Lightest 3 person shelter for two adults and a child?

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  • #1303395
    BPL Member


    Locale: NYC metro

    This year, we'll be taking our soon-to-be 3 yr old daughter on her first real backpacking experience. We tried squeezing into our Lunar Duo today outside–a bit of a tight squeeze.

    The only shelter I can find that has a reasonable weight is the Tarptent Rainshadow 2:

    It's a pity they don't make it in a lighter fabric like cuben fiber. My Lunar Duo weighs in at 42 oz including everything–2 oz polycro groundsheet, stuff sack, and 6 stakes. If at all possible, I'd like to stay around that weight.

    I have thought about going with a floorless shelter (maybe one from HyperMountainGear?), but I'm not sure if we'll be OK with bugs or not. We do the majority of our trips in Colorado high mountains in the summer.

    Chris K
    BPL Member


    Not lighter than the Rainshadow, but have you looked at the new Cloudburst?

    BPL Member


    I just weighed my Rainshadow at 42.5 ounces with the stuff sack and six carbon fiber stakes, trail dust and all. The carbon stakes save about an ounce over the Easton's. The Rainshadow will fit three big guys – it would be spacious for two adults and a small child. I can't think of anything out there that comes close for the weight.

    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth


    How about this?

    M B
    BPL Member


    You probably can go floorless if you are comfortable with it.

    This past weekend we were in tick-infested hell, and no way I would have considered being without full netting.

    All depends on what kind of shelter you want.

    Lightest will be a tarp or mid, with a groundsheet.
    Next is single wall "tents" like rainshadow.
    Then some double wall options like BA flycreek, Imogene 3, cloudburst

    Dont discount the possibility of two shelters either. A single and a double.
    1P and 2P are much easier to sell, and offer more options, than 3P shelters.

    Two Hexamid twins, would weigh 34.6 oz with the cuben groundsheets.

    Kevin Schneringer
    BPL Member


    Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands

    Bear Den from Bear Paw Wilderness could be an option
    Go with Cuben and a vestibule. And I am sure
    John could sew in a floor and weight
    Could possibly be under 20 -25 oz maybe less!

    Henry S
    BPL Member


    > Two Hexamid twins, would weigh 34.6 oz with the cuben groundsheets.

    Not including stakes. Add some stakes and then empty the wallet…

    2 x ( $350 [Hexamid twin] + $120 [cuben groundsheet] + 6x$2.75 [stakes] ) = $973.50

    M B
    BPL Member


    No doubt more costly.

    Thing is, UL 3P shelters are limited use, for 3P usually.
    They are not that common, (few choices) not that easy to sell either. You will take more of a hit $ on resale than popular 1p and 2p shelters.

    You have lots more options if you combine a single and a duo,or such.

    Maybe not always the lightest, but is definitely a versatile way to go for anyone that takes solo or duo trips as well. Overall, it could be the cheapest if you are going to own multiple tents.

    Anything under 1.5 lbs per person, is in the acceptable range IMO.

    BPL Member


    I chatted with a Golite rep in March and here are the stats he gave me for the Imogene UL3 by component:

    "Packed weight per the website is 54oz.

    Fly weight per rep is 417 grams (14.7oz)

    Nest weight per rep is 525 (18.4oz)

    So I assume the weight of poles is ~21oz."

    Rainshadow looks pretty sweet at 42oz and $279.

    M B
    BPL Member


    shelter comparison chart on Golites website lists the weights

    15oz poles
    15oz fly
    19 oz nest
    3 oz stakes

    I have one sitting in my closet, havent set it up yet.

    For sure, can get by with 2 oz of Ti skewer stakes, not 3 = 51 oz.

    stuffsaks are not included in trail weight, because a weight conscious person wont bring them.

    The rainshadow needs seam sealing, Id plan on ~2 oz for that on a shelter that big = 44 oz, maybe even more depending on how liberal you are. Some people could do it with 1oz, some would use 3oz. Spraying with silicone to improve water resistance adds ounces too, as some have been knownn to do.

    I have no doubt the silnylon of the rainshadow is stronger than the fabric of the imogene or flycreek. The flycreek material has a reputation for being weak. They are also low hydrostatic head, 1200mm.

    All lightweight shelters have tradeoffs.

    BPL Member


    Thanks MB. I didn't see that link before.

    Here it is for anyone who's interested.

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    My Scarp 2 is large enough for two adults and a child.

    Tarptent's photos show the Scarp 2 with three adult mattresses side-by-side.
    And I really like the two door/two vestibule feature of this tent.

    P.S. yes, the Scarp 2 is a double wall tent (and heavier than the Cloudburst option) but it means each adult can carry either the inner or the fly, dividing the weight but gaining a more condensation free tent.

    M B
    BPL Member


    I just weighed my imogene 3

    body 19.2
    fly 15.3
    poles 15.87

    total = 50.4 oz , not 49 oz.

    so the poles are a bit heavier than advertized. Could probably replace the shock cord in them with thinner and drop a little bit.

    Stakes are also DAC ~5" V stakes, about 0.38 oz each, kind of ridiculous but the price must have been just right. Seeing as how there is a DAC Logo tab sewn onto the tent, something I never seen before with any other tent with DAC poles.

    I have another tent that had DAC poles which weighed 16oz. I switched to Easton nano-ltes for it and dropped 4 oz. Havent measured the lengths yet, but It may be possible to save a bit of weight on the poles, assuming you could get/adapt the hardware.

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