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Gear Reviews

NEMO Equipment, Inc. Transform Tarp

Bugout lets you congregate for blissfully insect-free meals and card games.

Brand: NEMO Equipment, Inc.

Model: Transform Tarp


[group shelter]

Buggy climes can send campers fleeing to their tents, but the Bugout lets you congregate for blissfully insect-free meals and card games within mesh walls that don’t obscure scenic views. “Through clouds of mosquitoes and persistent drizzle, it was a relief to retreat inside so we could look over maps, plan our day, and cook,” declares our tester, who used this 81-square-foot party room for a week in the mosquito-filled Boundary Waters.

Watermelon-sized when packed, the floorless, four-sided shelter pitches with NEMO’s optional accessory poles ($45 and 15 oz. each) or just lashed to trees, using the 15-foot guylines (included). The 75-denier polyester “roof” funnels rain into smartly designed gutters that send runoff to the corners (so it doesn’t sheet down the walls). The superfine, DWR-treated mesh repelled precipitation in all but the windiest conditions. Six people can mingle comfortably inside, the 72-inch peak height lets most campers stand up fully, and two-way zippers at two corners facilitate easy exits. Prefer a hammock to a camp chair? Open the zippers to accommodate hammock straps, and you can swing and doze in bug-free bliss. $250; 4 lbs. 1 oz.; nemoequipment.com

The versatile Transform Tarp easily converts from a 12 foot square tarp to a triangular weatherproof floorless shelter that sleeps three with extra room inside for gear. A clever system allows you to gather extra fabric and zip two sides of the tarp together to form the 3D pyramid shape. A reinforced pole pocket secures a monopole are lashed together trekking poles in place. Tiebacks for both sides of the zippered entry allow you to ventilate the interior and fall asleep underneath the stars. When the skies are clear and the breeze is gentle, convert the shelter back into a tarp so you can spend more time admiring your nighttime surroundings.

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