So I have gotten a little bit more experience with the Borahgami since doing my initial review. I used it for an overnighter on the AT section hike that I did over Thanksgiving with Chad from Stick’s blog and some really cool guys to whom I was introduced. I also carried the Borahgami as my primary shelter during my hitchhiking trip from Chattanooga to Nashville.
The Borahgami is a 13 oz silnylon tent with a similar configuration as a flat tarp except that it has the addition of two wings. Many users of flat tarps for tarp tenting opt to use a bivy as well to add to their warmth as well as protect from rain splatter. My interest in the Borahgami stems from both my wallet (as the shelter only costs $129.99 new!) and that I tend to hike with a partner, thus the desire for a sub-pound tent with enough room for two. In the best of conditions, this shelter can be setup as a lean-to in order to block wind; in the worst of conditions I opt for an A-frame setup, pinned close to the ground, with the wings closed.
When I carried the shelter with me on the AT, the temperature was in the mid to high twenties thus I used it in conjunction with a North Face Blue Kazoo and a Therm-a-Rest Prolite 3.
With one person, wings closed in temperatures in the 20s, I experiences a moderate amount of condensation on the inside of the tent. not too much to leave any wetness on me or my gear. With a few shakes before stuffing it away I had no issue.
During the first night of my hitchhiking trip, I tested the limits of the shelter. Temperature in the mid 20s, A-frame setup with wings closed, set all the way to the ground, in the rain, on green grass, under a clear sky with no tree coverage, and a loose setup. With two people breathing in there and no ventilation, not to my surprise, there was a lot of condensation. Since I did not give it a tight pull, there was slack in the side wall which allowed water to drip directly onto my bag. Praise here goes to M50 outer shell material for protecting my insulation. The rain came down pretty hard that night (as it woke Noah and myself up from our sleep) but we were kept plenty dry. When setup in storm mode, the wings did precisely as they were intended. Unfortunately, in the morning my partner, Noah, tripped over the tent when he went out for a morning urination.
His kick tore off one of the tabs that held the trekking pole in place!
Luckily, I was able to have my friend’s wife sew it back on once we reached Murfreesboro.
The simple design of the shelter allows for homeade repairs and adjustments which I have to give as a pro towards Borah Gear. The only thing that could have been done by Borah Gear to prevent such an event would be to add even more stitching to the tab, but this incident was undoubtedly caused by misuse. There were a couple other times that we stepped on/tripped over the guyline and the shelter held fine.
After having the tab fixed, we setup again on top of dead leaves, under trees, with temperatures in the 30s. This time we opened up the wings to allow for ventilation. When I woke up in the morning there was absolute no condensation on the inside of the shelter.
Unfortunately, Tennessee has a lot of clay and rock underneath the surface of the ground. After having already unpacked and setup most of the shelter, I found that there was a VERY large rock underneath where I needed a stake to be placed. Another pro towards the Borahgami, I was able to improvise.
I tied out the tab to a nearby tree, pulled the cord tight, set a rock on top of it to get the right angle I needed, and boom we were good to go.
I am 6 ft tall and there was enough room for me to have a few inches on my head end and place my pack at my feet.
For an overview of what I have experienced thus far:
- Versatile (many options for setup)
- Very light 2 person shelter
- The design allowed for simple repairs
- Held up in heavy wind and rain
- Not a loud tarp in the wind
- The wings allow for a perceived privacy and peace of mind (for me)
- If I were 6 in taller I would feel cramped
- With wings closed, condensation builds up
A shelter is most readily needed in the worst of conditions. As a two person shelter or roomy one person shelter that won’t break the bank, the Borahgami is a great option. I do not plan on getting a new tent any time soon! I will carry this as my primary shelter throughout 2014. For me, this shelter replaces the need of having a bivy (if condensation can be controlled). I think that I could go lighter and more versatile if I got a solo size flat tarp and bivy sack, but like I said before I prefer the simplicity, money savings, and room for a guest.
Disclaimer: I received this shelter for free from Borah Gear for review but this has not affected my review. I intend of carrying the Borahgami as my primary shelter and would have paid full price for it if Borah had not allowed me to keep it in return for a review.