Chris Townsend spends some time under the lightest shelters for backpacking

The Silwing is a catenary cut, seven-sided tarp with eight reinforced pegging points at the corners and edges. It can be pitched with one pole but I think is best used with two – a long and a short one – and pitched as a sloping ridge. Unfortunately there are no reinforced patches on the main body of the tarp so it can’t easily be pitched with a pole at the centre or anywhere inside. I tried but the slick fabric just slides off the pole. It could be tied in place but this bunches up the fabric. The cut of the Silwing means it’s pretty wind resistant. However, to keep out rain it needs to be pitched fairly low to the ground or, if it’s not very windy, as an asymmetric lean-to. The seams aren’t sealed and whilst they have repelled heavy rain so far I would seal them for long term use.

Overall this is a good tarp for solo use, though I would use a bivy bag as well to ensure my sleeping bag stayed dry.

First published: June 2013