Feb 24, 2013 at 9:48 am #1299650
Long post warning!
I'm preparing my kit for a Wonderland Trail through hike this summer (end of August) and the JMT the year following. I'm leaning towards a mid sans bivy in lieu of a tarp/bivy as I could potentially find myself in a week-long torrential downpour on the Wonderland. I hope that the timing of my trip will greatly reduce the chance of this happening.
I'm not interested in an integrated bug net regardless of whatever shelter I end up with. If I get a mid, then I'll cover up and sleep with a head net. If I migrate back to a bivy/tarp then I'll purchase my bivy accordingly.
I've found an abundance of information on BPL relating to the MLD Duomid but minimal reviews relating to the Black Diamond Beta Light. I've considered the Solo Plus w/ Beak w/o bug net as well for the weight savings but I'm leaning heavily towards the MLD Duo and BDBL for their bomber reputation, reputed performance in wind and snow, and lower cost.
General observations of dimensions; I haven't seen either shelter in real life:
MLD Duo is rectangular shaped vs BDBL is unevenly hexagon shaped and longer roof which appears to allow for a steeper pitch at the foot and head.
MLD Duo is 8" longer but seems to be a shallower pitch head to foot so not sure if this really adds/reduces/or is equal in usable space length-wise.
BDBL is 1' wider at its widest point but 16" narrower at the head and foot.
BDBL uses two poles in the center while MLD uses two poles (with extenders?) on the sides. Perceived greater flexibility to sleep diagonally when solo in the MLD but will face similar restrictions when with camping partner. It appears that BDBL may be an easier set up and doesn't require pole extenders.
Advertised weight and price comparison close enough to be negligible for me.
I've doubled my efforts to buy American since the recession. I assume BDBL is made overseas so +1 for MLD (relax tenderhearted people I'm not xenophobic.) If all things were equal I would buy American but there appear to be nuances to both shelters which would make them perform differently.
I'm 6'3" and broad shouldered. I occasionally will have a camping partner or one of my kids with me. I'm currently building a pulk sled and want to do more camping in the winter (based in Washington State.) I like having my gear in the shelter with me. If I take on the weight penalty of a Mid in lieu of a traditional tarp, I will forgo a bivy to mitigate the weight penalty. I'll use BD carbon corks as my poles.
Please let me know if I've misunderstood any of the characteristics of these two shelters. Any input is appreciated.Feb 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm #1958202
I have an MSR Twin Peaks – virtually identical in size & shape to the Beta Light.
It is bomber in the wind as long as you have solid stake placements. I use it with flicklock poles and with them it is easy to jack the poles up to tighten the pitch.
When pitched tight to the ground there is plenty of floor space but not lots of headroom due to the pole placements.
A note on dimensions – the dimensions on the BD website do not jibe with what I have seen elsewhere. The floor dimensions they show are the same as what they show for the beta bug net, but it is clear from photos of the two together that the beta light itself is larger than that. Plus I know that folks have used the beta bug under the twin peaks and say it fits perfect. So I believe them to be the saem size, and the twin peaks is definitely larger than what the BD site says for the Beta Light. My measurements for my Twin Peaks are 58" across the ends, 80" across the middle and 114" long.Feb 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm #1958212
Thanks that is good to know. It's strange that there is relatively little chatter about the BDBL on BPL but I guess that may be due to the fact that more members gravitate towards the cottage industry or MYOG for shelters (my perception anyways). I've had my eye on the Beta Light for a while and I think I'll just pull the trigger on it just to satisfy my curiosity.Feb 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm #1958262
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
The bdbl was my only shelter for about 10 years. Its stellar. I have no experience with the duomid, but I can say that the bdbl is palatial. Roomy for 2, & can squeeze in 3. The bugnet is really nice too. The tarp deals with condensation quite well. Its really simple to pitch, never took me more than about 5 mins even with the inner. Not sure why its not more popular here either. I sold mine only to help fund a zpacks hexamid twin when I got a bad case of gramshedeitis.Feb 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm #1958270
@hesLocale: Pacific NW
The Black Diamond Beta Light is nearly the same as the Golite Shangri La 2.
I'm fairly certain the SL2 would be less prone to condensation given the peak venting at both ends, which BDBL seems to lack.
You can find lots of comments about the SL2 on BPL and elsewhere. SL2 is listed at higher weight, but good part of that is a set of heavy stakes included with SL2. I think the actual difference is that SL2 is 3 or 4 ounces heavier, assuming BDBL listed weight is accurate. Also, the SL2 comes with factory-taped seams and doesn't need seam sealing, while BDBL does not and seam sealing will add more weight there.
For some reading about SL2 (and for some pretty pictures) in many of his trip recaps here's one place you can look:
(EDITED TO UPDATE WITH BETTER LINK PAGE:)
On Wonderland in late August there could still be bad mosquitoes in spots. Especially without bugnet tent I would stay away from the camps that are by lakes (and also from Devil's Dream camp) and try to stop at ones that are by running water (most have 'creek' in camp name).Feb 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm #1958314
Thank you for your responses. The SL2 appears to be worth serious consideration as well. I read his blog and the pictures look very similar to the BD BL.
I was happy to hear that you had such good things to say about the BD Beta Light. I figure that I'll invest in a bomber shelter in the short term and then set my sights on a feather light cuben fiber shelter after that.
Thanks again for your input.
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