Chris Townsend spends some time under the lightest shelters for backpacking

The Wing Tarp is an asymmetric, seven-sided, shaped tarp that can be pitched in a number of ways. The instructions suggest pitching it as a wedge-shaped tent with one trekking pole. I found it difficult to follow these instructions though, I eventually managed to follow them. Pitching like this involves clipping sections of the fabric together so the tarp forms a rectangle. This seems a waste of the available room so I wouldn’t choose to pitch it like this. The resulting wedge-shaped shelter has no door or ventilation either – good for protection but rather negating the whole point of a tarp. I’d rather have a short pole at the rear and a long one at the front and plenty of space. The Wing Tarp is big enough to pitch like this with good headroom, the edges down to the ground and a small door to keep out the weather. It can of course be pitched in other configurations.

There’s nothing wrong with the Wing Tarp but it is expensive compared with alternatives.

First published: June 2013