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Thread: MSR Wing Shelters

  1. #1

    Default MSR Wing Shelters

    Has anyone used the "River Wing" version of the MSR shelters? They are about 18x18. I'm looking to get one and wanted to know if they are worth the $400.
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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I take my older MSR Parawing on most float trips. Worth it's weight in gold if it rains much. Sucks sitting around in the rain all evening. Only thing worse than that is retiring to the tent of course.


    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I've been using the Outfitter Wing for a few years now and I agree with Dan. Nothing like a large covered area in camp. Of course you've got to watch it in the wind, but we just pull the poles down and tighten up the guy lines and it makes a great cover for our gear. I mostly use mine for my kitchen.

    It only comes with two poles, so I supplement with some spare extendable tent poles. They're cheap, so no worries if one bends.

    The one you're looking at is a very similar design.

    And no, it's not like just using a tarp.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kusko View Post
    Has anyone used the "River Wing" version of the MSR shelters? They are about 18x18. I'm looking to get one and wanted to know if they are worth the $400.
    Are these shelters useful? Under certain conditions or modes of travel, I'll say yes.

    Are they worth $400? To some I suppose, the answer is yes... but not to me.

    This wing thing stuff offers very minimal protection. Main issue is in the wind or wind-driven rains/sleet/snow. It's also relatively light-duty fabric for draping over/atop gear.

    For the asking price posted --- you can get creative with just about any fabric of choice. Even at $250-$350 normal asking cost seems excessive. Might take a look at the Zing... This in my opinion is a real improvement.

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Most float country is beaucoup bug country.
    If being slathered in 100% deet 24/7 is comfortable to a person, the wing shelter is ideal...
    Proud to be an American!

  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullkurl View Post
    Most float country is beaucoup bug country.
    If being slathered in 100% deet 24/7 is comfortable to a person, the wing shelter is ideal...
    Well, you have to look at what it's for. It's not designed to keep bugs out; it's for keeping rain and snow off of you (and sun, if you're using it in other climates). Here's a shot of my Outfitter Wing set up on a hunt we did for Outdoor Life magazine a little while back. We actually used both the Outfitter wing and the River Wing on this trip, and rigged one slightly beneath the edge of the other, for maximum coverage. My experience with this type of shelter is that it:

    1. Keeps your kitchen dry while you cook meals.

    2. Provides a focal point for meals and relaxing in camp, while offering great 360º visibility if you need it for hunting.

    3. Keeps dew / frost off of your gear during the night.

    4. Is highly adjustable / customizable for different situations. In the photo you can see that we added some support poles (adjustable) to get the sides up high so we could walk around under it with plenty of headroom. On other hunts, I have tied one or more sides down nearly to the ground as wind protection and protection from wind-driven rain. It's very versatile.

    On the negative side (as I mentioned before) it's not so great in heavy wind. In that case, I take out the poles and stake it out over my gear. More than once I've awakened to a fresh blanket of snow in camp, which covers up all those little items you left laying around the night before. This keeps the snow off of everything and makes it so much easier.

    I'll have to disagree with Brian R on the "flimsiness" of this thing. Mine is quite the opposite. I don't think I could tear it with my bare hands. The material is a thick, woven nylon and the edges are finished with a doubled piece of very tough material. Though I don't prefer it in the wind, there have been times when we had heavy wind and it has never torn or even shown signs of wear. It certainly goes with me on many of my hunts, and as you can see I run a comfortable camp. Chairs, tables, the works.

    Yes, you can use blue tarps and parachute cord at a fraction of the price of the Wing. But tarps are rectangular and their grommets rip out. They also develop mystery leaks that you can't find, and they make a lot of noise even in light breezes. This thing is whisper quiet.

    So in short, it's not for everyone. But I believe it does have a place.

    -Mike

    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    What about one of these for $85? Kelty's Noah's tarp-16x16 (22' diagonally). 1800 mm waterproofing and looks like you can pitch it like the msr. Haven't got one, but that's what I'm looking at.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    What about one of these for $85? Kelty's Noah's tarp-16x16 (22' diagonally). 1800 mm waterproofing and looks like you can pitch it like the msr. Haven't got one, but that's what I'm looking at.

    Tim
    I have the 12'x12' model and like it. As for the reasons mentioned above, good to set up as a cook area, temporary rain shelter, etc. You can also configure them in several different ways.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    What about one of these for $85? Kelty's Noah's tarp-16x16 (22' diagonally). 1800 mm waterproofing and looks like you can pitch it like the msr. Haven't got one, but that's what I'm looking at.

    Tim
    Tim,

    If you can, you might look at the material to ensure that it's as thick as the others out there. If it's just a coated nylon, what you've got there is as flimsy as a blue tarp. If not, it might be the way to go. Looks like they've gusseted their corners, so that's good. Should be strong there anyway. And I like the number of tiedowns they give you too.

    The other consideration is that the Outfitter Wing is sort of a weird shape- it's not rectangular. I think this gives you more setup options, but that's just what I'm used to.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  10. #10

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    I've used the Kelty for about 6 years now and it has been great. The last two trips that took excessive rain the tarp began to fail...I think its usable life is about over. I have looked at other lightwight tarps out there and I don't see a better value. If your looking to shave ounces the Kelty is not the best out there, but I would say it's the best bang for your buck.

    just my opinion...

  11. #11
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    16' Noah's Tarp is 68d polyester and is 16'x16' (measured on the side), considerably larger than the River Wing. - $70
    NRS River Wing is 40d nylon material and is 17'x16' (measured on the diagonal). - $369
    MSR Outfitter Wing is of unknown material and a bit smaller than the Noah's Tarp - $300 when last available.

    I have both the 12x12' and 16'16' Noah's Tarps. At about 1/4 the price I wouldn't expect it to be as good as the others, but having used both the River Wing and Outfitter Wing, I can't see where the $200+ difference is. The others come with poles though. They've been durable, waterproof and are easy to set up. With a cantenary cut, they are fairly good in moderately stiff wind; the 12x12' being better of course. I usually use two 9'-10' oars for corner poles. I have used the 12x12' as a sleeping tarp with three corners tied down and the fourth suspended by an oar. Not a bad shelter at all.

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    Another thumbs up for the Kelty over the MSR and NRS. Some few years ago I received exceptional tents called the ORB and RADIANT as well as the Noah's Tarps. Kelty was really making a go back into higher-end mountaineering and camping gear in 2004 --- All very good products.

    I know the ORB or RADIANT tents would be a hard find today, but hope that the quality of the Noah's Tarp has not gone the recent direction of Kelty --- swinging back again to lower end gear.

    The Zing I made mention of is night and day better design than older style wings.

    Today - I build my own... Chateau Brian

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    What about one of these for $85? Kelty's Noah's tarp-16x16 (22' diagonally). 1800 mm waterproofing and looks like you can pitch it like the msr. Haven't got one, but that's what I'm looking at.

    Tim
    I have a Kelty that size and its a good unit, but spring for the poles from NRS, as the Kelty poles are too short (IMO), I seem to remember the NRS poles are 10' tall and cost about $85.00....................works great, I have a stuff sack for it and it goes most everywhere, its nice to be comfortable, have a place to cook under and hang when inclement weather sets in.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    16' Noah's Tarp is 68d polyester and is 16'x16' (measured on the side), considerably larger than the River Wing. - $70
    NRS River Wing is 40d nylon material and is 17'x16' (measured on the diagonal). - $369
    MSR Outfitter Wing is of unknown material and a bit smaller than the Noah's Tarp - $300 when last available.

    I have both the 12x12' and 16'16' Noah's Tarps. At about 1/4 the price I wouldn't expect it to be as good as the others, but having used both the River Wing and Outfitter Wing, I can't see where the $200+ difference is. The others come with poles though. They've been durable, waterproof and are easy to set up. With a cantenary cut, they are fairly good in moderately stiff wind; the 12x12' being better of course. I usually use two 9'-10' oars for corner poles. I have used the 12x12' as a sleeping tarp with three corners tied down and the fourth suspended by an oar. Not a bad shelter at all.
    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for weighing in on this one; you are the King of the BIG CAMP setup as far as I can tell, btw....

    Anyway I'm pretty sure my Outfitter Wing is about 19' long... which would make it about 3' longer than the Noah 16 x 16.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  15. #15

    Default Love mine

    I have a 16ft Kelty Noahs tarp and love it. It fairly low cost and works great for a quick shelter!.

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    Member PG13's Avatar
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    Default Sale on msr shelters!!!!!!!

    Hey gang:

    Was at Beaver Sports in Fairbanks last week and they had some MSR Wings on the main floor by the packs. Everything was 40% off. I didn't have the money, but from the comments above, I'd say I would have bought one if I did have the cabbage. There were multiple sizes and like I said, 40% off!

    Enjoy.

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    "Anyway I'm pretty sure my Outfitter Wing is about 19' long... "

    Mike, I believe the 16x16' Noah's tarp is about 22' long (measured on the diagonal), making it 3' longer than the Wing.

    Actually, I think a 16x16' square tarp is too big most of the time. The end poles have to be really tall, at least 12' to keep the opposite corners off the ground high enough to use. And if there's any wind to speak of it gets to be too much to hold down. I think the design and size of the Outfitter Wing is more practical. But I also think the Noah's Tarp is a great buy.

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    I haven't use the MSR wing. I have a large Kelty Sunshade that has been on several trips. It has been very good in the rain and snow. It came with several guy lines and stakes which make it pretty secure in the wind. I will see if I can dig up a couple pics.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Pick ur priorities: price, weight, functionality-versatility. Fabrics dictate much

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    16' Noah's Tarp is 68d polyester and is 16'x16' (measured on the side), considerably larger than the River Wing. - $70
    NRS River Wing is 40d nylon material and is 17'x16' (measured on the diagonal). - $369
    MSR Outfitter Wing is of unknown material and a bit smaller than the Noah's Tarp - $300 when last available.

    I have both the 12x12' and 16'16' Noah's Tarps. At about 1/4 the price I wouldn't expect it to be as good as the others, but having used both the River Wing and Outfitter Wing, I can't see where the $200+ difference is. The others come with poles though. They've been durable, waterproof and are easy to set up. With a cantenary cut, they are fairly good in moderately stiff wind; the 12x12' being better of course. I usually use two 9'-10' oars for corner poles. I have used the 12x12' as a sleeping tarp with three corners tied down and the fourth suspended by an oar. Not a bad shelter at all.
    Good thread/discussion. Explores some of why gear purchases get more involved -esp when it comes to shelling out big bucks. Many comments here about the utility of MSR's wing tarps could apply to any tarp - all will knock the wind & rain down ... and leak bugs . When I looked at the larger MSR wings 2 yrs ago, I just didn't want to spend that much for a tarp-type shelter. I chose a large, polyurethane-coated nylon tarp and a small silnylon tarp. So many ways to approach gear purchases, but Jim's focus on materials sometimes is simplest to me. In tents, outerwear and other gear, fabrics are a fact of our respective lives. We care about them only to the extent that our time and budgets allow perhaps, but much of how the shelter performs (waterproof, weight,durability, quiet) is a function of the material used to make it. The time it takes to learn pros/cons of each fabric, makes comparison simpler later. Past few years, I've had good experiences with siliconized nylon shelters ("sil nylon"). But I can imagine how the unique shape of the wing styles would be more versatile.

    Just depends on your needs. Mike's post (#6) about the specific advantages of wing type shelters and his experiences with MSR's version seems especially useful. Esp about durabiity in a range of conditions - which several of the professionals who post on OSA can speak to with considerably more authority than the "recreational" types ... yep, speaking. So from posts thus far, it sounds like both MSR and Kelty have passed the outfitter/guide "professional use" test - that their shelters are well-built of high quality fabrics that stand the test of high use in season after season.

    Coated nylon and sil nylon are quiet and less bulky, have good durability - at least for shedding rain (PU coatings tend to crack, wear and may weep/leak after years of use in my experience) for most users, maybe not for outfitters or guides... Sil nylon is newer (I have PU coated nylon tarps 12 yrs old), but for me so far, seems much more durable.

    Kelty Sunshade: mentioned by akcampr (post#17) is great too. I have friends (yep) who turned me on to this shelter, which is versatile, freestanding and does many things well. On the other hand, it's heavy and we've found the fiberglass poles have their limits when it comes to high wind. This is a general property of fiberglass poles in high winds – in my experience. If ours disappeared though, I'd probably replace it. Useful product for us.

  20. #20
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Here's a couple more options that use oars instead of poles. The tarps are heavier than the MSR Wing, but you're already carrying the poles (oars).

    http://www.clavey.com/product_info.p...roducts_id=914

    http://www.cascadeoutfitters.com/ind...D=2496&framein=

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