Chris Townsend spends some time under the lightest shelters for backpacking

The Sil-Rocket is a versatile tarp-tent that can be pitched as a ridge-tent style shelter or opened out to make a much roomier, better-ventilated tarp. Luxe suggests pitching it with just one pole at the door end but I agree with UK distributors Backpacking Light that it’s much better to use a short pole at the foot end as well. Otherwise it’s hard to avoid pushing your sleeping bag against the fabric. There’s ample room for one and when opened out two could sleep under it. In the latter configuration you can’t close the door zip. If necessary the pitch can be changed from inside the shelter though it’s easier to do it from outside. The Sil-Rocket comes with fairly short pegs. I’d replace at least some of these with longer ones for added security. Wind resistance is quite good but the sides do move a great deal in strong winds. Adding guylines to these would reduce this.

The Sil-Rocket is good value as it comes with an inner nest that can be pitched inside whether in ridge-tent or tarp configuration. This nest can be pitched on its own in dry buggy weather.

First published: June 2013