SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

BACKPACKER PHOTOS

Email this page RSS feed
User rating:
-

Gear Review: MSR E-wing 2011

A lightweight two-person tarp with multiple setup options.
Photos and text by Joe Flowers
  • When I first tested this versatile, hexagon-shaped tarp over 2 years ago, I loved it for its light weight and clever end walls (tarp on right). I love the 2011 version even more:  It's twice the size (134 x 78", tarp on left) and can be pitched two ways..
  • In the lean-to pitch (my favorite; use trekking poles, trees, or sticks) there's plenty of space to shelter 2 campers (with about 6 inches of wiggle room between bags) and ample length for tall guys (up to 6.5 feet). It can also be pitched as an A-frame.
  • The best part: The triangular "wings" at each end. This shot shows them deployed perfectly over each end of the shelter, boosting weather tightness. During a light storm in North Carolina, I was was able to hunker back into the lean-to and stay dry.
  • Want more head room? If there's an overhead branch present, a third guyline can be used to pull the roof up from a loop in the center of the tarp. There are 6 webbing loops (one at each corner). Bring extra cord to attach it to trees.
  • For a more weather-worthy pitch, use an A-frame configuration. At a campout on the Little River in NC, my gear and I stayed totally dry under a hammering storm.
  • Classic tarp problem: No door means wet dogs barge right in. Still, it served me well on a 25-mile AT hike, allowing me to camp in between the permanent (and crowded) trail shelters.
  • The tarp is made of a light but tough 30-denier ripstop nylon with a new and improved Durashield polyurethane coating.
  • Reinforced stitching on the corners make it more durable and versatile than the old E-Wing, which was designed as an emergency shelter. I've used this version dozens of times over 5 months as a gear drying area, dining tarp, and as my primary shelter.
  • Six of these cool, square, aluminum stakes come standard. They proved virtually bend-proof, but the dark red color makes them hard to find in the ground.
  • Two 68-inch lengths of cord are also standard. The metal guyline tabs work, but I use a tautline hitch making tarp adjustment simple. Setup is easy when you figure it out, but take it for a test run in the yard first.
  • The new E-wing (top) packs into a 10 by 3.5-inch stuffsack. Respectable, but definitely not Pepsi can- sized anymore (like the old version, that took forever to get back in its tiny bag, bottom).
  • Bottom line: Of all the tarps I've tested, this is my favorite so far with its combination of set up styles, the wing features on the lean-to, and the weight-to-space ratio. Twice as big as the old version, and, in my book, twice as better.
  • <b>The Stats</b><Br> Price: $150<Br>Weight: 1lb. 3oz. (manufacturer spec, as packaged) <br>Packed size: 10 inches by 3.5 inches  <br> cascadedesigns.com
When I first tested this versatile, hexagon-shaped tarp over 2 years ago, I loved it for its light weight and clever end walls (tarp on right). I love the 2011 version even more:  It's twice the size (134 x 78", tarp on left) and can be pitched two ways..
Image 1 of 13

When I first tested this versatile, hexagon-shaped tarp over 2 years ago, I loved it for its light weight and clever end walls (tarp on right). I love the 2011 version even more: It's twice the size (134 x 78", tarp on left) and can be pitched two ways..

READERS COMMENTS

Page 1

Wow, that is a real heavy tarp (7+ lbs)! I'm surprised that you took it backpacking.
— Alan Moore

This review says the weight is 7 lbs 3 oz. I believe the correct number is 1 lb 3 oz.
— Dick

Is the weight on that thing correct?! 7lbs 3oz? If it is, why in the world would anyone carry it? My not-so-light 3 man Sierra Designs tent only weighs 6lbs 5oz. I'm curious. Anyone?

-Mike
— AthensTrailMike

What is the best ground cloth to use with a tarp tent like this?
— "Maps"

Thanks for point that out guys, sorry about that. It weighs 1lb 3oz.
— Joe Flowers

Novel idea and good weight/space saver, but also necessary to have a ground tarp unless camping in very dry conditions. For another 1-2 lbs, you can get a lightweight tent with bathtub floor and insect protection, which seems to be the better deal IMO.
— Aaron

Novel idea and good weight/space saver, but also necessary to have a ground tarp unless camping in very dry conditions. For another 1-2 lbs, you can get a lightweight tent with bathtub floor and insect protection, which seems to be the better deal IMO.
— Aaron

It looks fine for camping on a mowed lawn, how about some real world, rocks, sticks, pits and mounds
— NH TrailSnail

$150??!!!???
Are we that inept that we can't take $30 of raw material and stitch it ourselves? I am gluing my $ to my wallet to keep it from buying stuff like this. And, this tarp's an invitation to bugs to suck me until I cave in.
— jeff


POST A COMMENT

Your Name:
Comment:
My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Honey Badgers are cool!
Posted On: Apr 20, 2014
Submitted By: reubenstump
Gear
Thinking About Buying Trekking Poles
Posted On: Apr 20, 2014
Submitted By: bigsilk

  1. How to Hang a Bear Bag--PCT Style

    This method is popular with ultralight thru-hikers and requires two materials ...
  2. How to Fit a Week's Gear into a Weekend Pack

    Don't own a massive pack for your big annual adventure? Here's how to make it ...
  3. How to Make a Survival Bracelet

    In an emergency, you can use paracord for lashings, tourniquets, shoelaces, ...

TIP 29: Waterproof Maps

Carry your folded map in a zipper-lock freezer bag or plastic map case. Or treat it with Map Life or Nikwax Map Proof to make the paper more durable.

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions