A few months ago I posted about a prototype tent that I was taking to the Peruvian Andes.
Weighing in at just over a pound and a half (including stakes), the front end of the ProTrail is similar in design to the Tarptent Contrail. The major difference between the two shelters lies in the rear. The newer model has an A-Frame configuration at both ends, whilst the Contrail sports a twin strut setup at the back.
The Contrail is an excellent shelter and has been one of the most popular models in the Tarptent stable since 2006. Having used both tents, I think the ProTrail is even better. My reasons are as follows:
- First and foremost, the ProTrail is more stormworthy. This was actually the primary reason I agreed to take it to Peru in the first place. It sheds water and snow better than the Contrail thanks to its classic A-Frame design (i.e. catenary curve / line of tension between front and back). The foot end of the ProTrail is rock solid and in my opinion constitutes an upgrade over the flat and low rear of the Contrail. Note: I used a 1-ounce (29 g) Easton 0.344” two-piece pole for the back, and an adjustable Fizan Trekking Pole for the front.
- Superior venting thanks to a larger rear window.
- Better rain protection (i.e. less chance of splashing), as the canopy edge is further away from the floor.
- More interior space in both the middle and rear of the shelter.
- Extra tie-outs on the sides; tauter, more wind-resistant pitch when the weather turns nasty.
During my five weeks in the Cordilleras Blanca & Huayhuash, I experienced a wide range of challenging conditions. High winds, rain, snow and an apparently short-sighted burro that mistook the vestibule of my shelter for a urinal. Throughout it all the ProTrail held up like a champ………….although it did have a lingering funky smell thanks to the aforementioned quadruped (sorry Henry 😉 )!
Donkey jokes aside, if you are looking for a reasonably priced, lightweight, functional one person shelter for three season conditions, I highly recommend the Tarptent ProTrail. If you are interested in checking it out, it will be available on the Tarptent website sometime over the next few months.
Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity by Tarptent to take the ProTrail prototype for a spin in return for some feedback from the field. I was under no obligation to write an online review.