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Insider’s Guide to the Squall 2 Tarp Tent

Rear Inside View of Squall 2

This post is literally about the inside of the Squall 2 single-walled tarp tent (34 oz). It is a very spacious and well ventilated tent. I’ve decided to bring it on my next extended backpacking trip to Maine because it’s cool enough for a hot muggy summer night, great in very buggy conditions, and surprisingly rain proof. Maine rhymes with rain, after all.

The picture above shows the back window of the Squall 2 which is lined with no-see-um netting. In fact all four sides of the tent have no see-um netting which connects the silnylon bathtub floor to the upper silnylon tarp, providing a well ventilated interior that rarely suffers from internal condensation.

Squall 2 Vestibule

The Squall 2 has a front vestibule which allows you to cook or store gear when it is raining cats and dogs outside. But even then, the bottom of the vestibule does not touch the ground, permitting air to flow through the tent and evaporate any condensation built-up. This is a signature feature of tarp tent design.

Squall 2 - Vestibule Rolled Up

When the vestibule is rolled up and attached to the sides of the tent’s front, it’s possible to achieve much greater airflow. There’s a zipper in the middle of the no-see-um netting in the front which is hiding the single trekking pole that I’ve used to pitch the front of the tent. You can also use two poles for greater stability in very windy conditions.

 Squall 2 - Corners of Bathtub floor

When you purchase a Squall 2 from Tarp Tent, you can ask for the bathtub floor option. It’s useful for keeping the rain seepage out. To raise the sidewalls, simply clip the elastic cord sewn onto the bathtub corner to a clip on the inside of the tent.

Interior Side View of Squall 2

This is the side of the Squall 2. Note the no-see-um which wraps itself all the way around this tent. When pitched, the silnylon overhangs the no-see-um netting, keeping out rain, but enabling great ventilation.

Exterior View - Usng a 9" Easton Tent Stake

I spent some time today experimenting with 8″ Easton aluminum tent stakes to see if they improved ventilation through the Squall 2. I normally use a shorter titanium shepard’s hook or the shorter blue Easton stakes. Using the taller stake, which you don’t have to push all the way into the ground, increased the height of the interior no-see-um netting and should permit more cross ventilation in hot weather. I’m going to give them a try on my upcoming trip in Maine.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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  1. Am I seeing this right? Did you pitch a tent on the median on Fellsway East? Outstanding commitment to the blog!

  2. Very observant! Actually, it's one of the only bug free places locally where you can pitch a tent without wearing DEET. The cars create a breeze. I've set up a few tents there this summer that I needed some space to inspect before trips and didn't have the time to drive someplace interesting. The median is also a good place to snowshoe after a big storm…:-)

  3. I have this tent. This is a great lightweight 2 person tent. However, I've had some issues with heavy rains. Mist or a "spray" filters through the tent lining. Also, some water has collected on the bathtub floor. Not so much that it's gotten everything soaking wet. I would also suggest the zipper on the no-see-um netting in the front zipper in the middle and instead of on the right side. It makes it difficult for the person sleeping on the left to unzip the tent when they need a "break" in the middle of the night. I took this tent up to 13,000 feet on Long Peak and camped at Boulder Field. It hailed for an hour. The tent did pretty good.

  4. The Squall 2, IMO, has been the standard for others to compete with in the lightweight, 2 person, single walled tent. Although I've been using two of TarpTent's 1 man tents (Contrail and SubLite Sil), I'd opt for the Squall 2 in a heartbeat if I ever decided to go for more space, or wanted to hike with a friend. Great photos and write-up.

  5. The zipper is in the middle on my model. I think that mist you refer to is tent condensation.

  6. We have used the Henry Shires Cloudburst since 2005. Quite satisfied overall. This is the same material as the Squall, just a different configuration. After a few weeks on the trail, the zipper tends to stick. Cleaning with a toothbrush helps. Eventually we replaced it with a heavier duty zipper. Re the misting. We get that also during heavy rains, and I do believe that it is misting through the sylnylon, not just condensation. I also get the same effect from a cheap umbrella that I have. There is condensation under those conditions, but it generally beads up and runs down. My feeling is that it is a characteristic of sylnylon.

  7. Any update on this tent after your 100 Mile Wilderness trip?

    I'm looking for a tent and this one is in the top three.

  8. Good question. I still stand behind this tent and the entire single wall tarp tent paradigm despite the internal condensation I experienced last week (see my 100 mile wilderness trip report – there was insane rain). To the tent's credit, every time I set it back up it dried very quickly because of the superior airflow through the tent.

    However, since I bought this tent a few years ago, many other new tarp tent models and mids (pyramids) have been brought to market – check out the duomids from Mountain Laurel Designs with their internal noseeum netting. Andy Howell (Must be this way) has a good writeup about the one he just purchased.

    Since I know you live in Tuscon and hike with a dog, Sasha, my guess is that you want a tent with a lot of internal space that is also light and cool at night. I think the Squall 2 would be a very good choice, but you might want to ask around with people from your neck of the woods, about what tents they like for very hot weather.

  9. Re: "Re the misting. We get that also during heavy rains, and I do believe that it is misting through the sylnylon, not just condensation."

    I have a Tarptent Rain Shadow, very similar to the Squall 2.

    The subject of silnylon leaking comes up a lot on backpacking forums and the silnylon experts say that silnylon is ripstop nylon with a coating of silicone on both sides. Silicone does not breath.

    Although it is possible to have a leak, what most people are experiencing is the effect of the cold rain chilling the inside of the tent walls, causing any moisture in the air to immediately condense. The next rain drop strikes the tent wall spraying this condensation in a way that appears that the rain is actually penetrating.

    Ventilation helps, but I know that isn't always possible in a calm downpour in humid environments, I know I experienced a week long rain storm near the Hudson River and everything was wet the whole time. Our sleeping bags stayed dry though and that is what matters:-)

  10. Totally agree. Silnylon can't leak. My take away from my rain soaked 100 mile wilderness trip, where I used a tarp tent, is to bring along a breathable sleeping bag cover with the it during those seasons like summer when you might encounter continuous rain for days and day. I originally bought the ~7 oz Montbell breeze for controlling rain splatter for pure tarp camping, but it might be useful for tarptent camping in very wet conditions. There is a weight penalty, but it's not very high.

  11. I have heard of others doing that.

    I haven't had to go as far as putting a tarp over us yet.

    Just do little mopping up every now and then. Our sleeping bags do a pretty good job of repelling most of the splatter. It is only a minor annoyance.

    I'd bet that if it were freezing rain, that would be another story, but I'd guess condensation wouldn't be as big a problem if the air was cold as cold air doesn't hold as much water as warm air.

  12. I've owned one for a least 10 years and it has not failed me yet…Wonderful product, in the south I highly recomend the addition of the floor and bug screens…

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