Oct 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm #1294733
Hey all, just a quick question regarding the MLD Solomid. I'm very interested in this shelter because of the ability to add or remove the Innernet option as needed. I don't use trekking poles and was wondering if anyone has had success with the carbon fiber tent poles offered by many of the cottage sites, or even taking a big risk and relying on finding suitable branches/sticks from the woods for support. Thanks for any feedback in advance.Oct 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm #1918550
As MLD states on their page, they have found the perfect balance between strength and weight, with the ones that they offer.Oct 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm #1918562
Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I haven't had a chance to try either of these ideas, having only taken a SoloMid out once, with trekking poles. The best option would seem to be buying MLD (or other) poles, spec'd and tested for the SoloMid. However:
(1) There is a top loop on the mid for hanging. Depending on where you go, you might regularly be able to pitch under trees or run a line between two trees and pitch to that. This would be really location-specific, like PNW or eastern U.S. forests. I'm the 3rd post-er in this thread; look at my 2d picture of Marty and his DuoMid. He did have one pole (non-trekking, MYOG) on a rock in the center but also ran that top line and tied off to that. (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=68779)
(2) You could buy or make one pole to off-set, probably to the front. I can't think of what the ideal length would be, but I'm guessing it would have to be longer than MLD's recommended 140cm length for a two-pole setup.
Some do it, but I would think finding an ideal length stick/branch that doesn't intrude on interior space and doesn't risk puncturing the mid would be something you couldn't always count on.Oct 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm #1918568
Thanks for the replies. I should have mentioned that this will be my primary shelter for my A.T thru-hike next year, and was just curious about the different pitching methods. I might just bite the bullet and try trekking poles again (the last ones I used were a little heavy, and I'm sure a lighter pair would make a world of difference on a longer trip) but I will look into the carbon poles from MLD as well. Thanks again guys.Oct 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm #1918738
Light SocalBPL Member
The thing with a solomid is that it takes 2 poles/sticks/supports to pitch well, unlike a duomid or other mid-type shelter which can be well-pitched with one.
With a duomid or speedmid, there is enough room on either side of center to sleep, so you can use just one pole vertically in the center and get a good pitch. With a solomid, the only way to pitch with one pole is to angle it in the front or back, either way, one half of your shelter will sag and your pitch will be poor.
Other 1/4 mids like the gatewood cape or zpacks hexamid are designed to be pitched with just one pole and are better choices for solo shelters if you don't use trekking poles and rely on finding natural supports like sticks. Both of these shelters use one support angled towards the front with a sloped and curved back to accomodate the lack of a second rear angled support.
It's not that you can't pitch a solomid with just one support, but the pitch is really sub-optimum.
Of course if you use the exterior hang loop, it works fine with the single vertical support going up to a tree branch etc.Oct 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1918746
Seth BrewerBPL Member
I did my thru of the A.T (nobo) last year and used a Cuben SoloMid and here are some of my thoughts.
1) First and foremost — I'd reconsider NOT using trekking poles. I'd say about 90% or more of people that finished had trekking poles for at least 3/4 of the trail. Get a lightweight pair – – I found the LT4 from Gossamer Gear to be TOO light for my needs – and had 3 lower section breaks within the first 600 miles (BUT for the right price and knowing you'll need to be cautious with them — they are ridiculously light). Switched to my old Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork poles and they are still going strong after many a mile. I now use Komperdell Carbon Fiber poles — about 12.5 oz. for a pair but light enough yet strong enough that they suit my needs.
2) Jhaura made a good comment regarding pitching the Solomid with only 1 pole versus 2. YES it can be done (breaking one pole does give you the chance to try this out a number of times (as I found out to my annoyance)). NO it is not optimal. WAY better wind resistance profile with 2 poles. A great shelter choice for someone 6' and under. I'm 6'1" and use a LONG 6'6" bag and found that it was pretty tight, and when pitched to the ground in storm mode I'd pretty much touch the ends while on my NeoAir. Loved the lightweight bomber set-up — but the DuoMid is much roomier if you trend on the taller side (I currently have a DuoMid for winter camping and a Zpacks Hexamid w/ netting for summer)
3) MLD is a really great company to buy from — they are my "golden standard" when it comes to comparing cottage gear quality. Check out my reviews of some gear on my profile if you're interested.
Here is a photo of the Cuben SoloMid in Action on the A.T last year.Oct 7, 2012 at 2:56 am #1918834
Seth, thanks for the info, and I'm envious of your cuben mid. Regarding the GG LT4 poles, I have a friend who uses them and although they are very well crafted, I too found them to be on the fragile side. I'm going to try a pair of lightweight Leki's and see how they fare, this way I can pitch the shelter properly and hopefully convert myself to using poles.
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