Wind-resistance of ultralight, 2-person shelters?
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Jun 8, 2013 at 11:22 am #1303957Daniel GBPL Member
My first post here, excited to join the very interesting banter on these threads.
I'm coming from double-wall tents and considering purchasing an ultralight, 2-person shelter. I've done a lot of research on these forums and elsewhere and am still having some trouble getting an absolute and relative sense of wind resistance for the shelters that have caught my eye, hoping people here can give some indications.
My specific use case is 2-person, 3-season use in above tree-line, unprotected areas of Alaska with main concern being ability to withstand very strong winds (50+ MPH), possibly with rain. Obviously an extreme, but really looking for peace of mind if the 1% weather occurrence happens in a remote area. I'm also keen to have a 2 person bug-protection option, though not necessarily at same time as experiencing strong winds. I've been looking at the MLD Trailstar, the Duomid, and the HMG Echo II so far.
My main question is what is the MAXIMUM wind these shelters can reasonably handle (assuming good anchoring and guylines) and in what configuration? For example, I've read the Trailstar can operate normally with a 48" trekking pole but can cinch down to 36" for wind resistance. Is similar possible with the HMG Echo II or the Duomid?
Secondary questions of thoughts on bug protection for Trailstar and DuoMid. Specifically, do the bug options for the TrailStar work when it's in the low to the ground 36" center pole configuration? How does DuoMid innernet compare to just adding netting to the bottom of the fabric?
For context, my head is currently favoring the Echo II for the modular approach and lack of a center pole (backpacking with girlfriend), but worried it may be the least wind resistant of the three. Appreciate any feedback!Jun 8, 2013 at 11:48 am #1994624Hoot FilsingerBPL Member
@filsingerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Hello Daniel and welcome to BPL,
Did you see this article?Although it does not offer specifics of the shelters in your thread, It may be of help. Roger's tunnel tent design looks interesting.
HootJun 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm #1994648Joel BenfordSpectator
@morte66Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
I've seen a mention of the Trailstar coping with 120mph wind in Scotland (triple pegged). It seems to be in a different class for wind handling.
My impression is that the Duomid will take 50mph, but it will make a lot more noise about it than the Trailstar. If the two of you carry two poles each, you can do the inverted V setup for the Duomid to get an uninterrupted floor.
I've not encountered the HMG.Jun 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm #1994674Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
The longer the poles and the longer the fabric spans, the less they can handle wind. The tents you have listed are not designed for high mountain conditions.
Read our series on tunnels:
For light entertainment you could also read 'When Things Go Wrong' at
CheersJun 9, 2013 at 8:11 am #1994873
The 2 person conical shaped Titanium Goat Vertex 5 (21 oz.) spills wind fairly well as it has no flat sides. A strong dedicated pole should be used rather than trekking pole and pole jack if higher winds are anticipated.
Last summer I was solo in northern British Columbia and spent one long night in my Duomid with sustained winds of 25 gusting to 50 mph. I had every peg/tieout rocked down and had no issues other than loudly flapping sidewalls. Having said that, I would have slept better in a tunnel tent like my Stephensons Warmlite.Jun 9, 2013 at 10:41 am #1994933Daniel GBPL Member
Thanks for the feedback! The articles were interesting. Taking a hard look at tunnel tents, especially as the girlfriend has expressed preference. Not as light as the shelters but a big improvement on my 4 pole geodesic dome. So far Hilleberg Anjan caught my eye for 3 season use at a lighter weight, wondering if you guys have any opinion on that one?Jun 9, 2013 at 11:12 am #1994944
The new Tarptent Cloudburst 3 tunnel tent looks very promising. Light, roomy and with good headroom. Looks like a very livable palace for two. Looking forward to some real world reviews this summer.Jun 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm #1995093Anton SolovyevBPL Member
@antonsolovyevLocale: Colorado, Utah
If you are considering full on tents, then I have got some data points on MSR HubbaHubba and MuthaHubba.
In my experience with additional guy lines these tents handle wind quite well. It becomes just a function of stake points (anchors). Without additional guy lines the tent gets flattened to the ground and the poles break.
I have had MuthaHubba in a wind storm where it was the only tent left standing. One participant (before retiring to the car) claimed to have been carried inside the tent some distance. After the storm, the gear (stoves, shoes) was scattered hundreds of meters away. I had the tent anchored with the largest pieces of sandstone I could lift and carry. I had 8 anchor points, probably several hundred kilograms of rocks. The tent stood well and sustained no damage. I am guessing the gusts were to 70mph.
Here's a picture:
(the amount of anchoring rocks in *this* pic is insufficient, BTW)
I have been in Hubbas in wet conditions and they handled rain well too. The two person one is about 2kg. Not ultralight, but there isn't anything much lighter w/o some compromises. The two person tent is very comfortable for two people. The quality is great and MSR will replace broken poles regardless of tent age. The two person tent is a joy to set up.
MSR Hubbas are free standing. I suspect some Hillebergs you are looking at are not. If you are concerned about wind, chances are you are above tree line. There may not be a way to use stakes. In this case free standing tents are a huge help.Jun 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm #1995190Jason ElsworthBPL Member
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
The few Anjan reviews I have seen have been pretty positive. The only negative I have seen is that there is a gap between the ground and the fly, which can let a cold wind through. Some consider this a problem; others consider it vital for effective ventilation.
The Trailstar seems to me the best tarp around for strong winds. Oookworks do an inner that can be used for high and low pitches. The general consensus from the UK seems to be that if you can get it well pegged down it will perform as well as, if not better, that most light weight backpacking tents. In a real emergency you can put the pole down to 90cm and peg every side down the ground:).
From my limited experience with a Duomid I concluded that as long as it was well pegged down and you used two trekking poles lashed together then it would do pretty well in the wind. It might not be the most peaceful of nights though.
If strong winds in open areas are your key consideration, and you want to use a tarp, then you wont go far wrong with a Trailstar. I have used mine for about 20 nights now, but not in strong winds.Jun 10, 2013 at 4:28 am #1995208Joel BenfordSpectator
@morte66Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Looking back, I think I answered your question a bit too directly. Yes, the Trailstar will laugh at 50mph winds and the others can be made to cope.
However, there is another question: up there in Alaska above the treeline, is it just wind you're bothered about? Or are you also concerned with cold (get a solid fabric inner), snow loading (steep sides and/or horizontal guys), uphill rain and snow getting in in volume (get a tent with a sod cloth), being locked down in a blizzard for days (big enough vestibule to cook and dig a latrine), and so on?
If this was for Western Scotland in May where you will get the hard wind and rain, but not much of the other stuff, those three shelters with bathtub groundsheet or bivy bags would do fine. For real altitude, I've no experience but I'd be concerned. I'd think you'd need to have real skills and a plan to make a shaped tarp work for that.Jun 10, 2013 at 6:03 am #1995223Sean SmithMember
Not exactly what you were looking at but of the same brand. I got a Rogen over the Anjan since i'm 6' tall and wanted to actually fit in the tent with one other person, and used it for about 12 days now. On a few nights, it was exposed to some very strong canyon gusts that crumpled other tents in the same area. It didn't even blink.
Craftmanship/details are in another league from anything I've seen (big agnes and tarp tent are what I've used or seen in the past in the UL category) though the price is a bit insane, in my opinion. however, I hope to use it for many years to come and all the little features it has are really cool.Jun 10, 2013 at 7:08 am #1995231
The biggest benefit of the Hillebergs is how they come standard with multiple guy out points. This is what provides the stability in the wind.
The biggest issue with Hillebergs is the weight, which isn't as much of an issue in the winter or on an expedition, but for 3 season use it may be.Jun 10, 2013 at 7:55 am #1995244
Here is an interesting thread on mids in windy conditions.Jun 10, 2013 at 8:21 am #1995261
Another thread on wind resistance.Jun 10, 2013 at 8:25 am #1995262Stuart .BPL Member
That was a good read, Ross. I have a SuperMid on its way and wondered what it'd take to make it more stable than the DuoMid I tried last year. Lots of excellent advice there. I shall put those techniques to good use.
As for Hilleberg, you could never accuse them of being ultralight. But their non-freestanding three or four pole tunnel models provide an awful lot of usable space and stability for serious 4 season conditions, and are considerably lighter than their geodesic equivalents.Jun 10, 2013 at 8:32 am #1995266Sean SmithMember
The attached guy lines are great and very easy to use. So far I've only used them with rocks. On the Rogen, not only are there two on each corner but they are staggered on each side to all work together for overall strength.
Yes, the price and weight increase were hard to swallow. I gained about a pound on the trail over my Seedhouse SL2. Pack space is about the same although the Hilleberg poles are longer.
The floor is much more durable feeling than other UL tents I've used. Basically everything seems more robust, which is impressive considering the minimal weight gains but huge gains in strength and durability.
But most importantly, I no longer touch the ends with my 6'6" bag or head. In the end, since it's for my wife and I, and she refuses to try the UL options available, it's perfect.
If you have rocks, trees, etc to attach to you really only need one stake for each vestibule. And that could even be avoided with some additional lines attached.
I've not found it necessary to stake the tent itself, yet.
I've been meaning to weigh the Rogen and will try to do so tonight.Jun 10, 2013 at 9:18 am #1995288
I like your post and your pic, and I like your honest final assessment to go with maybe a tunnel or a Warmlite.
I have never used the much vaunted Kirfaru tipi tent (or the Titanium Goat) but have extensive experience with the old Chouinard Pyramid and gotta say it was not good unless you like staying up all night in a ridgetop windstorm holding down the leading edge from gusts attempting to lift it off the ground like an umbrella.
Plus on the small Pyramid the center pole really gets in the way and I ended up with the foot of my down bag pushed up against the wet sidewall (even though the single pole can be angled at times to get more room although this doesn't help in stability). Just some thoughts.
And like with all floorless tarps, the tipi tent can get sheeting ground water and lake effect whereby in a deluge you end up in a temporary pond, a fairly common event in the Southeast forests.
When it comes to wind and Hillebergs, a point needs to be made regarding the beefiness of their 1800 Kerlons (black labels) versus their 1200 Kerlons, etc. A buddy of mine just got a new red Kaitum and we compared guyout tabs with my Keron. They were MUCH less substantial.
Here is his new Kaitum with the thinner guyout tabs.
Here are the standard guyout tabs with Kerlon 1800 tents.
I bring this up because this thread is about wind and Hillebergs and not all Hillebergs are made the same. In fact, my buddy had a lighter weight Allak in a terrible windstorm and has an epic tale of bailing in the middle of the night as his tent guyouts ripped off.Jun 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm #1995356
I found a much better pic on the Hilleberg website—
Look at the Guylines and Attachments pic. That is what is used on their Kerlon 1800's. Their 1200 tents are 50% lighter and I have no idea what they use on their new 3 season tent line.Jun 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm #1995424Anton SolovyevBPL Member
@antonsolovyevLocale: Colorado, Utah
Just curious: why would one use something like Hilleberg Kaitum 2, when just about any off the shelf 2-person double wall tent weighs the same or less and is free standing?
At this weight one could almost get a bombproof 4-season freestanding mountaineering tent. Or a 3-person palace (like Mutha Hubba).
I am also very interested how well pyramid floorless tents handle wind.Jun 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm #1995429
I have to agree with your assessment of the somewhat small old Chouinard. I used one a few times in the early nineties and was underwhelmed at the time. By 1999 I was ready to try floorless shelters again and subsequently used the rather primitve Integral Designs Sil Shelter for over ten years. I finally got sick of crawling in and out of that thing and since then have acquired a Warmlite 2C, Tigoat Vertex 5 and a Duomid. My personal preference is for floorless shelters and have used them extensively at and above treeline in British Columbia. I have never (yet) had water flowing under one, although I was buried in snow overnight a couple of times in that sil shelter. Although I have not yet been hit with high winds in the Vertex 5, I believe it is very well suited to withstand them given a strong pole and proper staking. As you can see in the attached pic, the Tigoat has very strong ground level tieouts. IMO tunnel versus pyramid shelters is more of a personal preference based on weight and individual comfort tolerance as either properly designed and set-up shelter will withstand some pretty harsh conditions.Jun 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm #1995437
Ooops, here are the pics of the silshelters and vertex 5Jun 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm #1995438
Looks pretty solid here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_S2Ci_doWLA.
All comes down to guying out extensively and properly.Jun 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm #1995510Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
My original TT Moment is a VERY wind resistant design.
I'd say the new Moment Double Wall (without the inner tent if you want to be SUL) would be my choice for the very lightest solo tent.
(Yes, I realize the OP asked for 2 person tents.)
I've added 4 hem loops on my Moment and have pre-made guy lines W/ LineLoc tensioners for the main hoop tieouts.
In addition I modded the tent to take the crossing pole internally to fully support the canopy. I have not yet experienced a wind that will defeat this setup, even 75 mph. gusts did not distort the poles.
BTW, use search to see photos of my winterized TT Scarp 2. It is now extremely capable in high winds. According to the weather report the 40 to 50 mph. winds it experienced gusted to 62 mph. and it was very solid with no flapping.
The problem is you probably need to mod it as I have for those winds.Jun 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm #1995997
I believe the old tipi tents like the Chouinard have been improved to the point where they do not balloon up in a windstorm like an umbrella. In fact, I remember reading the Chouinard pyramid was designed (back in the 1970's—I got mine in '85) to be for winter mountaineering whereby a load of snow is to be placed around the perimeter skirt to seal it up and prevent spindrift. Sometimes spindrift can be bad with floorless shelters.
I like your pics and wonder if you've ever had problems with spindrift?Jun 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm #1996028Josh BrockMember
If it was me and I was in Alaska I would probably use a 4 season tent. I mean how often does alaska get the other three seasons. The majority of the year Alaska is considered in the fourth season right?
Kifaru makes great tents IMHO that stand up to crazy winds. Ive had my 8 man tipi in 70-80 mph gust and it hung in there great. Plus if your bringing the girly and spring for the stove you will not be disapointed. Nothing like setting up camp when its 15 degrees outside knowing that in a bit you wil be sitting in your tent in a t-shirt. Ive made it 70 in my tent when it was 20 out no problem. Ive even taken a shower in their with hot water that was heated on the wood burning stove and it wasnt cold at all.
Wind resiistance all about the amount of tie outs and keeping the load on each tie out to a minimum… for instance if you have three tie outs on one side of the tent the weight in wind hitting that side is divided by 3, but if you had 12 the weight per tie out would be reduced greatly.
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