Alpkit Rig 7 2011

Alpkit is an internet-only retailer based in the UK, and its ever-expanding range of technical kit now includes tents and tarps. The Rig 7 is a little different from the usual and expands on the basic tarp shape to allow almost infinite pitching options.

The Alpkit Rig 7 is a large rectangle in the classic tarp vein with a few modern revisions. Evenly spaced across the whole tarp are reinforced webbing rig points that not only allow as many pitching options as you can think of, but also allow for fine adjustment to any pitch. You can mould the area and shape living space to any degree you like, as long as you have enough guy lines and places to attach them in your immediate environment. The same reinforcing method is applied to the attachment points around the perimeter, where there is a mix of webbing corner loops and holes punched for you to fix your own supports or anchors. This reinforcement is designed to resist the extra pressures and abrasion on the materials from improvised supports such as tree branches. The webbing tape that forms the corner loops runs around the whole perimeter as reinforcement too.

On the hill
The Alpkit Rig 7 pitches in a straightforward fashion as a classic A frame, where it is easily roomy enough for two plus their gear. But the numerous attachment points across the top surface invite you to experiment with alternative pitching, and of all test models the Rig 7 was the one that could fit into almost any situation using whatever was to hand and still form a usable shelter. At 510g the weight is middling and the packsize is reasonable enough for you to carry the Rig 7 all day. On wild camps, although tarps usually don’t work in exposed places due to their vulnerability in the wind, the Rig 7’s size allows you to create a large, low footprint. With the attachment points guyed onto shortened trekking poles or even ice axes you can keep low and stay out of the wind, creating a closable door and cooking area at one corner with a trekking pole that you can lift up and down. It’s this aspect that makes the Rig 7 a mountain tarp. The other models fare better at lower levels, or in more sheltered pitches, but the Rig 7 will take some exposure to the elements if you take the time to learn how to get the best from alternative pitching styles. The Rig 7 is also a good choice for woodland, where the versatility of the multiple attachment points allow any pitching style you can think of.

Fabric nylon
Sleeps 1-4
Total fabric area 280x240cm
Weight 510g
Packsize 18x14cm
Made in China
Stores in the UK online only
Stockists (0115) 932 5050;

The Alpkit Rig 7 offers amazing pitching flexibility due to the many additional attachment points; good versatility in both location and exposure to weather. However it is quite a large pack size for a plain tarp; those extra attachment points add some extra weight as well. In summary that plain rectangular shape hides a versatility that makes the Rig 7 a good all-rounder, but a little extra weight is the penalty. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ and ‘Best in Test’ accolades.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2011