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I am reviewing my new Tarptent StratoSpire Li, a 2 person Dyneema tent with fabric inner and Dyneema ground sheet. The tent has been imported into the UK from America. I am interested to see how suitable the tent is for UK conditions.

Tarptent StratoSpire Li 2 person tent pitched on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

My reasons for purchasing the StratoSpire Li

I needed a very light weight tent for my wife and myself – one that had enough room to sit out bad weather in relative comfort, and light enough for long distance hiking. It had to be as light as possible because we go camping with our two youngest children, and we have to carry a lot of their gear as well as our own.

For the last few years I’ve been using walking poles, so I no longer needed to carry the weight of tent poles. I could now use a tent that was supported with the walking poles instead. Initially I was worried about the StratoSpire needing 2 poles to support it, because if I broke one, I wouldn’t be able to erect the tent properly. But that’s only an issue if I’m using the tent alone. But it’s a 2-person tent and more often than not, my wife would be with me and she uses walking poles too. Breaking a pole therefore shouldn’t be an issue, as we’ve 4 poles between us. Another initial worry was, I walk with 120cm fixed length trekking poles. But thats not been a problem either, as they support the tent at a nice height off the ground.

Tarptent can supply tent poles for this tent if you don’t use hiking poles.

Ordering and Delivery

The Li (Dyneema) version of the StratoSpire sells out really quickly. While I’ve been looking to buy one, I’ve noticed that they get a delivery of about 70 tents and they sell all of them within about a week. So it’s rarely in stock. Tarptent have a good website and ordering was easy. I had to put my email address in the box . After a wait of about a month I received an email saying when the tent would be in stock again.

I placed my order with 6 to 10 day delivery. After waiting for 10 days or so, I emailed Tarptent to ask when I could expect delivery. They were quick to reply that my tent was number 67 of the 70 and it was due in from the manufacturer any day now. Two days later I received an email saying the tent was packaged and waiting collection from UPS US.

Once the tent was through customs in the UK, Parcel Force took over delivery. It was Parcel Force who sent me a letter informing me of the import duties that I would have to pay before they would deliver the parcel. Instead of waiting for delivery. I went to the Parcel Force depot, paid the charges and collect the tent. This meant it was a total of 20 days from order to collection.

The tent arrived well packaged and in perfect condition.

Packaging of the Tarptent Stratospire Li

Pegs

Pegs supplied with the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent
Pegs supplied with the Tarptent StratoSpire Li

I’m impressed with the supplied pegs. They are 6″ (150mm) long, which is a good size for usual UK ground conditions. They are very light weight and feel strong. The tent is supplied with 6 pegs, which is enough for a good stable tent. If you use the extra guy lines, you will need to add another 2 pegs. Even with 8 pegs, it’s not going to weigh you down, and it’s not many for a tent this size. Some tents I’ve used have needed a lot more pegs and that adds to the overall weight.

Complimentary patch material on the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent

Unexpected extras were a nice touch and appreciated.

First impressions

Tarptent Stratospire Li tent pitched to show its complicated design
The design of the Tarptent StratoSpire Li is complicated

The design of the tent is surprisingly complicated, and has relatively unconventional contours. It has been inspired by interesting mathematical and geometrical concepts, such as prismatic shapes and catenary curves. It makes interesting reading on the Tarptent website.

Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent design

Pitchloc

Tarptent StratoSpire Li pitchloc component
The foldable Pitchloc component on the Tarptent StratoSpire Li

Tarptent have patented the end, Pitchloc. This is a foldable, structural component which is used across their product line and made of very light and strong carbon fibre tubing. The Pitchloc increases usable volume, structural strength and stability. It also eliminates multiple stakes and reduces setup and take down time.

A close-up of the Tarptent StratoSpire Li's pitchloc component
Pitchloc design

Both end triangles can be opened up for ventilation and held open or closed with thin velcro strips.

A close-up of the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent's pitchloc component

Access

Use of trekking poles to support the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent
Walking poles are used instead of traditional tent poles

The walking poles are offset from the centre so they don’t restrict access to the inner tent at all. This is a very impressive design because this is usually a compromise on most walking pole supported shelters.

Magnetic tie-backs on Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent
Magnetic tie-backs

The doors are held open by a magnet tie-back, which works surprisingly well. (Such a good idea that all tents should have them). Great in cold weather, if you’re wearing gloves, no fiddly hooks. It’s so easy that its now a shame they haven’t got them on the inner tent doors as well. I have found that the magnets can be released when it’s really windy, but it’s pretty rare and a minor niggle.

Tarptent Stratospire Li tent showing porch room
There’s plenty of room in the porches
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Inside the tent

Two sleeping mats laid inside the Tarptent StratoSpire Lii tent

There’s plenty of room for two mats and you can sleep either way round. The inner is the same width both ends.

Two sleeping mats in the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent, showing the differetn height inner corners
Note the different height inner corners
Walking pole supporting the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent

The tip of the walking pole slots securely into this, and it looks tough enough to last.

If you don’t use walking poles, Tarptent and others also sell tent poles to use instead.

The inner can stay attached to the fly sheet or be removed fairly easily.

Gap under the front of the flysheet with the walking poles set at 125cm

Gap under the front of the flysheet with the walking poles set at 120cm

The connection of the inner tent to the flysheet of the StratoSpire can be adjusted so the height the flysheet can be varied. The flysheet can then be set high or low depending on the amount of ventilation required. I use a 120cm long, fixed length walking pole that was fine with the tent, even though it’s suggested you use poles set at 125cm.

The waterproof zips are a nice touch, and there’s even a flap on the inside to stop any drips if any water did get through. The zips feel strong enough.

A flap covers the zip on the inside of the tent, including a magnet to hold it in place

Dyneema

The Dyneema looks and feels very thin. But from my experience with the Dyneema stuff sacks that I’ve been using for the last year or so, it’s tougher than it looks. It’s extremely expensive stuff, so I’m naturally careful with it though.

One of the best characteristics of Dyneema is it doesn’t absorb water, so the tent doesn’t get saggy when it gets wet. This also means you can roll the flysheet and inner up together even if the outside is wet. it won’t soak through to the inner. If the flysheet is wet on the inside with condensation, it’s easy to take the inner down separately.

Just shake the flysheet to get most of the water off, which nearly dries it. This way I’m not carrying the weight of a wet tent around all day, or having to wait around for it to dry in the mornings. I get going a lot earlier than I might have done with my previous Silnylon tents.

Water sitting on the Dyneema of the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent and never soaking in
Water sitting on the Dyneema and never soaking in

Cost

Scary…. don’t tell my wife.

I justify the cost by mostly camping wild and reminding myself that it’s saving me accommodation costs. (Probably repaying for itself within about 10 to 20 nights). This year alone, I’ve spent 58 nights camping wild in my previous favourite tent, the Nordisk Telemark 1 ULW, and about 10 nights in other tents.

$709.00 + $61.90 Delivery via Priority Mail International® (6 – 10 business days) = $770.90.

Paid via Paypal = £658.16 + (Import Duty £56.69, VAT £105.8, Parcel Force Handling Fee £12 = £174.50).

Total Tarptent StratoSpire Li cost = £832.66 in UK, which is dependant on the exchange rate at the time. It wasn’t good when I ordered because of BREXIT

This is a lot of money but still cheaper than anything available in the UK in 2019 that’s equivalent to this tent. There are some cheaper single skinned or smaller and lighter dyneema tents, but they are not the same as this tent.

I’m not an ultralight backpacker, always looking for the lightest and often smallest gear to move faster for longer etc. I just appreciate light weight backpacking, as I’m often out for weeks or months at a time. A bit of luxury makes all the difference to me, so I’m happy to carry more weight and be more comfortable.

Import duty sticker on the Tarptent StratoSpire Li tent

Cheaper option: If you cannot justify paying this amount for a tent, you could consider Tarptents silnylon StratoSpire 2 tent which is 391g heavier, but only $379.

Using the StratoSpire Li

Tarptent's StratoSpire Li tent still perfectly pitched and tight, even after a windy night
The Tarptent StratoSpire Li still perfectly pitched and tight, even after a wet and windy night

I am impressed with the quality of the tent, it’s been well designed and made. My first experience using the tent, was on my own walking around the Gower coast path for two days. The tent was light enough for me to carry solo, but I did feel I had too much space. I’m just not used to this kind of luxury! My usual solo, one person tents are a similar weight to the Stratospire 2 but a lot smaller.

Camped with my son, he’s 21 and too old to share….

The second outing for the tent was with my wife, walking the Boudicca Way. We both loved having a porch each, we could sort ourselves out at the same time, without clambering over each other. I sat in mine cooking tea, out of the wind and my wife was able to sort the bedding etc out from her side. Best of all, if one needed to get up in the night, they didn’t have to clamber over the other, waking them up.

Wild camping in the Tarptent Stratospire Li tent
Tarptent Stratospire Li. The second tent (closest to the camera) is the Six Moon Designs Deschutes Solo Tarp

The first night with 2 of us sleeping in it, we had to camp near a river and there was no wind, so we had a lot of condensation in the morning. (in hindsight we should have left the doors open or pitched the tent higher of the ground to increase the airflow through it) But the tent had stayed taut and the inner hadn’t sagged onto the sleeping bags as it would have done with our usual silnylon tents. The inside of the flysheet was running with water and had been dripping on the inner. If we had been using a mesh inner, this would have been a problem. It would have splashed through, possibly waking us up and would have definitely made our sleeping bags wet. This was the main reason we purchased a solid inner with the tent.

There’s enough room in the inner tent, for us both to sit up and get dressed without touching the sides or elbowing each other too much.

Dyneema is pretty see through, so can be very light inside if there’s a full moon. Also it’s worth remembering that when you’re on a campsite getting dressed inside it. But it doesn’t seem to be a problem with our solid inner.

Possible limitations

The Stratospire is taller and wider than my previous tents, so it catches the wind more than I’ve been used too. It handles the wind just as well but I’ve found I need to use larger pegs, or I have to put rocks on them to stop them pulling out of soft ground.

The size of the foot print, it’s pretty big, this makes finding a suitable wild camping pitch more difficult and it may also have a larger pack size than you’re used to, 41cm x 12cm (16″x 5″). This may not fit in or on your rucksack the same way as previous tents you’ve had. But, I suppose that’s the compromise with having all this space inside the tent.

Conclusions

The Tarptent Stratospire Li is so light weight and nice to use, that I often carry it when I’m hiking on my own. It’s a great tent and obviously designed by people who go hiking. I cannot think of a better backpacking tent for two people. My wife loves the extra space and convenience of 2 doors (and the little magnetic tie-backs). This has got to be good for increasing the number of hiking trips we do and a happy marriage. She’s even admitted, under her breath, it may be worth the crazy price.

Weights on my kitchen scales

Tent Flysheet and Solid Inner 793g (28oz)

2 x Apex Guylines 14g (0.49oz)

Dyneema Tent Bag 16g (0.56oz)

6 x Pegs in Dyneema bag 48g (1.7oz)

Tarptent Stratospire Li and Vango tents

What Tarptent say:

  • Dyneema® fabrics for the ultimate in strength and weight savings
  • Bomber performance in high winds
  • Fully taped and waterproof: 8,000mm+ hydrostatic head pressure rating
  • Dual trekking pole support; no poles in your living space
  • Double wall, dual entry, and dual vestibules
  • Interior is completely removable and can set up independently
  • Interior never gets wet during entry, exit, setup or take down in storms
  • Generous vestibules for excellent gear storage space
  • Optional SideCar sleeping compartment for pets and children fits into either vestibule.
  • Excellent ventilation, views, and moisture management
  • Taut pitch with PitchLoc™ foldable corners and integrated line tighteners
  • Pole handle side up possible with optional adapters
  • Reflective spectra cord guylines
  • Fast setup — under 2 minutes from sack to pitched
  • Catenary ridgelines for shape and performance

Tarptent’s StratoSpire Li spec

  • Sleeps: 2
  • Seasons: 3-4
  • 26 oz / 738 g tent body (fly and mesh interior) + 1.7 oz/ 48 g stakes (included)
  • Interior Height: 45 in / 115 cm
  • Floor Width: 45 in / 114 cm
  • Floor Length: 86 in / 218 cm
  • Stakes: 6 x 6 in / 15 cm Easton Nanos (included)
  • Packed size: 16 in x 5 in / 41 cm x 12 cm

Note: Tent body weight includes guylines, struts, and stuffsacks.

Nice big porches on both sides
Makes a very spacious solo tent

Further reading

Tarptent StratoSpire Li website link. (Scroll down for the Set Up Video)

Six Moon Designs’ Deschutes Solo Tarp

Klymit Inertia O Zone sleeping pad review

Lightwave S10 Sigma single-wall 1 person, 4 season tent review

Tarptent Notch Li tent review

My 11 Wild Camping Rules

My favourite piece of hiking gear for navigation and safety, the waterproof Ulefone Armor 3W phone reviewed here.

Tarptent Stratospire Li wild camping on the Gower January 2020

Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself and my wife in our spare time, and we pay for its running costs ourselves. We do have some Amazon affiliate links and adverts on the site. If you click on these adverts or links and buy what you need (it doesn’t have to be the item we’ve linked to), the company will pay a small commission to us. This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. We would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. Alternatively, you can buy us a coffee here. Thank you so much for your support. Mark and Emma.

2 Replies to “Tarptent StratoSpire Li Tent for UK conditions review”

  1. Excellent review very informative.
    Many thanks, I am seriously considering purchasing the Notch Li for multi day hike this year.

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