year round backpacking in the UK?

    1. I used the Scarp on this year’s TGO Challenge which was quite windy and it performed impeccably. I don’t have direct experience of the Scarp 2 although I’ve seen them. They are very roomy, more like a Scarp 2.5. As a larger tent it is probably not quite as stable as the Scarp 1, do you might consider the crossing poles in stormy weather. There were a couple on this year’s Challenge.

  23. Hi Robin, I hope this finds you well. We met on the TGO Challenge in 2014 and you kindly gave me the grand tour of your Scarp 1. Your blog and this thread in particular are very helpful. I am planning a trek across Iceland next summer (south to north) and now have a Scarp 1 as I needed something more stable than my Laser Comp. I ordered the version with the solid interior but the iner has a mesh upper? After looking through this thread I’m assuming that this is still classed as the solid interior rather than both? Is this correct?

  24. Just double checked, the only mesh is on the upper door panel and the rest of the interior is solid. Great, many thanks.

  25. Thanks for that Robin, I hadn’t seen Andre’s blog. At present I’m planning to start with the Laugavegur Trail before continuing north. Yes I have the crossing poles and will be taking them with me.

  26. Hello, fantastic blog and discussion! I just saw a Force Ten Nitro 200 with footprint go for a little more than £200 on Ebay. I’m pretty sure I missed a great deal, should have bid! Oh well. The Scarp 2 looks great as well and people sound very impressed but there seems to be no place to buy in the UK. Can anybody give me a recommendation on a tent weighing between 1 and 2 kg that can sleep me and my girlfriend comfortably? Preferably without breaking the bank and with good features. Thoughts on Lightwave? And any tips when it comes to buying second hand? I’ve seen a Wild Country Trisar tent from the 90’s on Ebay as well which the seller claims was made in England and is better quality than the more modern Wild Country/Terra Nova. And also it seems there’s a cycle of tents varying in prices hugely as sales go on and models get discontinued. Are there specific times of year which are better for finding the best deals?
    The whole process of getting a great deal on a good tent is a big job!

    Any advice would be great, thanks!

    1. Difficult for me to advise on two man tents as I go solo. Tarptent and Wild Country/Terra Nova are good brands. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for second hand tents on backpacking forums if you want a bargain.

  27. This has been super useful. I got into wild-camping in the last few years and have been flying up to the UK and Scandinavia once or twice a year to get a little bit of outdoor magic (Malta is rather small and warm for that)

    Currently running a Zephyros 2 Lite, which has been great however has failed a few times in high-winds, specifically the end poles have broken their retainers. Nothing that could not be fixed, but still, does muck up a nights sleep.

    I am torn, the Akto is known to be built like a tank and the Scarp 1 addresses a lot of its design limitations. I am however drawn to Hilleberg’s Anjan 2, which is 100g heavier than the Akto but is a hell of a lot more flexible. Damn choices!!

    1. If you’re considering the Anjan, have a look at the Force Ten Nitro Lite 200. The one criticism of the Anjan I’ve heard is that the fly sheet doesn’t go low enough. The Nitro Lite fly goes right to the ground. However, if you’re over 6ft, the Nitro Lite might not be long enough. IMO, the Scarp is one of the best tents ever made. I had an Akto. Great tent, but prefer the Scarp.

  28. Scarp ordered – looking forward to testing in on the Isle of Skye in a month. Now I just hope it makes it in time, it seems to have been stuck in the US for 2 weeks.

  29. HI Robin,

    It is indeed a great tent! Took it with me on the Skye Trail (just got back 4 days ago) and it was so easy to pitch and amazing to space to be in.
    The weather was horrendous however and I quickly learned a few things about the tent.

    1) The PitchLoc system slipped a few times when really wet, which i found odd, and it did mean i needed to get out of the tent and reset.

    2) The material really does stretch a fair bit when wet, and I would wake up with the tent much looser than when I went to bed. This resulted in some pools forming, and on one night freezing!

    3) The one real concern I had were the vents. I pitched nose into the wind and closed the vents. The Velcro however does not extent across the whole of the vent, meaning in the driving rain that water was pushed past the Velcro and straight into the tent. I am not sure what to do about this. I ended up waking up with a pool of water at foot of my tent.

    4) I also noticed that the corners of the inner when under tension have some small gaps (I i could see little dots of light between the stitching) though I don’t think this is an issue.

    Anyway – those are my impressions/concerns so far.

    1. 1) The PitchLoc corners shouldn’t slip if you use 3mm cord. I replaced the Tarptent stuff with cord I had left over from a MLD shelter and blogged on this. If you used the stuff supplied by Tarptent, then it’s likely to slip when wet.

      2) All Silnylon stretches when wet. The best thing to do is to readjust the tension when wet. There’s no way round this. Unless you get a cuben shelter (Tarptent don’t do them), then it’s unavoidable. Using the lifter tabs with cord and a trekking pole should cure water pooling at the end of the fly.

      3) Personally, I’ve never suffered anything more than a few drops through the vents, but I can see how it might happen. I have thought of a way to stop this, but it’s not easy to explain so I will try it out and do a post on it.

      4) stitch holes in the inner shouldn’t be an issue. Several people have found TT quality control to be a bit hit and miss.

  30. Hi Robin,

    Just received my 2016 Scarp 1 and done most of the mods you have listed. Just curios, did you ever get round to replacing the pole clips for the exterior poles? And if you did, is it worth doing?

    Paul

  31. Hi Robin,

    Just received my 2016 Scarp 1 and done most of the mods. Just curios, did you get round to changing the exterior pole clips? And if you did was it worth doing?

    1. I didn’t, mainly because I’ve never used the crossing poles. I’m thinking of doing more winter camping so I might resuscitate the idea. I’ve got some thin grosgrain that might be suitable as well.

  32. I’m from the Southern USA (hot/humid) and headed over to do the Pennine Way (April) and West Highland Way (May). I’m trying to decide between Scarp 1 and Zpack Duplex for tent. I’m leaning toward Scarp 1 for the winds. Got any experience with the Duplex in the winds? Also, thinking about the Mariposa backpack which I assume would work well for the Scarp 1. Thoughts?

    1. A friend has the Duplex. It’s a great tent but I’d prefer the Scarp for cold, wet and windy conditions. I’ve used it a lot, most notably on my TGO Challenge crossings and it’s superb for UK conditions. It’s a bit heavier but worth it IMO. My Scarp fits neatly in the Mariposa long pocket. It’s an excellent rucksack and I’d have no qualms in recommending it. You could be lucky with the weather but make sure you’re prepared for wet and windy weather with some good waterproofs and waterproof rucksack liner. Have fun!

  33. Hi Robin, I’ve just come back from a weekend in the Lakes using my scrap 1 and this was the first time it’s been out in proper windy weather. We had a week in Scotland in late May with great weather so not much of a test of its storm worthyness. I haven’t done any mods to the tent yet, just re-reading your list and trying to decide which is the most important mod? I did seem to struggle to stop the flysheet touching the inner when it was very windy. this was main on the roof of the tent between the top vent and the end wall I was wondering if you have had that issue and if it was how I had the tent pitched. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks Matt

    1. I use walking poles as lifters https://blogpackinglight.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/img_1426.jpg and https://blogpackinglight.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/dsc01416.jpg
      It’s worth adding a small loop of elastic shock cord at the fly sheet end so there’s a bit of “give”. Alternatively you could use the crossing poles.

      Using 3mm cord for the corners is vital IMO to stop slippage. The pole arch tensioner adds a lot of stability. The threshold cord takes the tension off the door zip. Apart from seam sealing, those are my main recommendations.

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