Gear Review: Warbonnet Superfly Hammock Winter Tarp
- Model: Superfly Tarp
- Material: 20D 2000mm NeverMist™ Silpoly
- Note: Also available in 30D (thicker, more durable) fabric for minor additional weight addition (~2oz)
- Brand: Warbonnet Outdoors
- Weight: 18 oz (tarp only)
- Dimensions: 11′ (ridgeline) x 10′ width
- Packed Size: In stuff sack: ~ 13 inches x 6 inches x 4 inches
- MSRP: $140
Circumstance of review
The test for the tarp was on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The rolling hills and lack of windbreak make for a very windy area. I tested the tarp for rain and wind at the same time. To make things fun, I pitched the tarp in the rain at night with a tiny flash light. With the exception of drips below the side pullouts (likely due to extra seam sealing needed to be done by purchaser) the tarp provided good water protection. I didn’t notice any drops in the ridge line area. The temperature went from 65F at night to 38F the next morning. The wind was a sustained 13 mph with gusts up to 15 mph for hours. The tarp held up well and I couldn’t find any notable signs of stitch or material distress, even with the lighter tarp material. The tarp also provided as good of a wind break as possible in heavy winds. With a tarp this size in heavy winds, pull the sides out and attach to something substantial to keep the middle portion of the tarp side from smacking the side of the hammock. If the sides are left loose it’s very noisy and will keep you awake (as it did for me) during the test.
Coverage is where the Superfly shines. While its ridge line is similar to other tarps at 11 feet, it has a width of 10 feet. This width provides ample room to pitch your hammock, have space on either side for gear, while providing distance between the hammock and potential blowing rain.
In general the sewing and construction on the tarp is top-of-the-line, made-in-America craftsmanship.
Most tarps use a piece of reinforcement pack material at the tie-out points in conjunction with a narrow piece of grosgrain to attach to the tie-out hardware. The Superfly’s unique design uses a wider piece of grosgrain attached directly to the tarp material to eliminate the reinforcement material, helping trim the weight of the tarp.
Also, due to design of the tarp, seam sealing of the ridge line is not required. After minor seam sealing of the side pullouts, the tarp is ready to go. Usually, even if the side pullouts leak, the water just runs down the inside of the tarp away from the hammocker (this happened on test night). However, if the ridge line leaks, important gear gets wet and usually at very inconvenient times… ie any time. Incorporating design methods to eliminate the need for ridge line seam sealing will go a long way in keeping customers dry and happy.
While the weight is excellent for its coverage, at 18 oz for just the tarp weight should be considered when a thru-hiker is considering this item. Modified tarp setup used based on recommendations on Warbonnet’s site (dutchware wasps, lines, and six stakes, and tarp) weighed in at 22 ounces.
However, with this tarp’s excellent coverage and drastically lower price than lighter alternatives, it still remains a prime candidate for a thru-hiker not ready to shell out over twice the cash for a narrower cuben fiber option.
Changes I would make:
Tie-out material trimming
While the corner reinforcement material has been reduced to minimize weight looking at the material it looks like there is a little trimming that may accomplish some weight savings. I have attached thumbnail pictures of areas that could be trimmed below. Make sure to stay out of the stitch and burn the area cut to keep the material from fraying. It may not yield significant weight savings, but then again we are cutting tooth brushes in half out here. Be VERY careful with any cutting tools or flames around the main tarp material.
Not a fan of stuff sacks for any piece of gear. I usually place tarps in snake skins, then into a mesh bag (similar weight to stuff sack) so I can easily pack the tarp in the morning. I like to conserve the energy I’d spend stuffing the tarp for hiking or eating cookies. Even when the tarp is in the larger bag I can still compress it to fit other items in the space.
The Superfly is a large all-season tarp that provides excellent coverage at an affordable price. These attributes combined with its design features to cut material weight and also avoid ridgeline seam sealing make it a prime candidate for consideration from thru hikers and hammock campers in general. I would recommend the superfly to hikers looking for lots of coverage at a competitive price. The Superfly Tarp is available directly though Warbonnet’s website. Warbonnet sells tarps with cosmetic blemishes on their site for a discount. Warbonnet has lots of other great products—their hammock setups were popular on the AT in 2017 and are also popular with weekend warriors.
If you find this article led you to consider purchasing the tarp please let Warbonnet know you were introduced to this product on The Trek.
Bonus tarp tips for the Superfly
- Trade the stuff sac for snake skins to make set up/break down easier
- Rig doors to be stake free to save weight (See Video)
- Pair side pull out lines with trekking poles(multi use) to increase interior volume of the tarp(See Video)
Video: Tarp Tour and Review Summary
Disclosure: this product was donated for the purpose of this review.
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