The Tarptent Notch has been at the top of my “If I Had To Buy A Tent Today” list for several years but there is nothing really wrong with my 6-year-old Big Agnes Copper Spur so it has been hard to justify the expense. Fortunately, the urge to splurge finally overcame fiscal responsibility and I now have a brand new Notch.
I can’t top the review SectionHiker did several years ago so read that for background.
Out of the box, the weight for the bag, fly, mesh canopy, 4 stakes, and stake bag is 750 grams (26.5 oz). A Tyvek footprint adds about 120g (4.2 oz). Sealing the seams adds about another ounce so you get a very good rig for about 2 pounds. TarpTent sells some 3-section aluminum poles that can be used in place of the hiking poles. They weigh 99g each so you take about 7 oz out of your pack by using hiking poles. If you’re doing a base camp then you will probably need the optional poles.
I added guy lines from each apex tie-out to the side stake to help pull the top taut. This has the added benefit of reducing the tension on the door & zipper and makes it possible to roll up the entire side of the tent if desired. I may find that in strong wind I will need a separate stake further from the tent for the apex line but needing only 4 stakes for most cases is a win.
I brushed silicone on the floor of the tent – inside and out – while sealing the seams to reduce sliding of the mattress on the floor and of the floor on the footprint.
I had the opportunity to spend 3 nights in it while doing some work in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness this week. The narrower space requires some adjustment, as things need to be kept at the head or foot end instead of beside the mattress. There is no side pocket for small items but I should be able to rig something to hang from one of the interior hooks at the apex. Ventilation proved to be as good as expected. The doors are smaller (than the Copper Spur) and make it a bit more difficult to get in and out.
I have no experience with rain yet so I still don’t know if my waterproofing job is adequate, nor what it’s like to be in the tent during a heavy rain. I agree with SectionHiker that unclipping the canopy from the fly is cumbersome so packing a wet fly and dry canopy separately will be difficult at best, especially if it’s raining while you’re taking down the tent.
I used the optional poles for this trip. They have a small rubber cap on the end that sits on the ground and the first time I took down the tent I lost one cap as the pole had sunk into the ground and the cap stayed behind. I recommend using a 2-3″ diameter disc under each pole to keep them from sinking like that. A hiking pole should not have that problem.
One odd issue is that the nylon is very slippery and that makes it awkward to pack.