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Hands-on Gear Review

Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp Review

Price:   $200 List
Pros:  Very comfortable, high peak height, no poles in middle is better for sleeping close to someone, two doors, good quality SilNylon
Cons:  Short for people 6 feet and taller, low angled walls and large panels bad for high winds and snowloading, small Velcro tab at zippers is weaker than a buckle
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Six Moon Designs

Our Verdict

The Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp offers ample room for you and you partner between two trekking poles, which is more comfortable than single pole pyramid shelters with a pole in the center. This is our favorite shelter for snuggling couples; the two doors are a major plus too! It performs well in most conditions but the long, relatively unsupported foot end is less stable in high winds than most of the other shelters tested here. We recommend the SilNylon Haven for weight conscious and value seeking couples who camp in wind-protected campsites.

While this spacious two-door shelter delivers on comfort and livability and is a great value, it is not one of the highest performing ultralight shelters we tested. Because of its superior weather protection and class-leading low weight, we prefer the ZPacks Duplex for most backpacking and thru-hiking. Although is has less headroom towards the rear than the Haven, the Duplex "duo-mid" geometry also has ample floor space between the trekking pole supports.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Brandon Lampley & Max Neale

Last Updated:
Wednesday
August 19, 2015

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The Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp and Net Tent combo earned a high rating for livability due to the spacious interior and the convenience of two side doors. The floorless design and modular inner tent make it more adaptable than most, but it still must be pitched in the same shape every time. In campsites protected from the wind, the Haven provides great coverage and complete rain protection, but in our tests it did not handle windy conditions well.

Like many of the ultralight tarps on the market, the Haven Tarp is only available directly from the manufacturer.

Get it at SixMoonDesigns.com.

Performance Comparison


Two doors and two usable vestibules make the Haven unique in our ultralight review. Add the convenience of two doors to the ample headroom for two to sit up  and you have a very livable shelter for two.
Two doors and two usable vestibules make the Haven unique in our ultralight review. Add the convenience of two doors to the ample headroom for two to sit up, and you have a very livable shelter for two.

Weather Resistance


Weather resistance, specifically performance in strong wind, is the Haven's weakest point. The shelter's steep sides and long foot panel catch more wind than shelters with more sloped sides. Our testers typically pitched the Haven with the shorter, steeper "head" wall into the wind. We found this wall easier to pitch taut than the longer "foot" wall. The Haven does have eight guy out points in addition to the six perimeter stake out points along the bottom. Both the head and foot panel have a guy out point in the center, but the overall geometry, simply put, did not allow us to achieve a taut, wind resistant pitch. On the other hand, the Haven handles rain very well. The tarp can be set up with all of the perimeter walls very close to the ground to eliminate splashback.

While this 'duo-mid' style tarp provides excellent coverage in the rain  we found it difficult to secure in high winds. If windy weather is expected  a campsite protected from the full wind is key.
While this 'duo-mid' style tarp provides excellent coverage in the rain, we found it difficult to secure in high winds. If windy weather is expected, a campsite protected from the full wind is key.

The Haven's relatively flat long wall also makes it ill-suited to snow loading. Unlike most other zippered shelters tested it doesn't have a mechanism to relieve tension from the vestibule doors, a basic feature found on all other winter storm-worthy shelters, backpacking tents, and four-season tents.

Weight


The tarp and net tent together weigh in at 2 pounds 3.5 ounces on our scale, which is one of the heavier combos we tested this year. The two door "duo-mid" tarp on its own weighs 1 pound and 4 ounces and provides complete protection from the rain. While the waterproof floor and bug protection are appreciated when using the inner tent, we feel the best choice for the weight-conscious backpacker is to use the tarp on its own, adding a super light ground cloth and head net when conditions demand. The Haven Tarp is also available in Cuben fiber.

Weight Bottom Line:
Tarp + included guy lines = 20 oz
Net Tent insert = 15.5 oz
Stowed in the included cylindrical stuff sacks: 5" x 12" tarp, 5" x 12" net tent.

Livability


Livability is where the Haven really shines. The tarp provides a 50 sq ft footprint that is protected from the rain and the 27 sq ft of floor space in the mesh insert easily accommodates 2 sleeping pads with some extra space. When used with the inner tent, the vestibules on each side have about 10 sq ft of protected space each. Two pockets sewn into the insert provide quick, convenient access to small items. The Haven's side entry design that offsets the support poles toward the head end creates plenty of space for sitting up in the taller end as the wall slopes gradually down toward the foot. Two six-foot-tall folks can sit up with plenty of headroom, and without significant wind, the shelter is long enough that the foot of your sleeping bag doesn't rub the ceiling. The double door design on this model is a major plus. Single door side entry shelters make it awkward for the person furthest from the door to come and go. While front entry doors on the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum and Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Shelter are less awkward, we still prefer the two doors on the Haven. Two small vents above the doors on either side help to reduce condensation.

The SMD Haven tarp is one of the more difficult to set up  but delivers an impressive amount of rain protected floor area. Indian Peaks Wilderness  Colorado.
The SMD Haven tarp is one of the more difficult to set up, but delivers an impressive amount of rain protected floor area. Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado.

Adaptability


Like all pyramid shelters, the Haven must be pitched in the same way every time. It does not respond well to sites that cannot fit its relatively large footprint. Hikers that travel through terrain with limited pitching options will find an A-frame or flat tarp's increased adaptability to be beneficial. It all depends on where you camp. The Haven is best suited for use in established campsites that are well-protected from the wind.

Durability


Overall, we found the attention to detail during construction of the Haven to be considerably less confidence-inspiring than with many other shelters. While the SilNylon ripstop and other materials are high-quality, we observed sloppy sewing in a few places on our test model. Through our months of testing, this way the only shelter that had sewing failures. The loops on both of the webbing straps used to stake out the doors failed. Rather than a secure bar tack, these loops were held with only a few stitches of thread. We were able to improvise and continue to use the shelter, but something as simple as a sewn loop in webbing should not fail under the tension of normal set up.

This was the only ultralight shelter we tested this go round with parts that failed during testing. Two sewn loops in the stake out webbing failed under normal pitching tension.
This was the only ultralight shelter we tested this go round with parts that failed during testing. Two sewn loops in the stake out webbing failed under normal pitching tension.

Ease of Set-up


Our trial set up of this model took 7 minutes to pitch the tarp, and 4 more to hang the inner tent, for 11 minutes total. Our expert tester pared set-up time down to 7 minutes total on subsequent backcountry trips. Overall we found this model one of the more difficult to set up and tweak for a taught pitch. We found the Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid much easier to set up and guy out nice and tight. Ten clips hold the Haven's inner tent in place; we found these more awkward to clip and unclip than the ones used on other shelters with inner tents. Six stakes are the minimum necessary to pitch the tarp, but 8 is better. None are included, use your own or add a set to your order. Inserting the tips of your trekking poles into the small sleeves inside the two peaks is key to getting started.

We found with the Haven that having two sets of hands is much more convenient for pitching the tarp, and then one person can take over to attach the net tent liner and secure guy lines. This is the most difficult model we tested for one person to set up alone.

While the tarp by itself makes a light and super roomy shelter for one  set up by one person is more of a pain than most competitors.
While the tarp by itself makes a light and super roomy shelter for one, set up by one person is more of a pain than most competitors.

Best Applications


This tarp is best for travel in mild to moderate conditions with two people that want to sleep close to each other. If you camp in environments that commonly get heavy rain, but rarely strong winds, this model is a great and relatively affordable choice.

Value


At $350 ($200 for the tarp and $150 for the insert), this system is one of the least expensive products we tested. For a couple seeking great rain and bug protection and the convenience of two doors, it's an excellent value….as long as you rarely camp in exposed terrain or above tree line areas. We feel the Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Tarp Duo is a better value at $170 and more versatile as well.

Conclusion


After the Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid, the Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp Net Tent combo is one of the most livable and roomy ultralight shelters we tested and provides a lot of coverage for rain protection. On the other hand, we found it performs poorly in high winds and the construction quality lags behind competitors. We feel the Haven is only a good choice for budget conscious backpacking couples who stick to well-protected campsites.

You can also pitch the Haven tarp without the net tent insert.
You can also pitch the Haven tarp without the net tent insert.

Other Versions


A Cuben fiber version is also available. The Cuben tarp weighs half as much (10 oz.) and costs $475 vs. $200 for the SilNylon model we tested.

How to Get It


Head over to sixmoondesigns.com.
Brandon Lampley & Max Neale

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Most recent review: August 19, 2015
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