Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent Review

Tarptent's popular lightweight tent offers an excellent balance of weight, interior space, and durability

Table of Contents

If you’re searching for that elusive one-ski quiver, this is the category to find it. The definition of “all-mountain” varies by manufacturer and retailer but typically includes skis from 80 to 105 millimeters underfoot that can both carve on hardpack and provide float in fresh snow. In general, those who ski primarily on the East Coast or in the Midwest should look in the 80- to 95-millimeter range, and those who ski out West will want a waist width from 90 to 105 millimeters. It’s a crowded all-mountain field, but below we’ve picked the best models for the 2022 season. For more information on choosing the right ski, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks.

2 lbs. 9.8 oz.

88 x 50 in.

29 sq. ft.

Reasonably priced for a light, roomy, and weather-worthy design.

Hybrid single-wall build is prone to moisture buildup; doesn’t come seam-sealed.

The cottage market for backpacking tents remains alive and the California-based Tarptent is among the top brands for avid users of UL. Their top model for two people is the Double Rainbow, which hits the right balance between practicality as well as weight and weather protection. We tested it over a whole season of biking and backcountry hiking within Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and found it to be a stunning ultralight alternative. We’ll go over our experiences using our experience with the Double Rainbow. To determine how it compares against the other tents, check out our review of the most comfortable tents for backpacking..

Note from the Editor: Tarptent has tried the previous-generation Double Rainbow. Double Rainbow and Tarptent have since upgraded the tent a bit, with new trekking pole adapters for trekking poles, cross strut connectors, and guy-out points. However, the rest of the design is largely identical.

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Performance

Weight and Size of Packed

With a weight of 2 pounds, 9.8 ounces in all (including its tent’s body and poles stakes, and stuff bag) The Tarptent Double Rainbow is very light for its dimensions and comes with. This is mostly due to the single-wall hybrid construction that combines the body of a mesh with a rainfly and body in one piece. To be compared, it cuts down many popular double-wall models that are lightweight such as those of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX and Nemo Dagger (both 3 lbs. 14 oz. ) in addition to Big Agnes’ Copper Spur HV UL2 (3 3lbs. 2 oz.). The handful of Tents that are lighter than Double Rainbow, such as those from the Nemo Hornet, REI Flash Air, and the Big Agnes Tiger Wall and Fly Creek –are made of significantly less durable materials. It’s important to note it’s true that it’s important to note that the Double Rainbow does not come with seams sealed (you could have Tarptent provide the service for $35 or buy the kit to do it yourself for just $8) and your total weight could increase by a bit.

In terms of size packed In terms of its size, in terms size, the Double Rainbow is a standout. The lightweight materials, the multi-wall construction, and simple pole design make it small. Tents with hubbed poles or freestanding designs like Big Agnes Copper Spur are able to take up more space in your bag. To make it easier to compact, you could remove the upper strut, and keep it in a separate place. However, we found that keeping it in the sleeve did little to hinder the ability of packing. For the first prototype, Tarptent sent us a pole bag that can also be used to hold stakes. The bag is sewn with gear loops that provide protection for the pole when placed outside the shelter stuff bag. It proved useful for securing the pole during cycling trips.

The Livability of the Internet as well as Interior Space

If you’re looking for a simple two-person tent The Double Rainbow is reasonably spacious. Its symmetrical floor , two-door design can comfortably accommodate two persons and their gear. Additionally, the tent is able to accommodate a 6-foot size in length (it’s about 88 in. long). The 40-inch height at the peak is far more than adequate and the strut that is widthwise along the middle of the tent opens up the headroom on the sides, allowing two campers to stand comfortably without bending. The only thing we have to say is that we would prefer the tent were a little larger (it is 50 inches wide.). While we were sleeping from head to toe our sleep bags are pushed against the walls and sucked up condensation (more about the subject further in ” ” below).

Durability and Build Quality

Overall We’ve found the Double Rainbow to be relatively sturdy even for an ultralight model. It has a 30-denier (D) silnylon on its fly and floor the Double Rainbow is made from stronger fabrics than other camping tents in the weight class (most of which fall within the 15 to 20D range). However, like the other shelters in this class this one Double Rainbow is not meant to be damaged by rough handling. Particularly, care must be used when inserting and removing the arch’s center pole from its sleeve, especially when moving the pole in the direction of the strut. The pole might be caught and tear a hole through the cloth. To be honest, the zippers on the vestibule and the inside mesh are holding strong and the stitching is intact even after months of continuous use. Overall this Double Rainbow undeniably is an ultralight tent that is a great price, but Tarptent hasn’t scrimped in the quality of its construction.

Weather Protection

Wind
Despite its minimal and heavy mesh structure, The Double Rainbow has been able to stand tall in the winds. We found it to be stable during strong winds despite being the single-pole construction (the main pole is positioned across the middle of the tent). Its dome-like design made it easy to hunker down and avoid the wind-catching character of similar models. In addition, you can put the tarp that covers the ground to the bathtub floor and clip it beneath the fly to create a shield against the wind. If you’re careful enough with your installation, you could tighten the fly to ensure that it’s placed just above the floor which will limit the chance for the wind to sweep over.

 

 

With the right wind, dust could blow up and over the rim, and fill the tent. Another thing to consider: the tensioners made of plastic in the Double Rainbow are prone to sliding. If this happens it causes the tension in the tent to be loosened which means that its waterproofing gets diminished. For a quick, but not always the best solution extend the guylines until the knot reaches the tightener, and then secure them with a tight slack. The stakes that are cylindrically provided by Tarptent are not our preferred but in certain kinds of ground , they are easily uncovered. We suggest purchasing Y-stakes from an organization like MSR to secure to your Double Rainbow.

Rain
Although Double Rainbow Double Rainbow doesn’t offer the same degree of protection as an extra-heavy double-wall tent It was designed to be able to withstand the elements. We’ve discovered that the 30D silicon-coated material (silnylon) is a great protection against precipitation and much more durable than tents of the same weight. For additional protection The edges of the floor cloth are tied to the points of attachment inside the walls. This will create a 3- to 4 inch bathtub floor that protects against water running through and acts as an obstacle to rain leaking across the fly and then in the camper. Be careful – you must ensure that the fly is set to be lower than the edge of the bathtub in order to avoid getting a pool of water inside your tent. One final point on rain protection: as noted in the previous paragraph Double Rainbow is not seam-sealed. Double Rainbow does not come with seam-sealed seams. However, Tarptent provides a seam-sealed option. A kit for $8 to make it your own or have them complete the task or have them perform the service for you for $35.

 

Ventilation

Like most single-wall shelters this Double Rainbow is prone to condensation accumulation. The good news is that Tarptent has created the shelter with particular features that, when put to use, help keep water build-up to a minimum. The bathtub’s floor can be flattened to allow for greater airflow to the bottom of the shelter. Additionally, the vents on the upper side of each doorway to the vestibule could be opened for optimal airflow. Alternately, you can put up the vestibule flaps on the “covered porch” which can be protected even in light rain. Finally, Tarptent sells an optional clip-in liner at $30 and can shield you from drips that splash on your sleep bag. We encountered more condensation on the walls at the end of the bed than on double-wall models, however, we are happy with the fact that Tarptent put in a lot of effort to alleviate these problems.

 

 

Vestibules , Storage and

The Double Rainbow offers minimal options in terms of storage, but we have managed to get it to work. There are two tiny inside pockets, perfect to store headlamp glasses, a headlamp, or a mobile phone. Also, tabs sewn to the apex could be used to hang a hammock or alighting. The two large vestibules offer plenty of space for footwear, packs as well as wet equipment. It’s worth noting that a lot of tents that fall below that Double Rainbow in weight do it by using just one vestibule and one door (including Big Agnes’ Fly Creek), however, we believe the addition of two vestibules to be a much more efficient and more convenient choice for backpackers with two.

Setup and Take Down

With just a single pole and six stakes and an already-integrated fly, the arrangement to make Double Rainbow Double Rainbow is simple and can be done by one person. Simply slide the archpole through the yellow pole sleeves and secure it to the stakes on either side and then stake every corner and the vestibules. In the end, attach the tub floor to either the exterior or interior tabs according to the weather circumstances. Overall, the procedure is extremely simple and fast (we have friends who are able to complete it in less than two minutes) We really like the possibility of setting up the Tarptent even in heavy rain and keep your insides dry (a evident benefit of the single wall structure). When it’s time to take it down, the process is as easy.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind this: the Double Rainbow requires careful attention to detail in order for each aspect to be utilized fully. In simple terms, it isn’t completely foolproof. The fly needs to be secured to be lower than the floor of the bathtub and the floor should be changed depending on the need for airflow or protection from the rain. Also, the vestibules need to be opened in order to reduce condensation that may build up at night. If you are a fan of nerding out over your gear and taking advantage of the features available it is possible to use the Double Rainbow can be tweaked to near-perfect. If you’re just looking to be able to put up a low-condensation, waterproof tent with no thought, you might want to go for a classic double-wall style instead.

 

 

Freestanding Choice

If the terrain isn’t suitable for stakes, then you can utilize trekking poles placed on the ground at the top and the foot of the Double Rainbow to make an independent structure. Guylines can be used to tie the tent. It’s important to know that the Double Rainbow does not come with additional guylines, which means you’ll need to purchase your own. Furthermore, Tarptent includes helpful videos on their site that explain the intricacies that come with this Double Rainbow and how to correctly setup it.

Other versions of the Tarptent Rainbow

We tried this model, the Double Rainbow for this review, and Tarptent has two additional variations of the Rainbow collection that include Double Rainbow Li and the Double Rainbow Li as well as the the standard, single-person Rainbow. It is Double Rainbow Li has the identical shape and dimensions of the model we tested but is constructed using Dyneema instead of nylon. This material is astonishingly light considering the level of water resistance and strength it offers (the Li model checks in at just 1 lb. 12.6 oz.). However, the price increases to $649, which is beyond the reach of most backpackers who aren’t experienced (it’s an excellent alternative for thru-hikers as well as minimalists). For those who are traveling alone for one person, the single-person Rainbow cost $269, is 2 pounds 5.7 pounds, and comes with an interior of 40×88 inches with a 43-inch top height.

What We Like About

  • With a weight of only 2 pounds 9.8 pounds, very only a handful of tents can match Double Rainbow in terms of interior space and durability, weight, and packing capacity.
  • The tent is extremely versatile and is able to provide protection against rain and wind with many options to increase the flow of air.
  • The vestibules and doors are functional and double doors.
  • With the additional cost of seam sealing the tent is an excellent bargain.

“What We Never Do”

  • Single-wall panels are susceptible to collecting moisture.
  • The tent isn’t seam-sealed and this will make it heavier and add cost to the setup.
  • The space between the foot and shoulder can hold two people.
  • It’s not as simple and intuitive to put together as a design that is freestanding (attention to detail is crucia

Comparative Table

TENT PRICE WEIGHT AREA FLOOR Height DOOR(S) CAPACITIES
Tarptent Triple Rainbow $299 2 lbs. 9.8 oz. 30.6 sq. ft. 30D 40 in 2 1P, 2P
Rei Co-op’s Flash Air 2. $299 2 lbs. 8 oz. 28.7 sq. ft. 15D 42 in. 2 1P, 2P
Nemo Hornet 2P $370 2 lbs. 6 oz. 27.5 sq. ft. 15D 39 in. 2 1P, 2P
Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 $400 2 lbs. 8 oz. 28 sq. ft. 15D 39 in. 2 2P, 3P
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 $370 2 lbs. 4 oz. 28 sq. ft. 20D 42 in. 1 1P, 2P
Zpacks Duplex $599 1 lb. 3.4 oz. 28 sq. ft. 1 oz/sqyd 48 in. 2 1P, 2P, 3P

The Contest

We believe that the Tarptent was a great job of balancing space and weight using its Double Rainbow, but there are plenty of alternatives for 2021. For starters, REI Co-op’s Flash Air 2 is a great option at the same cost as Tarptent it is REI offers a comparable double-wall design and comes in at 2 pounds and 8 ounces all in. We tested it and discovered that the REI is a more effective breather, and its materials to offer a better feeling, even though they are smaller. Additionally, Flash Air Flash Air has a slightly larger inside (52 in. at its broadest) but it does taper to the foot area with a lot of force. Overall, both are good UL choices, but the REI is the one we think has more complete and well-rounded design.

 

 

Two other thru-hiker-friendly alternatives include two other thru-hiker-friendly options: the Nemo Hornet 2P and Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2. Starting with the Hornet, you get a more breathable double-wall design and two-door-and-vestibule layout in a lightweight, 2-pound-6-ounce package. But, when we tested the model with two people we discovered the Hornet to be comfortable and suitable for two backpackers, with an 85×51-inch internal space that tapers heavily towards the bottom. Additionally to that, the Nemo utilizes ultra-thin fabrics to reduce the weight (the floors are 15D) while the Hornet costs around 70 dollars over the Tarptent. It’s an uphill battle between them–they both rank close in our round-up of backpacking tents–but the Nemo’s superior airflow and lighter weight give it a slight advantage over us.

Next up is Big Agnes’ aforementioned Tiger Wall UL2. Recently updated with a solution dyed fabric, it’s designed to improve UV resistance and prevent fade over time (it also uses less water and energy when it’s being made) It’s also a lot more spacious than the Tiger Wall is larger in inside than that of the Hornet (86 52/42 inches. ) It weighs 2 pounds 8 ounces and is superior to the Tarptent of preventing condensation due to its mesh-heavy construction. However, the Double Rainbow is much larger inside. Its simple pole structure makes it portable, and its 30D fabric is noticeably stronger (the Tiger Wall’s floor is 15D).

Big Agnes offers another competitive lightweight option in the form of their Fly Creek HVUL2. Similar to its cousin, the Tiger Wall, the Fly Creek has been updated recently with the same solution-dyed material but a few crucial distinctions distinguish the two designs. For instance, The Fly Creek is the lighter alternative at 2 pounds and 4 ounces. It also has the more durable 20-denier flooring, yet it shaves the weight down with just a single entrance and vestibule. This makes it less suitable for backpackers with two people as compared to it is the Double Rainbow, and the Tarptent also has a head start in terms of space, thanks to a larger interior that doesn’t have a pronounced tapering towards one end as that of the Fly Creek. The most important factor for us is the price at $370. The Fly Creek is about 70 dollars higher than Tarptent with no additional performance advantages, other than an increase in ventilation due to its double-wall construction.

One final option could be Zpacks Duplex, which is extremely light at just 1 pound 3.4 grams using trekking poles to support it (1 1 lb. 14.6 oz. when you add 14.6 oz. with the Freestanding Flex Kit Upgrade) extremely strong and durable thanks to its tough Dyneema construction. It also offers excellent all-weather protection. But it’s worth noting that the Duplex Double Rainbow and the Duplex Double Rainbow both have the same single-wall hybrid design however, they do have some limitations in ventilation (the positive is that they’re both simple to set up in rain, with the rainfly already attached to the side walls of mesh). Both are great designs overall and at $724 for the freestanding kit The Duplex Flex is well over twice the price of the Tarptent. The decision on whether or not the Duplex’s weight benefits make it worth the additional cost is dependent on your priorities and both tents serve as great examples of modernization that is a part of the market for backpacking in the cottage.

Editor’s note: Normally, we offer a live price comparison table in our outdoor gear reviews however, Double Rainbow is a tent that’s Double Rainbow is sold exclusively by Tarptent. Visit the Double Rainbow page here to purchase the tent.