Tarptent Notch, first impressions

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.

My friend offered to lend me his Notch to see what I thought but I am a little funny when it comes to borrowing expensive kit. You can see his Notch Here and Here

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 shipping the total cost was £57 less than importing from the USA. Its always best to check the import / VAT on products so you can see where the cheaper deal is.

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.

First Pitch, I’d been awake for over 30 hours so was pretty pleased 🙂

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.

Pitched at 110cm, flatter apex as the pitch locks are only just pulled taut.

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)

One of the lines after only two trial pitches. The line is fraying and bits of the flec coming out already.

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.

another mod, I have removed the mitten hooks from all doors and replaced with a small length of shock cord and a cord lock. I found that in a light breeze the doors would unroll when using the mitten hooks.
All four doors open, first pitch attempt at 115cm

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.

Comparing Notches and general shelter pitching fun 🙂
  1. Great tent. Strange about your poles, mine is 5 or 6 years old and I use Leki without a problem. Have they changed the ring size?

  2. Interested to know how you get on without the zip. I have a much older Notch and one of the zips split open one night. I sent it to Scottish Mountain Gear and they did a fantastic repair by removing the old zips and adding bigger ones

    1. Hi James, I had no issues without the zip weather wise. The new Notch has zips again.
      The only issue I had was keeping the clip at the bottom of the doors clipped when pitching and/or when closing the door up. After a few pitches though, it became second nature. ATB, Dave

  3. Interested to know how you get on without the zip. I have a much older Notch and one of the zips split open one night. I sent it to Scottish Mountain Gear and they did a fantastic repair by removing the old zips and adding bigger ones

  4. A really helpful review. It has been one of several that has influenced my decision to recently order a TT Notch. Just out of curiosity, the rubber grommets you added on, what size are they and I don’t suppose you know where I could get hold of some?

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your post. I probably have a link somewhere. I will have a look and post it up.

      ATB, Dave

  5. Good review and useful advice, thanks. Found your article on quilt making very helpful also. I have recently bought a TT Notch and am yet to try it out in anger. Wondered if you found where you obtained the rubber grommets? Thanks.

    1. Hi Gordon, thanks very much. The grommets were from eBay, I have linked where I got mine below. I think I had the 7.5mm ones but cannot remember. If you measure the eyelet on your Notch it should be easy to clarify.



  6. Dave,
    Many thank, I will check out EBay.

  7. Hi, when you put your hiking poles in , do you set them vertical or have the bottoms of the poles slightly more towards the doors to stretch out the bottom of the inner?

    1. Hi Andy, That depending on the pitch height. If I was pitched 110 – 115 for a wind worthy pitch, yes I angled the poles how to expand the floor space of the inner. Pitched at 120 I did not need to do this. ATB, Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *