Hi, Looking for opinions on these two tarptents. Based on price and a few other considerations I have narrowed it down to these two tents and would like to get some feedback on which you think is better. Will be used solo so room is not an issue at all.
I like the design of the Cloudburst b/c it is much like my old Warmlite design which was the best tent I have owned. Appears like it would go up fast and be very weather proof.
I like the Rainbow b/c of freestanding option, double door ventilation for nice weather, and looks like a nice tight pitch taht won't loosen and sag like the Cloudburst might.
However....I did have a single Rainbow for a while and while I liked it I remember the setup was not as effortless as I would have liked (somethint with the small top pole I think was a PIA for me, and I remember that the pole sleeve was weak. I think I punched a hole it in with the pole once). I also remember it leaked a bit at the seams despite thorough sealing.
Which do you prefer and why?
My criteria are ventilation for warmer weather, ease of setup, tight pitch, windworthiness, and rainworthiness, minimal condensation issues (as much as possible)
I also had a Rainbow, and had the same "problems" you described - as a result, I never got the warm fuzzies with it either.
If you're dead sold on the Tarptent products, ignore the rest of this (and I apologize; my intent is not to hijack the thread or leave the impression that Tarptent is not a top-notch tent choice.) If I were choosing one of the two, I'd choose the Rainbow; I like the convenience of the side entry, the ability to sleep with my head at either end, and the option to make it freestanding if necessary. I've owned a Rainbow, briefly, and found nothing inherent about the tent that made me decide against using it as my primary tent.
However: I see you're from Maryland; I'm from Ohio. I also notice that ventilation is a big deal on your list - it is a top priority for me, too, in the hot, humid summers you and I hike in. For that reason, and that reason only, I ended up choosing an MSR Hubba (and eventually Carbon Reflex 1) instead of the Rainbow as my tent: the MSR tents are 99% mesh, if you don't put the fly on, and you can't ventilate any better than that. You don't have a choice to leave the fly off the Rainbow. As a result, in the 90-degree, 90% humidity August conditions I encounter, I found that, even with the vestibule and all other venting totally open, the Rainbow still got warmer than the outside air. The Hubba/CR1 without the fly didn't.
Now, if you need the fly, the MSR tents are just as stuffy as the Tarptent. But, if it's necessary to add the fly, you'll have both tents pretty fully buttoned up (because it's raining.)
Just a thought about ventilation. Other than that one issue, and the PITA issues you described, I found the Tarptent Rainbow to be high-quality, roomy, and comfortable. If I were hiking in less humid conditions, I'd absolutely get one. I really thought that integrating hiking poles to make it freestanding was design genius - so much so, that I stole the idea and use it to make my CR1 freestanding when necessary. (MSR didn't add the convenient attachment points for this, but it's easy to improvise them with some cord.)
My husband and I have had both. For solo use I'm not sure it would matter that much, but I do prefer the DR for two people. It's easier to avoid bumping wet sides because of the mesh at the side. My husband prefers the Cloudburst, mainly because you can often leave the vestibule open when it rains. The DR is kind of a pain because you immediately have to put down two separate vestibules if it starts raining. Another issue with the DR is that if it gets really wet (such as heavy dew), once you start moving around and bump the tent slightly, water starts running down, hits the mesh area, and drips right onto our bags. There are a couple campgrounds that we camp at a lot where we had this problem, but it's not as much of an issue when backpackging where you can pick your site. We didn't have a problem with leaks once we got it seam-sealed, but it does take a while to get every seam inside and out.
The Cloudburst only needs three stakes to stay upright and the large loops make it easier to use objects other than stakes if you need to. The zipper in the newer Cloudburst design has a very sharp angle and we've had problems with it splitting after only a few months of use. Also, it's a lot of mesh flopping around when it's open, and hard to keep out of the dirt and easy to step on. Tarptent did replace our zipper sliders for free and said it was probably due to dirt getting in, but I think the severe angle of the zipper and the pressure on it in the corner is part of the problem.
For your criteria, ventilation might be a little better in the Rainbow. For ease of setup, the Cloudburst might be better, especially if only one person is doing it. The DR probably is better for wind since you don't have to orient it a certain way for best results. I think you're right that the Rainbow has a little tighter pitch because the arch pole keeps it from sagging as much as the Cloudburst does when wet. But the Cloudburst does have line tensioners for the front guylines in the latest model, so it should be easy to adjust the tightness without getting out of the tent. (We haven't actually used them because the lines are tied to a loop when you get the tent and we haven't bothered to move them.)
I don't think there's an obvious winner between them, both have pros and cons that you'll have to decide which you prefer.
Bowler2 I have all of them so comparing them is not much of a problem for me... The issues that you raised about the Rainbow (also applicable to the DR) have been rectified with the 2010 versions. http://www.tarptent.com/doublerainbow2010.html The new pole sleeve is much larger and the cross strut now is not sewn into the fabric, so seam sealing is much easier than before. BTW, the trick with sleeves is to point the pole downwards, that way it will not snag but slide in. Here is a quick video tour of the new DR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv8Mxbpc1ac Franco franco at tarptent dot com
Unfortunately the one I am considering is a used one so it is not a 2010.
I am starting to lean towards the Cloudburst.
Reason being is reliabilty and ease of setup.
I have read that others had same issues I did with Rainbow and one criterion I did not mention is reliability / durability. It sucks to have a peice of gear that breaks / rips / tears in the field. I can't really afford that on a trip. The Rainbow seems to have a few weak spots like the pole sleeve and the trecking pole pockets for use when using in freestanding mode.
Also seems like a less intricate and more straightforward set up. I remember with my rainbow that it was ez to set up but that I had some issues with it when I had not set it up for a while.
Also remember that for whatever reason the little beak window leaked a little in rain despite heavy seam sealing.
Cloudburst design is basically same as Warmlite which I had great luck with. Biggest difference I think is that I doubt Clloudburst has the same great tensioning system as the Warmlites which really, really allowed you to get a tight pitch. I loved that tent.
I like something reliable that you can easily and quickly set up at end of day without having to practice and can do when you are tired in the dark, etc.