Snow Peak bills the Penta Tarp as a lightweight, pentagon-shaped shelter for one or two canoeists or kayakers. To help reduce weight, it’s possible to leave the pole behind and set the Penta up with a canoe or kayak paddle and six stakes. The tarp is made from a pleasant mustard-colored 75D Polyester Taffeta with a minimum waterproof coating of 1,800mm and a Teflon water-repellent. Without a pole, it weighs 1.9 pounds.
I’ve owned a Penta for over seven years, but have only used it on about 30 days of trips. I found it easy to set up. You insert the paddle into a specially designed sleeve, stake out the rear corner, hold the paddle up and your partner stakes out the two front corners. A line runs from the paddle to the ground, which supports the open front of the tarp. Once, you secure the front line, then stake the last two corners.
Once staked out, the tarp’s low profile protects all but one side. The main open side is tall enough to sit under without brushing your head on the tarp. The low ends give plenty of space to stash gear out-of-the-way. Although, I haven’t used it to sleep under, I could see how it would be easy for two people to use it as a sleeping shelter.
The only downsides that I’ve found with this tarp are the weight, its stability in wind and its packed size. For weight, it’s just too heavy. I’d like a lighter version made from silicone nylon. If the weight came in around a pound, I’d use it more often. In the wind, because the tarp lacks guy points in the middle of each side, it sway in and out, like it’s breathing. Tying two rocks into the center to affix guy lines fixes the swaying problem. When packed away in a stuff sack, it compacts to the size of a loaf of bread. When I compare the size to my Integral Designs 8×10 Sil Tarp, it’s about three times as big, which takes up a lot of room in the hatches.
Snow Peak Penta Tarp