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Tam McTavish | 10.10.2018

Rab Siltarp 2 specs

  • Weight: 410 g
  • Dimensions: 3 x 2.4 m

Where to Buy

The Bottom Line: Overall I recommend the Rab Siltarp 2 mainly because it’s so lightweight, which means you’re more likely to pack it along with you. Definitely store it in a different stuff sack, though, or you’ll spend all day packing it away.

The Rab Siltarp 2 can be used to create an annex for your tent. Photo by Tam McTavish.

I've used this tarp in the Rockies in blowing storms, its had 80 centimeters of snow dumped on it over six hours, it's handled blowing rains and monsoons, and it's still going strong. As someone who tries to keep things minimal, there aren’t many things I never leave home without. But a tarp is one of those things. The sheer versatility and comfort a tarp provides is huge. They are a great back up in the case of an unplanned overnight, allowing quick and easy shelters to be built. Tarps are also great for variety of stretchers or casualty evacuation tools. That alone should be reason enough to always bring one with you.

But tarps come in handy in non-emergencies too. When I’m stomping around on rainy days, come lunch time I’m normally sick and tired of being soaked. Being able to throw a tarp up and be dry at least for a little while can make a gray day that much nicer. Even setting it up as a wind block can make rest stops that much nicer. Around camp it also can be a huge aid and comfort multiplier.

So what makes the Rab Siltarp better than you’re average tarp? Really, it just comes down to weight and packability. There isn’t a lot to add to a tarp, and the Siltarp 2 keeps just the essentials. The Siltarp 2 Guide version has an L-shaped Velcro closure that turns it into a bivy sac. It’s kinda handy for emergency use, but it adds a lot of unnecessary weight in my mind. The Siltarp is also really strong. It's held a 250-pound practice casualty who was being hauled around on the tarp as it was strung between two logs. It also got a heavy dump of snow once while winter camping; while structurally it failed, that was the result of the anchors. The tarp remained unbroken despite what must have been at least 20 kilograms of snow. 

The nylon grommets are way more durable then they look, and this keeps the weight down. The whole thing packs down to about 750 milliliters in size, so that’s a boon. I will say that the slippery material combined with the tight bag is really, really hard to pack down. It’s a feat of finger acrobatics and strength to get it in there. It often took me 10 to 15 minutes to get it stowed. Now I actually use a larger pack towel sack to store mine because it’s way more convenient and takes about three minutes to pack away including, tying the cord up.

Speaking of cord, I went with 2 millimeter cordelette for mine. This was a bad idea. Very hard to tie. A better choice would be 3 millimeters; it is much easier to work with, even if it is a bit heavier. My MSR Thru-hiker tarp comes with 3 millimeter cordelette, and it’s way easier to use. 


Terrific piece of gear for day hike shelter, a bivouac tent for light back country travel, or a canopy over the picnic table for car camping.
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