Six Moon Designs Haven Tarp Review
Cons: Not adaptable, SilNylon not as weather proof as DCF, needs to be set-up specific to weather
Manufacturer: Six Moon Designs
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Our Analysis and 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 like that this system allows us to bring the added bug protection if needed, but not if we didn't need it. As a stand-alone tent, 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 with a lower angle. This is a pretty stable design for most weather, but if set up with the wrong orientation, this vast face can catch the wind. On either end of the tarp, there are doors with zippered, beak-like vestibules, providing four-sided protection. While there are indeed higher-performing ultralight shelters in this review, this one is unique because of its low cost.
This tent is very liveable; the peak height 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 incredibly spacious and comfortable for all tent-based living.
You can pair this tent with the Haven Net Tent modular bug netting insert. While it is a pain to set up inside of the tarp, we like that it offers a solution to bugs, which we needed while camping in Colorado. As a single wall tent, condensation does build-up, which 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 like that having 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.
At 1 pound 3.4 ounces, is an ultralightweight shelter. This weight is for the tarp only and does not include the modular addition of the Haven Net Tent, which weighs an additional 14.2 ounces 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 set up completely. It is also wise to carry two extra stakes for guying out the long sides in a strong wind, and a ground tarp because there is no floor. In general, you'll be laughing at how light this tent it, feeling like you're carrying hardly anything at all.
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, 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 when the weather is bad, which 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, it is quite protective does not need an added bivy sack for complete weather protection - just a simple ground cloth or piece of Tyvek.
By itself, the Haven Tarp is not very adaptable. Much like other catenary cut tarps, it must be set up the same way, using two adjustable trekking poles, pretty much every time.
While we love the amount of interior space afforded inside, that that means it has a relatively large footprint. 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.
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 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.
This tarp is super affordable for the quality of life it offers while in the backcountry, which presents a great value for its performance. Anybody who loves lightweight backpacking or thru-hiking will see the value in this tarp, though it may not be best for places where humidity is high. If you find value in privacy and four-wall protection, this is a great option to consider, given its great value.
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, although it features an offset peak and has modular, instead of sewn-in, bug netting, and flooring. As an affordable shelter, 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.
— Amber King & Andy Wellman