Apr 16, 2020 at 11:01 am #3641604
In 2018 I SOBOed the PCT. My shelter was a Zpacks hexamid solo, with the net floor. At 15 ounces including guys, stakes, and stuff sack, it served my needs, but every time I passed a Duplex, I was envious of the spaciousness with a relatively minor weight penalty. South of Walker Pass, I almost exclusively cowboyed, so my current thought to reduce my base weight is to go with a tarp and bug bivy. The things I appreciated about the hex are privacy and enclosed rain protection. I have been looking at the pocket tarp with doors, the zero g deschutes, and the dcf Grace solo.
Terrain and weather-wise, I’m planning on the Pacific Northwest Trail and the CDT. I’d like to find something that would provide the privacy of an enclosed shelter but come in at less than 6-7 ounces, giving me the option to bivy when the weather is fair without carrying a full on “tent”.
I’m comfortable making my own gear, so I’ve been looking at adapting some designs like the grace solo to include foot/doors/vestibule space using .51 dcf. Alternatively I’ve been thinking of adapting a tarp version of the duplex to increase interior space, sort of a hexamid with a two pole design, larger than the hex solo but smaller than a duplex.
Anyone have any great ideas or similar successes?Apr 16, 2020 at 11:21 am #3641605Zach.TBPL Member
The tent I used for a long time was the original Sierra designs High Route. While Heavy, it was spacious, modular and effective two pole design. I believe if you making a DCF version of similar style to a high route or durston xmid, you might be onto something.
Have you looked at the altaplex? I am on the fence buying one. I am 6’2″ so would like a little extra room but much less weight than the original high route. I am evaluating going with high route new version, durston xmid, mld xl or altaplex. I am leaning towards high route version 2 for value and lower cost (I can get one for 150$ with a discount). Is it worth another 450$ for 11 ounces weight savings that an altaplex? Has anyone used an altaplex? I am open to ideas as well.Apr 16, 2020 at 11:26 am #3641606
Cost for me is an additional issue. If money were no object, I would get all the options and experiment with them. Just reaching out for folks’ experiences.Apr 16, 2020 at 11:33 am #3641607Brad PBPL Member
The pocket tarp is not for tall people seems to be the consensus.
It’s currently out of stock, but the Dyneema (or sil poly) Cirriform tarp might be something to consider. Certainly better weather protection than a flat tarp.Apr 16, 2020 at 11:49 am #3641609Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Charles: If you want modularity, you risk carrying more weight than your current 14 oz, unless you go for the lightest DCF option in the tarp which might break your budget.
For example, the lightest MLD bug bivy is 6.5 oz (silnylon floor). The lightest MLD grace tarp is 5 oz for the .5 DCF version not including stakes and tie outs.Apr 16, 2020 at 1:13 pm #3641622
Borah’s Cuben bug bivy comes in at 4.4 oz, paired with the dcf grace sólo is definitely high on my list. Just wishing the grace had overlapping doors like the pocket.Apr 16, 2020 at 6:22 pm #3641657Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I have a pocket tarp without doors. I’m 5’3″. It seems pretty small to me. My head usually hits the top whenever I sit up. There’s really nowhere to sit on my bed that my head does not hit. I would have to scoot out and sit right under the pole on the dirt.
I thought I saw a Trailstar for sale in the gear swap. That would be similar to a pocket tarp but it looks a lot bigger.
A large 8×10 tarp and no bivy would also be a possibility if you aren’t bothered by mosquitoes and can get by with just a head net or upper-body net.Apr 16, 2020 at 10:48 pm #3641706Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The ridge line on the Grace solo is quite long. If needed, you can also pitch it low. As long as I am below tree line and can choose my site, I have found it gives ample protection during summer Sierra Nevada rain storms. From MLD, if uou want a bid more coverage, the patrol tarp has a beak.Apr 17, 2020 at 8:56 am #3641742Eric BlancheBPL Member
@eblancheLocale: Northeast US
If you don’t mind the diy route, I think the best solution is a .51 dcf solo sized pyramid. Something shaped like the seekoutside silex or perhaps like some of the lightheartgear tents. If not overbuilt, I’m confident you could get the weights close to 7-8oz (for just the fly/canopy/tarp). You get all that full coverage along with some type of door system.
I personally would just do a large flat tarp but I don’t mind the lack of privacy too much.Apr 17, 2020 at 10:07 am #3641758
Thanks, Eric. The Silex was not on my radar, and the construction looks straightforward enough for MYOG. It ticks all the boxes, especially since I can customize the depth.Apr 21, 2020 at 6:00 pm #3642452Ken SBPL Member
Hi Charles. I did PCT SOBO 2018 too. Bivy with a DCF Grace Duo ( a few oz for a lot of space was my thinking). Overall I’d like a smaller tarp because I don’t use the space and the small foot print is much better for off trail. The best part of the Grace was that it weighed so little since it was almost always in my pack. I’m not sure about the Grace Solo, but for the Duo I tried to use it some in the wind and had minimal luck, even with taking it to the ground and alternative configurations. Because the CDT has more serious weather, and because I can’t make my own gear, I’m thinking of the patrol tarp (low weight, small footprint), for that and some other off trail. But, I’m not sure how much more storm worthy it is? Interested to hear what you decide on.Apr 23, 2020 at 1:27 pm #3642715Steven ThompsonBPL Member
I use a DCF Grace Duo. The weight difference is minimal and the space (to me) is a big factor when I need to hunker down or want the bit of privacy. Have not, as in Ken S’s experience used it in exposed windy conditions.May 17, 2020 at 3:52 pm #3647746Murali CBPL Member
I think MLD Patrol tarp (6.5 oz) is more spacious than the Pocket tarp with doors (5.3 oz). You can easily hack the MLD patrol tarp to convert the beak into overlapping doors and it may become 7.5 oz at that point.
I am 5’10” and I think the Zpacks pocket tarp is also spacious. It depends on how you pitch it – Darwin on the trail has videos on how to pitch these hexamid tarps for maximum space and I don’t touch the walls when I sit up. He recommends pitching the back 2 corners in a straight line with the pole pitched next and its guy line to form a triangle with the back 2 corners. Then the 2 front corners and the final back one. Using this method, I do get more space. I also pitch a little higher. I do have the Zpacks solo plus ground sheet at 3.5 oz. I am thinking of extending the walls by another 3 inches or so using 0.51 osy DCF. This will give all the storm protection I need and then perhaps add netting for bug protection.
Here is a picture with the solo plus groundsheet. Not shown attached to the tarp – but I usually attach it to the walls to form a nice tub. The bath tub is 84 inches long and the tarp is 107 inches long. You could keep a backpack at the head to block out rain etc. But, I since I pitch it high, I am just going to extend the bath tub walls by another 3 inches on all sides and then attach them to the walls using the stick on loops Zpacks sells. With that I will be completely protected from the elements. I am the kind who just sleeps in the tent – don’t hang out. Will pack and start hiking in rain as well.
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