- Aug 14, 2019 at 5:36 am #3606060
(see below)Aug 14, 2019 at 5:40 am #3606063
Hello all, I currently own two shelters, but for several reasons outlined below, I am considering getting a third. I am having a difficult time trying to figure out what shelter would best suit my needs. Each of my two current shelters has their own strengths and weaknesses:
1. I have a little 1-person silnylon pyramid-like tarp (a Bearpaw Lair—basically a cheaper version of the Zpacks Hexamid). This works great when I don’t expect bugs to be bad or weather to be bad. I almost always bring my water-resistant bivy with this, and most often I just cowboy camp with the bivy, but I like to have the tarp on hand just in case.
Lightweight (under a pound)
Quick and easy to set up and take down (in the mountains, anyway)
Small footprint needed for campsite (I can usually set this up anywhere I can find a flat spot wide enough for me to lay down). This is a big deal for me as I love going off-trail.
Very cramped on inside; hard to get into and out of. I never want to use this if I think I’ll actually need to use it.
I bought this used, and it has always sagged quite a bit, so that I have very little space between my head/feet and the fabric. I don’t trust it completely in high winds because the fabric will sag too much (also, it is too open on the one side to completely trust in bad weather).
Not suitable for bad bug conditions (under mild bug conditions, my bivy will suffice for bug protection)
Non-freestanding tent is harder to stake/anchor in sandy desert conditions and above treeline conditions
2. I have a 2-person, 4 lb, double wall tent (Marmot Pulsar 2). I have been using this when I think the bugs will be bad or if I think I may be hanging out in the tent during bad weather. I also use this when I go backpacking with one of my children (ages 6-11) or with my brother or wife.
Has none of the weakness of the tarp shelter listed above
Too heavy for most trips. If I’m by myself, this is bigger than I need. If I’m with a kid, I am already lugging a bunch of weight and need to cut down somewhere!
Somewhat fiddly to set up and take down. Takes longer than the tarp for sure.
Requires larger flat spot than the tarp. It has a relatively small footprint for a traditional 2-man tent, but finding that flat wide rectangle can still be a challenge sometimes.
Usually I take the tent over the tarp either for the additional space (if I think I’ll be hanging out in the rain), or for the bug protection at night, but usually not for both. So a more modular shelter would be nice (so that I could only take the bug netting when needed). Also, it irks me to carry tent poles when I already use hiking poles.
For the reasons listed above, for the majority of my trips over the last couple of years, I have been somewhat dissatisfied with both of my shelters. Part of the challenge for me comes because I have plans to do many types of backpacking over the next few years:
1. solo trips on-trail in mountains at established campsites
2. solo trips off-trail in mountains
3. solo trips on trail in desert (Southern UT) at established campsites
4. solo trips off-trail in desert
5. trips with 1 kid (age from 6-12)
6. trips with brother or wife
7. trips with wife and three kids (for which I would need an additional 2-man shelter in addition to my other two)
For all of these, I would like to be prepared for high winds (either above treeline in the Rockies, or in the CO Plateau). Also, for any of these trips, I would like to be able to handle bug pressure or bad weather if needed/forecasted. As I’ve looked into different types of shelters, I’ve come to the conclusion that no single shelter will be ideal for all situations, even along with my other two shelters. From what I can tell, a 2-person pyramid shelter might be as good of a compromise as I can achieve. These are reliable in high winds for a non-freestanding shelter. I’m hoping I can find a 2-person pyramid shelter that is large enough to fit me and a kid in the innernet, if not comfortably, then not too uncomfortably. I also want it to be large enough to fit two adults (using water-resistant bivies for rain/bug protection) semi-comfortably (I’m assuming that it’s easier to fit in the shelter with bivies than with an innernet). I’m thinking I would normally just sleep under the stars and let the other adult sleep under the tent, and then I’d join them in there if it actually rains at night. If the forecast is really bad, I’d just bring my old freestanding tent instead. Anyway, I don’t want the tent to be too big, because then when I’m going alone it will be harder to find a suitable flat campsite (plus it would be heavier, although I care less about that). But I also don’t want it to be too small to fit me + kid inside the innernet.
Does this sound reasonable? Am I missing any other better options? If a 2-man pyramid does indeed sound like the way to go, then I’m open for suggestions on which would best suit my needs. The duomid and duomid XL have caught my eye; the silnylon versions look affordable enough, especially if I buy it used. So, here are my questions:
1. Would the duomid be large enough to fit myself and a child semi-comfortably in an innernet?
2. Would it be large enough to fit two adults semi-comfortably if we each have a bivy?
3. How about the duomid XL? Would it be large enough for the two situations listed above?
4. Would it be much harder to find a campsite for the XL for those times when I am alone off-trail?
5. If a different 2-man mid, or a different shelter entirely, would be preferable, please let me know!
Thanks in advance for any input!Aug 14, 2019 at 8:37 am #3606064
William ChiltonBPL Member
Personally, I wouldn’t get a one door pyramid for use with two people (though I have in the past) though I know that many people do.
Not a very well-known company so perhaps you’re no aware of the Liteway Pyraomm Hut, which has two doors. It’s available from a few online shops in Europe.
I doubt you could cook in it with two occupants, but that would be the same with the Duomid. The Duomid XL might have enough vestibule for cooking.Aug 14, 2019 at 11:50 am #3606072
David PBPL Member
<p style=”padding-left: 40px; text-align: left;”>Hi Ryan- The duomid has been my primary shelter for about four years. I fit comfortably in the bug inner net with my five year old. I have squeezed another adult into the inner net. He’s 6’3” 250 lbs, I am 6’2” 175 lbs. its definitely tight but doable. You can put a pack cover on your packs and leave them outside if need be and there is enough of a “vestibule” between the net and tarp to keep muddy shoes, etc… you could also bring the BPWD den as a garage? If both adults have a bivy it would be a lot less tight then the inner net for sure. (You didn’t mention the adults dimensions so If your shorter and smaller than me and my friend, even better!)</p>
<p style=”padding-left: 40px; text-align: left;”>it is possible to cook if necessary with two in there because you’ll be sitting upright in the middle of tent, just move the door-side bivy out of the way. I use esbit tabs , if your using a gas stove just exercise the same caution you would while cooking in any tent … for the situations you describe above I would say the duomid XL would be too big… especially if it might end up your primary solo shelter. Get the tent that will be ideal 80% of the situations you think you’ll be in, and make it work when you have to. I actually purchased and returned the XL. I have the duomid and supermid for family trips and winter trips with friends. I like the modularity of a fly and inner more so than an all in one shelter because I can leave the inner home in winter or when bivy-ing…</p>
<p style=”padding-left: 40px; text-align: left;”>Above tree line in a non freestanding is a bit tricky, but doable. Just practice a LOT at home and set it up with rocks laying on the stakes or ropes around the rocks… intentionally set up when you know the weather will be windy and/or rainy and camp in it in your yard. in Maine I seek shelter juuuust below tree line to find some accumulation of debris or soil , mostly for ease of set up and because we have freak thunderstorms in summer that I don’t want to decrease probability of being zapped…</p>
<p style=”padding-left: 40px; text-align: left;”>Also you might ask Ron at MLD to put the zipper on the SHORT side of tent instead of the LONG side which would make getting in and out of tent just a little easier… like the keep in mind if you do that to also have him put the door of inner net (if you get one) on the same side. You could also ask him if he could put two doors on both long sides and inner net…that would increase the weights of the shelter but he may be willing to do that. Personally it’s not that big a deal to me to have one door it’s not that often that we’re getting in and out of the tent. Maybe once or twice a night at most. It’s part of the charm…</p>
Locus Gear is another respected pyramid tent manufacturer out of japan. You can peruse their website. I’m sure there may be some other good options (freestanding) out there for you when others chime in, I believe there are a few here who use duomid in the Rockies regularly. Viva la Crested Butte! I went to high school (junior year) in Gunnison…
Good luck with your decisions, RyanAug 14, 2019 at 4:28 pm #3606108
Thanks! Yeah, I wasn’t clear on a few things in my original post:
- I am 6’3
- I don’t expect to use this shelter on every trip. If the forecast is good (for both weather and bugs), which is often the case for me, and if I’m alone, I will likely take my old 1-person tarp. Or if the forecast is bad/windy/buggy, I will likely take the old tent. I would be happy if this new shelter makes it out on half of my trips over the next few years.
- If I am with another adult, this shelter would only be a backup option (I would typically plan on cowboy camping and only bailing to the shelter if the weather is bad). So if we fit, but it’s a little tight, that’s okay, as long as it’s not totally miserable. My freestanding tent only has one entrance, so my standards aren’t high in that regard.
- I usually just leave my pack outside my shelter/tent anyway, so I don’t need that to be covered by the tent/vestibule. I also have never cooked in my tent/shelter, so that is not a requirement.
- Over the next three years, I anticipate that my usage to be roughly as follows: 30% for solo trips, 25% with my son (age 12-14), 10% with one of my daughters (age 6-11), 15% with two of my kids in there together but without me, 20% with another adult. If I get a shelter on the smaller side, this may go on more solo trips but fewer trips with others; if the shelter is on the larger side, it may go on more trips with others but fewer solo trips.
Aug 14, 2019 at 11:04 pm #3606145
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Ryan P.
David WieseBPL Member
A MLD Duomid + inner if you want a mid.
A SMD Haven + inner if you want two doors/vestibules, true double-wall, and good headroom for a tall person.Aug 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm #3606216
Rachel PBPL Member
How about a Tarptent Stratospire — they have 1, 2, and dyneema versions. Plus if you just use the fly they will fit an additional person.Aug 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm #3606279
Franco DarioliBPL Member
With the sil version an extra mat can be fitted (just…) inside the standard inner.
Without the inner the SS2 can take 4 mats (two long, two medium) not that you may want to do that but just in case…Aug 16, 2019 at 6:16 pm #3606360
Thanks all! After David P’s comment, I had pretty much decided on the duomid (not the XL), but now I’m looking into the SMD Haven and the Stratospire 1 as well. I have broken a few hiking poles in the past, and this is much more likely to happen in places where there are no good sticks around, so a two-pole shelter concerns me a little. On the other hand, the extra usable space and headroom sure looks nice in those shelters! I like the relative stormworthiness of the duomid compared to the Haven (correct me if I’m wrong), as I would like to occasionally use this in strong winds. Strong winds are more of a concern for me than extended time in the rain. The stratospire 1 looks like it could be the best of both worlds, except that it might be too tight of a squeeze for two with the innernet (although perhaps the duomid is just as bad?). I don’t really need large vestibules (I usually just keep my pack outside anyway) or a sheltered area to cook. Double entry is nice but not very mandatory. I also backpack in the relatively dry Rockies and Southern UT, so condensation isn’t a huge concern, so I don’t know if I need a true double-wall shelter. How easy is it to find a campsite that the Stratospire 1 will fit in? Is it harder than the duomid? How easy is it to fit two (usually a grown up plus kid, but occasionally two grown-ups) in each of those two shelters?
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