I’ve added four pegging points to the door panels on the Notch using some Tread Lite Gear DCF patches https://www.treadlitegear.co.uk/pair-tread-lite-gear-fully-bonded-dyneema-composite-fabric-dcf-stick-on-patches-515-p.asp They should help to minimise panel flap. Very easy to do.
No tent is perfect and no tent survives my roving eye for modifications. The Tarptent Notch Li is no exception. Right from the start I want to emphasise that the Notch Li is fine without any tweaks and the changes I have made are from personal preference. So here we go!
New cords: this is something that many people do. On my Scarp and now my Notch, I’ve replaced the cordage at the ends with thicker 2.8mm MLD cord to prevent any slippage. Now, Tarptent say that the cord they supply won’t slip and it is different to the cord that they used to supply with the original Scarp, where I encountered problems. While I have no reason to doubt them, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve also lengthened the cord, although in the picture, I actually think it is too long and will shorten it. I also added a sail ring for the bottom cord to slip through (not obvious from the picture) and a larger pull out loop of cord in case I use a large peg like an MSR Blizzard stake. The Notch (like the Scarp) puts quite a lot of strain on the end pegs so it pays to have substantial pegs at the ends.
Corner loops and kamsnap closure: I’ve added a loop on each corner so the bottom of the PitchLoc struts can be pulled down to the ground on uneven ground. Most of the time this won’t be an issue, but it adds no extra weight and makes sure the PitchLoc ends are absolutely stable. The PitchLocs are the key on many Tarptent tents to their stable structure. As I’ve said before, they are genius! The observant in the congregation will note I’ve added a kamsnap closure at the bottom of the velcro on ventilation flap. While I’m not sure it’s absolutely necessary, it will prevent any chance of a strong gust of wind loosening the closure. I’m a bit of a kamsnap fiend!
Extra door linelok: I mentioned in a previous post that it might be wise to treat the door zip with some care as it is light gauge and could get strained. One way of helping to alleviate this is to add another linelok. If you don’t want to add another linelok, then it would be easy to add a fixed loop to the existing grosgrain loop. However, I added a side-release linlok which means that you can not only adjust the tension but can also release the door panel without removing the cord from the peg. The grosgrain loop is just long enough to loop through the linelok fixing without requiring sewing. Brilliant!
To avoid losing the cord when it’s detached I’ve looped it on to the other door cord, similar to the way Colin Ibbottson has done on the Tramplite. Great idea! In the picture below, you can see that it also means that you can have the door unzipped but still have protection from both panels. I might attach a hook or clip at the base of the door zip as well, but this arrangement takes a lot of the strain off anyway.
Apex cords: at he two apexes I’ve used 1.5mm dyneema cord with Clam Cleat linloks. This arrangement is actually lighter than using 2mm or 3mm cord with the apex linelok. I’ve also made the cord longer. The apex cords are key to a rigid structure and unless camping in a very sheltered place, I’d always use them.
Mid ground sheet pullouts: at the mid points of the inner, there are webbing and shockcord pullouts at the base of the groundsheet to tension the middle of the inner. I’ve added a second pullout point where the groundsheet material meets the body fabric, using a kamsnap to secure it. To make it adjustable, I’ve added a length of thin shockcord which can be looped around a trekking pole handle. This pulls out the inner more effectively than just having a ground level pullout.
Having a kamsnap means it’s really easy to attach and adjust. I should’ve taken a picture inside the inner, but, believe me, it tensions the inner nicely and gives a bit more percieved space in the centre of the inner.
DCF pockets: there are some small pockets by the door but I’ve added a couple of pockets, one at either end. These were originally for my Laser Comp, but I’ve repurposed them for the Notch. Rather than sewing them, I’ve used safety pins to attach them. It’s a shame there’s no larger mesh pockets on the end panels as that would be ideal, especially as there’s very little spare space in the inner for gear.
Roof cord: I’m sure virtually everyone does this, a cord for hanging socks and lights. Mine’s adjustable with a cord lock. I will shorten it a bit.
Pole apex cords: in the picture above, the yellow cord is for a lantern, clothes or a food bag. The orange cord is to secure a trekking pole in “handle up” mode.
Although I bought the trekking pole adapters from Tarptent, they don’t work very well with Leki poles. This arrangement is almost as good and is simpler and lighter. It also means I have the option of tips up or handles up. Both cords are simply looped through the grosgrain at the apex that has the grommet for pole tips in the apex. You can see from the picture that I’ve also added zip puller on the fly door to make it easier to open. I’ve not bothered on the inner.
None of these mods are essential and the Notch Li is a good tent in its delivered condtion. However, for me, I think the mods add a bit to the original design. I hope you find them interesting!
A brief overnighter is hardly a good test but I thought I’d pass on some brief thoughts on the new gear I used recently.
Tarptent Notch Li
At around 600g, the Notch Li is astonishingly light for a proper two skin tent. I’ve made some minor tweaks which I will share in another post. It’s extremely easy and quick to pitch. Although you only need four pegs in theory, in practice you need six as the apex guys are needed to give it a robust structure. There was a modest breeze so it was hardly testing conditions but with the apex guys and pitchloc ends it’s a pretty solid structure.
In common with most trekking pole tents, there’s a bit of a gap between the hem of the fly and ground, so it was a bit more draughty than say the Scarp. I guess it’s a bit swings and roundabouts as a bit more air flow helps to mitigate condensation. With a fresh breeze condensation wasn’t an issue anyway. There is a small vent above both doors and the end panels can be opened so there are plenty of venting options.
While I much prefer zipped doors, the zips do feel a little fragile, so I think it would be wise to take care. I have put a side release line lok on either door panel that has just a grosgrain loop so it is feasible in calm conditions to have the zip open (something that Colin Ibbottson recommends on the Tramplite shelter to help with longevity). I might sew a buckle clip at the base of the door too.
In terms of room, the inner is quite compact. There’s not a huge amount of room for gear but it is reasonably long so some stuff can be stowed at either end. A modest amount can be stored at the mid point, but I put most of my gear in one porch. The porches are a decent size, so there is space to store things. The only thing to be careful with is rain might get blown under the fly sheet.
The flysheet seems to be lighter weight DCF than say the Tramplite, but the groundsheet is heavier and feels robust, which seems to be a good compromise. The solid inner fabric is thinner than the stuff they use in the Scarp and has a slight green tinge to it. I like it and wonder how much weight they could save on the Scarp if they used it. As an aside, the solid inner is marginally lighter than the mesh alternative. The inner pockets by the door are ok, but I think they’ve missed a trick by not putting them at the ends.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. It feels like a decently robust mountain tent. It has a small footprint, making it ideal for summit camping. At 600g it’s astonishingly light for such a robust tent. The small inner will take a little getting used to, but not a major issue with a decent amount of porch space.
Nemo Tensor Alpine sleeping mat
At 475g the Tensor is 115g heavier than my Thermarest X-Lite, but is slightly larger and marginally warmer. It has a different structure and is less noisy to sleep on. I found it more comfortable to sleep on, partly because it doesn’t taper as much and partly because it feels more supportive. It didn’t deflate at all in the night and the valve makes it much quicker to deflate in the morning. I couldn’t tell any difference in insulation. It packs down small. Overall I like it for the extra comfort over the X-Lite, but it’s not a clear cut winner, just a bit different.
Atom Packs Mo 50
This was the first outing for the Mo. Until I walk a few days with it, I can’t give a definitive judgement, but it feels really comfortable. It just feels right. When packing, it is a little slim compared with my GG Mariposa, and is definitely smaller, so a little more care is needed in packing. It feels very robust. The side pockets are big enough for a tent or two water bottles. The stretch pocket is much more robust than on many packs. I like the rolltop closure and the Y strap.
All in all it’s a really well designed and made pack. I wish I’d bought the 60 for a little more space, but if I’m careful it should be big enough for multi-day trips. The Y strap means that I could put a stuff sack on top to increase volume. My pack weight was around 9kg with water and food and it carried that easily.
Mountain Equipment Kinesis trousers
I changed into these when I had camped and they were brilliant for the chilly weather. They are very light at 220g. The fleecy liner is lovely and soft but not too warm. The thigh vents are useful but I didn’t need them. I slept in them too and they kept me warm in the subzero overnight temperatures. They have a little bit of stretch which makes them great in the tent. They pack down quite small into one pocket.
It’s a shame ME have stopped making them but there are two new versions: one is like tracksuit bottoms and a bit lighter, the other is a heavier weight trouser with reinforcement patches. I prefer mine as they are are a good compromise between a usable and reasonably smart trouser but not overkill.
We had a few days in Buxton. It gave me the opportunity to explore Burbage Edge and the Goyt Valley. It’s a rather lovely part of the Peak District. It wasn’t too crowded but I suspect it gets busy in the summer.
As always I was on the lookout for potential places to camp. The Goyt Valley has some spots but I imagine there are too many people around and possibly the park rangers patrol it.
There are a couple of spots on the ridge of Burbage Edge but I spotted a nice place a little way away from the Edge. I camped at 7pm and only one person passed me by.
Inevitably being so close to Buxton and roads there was a little bit of traffic noise carried on a cold Easterly breeze. Fortunately it wasn’t particularly intrusive. The night was pretty cold and the temperature fell to below freezing in the tent. There was ice on the tent and frost on the ground in the morning.
I was up just in time to see sunrise. It was pretty chilly, so I made a cup of tea and packed. Instead of going straight back to Buxton, I walked along the Edge, past the trig point and down to Bishop’s Lane.
It was good to get out again and it gave me an opportunity to try out my new Tarptent Notch Li. More on that another time.
Over the last ten years or so I’ve probably used the Tarptent Scarp 1 more than any other tent. My original Scarp was getting a bit tatty, so when I had the opportunity to pick up a second hand unused latest version of the Scarp, I leapt at the chance. I’ve listed the main changes in the new version in another blog post, so I won’t repeat them.
I’ve been itching to try it out, so my trip to the Lakes recently provided a good opportunity to put it though its paces. As I wasn’t walking far from Brothers Water to Deepdale (four miles) and it was winter, I decided to pack the crossing poles and I was glad I did! Believe it or not, this was the first time I had used them in the wild.
My pitch was one I had used a couple of times before near the head of Deepdale, below Greenhow End. Although it’s not far from Patterdale, it has a real feeling of remoteness. I knew that some showers were due in late afternoon, so I was pitched by around 3:30pm.
In terms of pitching, the new Scarp is really no different than the older version. I had replaced the corner cord with 2.8mm MLD reflective cord, to avoid any slippage through the line locks. The main difference with the crossing poles is the new clips to attach the poles to the fly, which are a real improvement.
The biggest thing you notice about using the crossing poles is how solid the Scarp becomes. They really lock the apex of the pole arch and the corners, so it is virtually free standing. I was grateful for this stability in the early evening when the wind picked up and became very gusty. The Scarp felt rock solid. I think the double side guys also helped.
It also rained quite heavily for a couple of hours. The tent had been seam sealed by Tarptent and I’m pleased to report there was no water ingress whatsoever. One of the great things about the Scarp is it feels safe no matter the weather, which is why I used it on three of my TGO Challenges.
The biggest change between the versions is the new inner where you can adjust the width at the midpoint on both sides, so you can have as much or as little porch as you want. I pulled it out to its maximum width on one side, but there was still enough room to store my rucksack (Lightwave Ultrahike) on its side between the fly and the inner.
It was really easy to adjust the inner with a sliding buckle. On the other side, I had a normal sized porch for cooking and storage. I was a little concerned that the door material might be a bit loose and flap, but that didn’t seem to be an issue. That little bit of extra width makes a big difference in perceived roominess, especially as I had the rectangular Exped Downmat UL, which is a bit bulky.
I wasn’t hugely impressed by the new mesh pockets. I think more conventional rectangular ones would be better but they are fine for holding glasses and a torch. It’s a shame that they are not at both ends. I’ve fitted some removable cuben ones at the opposite end, so I can sleep with my head at either end.
I like the new fly and groundsheet materials and the fly colour. As I mentioned, on this brief test, they seemed very waterproof. The repositioned vents are also an improvement as occasionally the odd drop of water could be blown through the old roof vents.
One thing to note is the pitchloc struts are removeable and it’s worth tightening the securing buckles so they don’t fall out and the end material doesn’t flap. The new style waterproof fly zips ran smoothly and there’s no flap to catch, unlike the old fly.
Often second or third iterations of products run the risk of degrading them from the original functionality either by changing essential features or by adding superfluous features. I’m pleased to report that all of the changes to the Scarp have improved on the previous version and I wouldn’t reverse any of them.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the new Scarp. It’s still one of the best one man mountain tents on the market.
Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Tarptent
Picture courtesy of Tarptent
I’ve had my Scarp 1 for nearly ten years now and was considering whether to buy the new updated version when someone contacted me asking whether I would like to buy their unused mk3 Scarp. After a couple of days consideration, I decided to take the plunge. While my old Scarp is still serviceable, the new Scarp has some attractive new features.
Because it’s been so wet, I’ve not set it up in the garden, I’ve only put it up in the garage with the crossing poles, so I can only give my first impressions. When the Scarp first came out there were some questions about the consistency of quality control. Obviously I can only comment on the one I have, but the quality of the workmanship seems to be of a high standard. My old one was fine but there were a few places where the stitching was untidy, but this looks very good. It has been seem sealed by Tarptent and that has been done very neatly too.
I think all the changes and improvements have been positive and worthwhile. I’ll group them into major and minor.
- New flysheet and groundsheet materials. These seem higher quality and more robust. The flysheet colour has changed too from a silver grey to a green grey, which I like.
- Larger, adjustable width inner. This is genius. It gives an appreciable increase in floor area, but allows the porch widths to be adjusted as desired. I was a bit sceptical, but it’s brilliant.
- Flysheet vents moved to above the doors. This is better than the old roof vents allowing for more adjustability and (hopefully) means that any potential ingress won’t fall on the inner.
- Stronger, stiffer pole.
- Two way, water resistant fly door zips. These are much better than the old conventional zips with a flap. Time will tell how robust they are but they move easily and a two way zip enhances the ventilation options.
- Double side guying points on each side of the pole hoop. This is so much better than a single tie out and should give much better stability, much like the Hilleberg Akto.
- Larger inner tent pockets. Much better than the small ones on the original version. It’s a shame they are only at one end.
- Clips for the crossing poles. An improvement on the old glove hook ones plus the velcro attachments at the corners have been improved.
- Better elastic attachments for the inner. These have been redesigned and have more give, so it’s less likely to be stressed.
- Pole inserts are pockets rather than eyelets. The poles are less likely to slip out when erecting the tent.
- Flysheet height adjuster is grosgrain rather than cord. Much neater and easier to adjust. There’s also a piece of elastic which pulls the fly edge up when the grosgrain tensioner is released, which is neat.
- PitchLoc struts are more easily removed. These have tensioners which means the struts can be easily removed/replaced.
- Inner tent door tie backs are now elastic rather than grosgrain, which is easier to use.
I think that’s pretty much all the changes I can see between my original and this version. Of course, I have made a couple of tweaks. I’ve changed the corner guys to thicker MLD cord. I’ve also added threshold cords to ease the strain on the doors using a linelok and some spare cord. The weight without pegs is approximately 1.45kg.
It’s unlikely I will be out backpacking before March, maybe April, so I won’t be able give it a proper test, but I’m very pleased with it. I’ll do another assessment of it when I’ve used it. Sorry about the lack of photos, but I didn’t see much point of showing it in my garage! Overall, I think the changes have made a great tent even better.
Disclaimer: I have no relationship, financial or otherwise with Tarptent
Henry Shires has just announced some changes to the Scarp 1: a wider adjustable inner tent, new inner tent pockets and a stronger pole.
The new inner uses a similar system to the Moment DW so it can be adjusted to fit two sleeping mats. This means you can choose whether to have two porches or to have a wider inner with only one porch. According to a comment by Henry on the Trek Lite forum, this adds about 30g to the weight.
Although there is more than adequate interior space in the Mk2 Scarp, I can see that it might be useful to have some extra space. I like the idea of having the option of more room or a free porch.
Better inner tent pockets is a good move as the old ones were of little use. A stronger pole is also a good upgrade, although I’ve already got a stronger pole that I took from a defunct Marmot tent I used to own.
It’s great to see a manufacturer making sensible upgrades to an existing design that is already very good. I still think the Scarp 1 is one of the best tents ever made. While there is an option to buy and retro fit the inner, I think I’ll probably wait to see whether there are any other developments before considering replacing my existing Scarp. You can find my long-term review of the Scarp 1 here .
In part 2 of my Scarp modifications, I’ll outline the more minor tweaks that I’ve made. They are all quite straightfoward.
1) Silicone anti slip stripes on groundsheet. Silnylon is very slippery, so sleeping mats tend to slide around, especially on a slope. To counter this, it’s a good idea to paint a few stripes of silcone seam sealant (McNett Silnet) on the groundsheet. It’s up to you whether you use stripes or dots.
2) Inner tent pocket. The pockets in the Scarp are so small and poorly positioned that I’ve never used them. Instead I’ve cut a silnylon stuff sack in half and sewn up one end to make a pocket. I’ve attached it to the inner with a couple of safety pins. This means I can move it around if I decide to switch sleeping positions. In an ideal world, I’d like to have large mesh pockets at either end, but such a radical mod is beyond my capabilities.
3) End vent cord lock, hook and loop. On the flysheet, at either end, there is a short zip to aid ventilation. The tension of the flysheet means that this has a tendency to come apart. To prevent this, I added a cord lock to ensure it stays closed. To make it easier to keep the vent open, I’ve used a hook (taken from another tent) and a loop of cord, so that I can hook up the vent as shown below, to maximise the ventilation.
4) Inner tent door tie back. The original door tie backs for the inner are plain ribbons. These are a pain to tie, so I’ve put a cord lock on one ribbon and added an elastic loop to secure the tie back. I probably could have done a slightly neater job as the elastic has frayed a bit. It’s now much quicker, simpler and more secure to tie back the doors.
5) Zip pullers. The zips on the Scarp are not supplied with pullers. On the inner tent I’ve made my own and on the outer, I’ve used some Alpkit pullers. It’s much easier now to use the zips, especially with gloves.
MYOG zip pullers
Alpkit zip pullers
6) Fly adjuster venting cord. For some reason, the cord supplied was like an old black bootlace. I’ve replaced it with some dyneema cord. There’s no particular need to replace it. It just looks neater.
7) Modified crossing pole loop. Inserting the crossing poles through the grosgrain loop at the apex, especially after it’s been sealed, is quite tight, so I’ve added a loop of dyneema cord to make it a lot easier (orange loop above vent in picture). Arguably it makes the Scarp slightly less stable, but it doesn’t make very much difference.
The only modification that I’ve yet to do is to swap the supplied crossing pole clips, which are like glove hooks for the clips that Vango kindly supplied me. Something else I’m mulling is whether to make some removable snow valances for winter.
Hopefully, at least some of those mods will be helpful to other Scarp owners. I’d be interested if anyone has thought of any others.
I thought it would be useful to do a couple of posts summarising all the modifications I’ve made to my Tarptent Scarp 1. Feel free to copy and use these as you wish. Equally, if don’t want to use them, that’s no problem to me! I’ve divided them into two posts, major and minor modifications, to indicate those which I think are highly desirable and those which are more optional. However, none of the modifications are difficult to do. Some require a modest amount of sewing, but that’s all. Here goes!
1) Seam sealing. If you want the Scarp to be fully watertight, you really need to seal the seams with a silicone sealer such as McNett Silnet. The pole arch requires particular attention. It’s best to seal the outside, rather than the inside. I made the mistake of preferring the cosmetically superior route of sealing the inside. Later I had to seal the outside as well. On the pole arch you need to seal both sides of the arch from the zip to the apex. It is important to seal the crossover pole loop as well, otherwise it will wick rain inside the tent. It’s also worth sealing the seams that go from the corners of the tent to the pole arch. I’ve also sealed the seams around the vents. I’ve not bothered with the seams on the vertical walls at the end of the tent as these are unlikely to cause problems with water ingress.
Seal the pole arch, crossing pole loop, lateral roof and vent seams
2) Re-guy with 3mm cord. The cord supplied with the Scarp is 2mm and the end guys are a bit short. Initially I re-guyed the tent with longer 2mm cord. However, 2mm cord tends to slip through the lineloks when wet. You can prevent this by tying a slip knot after tensioning them. I had some spare cord from my MLD Duomid, so I decided to re-guy with this thicker cord (I’m not sure whether it’s 2.5mm or 3mm, I think it’s 3mm but someone can probably tell me). This thicker cord locks properly in the linelok and there’s no chance of slippage.
Re-guying the end guys with 3mm cord
On the lower linelok on the corners, I’ve tied off the cord through the grosgrain loop. I’ve attached the crossover pole eyelets to some leftover 2mm cord, so I can thread them though the remaining free lineloks. Slippage is not an issue with these when using the crossover poles.
The second mod is to add sail rings to the cords on the corners to ensure that the guys can be easily adjusted and stay securely on the pegs. These are available through yacht chandlers (a good source of bits and pieces). Alternatively, you could use a short loop of cord.
Sail ring mod
On the side guys, I’ve used the same cord (mainly to match the other guys). To accommodate the thicker cord, I’ve used some larger lineloks, which were leftover from another tent (!). Additionally, I’ve secured them to the grosgrain loop on the tent with a mini carabiner. This provides a neater connection and the option to remove them completely, which is useful on narrow pitches and camp sites.
Carabiner on side guy
3) Pole arch tension system. I think this is well worth doing and adds a lot of stability to the Scarp. Instead of repeating myself, have a look at yesterday’s post.
Pole arch tension system
4) Threshold cord. I know this hasn’t found favour with a number of Scarp owners, but I think it’s worthwhile as it takes the strain off the door zip. I know there’s a small connector at the bottom of the zip, but it’s quite fragile and I think the threshold cord is a much better solution (copied from the Hilleberg Akto, incidentally). It also takes the strain when the door is open and ensures the tent retains its rigidity.
Again, it’s really easy to do. All you need is some cord and a linelok. I’ve used 2mm as it doesn’t take a huge strain. At the pole end the cord is threaded through the loop beyond the pole eyelet and doubled back to a linelok. It is important, when pitching the tent that the cord is looped around the end of the pole underneath the grosgrain ribbon, so the pole takes the strain and not the grosgrain.
At the other end, loop it around the strut of the PitchLoc strut. Again, it is important that it pulls against the strut. To ensure that it doesn’t slip down, I’ve secured the cord with a couple of stitches to the strut sleeve.
It’s really important that the threshold cord is secured against both the strut and the end of the pole. Once the length is adjusted, it doesn’t need to be changed and it seems to stay secured in the linelok when packed.
5) Inner/outer tent shock-cord connectors. On the original Scarp, the four corners of the inner are connected to the outer with a glove hook connector secured by a (very) short piece of elastic. The first time I pitched the tent in the garden I broke one of these. Because of the slope of our garden, when I got in the tent, the groundsheet slid downhill and ping, the connector broke. So to add a bit more flex, I’ve inserted a small shock-cord loop between the inner and the outer.Since then, I’ve never had a problem and there’s sufficient “give” to accommodate less than ideal pitches.
Inner/outer tent shockcord connectors
In part two, I’ll outline what I think are more minor, optional tweaks. In my view, they are still worth doing, but make less overall difference to the Scarp. Happy modding!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.