In this review we’ll be looking at why the UST Tube Tarp Tube Tent 2020 deserves your attention; it certainly grabbed ours after we put it through a series of tests to prove itself.
But don’t take our word for it.
Keep reading and you’ll be a believer by the end…
So let’s get started on this Ultimate Review of the UST Tube Tarp.
In this comprehensive review we’ll cover:
- Materials that make this tube tarp one tough cookie
- How easy it is to set up
- The different ways you can set it up
- Lots more…
So if you’re looking for a lightweight, versatile, and no-fuss tube tent, you’ll love this review!
Let’s get started.
- Strong and durable. Able to weather tough conditions
- Versatile – can be used as a tent or tarp
- Ultra lightweight
- Could have better seam sealing
Our Verdict: UST Tube Tarp Tube Tent
The fire retardant UST Tube Tarp is a handy emergency tent for individual or group use – all possible because of its versatile nature.
It’s versatility is it’s best feature by far.
But wait… I know what you might be thinking.
“Versatility” only means “complicated”.
Not the case with this camping shelter.
We found at least 4 different ways to set it up – none of them rocket science.
Any camper can figure it all out in minutes.
Keep reading and we’ll walk you through them further down below.
And still, there’s more.
The UST Tube Tarp is also modeled in the same uncomplicated and convenient way you should really expect from a tube tent.
And with its aluminum-lined interior to reflect body heat in cold temperatures, and its bright orange, flame-retardant exterior, you’re sure to attract attention in an emergency and importantly – survive until you do.
But there is this one thing…
For all our talk about the UST’s versatility, it did come as a disappointing surprise that we just couldn’t come up with a configuration to shelter a full-sized hammock.
Oh well, it was probably too much to ask, considering the steal of a price tag.
No wonder it’s our TopNotch Editor’s Choice.
And if comfort is important to you, you might want to check out our definitive review on the Best Camping Mattress to see if you can throw one of those under your tarp shelter – we have some super light options.
Related: 10 Best Tube Tents
Value For Money
Don’t be fooled by the 8.5 rating if you were expecting a higher reading.
You see, we were pitting our tents against each other for their value as simple tube tents.
There are plenty of awesome features (doors and windows, for example) a lot of tube tents have that this little guy just can’t compete with.
Value For Money Rating
But we felt compensated by the fact that the UST Tube Tarp, like it’s name suggests, was both a tent and a tarp, making it – for fear of sounding like a broken record – super versatile!
And that’s why the UST Tube Tarp still ranks highly; you’re still getting a great product at a bargain price.
Ease Of Use
Remember the four ways you can set the UST up? Well, here they are:
The Tube Tent: Spread your tent out with the zipper side on top. Run through the tent and secure it between two sturdy posts/trees. If your guyline is too short you can always attach it to extra rope with a figure nine carabiner. Stretch out the base and stake down the corners.
Ease Of Use Rating
Single Entry Tube Tent: Tie the ridge line at one end of the tent to a tree as high as you can without the tent leaving the ground. Stake down the two corners of this opening. Gather all the loops at the other end of the tent and stake them down together to close off this end.
The Lean-To: Open out your tube tarp. Create a loop around the grommet at the corner of the longer length of your tarp. Secure the line around a tree, bring it around again and run it through each grommet across the full length of the tarp. When you reach the end, create a loop for tightening and run around the second tree and back to the same grommet. Stake down the other length of your tarp until it looks like your tarp is standing diagonally.
The Plough Point: Lay out your tarp with your corners lined up with the tree you’re going to tie off your ridgeline (it should be diamond-shaped on the ground). Stake down the back corner of your tarp. Tie a running bowline on the opposite corner and tie it off to the tree. Lastly, stake down the two side corners
All you really need are good paracords and stakes.
The UST Tube Tarp is clearly a winner for ease of use.
Here the UST Tube Tarp came in second because after putting it through some grueling knock-out stages, we concluded that the UST can protect you from (just about) everything nature sends your way.
… while the UST isn’t our first recommendation if you’re planning to camp out in the snow, we do recommend it for everything else the weather may throw at you.
Weather Resistance Rating
With its strong polyester material and aluminized interior, it’ll keep you sheltered from high heat or cold and you’ll stay dry in wet weather.
A word of caution, though…
Don’t overstretch the material when tying it up. Just take enough paracords with you. Constant stretching will thin out the material, and thin materials are more susceptible to leaks and tears.
Come rain or high water, the UST can weather the storm.
To test the manufacturer’s claims, we:
- Stretched the tube tarp
- Sat on the tube tarp
- Covered all sorts of gear with the tube tarp
- Contorted the tube tarp to see every possible shelter it could create
- Blatantly exposed it to all the elements we could
Guess what the results were?
The UST came out the victor against every test, every time.
When it comes to durability, it’s no wonder the UST is the obvious leader of the pack.
For a one-piece shelter at 1.9lbs, the UST doesn’t pack as light and compact as we hoped.
We’ve put it down to its excellent (but thick) material and steel stakes.
But look at it this way – they’re just the reminder that you have a sturdy product to fall back on.
The UST Tube Tarp, once packed into its nifty stuff bag, can be carried easily in your backpack.
And don’t discount the fact that you can just as easily chuck it into a bucket, or basically anything else, and be on your way.
That’s part of how we tested it anyway. And we have no complaints.
Lastly, you’ll definitely come across harder feats on your outdoor adventure than wrapping the Tube Tarp back up and packing it beautifully away.
It really is so easy!
Our Final Verdict: UST Tube Tarp Survival Tent
After the metric testing we put our tents through, the UST Tube Tarp sits proudly at number one on our TopNotch Top 3.
Finding something to be unhappy about the UST is hard to do, but if you pressed us, we’d say that we just wished it was a little bigger (so we could fit our hammock under it).
But besides that…
The UST provides everything required of an emergency tube tent; ease of set-up, great portability, heat reflection and more.
We were happy to find that the UST ranked highly in each test, proving its consistent performance on all fronts.
We’re sure you’ll be happy with its performance too.
Conclusion: UST Tube Tarp (Tube Tent)
Time to wrap it up…
If there’s one thing you now know about the UST Tarp and camping shelter, is its versatility when it comes to quick set-ups across many different environments.
We’ve even walked you through some of our favorites.
While there are other lighter tube tents out there, the difference is only very slight.
In each metric we tested the UST, it always came out as an obvious leader.
And with its accumulated points, it’s no surprise which tent took down our TopNotch Editors Choice.
So if you’re looking for reliability, versatility and durability in a tube tent, this is the go-to one for you.
Over to you – It’s up to you to make that choice now.
Other Version: UST Tube Tarp (Survival Tent)
UST Hex Tarp
The UST Hex Tarp is ideal for those specifically looking for a hammock cover. Designed to be a sleeping shelter, it also has a hidden zipper that transforms it into a one person sleeping tent.
You can also use the Hex Tarp as a ground cloth.
It’s conveniently called a Hex Tarp because of its six sided design.
Each corner has guy out loops to better secure the tarp from every side.
Like the UST Tube Tarp, the Hex Tarp also provides thermal protection, and can be used to protect gear.
This version is also lighter. Its dimensions are as follows:
- 108 x 96 x 41 inches (LxWxD)
- Weight: 1.5 lbs
- Color: orange
- It packs down to 10 x 4 x 4 inches in the included stuff sack.