The Gossamer Gear Twinn Tarp is an ultralight backpacking tarp that can accommodate two people and gear. It covers a generous 47 square feet and is easy to set up with two trekking poles or tied between two trees. The tarp is constructed from 7D high tenacity nylon with a blended silicone/polyurethane coating and has a catenary cut, allowing for a tight pitch and a low trail weight of 9.5 oz. The tarp has a tab under each end peak to guy out a bug net or bivy and is big enough to serve double duty for nighttime use or as a daytime camp shelter against wind and rain.
Specs at a Glance
- 8.52 oz / 242 g – tarp
- 0.80 oz / 22 g – line (attached)
- 0.18 oz / 5 g – stuff sack (included)
- Total Packaged weight 9.50 oz
- Materials: 7D high tenacity nylon blended sil/pu coating, HH to 1200mm.
- 117” / 297 cm – length of ridgeline
- 108” / 274 cm – length of wall at ground
- 47 sq ft / 4 sq m – tarp area staked down to ground, not counting entrance overhangs
- 116” / 279 cm – total width of front of tarp (58” per side)
- 84” / 211 cm – total width of rear of tarp (42” per side)
- Packaged sized 3.5” X 8.5” (smaller than a Nalgene)
- For complete specs, visit the product page at Gossamer Gear
Spending time in the backcountry in northeastern Minnesota teaches a person to expect the weather to break bad. Over the years, I have concluded that even if I am sleeping in a tent, it is always a good idea to bring a tarp along into the woods. There is nothing worse than spending the afternoon shut in your tent due to inclement weather. A good tarp not only provides a sleeping shelter but can serve as the center of camp life, even if it’s raining.
A tarp designed for use as a shelter with a catenary cut (shaped edges) is not typically the choice one would make for a camp tarp. Flat tarps are more flexible for this use, but they tend to weigh a lot, they’re more complicated to set up and require more “knot” know-how. I like to use the Twinn Tarp for this purpose instead because it’s easier to pitch, packs up small and light, and is oversized which lends itself to additional pitch configurations.
When you pull the Twinn Tarp out of its stuff sack, you can immediately tell that the 7D nylon is lightweight but quite strong. The tarp components and geometry are well thought out and robust in all the right places. There are five reinforced guy outs on each side of the tarp, with reinforced trekking pole webbing and loops on each peak, making the tarp quick to set-up in a taut pitch. Three of the side guy outs are outfitted with guy lines and linelocs, as are the peaks at the ends of the ridgeline. The remaining guy outs are webbing loops which can be staked out in bad weather when you want to batten the hatches down tight.
As a sleeping shelter, the Twinn Tarp is impressive. I have used it in heavy rain and strong winds and have stayed completely dry. The fabric is rated to resist 1,200mm of hydrostatic head pressure, which in my experience makes it waterproof enough to keep me dry all night in the pouring rain. The width and length of the tarp provide plenty of overhead coverage and protection from rain splatter, so I can stay dry and keep all my gear dry too.
When using the Twinn Tarp as a camp shelter, I typically pitch one half of the tarp close to the ground and then open up the other side of the tarp toward the camp sitting area, held up by trekking poles or tied to nearby trees. Set up in this way, three adults can easily be seated and stay dry in windy and rainy weather. I’ve used the same set up as a sun shelter but found that the Twinn’s fabric didn’t block out the sun adequately and I got quite a sunburn. That was unexpected but demonstrates one of the limitations of the Twinn’s fabric.
Comparable Ultralight 2-Person Tarps
There are surprisingly few tarps available today with catenary cut sides, which are designed to reduce flapping and eliminate excess weight. Mountain Laurel Designs and Yama Mountain Gear sell 1-person and 2-person cat cut tarps, available in silnylon or Dyneema, while Hyperlight Mountain Gear only sells the Echo II tarp in Dyneema. Most of the other tarps sold today are designed for use with hammocks and are oversized and much heavier compared to the Twinn Tarp. They’re also called flat-tarps, meaning that their corners are cut at 90-degree angles, or hex tarps having a hexagonal shape.
The Gossamer Gear Twinn Tarp is an excellent product from a company that pays attention to the details. Weighing just 9.5 oz fully packed for the trail, the Twinn Tarp comes ready to use right out of the box. Sized to sleep two adults, the tarp is big enough to function as a camp shelter during inclement weather while providing a highly wind-resistant and waterproof sleeping shelter at night. The tarp is reasonably priced, well made, and flexible enough to earn a place in my backpacking kit even when I am sleeping in a tent.
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