My last tent was a Tarptent Stratospire Li. I really liked that tent. It is beautifully designed, lightweight and can handle any kind of weather situation you can throw at it. However, it is hard to set it up on hard ground. I was practicing extensively setting it up on hard ground before my JMT section hike. People say it is a non issue to find a campsite on the JMT. However, when you are part of a big group and people have decided to setup tent, you have to make it work. You can’t walk another mile or half mile to find a campsite. Often either you are someone else is wiped out.
When I bought the Stratospire Li, that was the best two person tent Tarptent had, they had no other choice. But last year, they released the Double Rainbow Li. This review by Ryan at BackpackingLight, in particular was very interesting. I suggest you take a look at the review video as well.
If you do not see the video, here is the TL/DR.
A 27 oz, full sized tent for 2 people that can handle 2 wide long air mattresses, it is insanely huge, trivial to setup (I set it up under a minute with rain pouring down) on any kind of ground and can be free standing with your poles.
Based on these reviews, I bought a Double Rainbow Li.
We used it in all terrain, used it as free standing tent on hard rock. We used it during thunderstorms. I was able to setup the tent in under a minute when the rain started to come down.
We used it under excessive winds, that is the only time I used the extra guylines.
We camped near a water source every single night and had almost no precipitation. The other two layered tents were dripping in condensation and had to be dried. I don’t know how Henry managed this. The vestibule is smaller than Stratospire Li, but handled two backpacks, two pairs of boots and such.
We were able to fit in two wide pads and had enough room in the head for all our gear.
It is an unbelievable tent. It is almost free standing and does EVERYTHING. I can see that it won’t be as warm as the Stratosphere Li during shoulder season, but I am ok to layer myself for that.
Brilliant, brilliant tent. I exited at Bishop pass and my buddies went towards Whitney, but they loved my tent so much I had to carry their Big Agnes with me while they grabbed my tent from me to share. They will be buying the DR Li when they exit.
I used 4 extra guy lines at Sapphire lake since the wind was pretty high.
I did not do any setup videos on the trail, but here is me setting up the tent this weekend to hose it down. It takes about 2 mins to set it up on hard ground here. It is easier with stakes to achieve a tight pitch.
The only minor negative - I wish the vestibule is as big as the Stratosphere li, but I will take the reduced vestibule for increased inner space any day and ease of use.
All tents are compromises, but the Tarptent Double Rainbow Li makes the least amount of compromises in the tents I have used. For Sierra Nevada conditions, there is not a better tent.