- Oct 14, 2017 at 7:49 am #3496666
I don’t normally hike – I’m a bikepacker.
I own several good quality solo shelters for various conditions, because my wife won’t go near a mountain bike and doesn’t join me on my trips. But now, she is showing an interest in hiking… so I’m looking for a two-person tent.
Very specifically, I have my eyes on an SMD Lunar Duo, because the Lunar Solo is my go-to shelter (I use an Easton carbon pole with it, but my wife would be sporting trekking poles, which has the Duo covered). So what I’d like to know from anyone who has used both tents is whether their character is roughly the same in the field in terms of stability, ease of pitching etc.
Also, to those who hike in wooded, hilly areas: Is the Duo’s relatively large footprint ever a problem? This tent would be used for stealth camping a lot of the time, in fairly heavily monitored areas with annoyingly strict regulations.
Right now, I’m not really interested in alternatives. But if I decide that the Duo is ‘too big’, I’ll probably go for a tunnel tent. In that case, I might even head off in a completely different direction and choose something that could eventually take a genuine Alpine beating.
But there’s no hurry – I already own a large enough tarp for more benevolent conditions. Right now, it’s just the Duo I’m enquiring about.Oct 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm #3497166
Adam GBPL Member
I own both the Lunar Solo and the Lunar Duo. I like them both, but they feel like different tents.
The Lunar Duo is quite a bit harder to set up than the Lunar Solo. The trekking poles go on the outside rather than the inside. In the Lunar Solo, you can just push the poles out until they run into the tent body and that holds up the tent. When they’re on the outside, there’s nothing really guiding you on the proper angle. Usually, it’s pretty vertical but not always. You have to get the poles at the right height (sometimes hard of somewhat uneven ground) and get the supporting tie-outs properly tensioned as well as the four corners of the tent. It’s not particularly difficult if you practice, but it’s not easy by any means.
The Lunar Duo has a very large footprint. It can be troublesome to erect it in some smaller backcountry campsites. I often need to run the tie outs into the vegetarian around it. It is, however, very roomy. It can hold both of us and all of our gear with room to spare. I don’t think it would work well for stealth camping.Oct 17, 2017 at 2:41 am #3497211
MJ HBPL Member
I often need to run the tie outs into the vegetarian around it.
That’s one cooperative vegetarian.Oct 17, 2017 at 2:51 am #3497213
Aaron MadsenBPL Member
@muleaaronLocale: Far NorCal
I have the duo, and my father the solo. I actually prefer the duo. I feel it’s roomier for two than the solo is for one. Like any similar tent, it takes some getting used to with respect to the pitch. Sitting up is a piece of cake, and we rode out quite the hail storm in one a few years ago in the Tetons. I currently use a Triplex, but only because I wanted a 3 man option. The duo is taller than the Triplex, and very roomy.Oct 17, 2017 at 6:44 am #3497247
Seems my suspicion that we’re talking about two separate tent concepts was justified. I don’t mind a reasonable learning curve (there’s one with the Solo, too, and I understood that tent within half a dozen pitches, iirc). But the large footprint Adam points out could be a problem – plus the fact that uneven terrain might make pitching a new experience every time.
How do the two tents compare in terms of stability? I’ve read comments that the Duo is far more vulnerable in even moderate winds. Aaron’s comment about riding out a hail storm looks more encouraging. But what were the winds like?Oct 18, 2017 at 8:08 am #3497413
So if the Lunar Duo is a completely different tent to the Solo, I might as well look at other completely different solutions for two-person hiking trips.
On my own and on my bike, I have one bunker-style tent for really rough conditions and two much airier solutions, of which the Lunar Solo is my favourite.
With my wife, the initial requirement is an airy solution – I don’t think we’ll be attempting really exposed sites together until she has become more comfortable with the idea of sleeping in the wild (in the past 25 years, the roughest she has experienced are commercial camping sites when our son was younger).
So suddenly, my mind is wandering to the Trailstar – after all, she carries hiking poles on day trips (I use thin, carbon poles with my Lunar Solo and tarp). Now I know the Trailstar is probably even bigger than the Lunar Duo, but my thinking is that without an integrated floor, it might still be more flexible in terms of site requirements. As far as I can tell, one would only need a spot with two suitable flat rectangles for bug bivies or Tyvek ground sheets – the rest of the covered area could be pretty gnarly.
Is that a sensible assessment?
Plus: The Trailstar would have the potential for windier conditions, too. We could progress into the slightly more demanding use cases my wife wouldn’t contemplate at present.
I really don’t want to lock us up in something like a Hubba Hubba with views mostly blocked and gear storage space so limited.
Oct 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm #3497494
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Martin Farrent.
Adam GBPL Member
I purposely set up my Lunar Solo in a very exposed area with high winds. It collapsed on me during the night, mostly because one of my poles was too short. It was an easy fix from inside the tent. The rest of the night was the tent flapping and rocking all over the place but it stayed up.
I can’t imagine the Lunar Duo handling that very well. In the Lunar Solo, the poles can’t really be pushed past the fabric on the inside. They are erected at probably a 30 degree angle. In the Lunar Duo, the poles are outside, so they can be pushed every which way. They also are erected mostly straight up making them more prone to failure.
I can’t imagine the Duo handling what the Lunar Solo handled. However, I’ve never put it the test. I imagine it could handle many rain storms or even hail storms. But most trekking pole supported tents won’t do super well in high winds.Oct 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm #3497557
You remind me of an important factor that makes the Lunar Solo relatively easy for me – I bikepack, so I don’t have adjustable trekking poles when I’m on my own. The fixed-length carbon pole (Easton) is simply inserted at both ends. Then you taughten the tent until it bends a bit, before backing off until the pole is once again (just about) straight. That’s built-in simplicity. There’s a tad more to it, but not all that much. The carbon pole eliminates a huge variable. That’s a feature I would be missing with hikking poles and the Duo.
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