Initial look at the Tarptent Stratospire 1

On Great Gable

On Great Gable

My initial search for a roomy lightweight backpacking tent lead to several possibilities. After some deliberation, I decided to look at “pyramid style”shelters such as the Duomid, and SL3. I did have second thoughts despite a number of positive reviews and recommendations from fellow backpacking bloggers after reading a blog post by Philip of Sectionhiker found here. I was still attracted to the SL3 which you can get from Golite in Switzerland but I would need to spend quite a bit more for a half inner from someone like Oookworks for summer use.

So the the trail led to Tarptent and the Stratospire 1. I have read two good reports on the 2 person version by Andy Howell and these can be found here and here. I also posted comments on Roger Brown’s blog who has recently purchased the one person version, however I was also keen on the Scarp 1 as well, but a telephone discussion with Henry Shires, lead me to finally conclude that the Stratospire 1 was the one for me.

Purchasing the SS1  from backpackinglight in Denmark, meant that whilst it was a little bit more expensive (around £40) than getting it from the USA, it arrived  within 5 days and I did not have issue of import duty etc.

So far I have spent 6 nights in Stratospire, one at home and five nights in the Lakes on my recent trip.

A break down of the weight of the SS1 with my modifications is as follows:

Inner + Fly with stuff sack – 1150 g

Inner only – 391 g

Fly only – 791 g

Spare pole- 70 g

Easton nail pegs ( stakes) – 59 g

Extra pegs taken – 60 g

With everything – 1343 g

Below I have put together 2 simple videos (Terry Abraham has nothing to worry about ! ) that summarise my initial thoughts on the tent. 

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21 Responses to Initial look at the Tarptent Stratospire 1

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Looks a decent bit of kit. Some have used it in the UK and been fine in bad weather with it. Glad you like it.

  2. charlesV says:

    Plenty of room to be sure. I did’nt realise that you could obtain Henry’s tents in Europe. Five days
    is good compared to the long wait and customs hassle etc when ordering direct.
    Henry is known for his excellent customer service . Just wondering if any defect found would it have to go back via the Danish company ?
    I’ve made my Power Lizard redundant, and on the fence between a Scarp1 and a Solomid cuben xl at the moment, so a European contact could be usefull

  3. Hi Charles, I guess I would have to go back to Denmark. When I have a moment I will give you some links to a couple of others in Europe.

  4. charlesV says:

    Thanks , Mark. That would be good.

  5. Firstly well done Mark on 2 very informative videos. I agree completely that it is very roomy and in my view is ideal for long trips, the 2 vestibules allow you to choose the best side for the weather conditions. Another aspect I like about these types of tents is you can mix and match inners (mesh or semi solid) or no inner so really it is 3 shelters in 1, equally you can erect the outer and then attach the inner, which is especially helpful if the outer is very wet and the inner dry when packing up in the morning. The hexagonal shape with 2 poles sets up easily and provides a robust shelter. I am looking forward to spending nearly 2 weeks in mine up in the Swedish mountains at the end of July, hopefully in beautiful sunny weather.

    Niels at provides excellent service and if you have a problem, yes you return the gear to him and you will get a very quick response, and you could always telephone him.

    • Hi Roger and thanks for your comments and for pointing out bits that I should have mentioned in my videos. Niels was very good on the phone with me and he speaks very good English as well, as my Danish is practically nil.
      Takket vaere meget Niels!. I hope your trip Roger with the SS1 is a pleasant one in Sweden.

  6. Matt White says:

    I didn’t realise there was an EU supplier for Tarptents. Excellent! I’ve been considering an SS2 now that my daughter is getting interested in backpacking, but was put off by the delays and customs hassle that getting my Scarp 1 involved. I just had a look at The Google translate version of the SS2 page contains the fantastic phrase:

    “Outer aircraft and interior botheration set up independently if desired.”

    I think outer aircraft should be a feature of all high quality tents. Interior botheration normally is already, in my experience.

  7. JohnBoy says:

    Hi Mark, I was wondering what your longer term thoughts were in the Stratosphere after having it for a year now. A couple of questions if you have the time.
    – Have you managed to get it out in strong winds and how did it fair ?
    – Were the guy lines from the top ridge fitted as standard when you bought it from backpackinglight in Denmark? They’re not shown on the TarpTent website and they’re normally fitted by request..
    – Lastly, on your video the vestibule appears to come right down to the ground where it pegs out (unlike the Tarptent Notch which I own where it only comes within 4-5 inches of the ground). Can you confirm how close to the ground the vestibules and fly come around the tent?
    Cheers, John

    • JohnBoy says:

      …..I meant the Stratospire of course !

    • Hi John sorry for the short delay in replying. I have it in moderate winds but I know Roger Brown( Nielson Brown) had it in much higher winds than I. I like the tent a lot. A great deal of liveable space in it. Small issue is that because of the somewhat unusual tent configuration you have to estimate where the floor is going to be and match up with flat ground but with experience this comes fairly naturally. the vestibules do come down to the ground it helps to be pitched with trekking pokes as you can adjust the height. I have had one pole higher than the other to take into account of the uneven ground. I hope this helps.

      • JohnBoy says:

        Thanks for the update Mark, if it’s anything like the Notch but with a bit more space then it looks like it could be the answer for me.

        Funny you mention the slight issue with pitching as I’ve had the same challenge with the Trailstar, especially if I use it with an inner net. You try to imaging where you will lie in that vast space under the fly, and loosely peg it out accordingly. But by the time you’ve pulled and adjusted the sides and tie outs, the whole tent has moved somewhat and you’re now not lying where you intended to. I’ve found this a real problem in tree cover when you’re trying your best to avoid lying on exposed tree roots, or when the available flat spot is quite small. It’s sometimes the beauty of a small tent, you just bang it down exactly where you want to lie.

  8. Sven says:

    Hey there! I was just wondering how, after using it for a bit, your experience with condensation has been so far. I’ve used the SS2 in Scotland 2 years back and this year again in France; in France the outer fly was soaking wet in the mornings (but condensation stayed on the fly at least) – but on the WHW in Scotland I ended up using my emergency bivy bag inside the tent to escape from the dripping condensation. No matter which angle of pitch I used – it would drip eventually. Sure, it was a very wet time, but still.

    • Hi Sven. The trip I have just been on was cool nights with no wind at all, so there was quite a large amount of condensation on the flysheet. I didn’t have dripping on me however. I have the solid inner so if it did drip badly I would be protected to a large extent. Did you have an all mesh inner?

      • Sven says:

        Hi Mark

        I have both. In Scotland I used the solid – but that didn’t help with the dripping as it’ll just let the water through – would have been neat if it were a bit water repellent (maybe I can spray something on?). In France this summer I used the all mesh. The issue mostly occured around the feet / neck areas, so where the incline of the tent is at its smallest.

        I’m almost at the point where I’m ready to buy another tent just to get around the issue – I need a tent instead of my hammock for places like Scotland where I can’t be sure that I’ll have trees the majority of the nights. But that’s sort of ridiculous in my opinion 🙂 I just shot a mail to Henry to see if I’m maybe doing something wrong when pitching it – maybe too steep or not steep enough. What pole length do you use when setting up? 120cm?

  9. Hi Sven. I have not experienced what you are describing. Two things: do you vent when cooking? Do you attach the sides to a pole to lift the fly sheet well away from the inner? The pole length is typically 120 cm. I hope Henry can help you!

    • Sven says:

      Hi Mark; yes, I vent when cooking as much as possible. Mostly I cook outside to keep steam away. Henry got back to me quite quickly last night. He told me that the tent’s been designed for poles of 127 cm – so I’m probably setting my poles too short. I’ll give it a shot this weekend (the weather’s rotten enough…) and see if that works better.

  10. Let me know how you get on. I guess that the pole length does not differ between SS2 & 1. I generally start at 120 cm and increase depending on ground levels you are pitching on. Good thing about the tent is that you can change the length of each pole to suit diferent heights at each door.

    • Sven says:

      Hi Mark

      The weather wasn’t as abysmal as promised, but I spent the weekend in the woods anyway. Henry’s tips on setting the poles higher gave a measure of success: There was definitely more space between the inner and the fly sheet. Since there wasn’t enough condensation for the fly to be thoroughly soaked I can’t be 100% sure that that’s improved, too, but it’s a start.


  11. Fingers crossed that it has worked!

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