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Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp Review
Cons: Must be set up same way every time, cannot be set up low to the ground, SilNylon not as weather proof as DCF
Bottom line: This single wall tent offers lots of interior space at a very affordable price.
The Six Moons Designs Haven Tarp is a single wall tarp that offers fully enclosed four-sided protection from the rain and wind, and requires two adjustable trekking poles to set up. It is remarkably similar in design to our Editors' Choice winning Zpacks Duplex, although rather than being perfectly symmetrical, the peak of the Haven Tarp is offset to one side. This was one of the higher performing shelters in our comparative review, offering reliable weather protection and lots of interior space for spreading out with two people. Because it is made of SilNylon, it is also far more affordable than many of the other high scoring shelters in this review and can be paired with the Haven Net Tent for modular bug protection and a bathtub floor.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Ultralight Tent Shelters of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
We tested the Six Moons Designs Haven Tarp in conjunction with the Haven Net Tent, a modular bug netting insert that also has a SilNylon bathtub floor. We liked that this system allowed us to bring the added bug protection if needed, but not if we didn't need it, unlike the Zpacks Duplex, which now has the bug netting and bathtub floor permanently sewn in place. As a stand-alone tarp, the Haven has an offset peak where one side is shorter and steeper from the crest down to the ground, and the other is longer and lower angle. As long as the longer, lower angled (foot) side is downwind, we found this to be a pretty stable design for almost any weather, but if set up with the wrong orientation, this vast face can catch the wind. On either end of the tarp ridgeline are doors with zippered, beak-like vestibules, giving the four sided protection that is lacking on traditional catenary cut tarps like the Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Tarp Duo. While there are indeed higher performing ultralight shelters in this review, this one is unique because of its low cost, only $200, which makes it a fantastic budget purchase.
This tarp was the fourth highest scorer in our overall comparative ratings, as shown in the below chart (look for it highlighted in blue):
This tarp needs to be oriented correctly to the wind to provide the best weather resistance, just like all tarps. For the best performance, we found that the long side of the tarp should face downwind. If done so, this tarp is remarkably weather resistant, due to the double doors and vestibules on each open end. Because it is constructed with SilNylon, in contrast to the remarkably similar design of the Zpacks Duplex that is made with DCF, it isn't quite as good at repelling rain, although there is no doubt it will keep you dry. We also found that it is hard to set this tarp up with no gap to the ground, as we did with the Black Diamond Beta Light when the weather was bad; this means that wind is free to pass underneath the walls, creating a drafty sleeping situation. However, when used (by itself) as a single wall tarp, we found it to be far more protective than a traditional tarp, like the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Square Flat Tarp, and it does not need an added bivy sack for complete weather protection - just a simple ground cloth.
The Haven Tarp ranked pretty high in livability, up there with the spacious single wall Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2. The peak height of this tarp is pretty high and leaves plenty of room for two people to sit up without brushing their heads against the fabric. It is also plenty wide for two people and their wide sleeping pads, and likewise plenty long for a 6'0" or taller person to lie down comfortably. The beak shaped vestibules on each open end allow plenty of space for gear to be stored comfortably under protection, and the dual doors make it easy for each person to get out on their own side without crawling over the other. Simply put, it is one of the most spacious tents in this review.
For $150, and adding a weight of 14.2oz., you can pair this tent with the Haven Net Tent, Six Moons Designs' modular bug netting insert. While it is a pain to set up inside of the tarp, we liked that it offered a solution to bugs, which we needed in Colorado in summer when we tested this tent. As a single wall tent, condensation build up can be a bit of an issue, and one must be careful not to rub against the walls when moving around in the morning. We also liked that having the two poles on the edges of the sleeping area means that two people can sleep next to each other, and for couples this was more ideal than when sleeping with poles in between, like with the Black Diamond Beta Light.
At 1lb. 3.4oz., this was the fourth lightest shelter in this review, a smidge heavier than the Beta Light but also a smidge lighter than the Zpacks Duplex. This weight is for the tarp only, and does not include the modular addition of the Haven Net Tent, which weighs an additional 14.2oz. when in use. The tent comes with a small amount of guying out cordage, and a SilNylon stuff sack, but still needs two adjustable trekking poles and a minimum of six stakes to completely set up. It is also wise to carry two extra stakes for guying out the long sides in a strong wind, and a ground tarp due to the fact that there is no floor.
By itself, the Haven Tarp is not very adaptable. Much like other catenary cut tarps, like the MLD Grace Tarp Duo, it must be set up the same way, using two adjustable trekking poles, pretty much every time. While we loved the amount of interior space afforded by this tarp, that also means it has a relatively large footprint as well. And due to the offset peak and long side, it presents too large of a roof panel for handling snow loads. We also like that it has the option of adding modular bug netting, but point out that the Zpacks Duplex has built in bug netting and a floor and only weighs 2oz. more than the Haven Tarp.
Ease of Set-up
It is a good thing that this tent comes with setup instructions because we did not find it to be intuitive at all. With a little bit of practice, however, things come together quickly, and it does not take very long to set up with one person. In the wind it is challenging to set-up due to the need to keep one of the adjustable trekking poles standing upright while you race around to the other side to insert the other one. The key is to first to stake out the four corners very loosely, so there is room for the adjustable trekking poles to be inserted, and then you can come back to each of the corners later and tighten them up as needed. At the end of the day, it is not hard to acquire proficiency at setting up this tarp, but we found it to be one of the more difficult overall, ranking it on the same level as the Zpacks Duplex and HMG Square Flat Tarp.
This tarp is great for any lightweight backpacking or thru-hiking adventure. It is a solid choice for those who don't want to spend a lot of money, want plenty of space for two people, like the modular options, and want a certain level of privacy and four-sided protection. It works better on trails that have established and sheltered campsites. If you want to use it for activities like bike packing or river trips, you can purchase carbon fiber poles from Six Moons Designs for $30 each that allow you to set it up without the need for trekking poles.
This tarp retails for $200, making it tied as the second most affordable shelter in this review. We think that this presents a great value considering it is one of the higher scoring shelters in this review.
The Six Moons Designs Haven Tarp is a fully enclosed single wall tarp that offers plenty of interior space and privacy. It is remarkably similar in design to our Editors' Choice winning Zpacks Duplex, although it features an offset peak and has modular, instead of sewn in, bug netting and flooring. As one of the most affordable shelters in this review, we think it presents great value, and should be checked out by anyone looking for a quality ultralight tent that doesn't want to spend a lot of money.
— Andy Wellman
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