- Feb 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm #3379824
I won’t be using this for a SUL setup right away, but like to keep things as light as possible for the future. I have had my eye on the Ghost UL 2 person tent from Mountain Hardwear. Its 2lb 9oz packed. Claims to be watertight. Ends up being about the same weight as my hammock setup; Hammock, straps, UQ, and rainfly.
Good tent? Any thoughts?Feb 2, 2016 at 11:16 pm #3379830
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
If you are going to sleep on the ground and what to be as light as possible, get a cuben fiber floorless tent supported by trekking poles like a mountain laurel designs solomid or zpacks hexamid. In my opinion floorless tents are superior. If you don’t use trekking (i dont use them), you can use a dedicated pole or better yet just use a flat tarp and pitch it off trees.
2lb 9oz is not that light, big agnes makes a free standing tent that is lighter.Feb 3, 2016 at 4:56 am #3379839
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yeah, 2#9 is to heavy for UL, let alone SUL. I only claim UL in summer and carry a 17oz tarp. SUL people often get down to 4-5oz tarps. Some will actually skip a tarp in good weather sleeping under a tree for a couple nights.Feb 3, 2016 at 6:25 am #3379841
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
What Justin and James said…
“SUL” — if you’re into definitions — is defined as a base weight of 5 lbs or less, which means that a 2lb9oz shelter comprises more than half the base weight. There are folks who use a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 (which looks an awful lot like the Ghost UL2… or is that vice versa??) as part of a “UL” (10 lbs or under base), but must cut more weight elsewhere to compensate.
All that aside, however, most people who’ve been at this long enough have dispensed with the labels and use the lightest gear that they can afford that keeps them comfortable and gets the job done, or use cheaper alternatives or MYOG, put it all in the lightest, comfortable pack that meets the same criteria and call it good. “SUL” and “UL” still remain useful IMVHO because they encourage folks who are “new to the game” to see what is possible when striving to lose pack weight by looking at the gear lists of those who’ve done it before.
When the time of year and conditions are juuusssst right (mild weather, few bugs) I’ll do the occasional “SUL-ish” 1- or 2-night trip. For shelter, as James alluded, I use a Zpacks tarp that weighs about 5 oz with guylines and a piece of polycryo as a groundsheet. The MLD Core backpack weighs about 11 oz(with bottle holders), EE quilt is 11.6 oz in its stuff sack, Esbit cook kit 7.4 oz (kinda heavy, but that includes coffee cup and fuel). One thing I don’t compromise is my air mat, which is a Neoair Trekker torso/wide that weighs 15 oz, and an Exped pillow. Those items alone push me a bit past SUL, but I don’t care; no matter what, I need a good night’s sleep.
Photo of the zpacks “pocket tarp”Feb 3, 2016 at 6:29 am #3379844
If you’re looking for a great solo tent check out the SMD Lunar Solo – it’s 24 ounces plus stakes & guylines, but it’s well under 2 pounds packed.Feb 3, 2016 at 7:02 am #3379851
Thanks for all the useful info guys. I’m liking the zpacks cf rectangular tarp, (5.4oz). It seems like the best cost to weight ratio. Seems pretty comparable size wise to a MLD cf grace tarp. I would like to not spend more than $200 on a tarp. I think for $200 the Zpacks CF Tarp is the best bang for the buck.
Also I think the GG C-Twinn would be ideal if I ever camped with a partner.Feb 3, 2016 at 9:24 am #3379877
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I am a tarp user. Tarps aren’t for everyone and require experience and a bit more fiddling at times. I wouldn’t buy that 5.4oz tarp, it is too small for my needs. I would go for 8′ X 10′ but that is me.
Since you are unsure of what you want and need, your first shelter probably won’t work out in the long run, but it will tell you what you do want or need. I would buy something popular here on BPL, that way if it doesn’t work out, you can easily sell it on gear swap. Also, I would buy something in silnylon since it is cheaper and Not that much heavier than Cuben, especially since you want to stay under $200. In your case I would be looking at TarpTents, SMD, and MLD products in silnylon.
For now, forget the SUL. That comes over time if you want to get there.Feb 3, 2016 at 11:13 am #3379894
How big is the rainfly from your hammock setup? I’m guessing that it’s roughly the size of the ZPacks 5×9 CF tarp. Why can’t you use it?
I’ll echo Nick’s suggestion…Start big (i.e. 8×10) and work your way down in size and weight as you gain experience. You’ll always be able to unload an 8×10 silnylon tarp here for close to what you paid for it (especially if you buy it on Gear Swap).
As for the SUL status…If you get down to a sub 5-pound base weight you’ll probably realize, like many of us did, that carrying a pack with a 7-9 pound base weight is really no more unpleasant while hiking and much more pleasant in camp.Feb 3, 2016 at 11:19 am #3379896
Great info Kevin. I’ll look into a those brands.
In regards to Kevins question. My hammock tarp is 9×12. It’s a chinook tarp in a Hennessy snakeskin. Don’t know the exact weight details but it’s somewhere under 2#. Next time i camp I’ll try it out as a ground tarp, just to get the feel for it
I guess I didn’t realize how light SUL was. Still a noob to this and the site. Thanks for all the help guys!Feb 3, 2016 at 11:58 am #3379901
Fold your 9×12 tarp in half to make a 9×6 tarp and see if you can pitch it as such (hopefully the grommets are in the right place). It will give you a feeling for just how small a 9×6 tarp is. It looks plenty big when you see it laid out flat, but once it’s in a A-Frame those sides move in very quickly as you raise the ridgeline.
I started with an 8×10 tarp in a couple of different configurations. Here are some photos when I had my tarp pitched to receive a storm coming in from the west (foot end):
My experiences with the 8×10 helped me realize a couple of things:
- If rain is not expected I really prefer cowboy camping so I can see the stars
- If rain is expected I like to be pretty well protected from blowing rain
I migrated from the 8×10 to a Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape:
Play around with different options and find out what you want before you drop $200 on a CF tarp that you may not like.Feb 4, 2016 at 2:00 pm #3380182
todd harperBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
Nick and Kevin are giving great advice – follow their lead and you will save $$$.
“Suffer” thru carrying your current tarp a few times and set it up in different configurations to see what you like and don’t like.
Then when you drop some coin you have a better chance of getting it right and being happier with your purchase. If not, Gear Swap will warmly help you unload some gear! :)Feb 4, 2016 at 3:47 pm #3380213
Thanks for all the responses and advice! It was nice in mid mo today and I had a few hours between jobs; so I decided to try out a few setup ideas in my rock garden of a back yard.
First attempt went well. Had the tarp folded in half like Kevin suggested. Tied the tarp to a tree and a porch post. Staked out the two middle tieouts. And the “doors” of the tarp I used as sidewalls? Not sure of the right term. Pictures in next post (phone won’t let me upload). I probably could have taken more/better pictures. Sorry for that. Also 16mph winds today.
2nd attempt I decided that I should be using my trekking poles! Not trees. The tarp I am using has an offset tieout near the middle of the ridgeline. I put my trekking pole to 50cm and was trying to do an a frame style tarp. When I was removing my ridgeline from the tree I ripped part of my tarp! Photos in next post (On my tarp I use figure 9 carabiners on the ridgeline grommets. Makes it extremely easy for set up and tightening of the tarp.).Feb 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm #3380218Feb 4, 2016 at 4:02 pm #3380219
I know that I probably left to much space at the base. also only had 4 stakes to work with. It looks pretty baggy because its folded over, and my stake job wasn’t the best. Thanks ahead for any input or how to fix my tarp.Feb 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm #3380256
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
As far as repairing the tarp, there is a problem because the tear apparently started at the grommet. So, the grommet will need to be replaced. I never had any luck with undoing them then re-crimping them. But you need to replace the corner with SilNylon. I usually make a diagonal cut and use a rolled seam because it is stronger.Then I hem it square (or in line with any odd angles you have The “rolled” or flat seam will also lock in the hemming. Then add some thin nylon/poly ribbon over the hems insuring you overlap seam by 4″ on each side, preferably on the inside.
Reinforce the corner with a second layer, folded under at the edges and sewn in. (I also add some silicone adhesive between the layers, but thats just me.) This should be a smaller size than the patched corner bit also rolled at edges to reinforce the stitching. This adds a second layer of strength reinforcing the area. Remember this goes out to the hem but is shorter than the diagonal seam you made in the first step. Then add the reinforcing ribbon across the hemming, leaving a at least an inch hanging out . You can fold the webbing leaving about a 1-2″ loop hanging out. Then seal all seams. A loop will likely be stronger than the grommet, it distributes the load to the hems where there should be at least a 6 layer strength…3 from the first hem, as you roll the edge inside. then at least 2 layers where you add the reinforcement. I would roll the hems on the reinforcement, but it really is not necessary.
I never use grommets. Grommets cause this problem all too often. They actually crimp into the fabric, damaging it. If you want to use one, take a piece of old seat belt and hot knife it to cut it to about 4 inches long. Then double stitch all around the belt in the area you will be place the gromet. Tack it down every 1/2″ or so internally. Do not use a heavy bar tack. It can actually cause fabric weakness. Then locate the hole, and CAREFULLY, use a hot nail to melt through this, widening the area slowly to match the hole. The melted plastic will lock all the layers together. Then put your grommet in, riviting it firmly onto the material. These *never* pull out in my experience. But, they avoid the issue of trying to bind the rivet to the fabric. It just acts as a wear area for any rope.
Hope this helps.Feb 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm #3380933
So i have done a bit of research. Found out I can get msr tents through my workplace. I really like the Tarptent ProTrail. I also really like the msr carbon reflex 1. I have never ground camped. I have slept in my hammock under a tarp and slept in tents to many times to count. I will be camping anywhere from 15 degrees to 90 degrees. Possibly having to pitch in tight locations also. My main goal is to have a reasonably light, comfortable shelter with 3/4 season camping ability. Thanks in advance for any help.Feb 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm #3381257
Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
I thought about buying a 2016 Carbon Reflex 1, but I wanted one in stealthy green, so I called MSR to find out why the tents can only be bought with grey rainflys in North America. The green Reflex 1’s are available at ultralightoutdoorgear.com and other online retailers in the UK. Turns out that only Europe gets the 2016 Carbon Reflexes and Freelites in green (Euro Green). I asked the guy at MSR why that’s the case and he said it’s because Europeans want stealthy colors more than Americans do. I suppose with the population being more dense in Europe, there’s a bigger demand for earth tones for stealth camping. Any Europeans have any insights on this? I could order a green Carbon Reflex from the UK but they cost a little more and the shipping is a lot higher.Aug 5, 2016 at 8:33 am #3418431
Lizz RoeBPL Member
Weird isn’t it? the colour thing. I’ve noticed that at bushcraft events and hiking shows there’s quite a bit of anti non green around. I think that the visual pollution thing is part of it, and the fade into the background in densely populated mountain ridges is another aspect of it (that and the concern about being woken by an irate farmer if they can see you from six miles away!)Aug 5, 2016 at 10:23 am #3418458
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
I once heard that there were laws or something against having brightly colored tents in the UK. Is this Law or courtesy? Or nonsense?Aug 5, 2016 at 4:36 pm #3418544
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
OK, here I go, again.
I’m going to pimp pyramid tarps. Pyramids are a great choice for someone first getting into UL. Heck, they’re a great choice period- it’s what I use. A 2-person pyramid is scandalously roomy for one person, and weighs less than 1 pound. (1-person ‘mids, like all 1-person shelters, are too crowded for my tastes.) They are incredibly easy to pitch well- stake out the four corners into a nice square, then insert the center pole. Most 2P ‘mids can use a trek pole as the center pole, though some need a little extra- perhaps a rock under it, or a small extension made of aluminum tubing. As UL shelters go they are pretty bomber with a full 12-stake pitch, though in less demanding conditions only 4 or 5 stakes are needed (the fifth stake is needed to hold one wall if you want to leave the door open). Re-tensioning pyramids in the middle of the night when the silnylon gets wet and sags is very simple- pitch it with the center pole tilted initially, then when it sags you just straighten the pole to tension the tent.
I like MLD ‘mids because of their reputation for (and my personal experience of) their quality, but they are slightly on the pricey side. Their 13oz DuoMid costs $260. There are many manufacturers who make 2P ‘mids, though.
So what are the downsides of pyramids? Some people claim that they have large footprints, but I think that’s hogwash. They aren’t really any larger than an equivalent dome tent. Next, pyramids aren’t as versatile in pitching as a square tarp. Like a catenary tarp, there’s really only one way to pitch a pyramid, other than deciding how high you want it off the ground, and whether or not to leave the door open. Conversely, there are many creative ways to pitch a square tarp. That said, the pyramid as-is can handle almost any non-mountaineering conditions, unlike the square tarp which pretty much requires you to know a half-dozen different ways to pitch it depending upon the conditions. In my book the pyramid wins that one. The only real downside I know of is that- for some reason that is utterly lost on me- some people just can’t stand having a center pole. It annoys them. It is worth pointing out that you can angle the center-pole to allow you more space in the back of the pyramid when you’re going solo.
Even when I’m in a fanatical SUL mood I still use a pyramid. Sort of. I use a (multi-use as both shelter and raingear) Gatewood Cape.Aug 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm #3419515
Gary PikovskyBPL Member
@gosha007Locale: New Hampshire White Mountains
Just combined a bunch of new gear to create a 18oz double wall “tent” with poles:Oct 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm #3432379
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
When it is offered again the Six Moon Designs “Skyscape X” Cuben fiber (Dyneema) tent, at 17 oz. is worthy of consideration.
For the money (a fair amount, you “call for pricing”) you get a fully enclosed,floored tent with a generous amount of mesh netting for views and venting. It’s a single/double wall hybrid and very cleverly designed. For $235 you can get a silnylon Skyscape if Cuben fiber is beyond your budget for tents. Take a look.Dec 5, 2016 at 8:03 pm #3438958
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Justin, in my experience floorless tents are buggy and dirty, A sewn-in tent floor is drier, not buggy and much cleaner. The dirt stays on the underside of my tent floor or on a dry cleaners’ bag “ground cloth” under my tent floor.
Other than ultimate light weight I see no reason to have a floorless tent. Just as I far prefer the comfort, for a few extra ounces, of an internal frame pack and padded waist belt to the dubious uncomfortable but lighter “advantage” of a shapeless pack and no waist belt.Dec 5, 2016 at 9:23 pm #3438984
Richard ScruggsBPL Member
+1 for pryamid-style shelters.
In addition to the cottage outfits already mentioned in this thread as sources for excellent tarps and/or mids (i.e, SMD, MLD & TarpTent), you might check Oware, too, for tarps & mids at $200 & lower.
For example, see Oware mids at http://shop.bivysack.com/Pyramid-and-Alphamid-Tarps_c4.htm
The above product page at Oware provides additional links to Oware’s further line of tarps (Bird Tarps, CatTarps, FlatTarps), with each line having its own unique design/feature set.
I’ve purchased shelters from all of the above cottage outfits. Without exception, those shelters have outstanding design, quality, and functionality.
Choosing one these shelters over another amounts to what best serves the purpose given the nature of a particular trip, party-size, expected conditions, time of year, etc.
In my experience, all of those cottage outfits provide terrific customer service, too.
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