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The North Face Eclipse tarp / tent
I noticed this new single wall floorless tarp/tent on the market, just after reading the thread about the BA Fly Creek Platinum 2 tent, and seeing my friend’s MSR Carbon Reflex tent. I had just started thinking about a dome shaped tarp held up with one or two flexible poles so as to achieve some center height without losing floor space to a center pole, and without having to have large openings at one or both ends. In other words, lots of floor space and ceiling height without a tarp’s typical exposure to wind and rain.
The cost of the above two tents is pretty off-putting, but The North Face Eclipse Tent sells for $170, which is tempting. When the end-of-season sales had it going for only $118, my restraint collapsed and I thought it would at least be a fun experiment, so here it is.
Length - 96 inches
Width - 70 inches
Center height – 46 inches
Floor space – 38 sq ft
Body and guy lines – 24.5 oz
Single pole – 6.5 oz
8 DAC v-stakes - 3.2 oz
Carry sacks – 1.4 oz
Setup is simple – thread the long shock-corded pole through the ridge sleeve and insert each pole end into a grommet. Stand it up and stake out front and back sides using 4 stakes, and it’s stable enough to sleep in. For security from wind, use the two included guy lines to stake out two loops on the ridge line. Other stakes can be used at the mid points of the front and back panels.
1. The awning style door gives the open feel of a tarp. Also, it’s nice to not have to figure out which end to place down wind, or which direction to put my head, as there are many door options.
2. A good-sized vent at the top of the back side should minimize condensation.
1. It was difficult to insert the final pole end into its grommet, but I got it done. I’m thinking (hoping) it will loosen up over time. Or I’ll learn how to finesse it in.
2. I added two MSR groundhog stakes for added security in windy conditions. I can think of a good use for ten total stakes – the above-mentioned four, plus loops at each end of the ridge pole, plus the two mentioned ridge guy lines, plus the mid points of front and back panels.
3. The ridge height is taller than both the BA and MSR tents (46 inches vs 38 and 40 inches).
4. As a tarp user, I’ll probably pitch it in full open mode as a default. It will be easy to pull the door over the ridge and zip it down if wind and/or rain threaten.
4. The fly weighs 10.5 oz more than my 8x10 tarp, and the pole add another 6.5 oz, adding just over a pound to my pack weight. BUT – I won’t have to be as dependent on finding poles or trees to pitch my tarp, and the Eclipse can go from open mode to full storm mode WITHOUT HAVING TO REPITCH THE WHOLE DANG THING FROM SCRATCH!!!
I think this thing may ruin me as a “tarp user” (to be continued).
Last edited by richwads : 12-29-2013 at 06:36 PM.
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