The new version of the Contrail is out. There are several improvements , namely :
1) Fully adjustable rear canopy height--canopy slides up and down strut sleeves. The prior model did that too but the new design is easier to use.
2) Seamless rear canopy edge wrap--to eliminate possibility of water pooling along the rear edge seam that sometimes occurred on the prior version. The rear tension guyline that connected the canopy edge to the rear strut is no longer needed (and had been removed).
3) Longer rear guylines--for better strut support and reduced stake stress.
4) Improved beak entry-- now closes on inside edge of forward "wing" and is much easier to open and close from the inside.
5) Re-engineered canopy patterns for a tauter pitch. There's a noticeable improvement in pitch.
I just got one of the new ones a few weeks ago. I haven't had too much time to work with it but it is easy to set up. I like it a lot; it is roomy and well ventilated. Still, there are a few pitching skills I need to develop before I use it in bad weather.
Hi Pika. Definitely, the more practice you get the better it is. I found the Contrail very easy to seam seal, once you have done that and have played around with the various set ups, it can take some rough weather. Add a guyline to the apex and the rear to increase wind resistance. Franco
You should be able to see from the picture that the "beak" attaches on the inside (underneath) of the fly rather than over as it was before. The second picture shows the hook and loop on the inside of the fly. You can also see the floor tensioner now next to the mesh door. I need to seam seal the Contrail, so I will take a better shot of that. All of the design changes are of the "why did I not think of that" variety. Very simple, now that they are done. Franco
oh, ok. i get it. yea, you are right, that just makes a lot more sense. so if we buy one now, we will get the upgraded version, or should i contact Henry if I become interested when that tax refund rolls in?
I think that HS is now shipping out the new version, but you could always send him an E Mail to verify. I read somewhere that he has been playing golf in the Dominican Republic, that would explain why the new version is not on his web site as yet. Franco
This could be a double post... Have a look at these pictures. With the tent dropped down to ground level and using all of the 9 supplied guyout points I think that it will stand up to pretty strong winds. Franco
Funny thing I just noticed... that 08 Contrail looks a lot like my 04 Virga 1 when I attach the 2 side tie outs, and tighten her up... the back/top begins to flatten out just the same. Hey, on another note, is there really much of a weight savings over using a hoop style rear, like the original Virga/Squalls had? There's just about the same amount of aluminum back there...
Beachwalker The Virga happens to be ( to me) one of the nicest looking tents ever designed. That is the main reason why I started to use the 3rd pole at the rear ( to get that look). If I drop the tent just a little at the rear,, it looks even more like the Virga/Squall. Forgetting the aesthetics, the Contrail has more space at the foot-end, the height at the apex of the rear pole of the Virga is the same height across the Contrail. Those struts are also stronger than the curved pole of the Virga. Because the side walls are wider (further out) they give (IMHO) less wind resistance than particularly the Virga II. So no weight saving but more space and versatility. HS could have a different view, and fair enough he is entitled to have one, but hopefully he is busy designing more tents. Franco This picture is not my best interpretation of the Virga look but is one that I have at Photobucket.
1.The reversal of the beak Velcro is the best improvement. Mine is a little PITA to work with. Maybe I'll seam rip off the old Velcro & re-stitch it "correctly"...or not. Don't really want to cut & re-sew the beak edge at the Velcro top to flap it over the side material.
2. The taughter pitch will be welcome. (More catenary cut in the top seams I assume.)
3. The no-seam rear canopy ending is nice. (NOW I understand those Da-Glo orange string thingys.)
4. I can re-arrange my own front tensioner and will do so.
5. I called Henry & told him rain on the rear netting leaked down & inside B/C the bottom netting seam was not overlapped to hang a bit (1/8") outside the top of the silnylon rear floor "wall". (Mine now is over lapped outside the wall top in a DIY but is the new Contrail fixed there?)
Still love my Contrail and people are still amazed at how little it weighs with that much room.
Edited by 300winmag (01/27/0809:49 PM)
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."
Hi Eric If I did not have the new version I would still be using the old one as I was very happy with it anyway. I never had water leaking into mine and have been under many prolonged rainstorms and contrary to what other have said the TT silnylon is (for practical purposes) waterproof. Again I am convinced that misting is just from condensation. Wipe it and it will stop. It does for me. During the first really heavy rainstorm (later hail storm) I noticed the pooling of water at the foot end (at least two liters sitting there...) that is when I first use the rear mid-pole (my trekking pole then, a pole section now,less than 1oz)
Since I have had the Contrail my Rainbow (that I like a lot) remains at home most of the times. Occasionally I camp in my backyard just to use one of the other tents. (8 at the moment)
In Nepal the three Sherpas we had with us ( not the porters...) could not believe that the Contrail was going to be my shelter. They literally stood there looking at it trying to work out what it was. It performed beautify.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I came really close to getting the Contrail last year. but decided to get the SMD Lunar Solo instead. After a lot of careful measuring, I found out that the LS has just a little more room for my dog, and I really like having the door on the side.
I understand from a post on BPL that Henry has an even lighter tent in development. SMD already has their new "Refuge" which is out now in silnylon and will soon come out in Cuben (18 oz.). Gossamer Gear is also working on a 1-lb. tent. Pretty soon the stakes will weigh more than the tent! More for Franco's tent collection! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
I'm also waiting for Henry to come out with a "Triple Rainbow." I saw a post from him a while back (can't remember where) that he's working on it. I had to go ahead and get a Rainshadow last summer for me and the grandkids, but when the Triple Rainbow appears I will sell the Rainshadow and get the Rainbow, which will have more headroom plus, presumably, 2 doors.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Nevada City, CA
> Funny thing I just noticed... that 08 Contrail looks a lot like my 04 Virga 1 when I attach the 2 side tie outs, and tighten her up... the back/top begins to flatten out just the same. Hey, on another note, is there really much of a weight savings over using a hoop style rear, like the original Virga/Squalls had? There's just about the same amount of aluminum back there...
For the Virga vs. Contrail, there is a bit of weight savings with the strut design vs the arch pole design--about 2 ounces; struts are carbon fiber and 28" total vs. 60" of aluminum plus grommets and strap. There is also a measurable set up/take down time savings since there is no arch pole to thread, store, or potentially break.
From a comfort level perspective, the Contrail foot box volume is much larger than the comparable Virga foot box volume and there's much more roll around room.