During my research on tents made in the USA, I came across Tarptent, an outdoor gear company based in Seattle, Washington. After talking with their team, I knew immediately that they really care about supporting local jobs and doing things the right way. So, I ordered their Cloudburst 3 tent to review it and find out if it is worth the hype.
I've taken the Cloudburst 3 on a couple of camping trips so far, one to Merlefest for the weekend in Wilkesboro, North Carolina and a backpacking trip for a few days in the North Carolina mountains.
Below are my thoughts on the Cloudburst 3, what I liked, what I didn't like, and ultimately whether or not you should get it.
Tarptent got started in 1999 when Henry Shires wanted a simple and lightweight tent to take on his hike through the Pacific Crest Trail. He couldn't find anything he really liked, so he built his own tent and published the plans online. After some improvements to the original model and input from his wife Cynthia, Tarptent was officially born in 2002.
Demand was through the roof and before you know it they had their first full-time employee in 2010 (they've grown significantly since then), moved sewing to Seattle, and set up the rest of their operation in Nevada City, California.
Today, Tarptent has nearly 20 different tent models to choose from that sleep anywhere from a single person to the Hogback, which sleeps 4 people. They are all about being ultralight, mobile, and of course keeping you dry.
Outside of just the tents, Tarptent also sells a lot of accessories, parts, and services for their tent owners. For example, when you buy your tent they can seam seal it for you. They even do minor and major repairs for $30-50, or you can pick up a repair kit for even cheaper.
Alright, let's get into my experience with the Cloudburst 3 tent.
What We Like Best
Overall, I was really impressed with the Cloudburst 3 tent. If you're a serious camper looking for something lightweight that you can set up virtually anywhere, Tarptent is a great option.
Starting with the setup, the Cloudburst 3 was really easy to understand and quick to setup. Timing myself on my first try, it only took be about 5 minutes. Once I knew how everything worked, it only took me about 2 minutes the second time around.
One thing to keep in mind is if you plan on hiking in some heavier snow or high winds, you'll want to pick up the optional third pole for this tent to provide a bit more stability.
After setting it up, I found the interior space to be really roomy and could snuggly fit 3 people. However, if you're looking for a little room for gear and other items to store with you, I would recommend only sleeping two people in this tent. I also really like the double entrances at each end of the tent.
In terms of performance, I thought the Cloudburst 3 held up really well. It rained on my second night during the hiking trip and with the condensation liner, I didn't feel damp at all inside the tent. I also picked up a Tyvek groundsheet which kept the floor of the tent very dry. Like I mentioned above, Tarptent will also do your seam sealing for you, which I took advantage of.
What We Don't Like
What's unique about this tent setup is that the arch poles don't allow the tent to stand up on its own, you have to stake the tent to get it fully formed. I personally didn't mind this setup at all, but the stakes were pretty poor. The included stakes are super lightweight and as I was staking the tent and applying some light pressure to them, multiple stakes snapped and I ended up using some of my own extra stakes instead.
Lastly, there are some imported materials in this tent. In the world of tents, it is very tough to find tents that are sourcing 100% of their materials domestically. However, the rest of their operation and some of their materials are all done in the U.S. for the Cloudburst 3 tent.
If you're a serious backpacker willing to spend a few more dollars on a nice lightweight tent, it is hard to beat Tarptent. I've had a great experience with the Cloudburst 3 so far and think it's a solid fit for 2-3 people. If you're a solo camper, check out the Scarp 1 tent.