Just a quick post to give my first impressions of the Tarptent Notch.
For a little over a year, since seeing a friends Notch when he pitched a few of his shelters I have wanted to try one and see how I got one with it.
After selling a few bits of kit last month and after working some overtime, I decided to look and see if I could find a second hand Notch. Unfortunately, I could not find any or any other Tarptents for that matter so I went to the Tarptent website. There were Notche’s in stock but as I do with all the gear I buy from the states, I calculated the price, shipping and duty which came to just over £400 all in.
I knew that Ken at Backpackinglight.se sold Tarptent too so headed over to his website and thankfully he had one Notch left in stock. With
I ordered the Notch from backpackinglight.se and it was delivered four days later, well packaged and with zero duty 🙂
Now anyone that knows me will testify that when I get a new bit of gear, its out, tested, setup or pitched right away. It was not different with the Notch even though I had just finished a night shift and been awake for nearly 30 hours I went out and pitched it.
I was struck by how easy the Notch was to pitch. I initially set the poles to 115 as in the video above and also played with them at 110 which allowed the fly to pitch to the deck giving goo options for varied weather conditions.
Unfortunately whilst playing around with pitch heights and setups, I found the first thing I didn’t like about the Notch. The supplied cord/line, in my opinion is very poor. I had two splinters from it where the reflective flec came away and splintered my thumb and finger. It was also very ridged and seemed to slip through the Lineloc3’s even when dry. Potentially though would have been an issue in the wet. ( I have been told this is the case, when wet, the supplied line often slips)
I had tons of spare MLD line and have since replaced all lines with this.
The space inside the Notch is impressive, for what looks like a very small shelter there is literally stacks of room. The inner is a good size for a solo shelter, the clever design means that the inners roof is kept away from your head and feet even when using a thick pad and maintains a good 3 or so inches clearance from the fly. With two vestibules and effectively four doors there is also ample room for gear and cooking.
The vestibules are identical and offer plenty of room. As you can see from the pictures above, I have room above my head and below my feet when laid down. I am 6ft tall so the shelter should be usable for someone unto about 6ft7″ possibly taller..
The doors open so that if you pitch into wind and it changes overnight you can simply use other other one and have some cover.
Something I noticed after steam sealing was the weight. Tarptent say they shelter should be 770g. Mine after sealing and with MLD lines added and the supplied pegs comes to 740g. The 770 may come from the older version with the zips added but I am not sure. (I have removed several mitten hooks and shortened some of the elastics).
When pitching in the garden I found that my Leki and Pacer pole tips were poking through the metal grimmer and pushing into the fly a little more than I liked.
I initially put some thick webbing between the fly and the grommet but have since used a rubber grommet to slip inside the metal one which now provides better spacing and protection.
Now pitching in a garden is one thing but I really wanted to get out and use the Notch. After I finished work or the week I went up on to Dartmoor with a good friend and we found a nice spot by an old ruin to pitch and catch up.
Unfortunately there was no weather to speak of but it was a great night out. I will be taking it out as much as I can to get a better feel of wind and weather performance.
I will use the Notch as much as possible and update this post with any issues or finer details and will try and post a full review after using it a good amount of time in varies conditions.