The Stealth is a new ultralight tarptent from UK gear maker Trekkertent that combines a simple design with a diverse range of capabilities for lightweight adventures. I’ve been testing one of the first product models available for the past several months and like the simplicity and classic design of the Stealth which has a built-in vestibule which can be closed or left open, and an optional inner tent that can be added to the tarp when you want increased comfort or bug protection.
There was a time when many UL companies produced shelters like the Stealth, but the market has moved away from this design to increasingly complex “contraptions” which are more difficult to pitch, have many more points of failure, and are heavy or outrageously expensive in comparison. If you’re like me and dissatisfied with the complexity, and price of most available UL shelters today, you’re looking for your first affordable and highly functional UL shelter, or want an easy-to-pack shelter suitable for ultralight backpacking or bikepacking, I recommend you give the Stealth a good look. It’s not a palace, but it’s a damn good value that doesn’t require a huge amount of skill to use or enjoy.
As the Stealth’s name implies, this shelter is good for pitching in non-designated campsites and wilderness locations where you want to pitch camp for the night and leave no trace. Though only available in grey (I wish a dark green color was available), the Stealth has a low enough profile and height that it visually disappears into the forest understory when pitched in heavy vegetation or mountainous terrain.
The Stealth also has an uncanny ability to fit into very narrow or small spaces in dense woods, requiring little more of a space than a bivy bag, which is handy if good pitches and flat open ground are scarce. This is an important shelter selection criteria for me, since I primarily backpack in heavily forested mountainous terrain of New England and pick campsites on-the-fly without pre-scouting them.
Pitching the Stealth is very straightforward. Simply spread the tarp on the ground, loosen the corner linelocs and stake the corners. Next insert the carbide tip of a trekking pole through a metal loop attached to the rear of the shelter and stake it down with the rear guy line, adjusting the rear sides as necessary. Do the same at the front of the tent, but this time insert the carbide tip of your trekking pole into an interior grommet on the underside of the ridgeline.
When setting the front of the shelter, you can pitch it with the vestibule open or closed. I keep the vestibule closed when packed and during set up because I sometimes pitch the shelter in the rain. I also prefer storing the inner separate from the fly and attaching it after the fly has been set up to avoid making it more wet than necessary when pitching on wet ground. That’s one of the nice things about this shelter – the ability to add the inner tent after the fly has been set up (in the rain, for instance).
The inner tent attaches to a rings on the interior of the ridgeline using dowels that are inserted through plastic loops. The inner corners are then staked using the same stakes as the fly, so that the shelter requires 6 stakes total.
When the inner tent is hung, there is good separation between it and the outer fly to prevent internal condensation transfer. While not massive, the inner tent is comfortable and wide enough to fit a regular sized Therm-a-Rest Neoair, and personal gear along each side of the mattress within easy reach. While it is also possible to fully sit up inside the inner tent, you’ll need (and want) to keep your head at the vestibule end of the inner for better ventilation and to get in and out of the shelter.
Vestibule Pitching Options
There are several ways to configure the vestibule when you pitch the tent or to modify it during the night depending on precipitation, humidity, or wind conditions. The vestibule has a two-way center zipper in addition to velcro strips which can be used when you still want to maintain a bit of airflow. Each vestibule door can also be staked closed independently or rolled back open and held in place with a keeper toggle. Alternatively, you can roll both doors back and use The Stealth as a A-frame cat cut tarp in dry weather for maximum ventilation. My preferred pitch is to keep one door rolled back for ventilation and one door staked forward to provide dew protection for my backpack and shoes at night.
I have been looking for a shelter like the Stealth for several years, one that combines the simplicity of an A-frame cat cut tarp, with a front vestibule for added weather protection, and an optional inner tent for additional comfort. The Stealth is perfect for New England backpacking in heavily forested and mountainous terrain, particularly for the leave no trace. wild camping style, off-trail campsites that I prefer to pitch up at night. It’s bomber reliable in bad weather (the factory seam sealing is great), easy to pitch in the rain without soaking the inner tent, and has a very small footprint when packed up so you have more space for food or can carry a smaller, lightweight backpack.
Honestly, the Stealth checks all my must-have boxes and has moved to the top of my UL shelter list. And at 22 ounces, including the inner tent (12.7 ounces with the fly alone), I expect that I’ll be using the Stealth for all of my personal backpacking trips for the forseeable future. Yeah, I really like it!
The Stealth Tent w/ inner retails for 150 British Pounds ($255 US dollars, when this article was published). That’s quite comparable to pricing with other silnylon tarptents made-in-the-USA, something to consider you’re concerned about purchasing a shelter made overseas.
The Stealth Tent comes with an outer silnylon fly and inner tent although you can also purchase The Stealth Tarp alone from Trekkertent. The silnylon fly weighs 12.6 ounces, the inner tent weighs 9.1 ounces, including all guy outs, and cord tensioners. A 0.3 ounce stuff sack is also provided bringing the maximum shelter weight to 22.0 ounces. Both the fly and the inner tent are seam-sealed at the factory, so you don’t have to mess with it at home. Tent stakes are not included. If you don’t use trekking poles, accessory poles are available that you can use to pitch the Stealth. The company has also announced development of a cuben fiber version of this shelter. Contact Trekkertent for details.
- Can easily fit into small spaces when good campsites are scarce
- Front vestibule can be completely rolled back for better airflow
- Front pole can be lowered for a squatter, more wind resilient pitch
- Folds up into a very small package when packed
- Inner tent can be pitched after the fly to prevent it from getting wet during rainfall
- Pacerpole compatibility
- Rear ridgeline ring should be slightly larger in diameter to completely fit over carbide trekking pole tips
- Solid sides of the inner tent could be raised an inch or two for more piece of mind in very wet terrain.
- A rear vent with a slight overhang would help improve cross ventilation and help mitigate against nighttime foot box condensation.
Disclosure: Trekkertent provided SectionHiker.com (Philip Werner) with a sample Stealth shelter for this review.
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