Monday, February 22, 2010

New two-person cuben fiber tarp from BPL

Introducing the Stealth NANO (see also, threaded discussion). The specs and features look fantastic, and may top out any other competitor out there:
  • Trapezoidal dimensions that (may) fit two people: 8.5 x 5.66 x 9 (head/foot/ridge)
  • Low weight and sold as a complete package : 4.95 oz, which includes tarp, spectra guylines, and titanium stakes
  • Stronger fabric: 0.8 oz/yd^2 cuben fiber
  • Catenary ridgeline
  • Bonded seams: no stitches at all
The Stealth NANO is a direct competitor to the likes of MLD Grace Solo/Duo tarps (cuben fiber), Gossamer Gear SpinnTwin (spinnaker), the Oware CatTarps in cuben, and cuben tarps from

Now what should take some pause: the cost factor. Its MRSP is $329.99/317.99 (public/member), but is out on an initial pre-purchase sale and down to $269.99/259.99. Thus, even with the pre-purchase sale, the Stealth NANO is at the higher end of the spectrum. Only the Oware CatTarp 1.5 in cuben $319 costs in the same realm. Next are the MLD tarps, and then the SpinnTwin and Zpacks tarp.

I imagine BPL is not worried so much about this. Ryan Jordan has publicly stated that he builds gear for the BPL members (discussion about upcoming BPL Absaroka pack) and not the general public. BPL's audience is the folks this kind of tarp is specifically made for. Also, the production run sounds small, so get it quick (which could boost the production cost that BPL then must pass on to its customers).

BPL's does not review their own gear, so we're just going to have to wait until someone ponies up the change for one of these, and then puts it through the test of a thru-hike for some real-world results. Knowing how Ryan Jordan likes to test gear (the initial concepts of the BPL Beartooth Hoody were in the 2006 Arctic1000, and it was released some two years later), this one has likely already been put through the paces.


Chris Wallace said...

Stealth MLD Grace Duo with stakes is $330. Stealth Solo with stakes is $310. I'd say it's priced pretty in line with the competitive products.

Matt Lutz said...

You're right. I didn't consider the addition of stakes into the pricing. That said, the Duo is also much wider at the base, and its stake package is 12 instead of 8. Ron can do custom, though.

The part that I really like about it the Stealth NANO is the lack of sewn seams. I'm excited to see how the bonding hold up to long term use. No seams means no sealant to wear off, break down or otherwise be compromised.

Chris Wallace said...

I priced the Grace tarps with the 8 stake package. But yes, the BPL tarp dimensions put it wider at the head and slimmer at the foot. I'm waiting until I get mine in hand to make final judgment but there's a pretty good chance my Grace Duo will be up on the gear swap. :-)