- Sep 20, 2017 at 4:03 am #3492013
Gerry, why would you recommend the patrol shape over the cirriform shape? Similar of course, but we’re getting into nitpicking now :) thanks for the perspective re: size. Perhaps I’ll split the difference between the 1 and 2p. Storms are not something I plan to be in, so if I am caught I’m OK being a bit cramped to ride things out, so that I can have a lighter shelter and smaller footprint the other 98% of the time. If I find myself living in Scandinavia (a vague future plan) I think I’d love to try a trailstar. For now I would prefer a mid for the footprint and slight weight savings, if I want ultimate protection.
Re myog mid: curious to how you would change the tie outs and the doors? And due to your location are you a reader of trek-lite? There is a thread on one of the first few pages of their myog forum, from a lady who made her own duomid clone with improvements. Interesting read.
Re: a frame designs. I’m thinking similarly to you. Maybe splitting the difference between the patrol coverage and the trekker coverage. Rather than zips I was thinking of using something like the warbonnet or zpacks storm doors.
I’ll try do some sketches and maths in the next while to figure out how much material a few variations would require. I’m also trying to keep it cost efficient so limited a little by the size of cuben rolls!Sep 20, 2017 at 4:45 am #3492015
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I am back for a few days after 11 days out and some Lean2Rescue work. Sorry about the delay…
“James how hard do you find setting up your tarp in strong wind? Do you have a flat tarp or is it a cat cut a frame? I gather you use it only as an a frame either way. My understanding was that there are more storm worthy pitches with a flat tarp, but that an a frame was popular for being easy for how much protection it offers.”
Q1: My tarp is a pain in a strong wind but not as bad as my tents. The Stephensons comes is better for setting up in the wind, but the Sirius is worse. The Big Sky is painfull and worse tpoo set up as is the old Soloplex+. The good news is that it is pretty clear which way the wind is hitting you. Anyway, I have managed to set it up in 40mph winds. I stake down the back fairly solidly and through the rigging loops (ignoring the 12″ extensions I use.) Then I anchor one side of the front. Then set up my 45″ treking pole and anchor it down in the front. Then I pull out the tarp and anchor the final corner. Then I quickly go back and add center stakes to stop any flapping. Works pretty well above tree line by simply adding a boulder as a tie off/over the stakes/both. I have had enough wind to lift the boulders off the corners, so, make sure you use at least a 30-50# boulder.
Q2: It is neither. I do not use cat cuts since the silnylon stretches. It is a shaped tarp, similar to this:
It is 6′ to 10′ wide at the main body, 10′ long at the peak, not including the beak. The beak is actually a triangle that picks up a “beak” shape from the pitch. All sides except the beak will handle three stakes. it sleeps two or three people. The peak is reinforced and (in bad weather) can be used to house the trekking pole with two guy lines out the front (and only two people.) The beak takes some reaching to anchor it down once you are in it. Sort of a cross between a pyramid and diamond but wider at the base and less coverage at the front. It goes 17oz including stakes and guylines.
Q3: While I used flat tarps for many years, my biggest complaint was the weight (18oz plus stakes and guylines or around 20oz.) I have used lean-to, A-frames, diamonds. I have a Soloplex+, but it is close to the same weight and a lot smaller. The one I use now is more stable in winds than a diamond pitch and lighter than a flat tarp. A-Frames are OK in summer. In colder fall/spring weather (with the chance for snow and cold winds) it gets cold and snow can drift in. I *can* pitch the tarp as a sort-of A frame with an 18″ stick to hold up the rear and an extra guyline. Or, simply drop it to an 18″ height, front and rear, in storm mode. ‘Corse crawling out is always annoying… But, by the morning, I can remove the sticks and add my trekking pole and simply cook under it. My water bottles double as “pee” bottles at night and I have an extra 2.5 liter water bottle for rinsing them and cooking.
Really, the only thing I lack is a ground cloth. For two, I often bring a painters drop cloth. Yup, it gets chewed up after a week out, but, I can replace it easily and inexpensively. For myself, I find that the pad & my rain gear works fine. My rain gear was a 4oz wind shirt sealed with mineral spirits/caulk mix…as good as any and easily repaired. Though, my last three weeks out I have used the ground cloth, anyway.
All rolled up (except for stakes) it fits into my grease pot. The pot doesn’t dent/bend as easily and my tarp is well protected from other gear. And it keep a wet tarp from getting on my sweater.
Sep 20, 2017 at 6:24 am #3492022
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by James Marco.
I think you’re right about the TrailStar – pretty much optimal for Scottish or Scandi conditions where it’s worth the weight for peace of mind in exposed positions, but a bit ungainly in steeper ranges like the Western Alps or the Pyrenees where pitches are harder to find. Workable, but ungainly – on my last Alpine trip I enjoyed every minute apart from a few stressful evenings trying to find a workable pitch as darkness closed in. A couple of times I was close to just wrapping myself up in the tarp and settling for a bivy. So for a smaller pitch the realistic options are the rectangular mid for full coverage, or the Patrol-like A-frame for more of a tarp feel. As you say, the choice largely comes down to how often you are likely to need full weather protection.
With any mid now I plan to use the Seek Outside approach to tie-outs.
Ron puts a cat-cut on the SoloMid hems and the tie-outs on the bottom of the panel, leaving significant gaps to the ground. This is good when you want some venting, but doesn’t enable you to seal things up to keep out cold winds, dust and spindrift. I’ve seen more than one user moan about this.
On their BT1 and Silvertip mids Seek Outside put the tie-out abut 4″ up from the panel hem. They offer these on each corner, and mid panel too. If you peg straight through the tie-out or on a minimum guy you get a sod-skirt type seal, with around 3″ of the hem forming a skirt inside the tarp. In winter you can pile snow on the skirt to form an ideal seal, and in summer it keeps out most wind, dust and bugs. They also claim that this arrangement puts more stretch into the sil compared to tie-outs at the hem, taking up some of sag if the panel gets damp. Reviewers find that this arrangement works very well if you want a seal..
If you want to vent, you add guys to the mid panels and peg them farther out to lift the hem. They also mirror the outside loop on the inside, and say that this can be used for venting, but no-one is very clear how. I’m also not clear how you prevent the hem from flapping if you lift it, given that the bottom edge will be hanging down. I’ll have to experiment to find the ideal setup for my needs, but I like the general idea. Perhaps the mid-panel tie-outs could have 2 loops on a continuous strip of tape – one 4″ up for the skirt, and the other on the hem for venting with a guy already attached?? Something on those lines, I think. Or maybe if you put in a door on each side with good venting options you don’t need to vent the sides, and you could just get away with a single tie-out?
On the A-frame design, I’ve been thinking of a larger beak with a tip that can slide up and down the front guy that stretches out the cat ridge. You could slide it up for entry and views and down for coverage without affecting the overall pitch. More coverage and privacy without needing a zip. Might work better than overlapping storm flaps that could be noisy in the wind? I’d need to lash up a little model to see if it would work, but I’ve seen something similar on other tarps.
Sep 20, 2017 at 9:25 am #3492037
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Geoff Caplan.
PS – you’ll likely find that most small tarps with good coverage use around 7 sq meters of fabric, give or take a sq meter.
I’ve specced out my hardened SoloMid (tarp only) @ under 450g with double zips, guys and reinforcements. You could shave off a bit if you didn’t over-engineer it as much as I plan to.Sep 21, 2017 at 7:54 am #3492237
Gerry B.BPL Member
@taedawoodLocale: Louisiana, USA
I agree that the Stealth 1 is a great design and in many ways has signficant advantages over the Patrol Shelter Duo. I like the back panel zipper option for ventilation and the larger front beak with zipper option. If they still made it in .74 cuben, it would be extremely tempting but in silnylon it looks to be about 5 ounces heavier. Crawling out of the front of my Patrol Shelter by loosening one of the front corner line-locs is inconvenient, especially for this 60 year old. OTOH, there are no zippers to fail and the fixed structure makes for the quickest perfect pitch setup of any shelter I have ever owned. If I spent much waking time in the Patrol Shelter I would find it less than ideal but my normal style of hiking is walking / sleeping.
Regarding the bivy, when hiking with any floorless shelter I use a bivy because frankly, if there is no chance of rain, I am cowboy camping every night! And when I do use my shelter, it gives me that added, mostly psychological, comfort of added protection. I remember one storm in particular about ten years ago when I was using a Gossamer Gear SpinnTwin shaped tarp the winds and rain were crazy all night long and having a good bivy gave me the peace of mind to allow me some sleep that otherwise I would not have gotten.
Would I recommend the Patrol Shelter shape over the Cirriform? If you are making your own, the Patrol Shelter would be easier to make. Without a zipper, I would probably choose the Patrol Shelter design but with a larger/lower front beak. If you are going to add a zipper, I think I would go with the larger 3 panel vestibule design of the Cirriform for two reasons: 1. The vestibule is enormous which is very handy, especially in bad weather, and 2. The offset zipper design should put much less stress on the zipper than putting it right down the middle of the beak of a 2 panel design.Sep 21, 2017 at 11:32 am #3492324
Another geometry to throw into the mix.
As you probably know, Andrew Skurka recently came up with an original offset pole design for Sierra called the High Route. It looks huge in the photos, but what I’ve only just realised is that the footprint’s only a touch bigger than the SoloMid, but with much better livability and venting. It also has doors set back from the drip-line with lots of venting options, so would be easier to live with in the rain. The footprint is smaller than the SoloMid XL and the Solplex, about 2/3 the size of the Patrol Duo and half the size of the StratoSpire1.
But despite the small footprint the geometry means it’s huge inside when used as a floorless tarp, as most of the space is usable. You could probably scale it down a fair bit and still be comfortable.
It’s also reportedly a very easy pitch, with a rectangular floor plan. Stake out the 4 corners, insert the poles and tension the ridge with a couple of guys. Pretty much the same as the Patrol. Only 6 pegs in good weather, with another couple in a storm pitch. Two minute job.
The downside is that you’re giving up a bit of wind resistance compared to a good mid, but probably not compared to the Patrol. There are a couple of vertical panels but they are backed by the poles – it’s worth remembering that Everest summit tents had vertical doors too until the ’60s so it’s not a show-stopper. The other panels are nicely sloped, and it’s good for some moderate snow as well.
As the name implies it’s designed for above the treeline and should take a fair bit of punishment. I’ve seen a review by an experienced mid-user who rode out some of the notorious Pyrenees flash storms and said it did just fine. He’s ditched his mid for the High Route, saying it’s much better for condensation because of the cross-venting.
Clearly it doesn’t have the simplicity of the Patrol, but Andrew’s design is much simpler and more elegant than other offset designs like the StratoSpire. It only takes a couple of minutes to knock up in SketchUp and looks like a practical build.
Whether it would work in Cuben is a moot point, though, but my guess is it would be OK. Uses 7-8 sq meters of fabric depending on sizing. Sierra used zips, but you could easily use Zpacks-style overlapping storm-doors if you preferred, though you’d loose some flexiblity. In 0.76 Cuben with storm flaps I’m guesstimating that you could bring it in for under 300 grams guyed up. That’s pretty staggering for the room and coverage.
You’d have to pick your sites a little more conservatively than with a hardened build of the SoloMid, but it would be MUCH nicer to live in for the 99% of the time when it’s not storming. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs.
Just a thought….
Sep 22, 2017 at 5:00 am #3492492
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Geoff Caplan.
Had some feedback from Andrew Skurka – he says that the High Route concept would actually work better in a low-stretch fabric like DCF.
That makes it a decidedly interesting prospect, I think…Sep 23, 2017 at 11:20 am #3492763
James: Really interesting tarp design. Did you make it yourself? Basically optimised for a low wedge pitch, and probably sheds wind better on the sides than an a-frame. I guess the only downside is the long footprint (and extra weight of material). Do you get condensation issues, or can you pitch the back quite high off the ground?
Geoff you have some great thoughts and ideas. I hadn’t seen that style of pull out from Seek Outside before – I see why it makes sense for your conditions. I haven’t/don’t camp in conditions that would require it. If not pitched flush against the ground, would they not be prone to flapping about? (edit: i just saw you noted this already, sorry did’t read properly. Your two continuous loops idea is night, though these sorts of things add weight. I guess it’d depend on your conditions – its quite damp here, so venting is more important as I don’t really venture out in the conditions where the sog skirt would be beneficial).
Do you have any links to this kind of beak? I’m not quite sure if i am imaging it right. Something that does’t have a guy on the end, but is tensioned by pressure against a ridge guy, so you can roll it up and down without unclipping anything?
Re: offset mids. Interesting idea. I am still unconvinced by the vertical doors – possibly just psychological. The vertical doors + higher profile make me pretty unsure it’d handle winds better, though. Perhaps the YMG swiftline is a more storm-stable model to look at (they’re due to release the 1p version soon, and Gen said he could sell a tarp only version). I think the footprint might be a bit bigger, as it doesn’t have vertical walls (I think) – or perhaps similar footrpint with less space. I think a shelter like this might be beyond my design skills, however. Indeed at ~300gm it would be a pretty incredible shelter. Are you considering going this route now?
Gerry: I agree re: the storm proof-ness and really nice size of the cirriform vestibule – its one of my favourite design features of the my cirriform. I might still considering something more minimalist, however. But very likely a lower beak than the patrol, in any case.Sep 23, 2017 at 4:12 pm #3492811
Yes – the idea is that the front guy supporting the ridge line is run from the top of the pole, not from the nose of the beak. The beak could then run up and down the guy using some kind of grip or second guy to secure it. Unable to track down the example I thought I’d seen, but I can’t see any reason in principle why it couldn’t be made to work. Exped do something like this with the zipless vestibule of their Vela, which is what gave me the idea. But that’s a single-hoop tent in the Akto style, so it’s running up and down a pole rather than a guy: http://www.exped.com/usa/en/product-category/tents/vela-i-ul
A-frame side panel support
Once you’ve sorted out your beak design, you might want to take a look at supporting the big side panels in case you get caught in a broadside wind. After lots of discussion here no-one really came up with anything much better than good old side-guys. MLD don’t seem to offer this as standard, but in my experience you’ll need them or you’ll get a lot of flapping. Kifaru have a nice simple approach if you want to stay minimal: Thy’v had it out in 60mph without issues.
The High Route geometry
Well, I’ve been seeing what I can find about the wind performance, given that it has those vertical walls. Andrew Skurka and Dave Chenault both think it’s beginning to struggle at 30-40 mph, which isn’t encouraging for something called the High Route
Judge for yourself: https://youtu.be/JFDUNwbxST0?t=11m29s It stands up, but it’s noisy.
Andrew says that this meets his current needs, but it doesn’t leave much in hand for Scotland, Scandinavia and high camps in the Alps. Not that I seek out that kind of weather, but every now and again it finds you anyway. So compared to a single apex mid you’re trading a lot of wind performance for much better space and venting – depends on your priorities. I’m a walk-till-I-sleep kind of guy – being Scottish I’ll be out in pretty much anything that’s not electrical, so I’m rarely stormbound or hanging out in the shelter. For me, I think wind performance will trump comfort, but I’m still impressed at what Andrew achieved with the High Route.
Venting small mids
So if you accept the restricted space in a small mid you have to look at the other bugbear, which is condensation.
My main plan would be to add a second door, which would enable cross-venting. All my experience in tents and tarps over more than 50 years suggests that this is the most effective solution.
Then add bigger vents on top – someone who experimented with this found that size really does matter for small mids. The Shangri-La designs had big vents, and were reportedly better than average for condensation.
And then experiment with lower vents too, like this from Ruta Locura. They could be opened and closed from inside which would make them workable. These could be really useful when you have to batten down the hatches and close the doors right up. They use low vents on some of the Antarctic mid designs.
All this add a few grams, for sure, but nothing significant.
Sep 23, 2017 at 8:53 pm #3492871
- This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by Geoff Caplan.
David PostonBPL Member
@dgpostonLocale: NYC metro
I love my Hexamid tent, and am thinking of switching to the tarp only version (without netting) to save 5 oz for next year’s continuation of my Colorado Trail thru hike. I have never gotten wet after using the Hexamid for about 3-4 years. The netting may provide some slight splash protection, but I’m guessing the tarp should do just fine. I strongly prefer the Hexamid shape over a flat tarp for ease of entry. Although…admittedly, I’ve never tried a flat tarp. I think the Hexamid shape might allow you to get away with a smaller shelter and still stay dry. I’m curious to hear what you end up going with.
I ran into a guy on the Colorado Trail this summer who had modified a 0.34 cuben tarp from ZPacks with an extended beak using the same material. He said that the tarp was perfectly strong enough for hard use and that ZPacks had never had one returned because of defects or damage. He was planning on selling it I think because he said that the white color made it way too bright in the sun (blinded him). I am tempted to go 0.34 but I think the 0.51 is light enough for my purposes. I personally think that Joe is right on the money with the 0.51. The 0.74 is unnecessary in my opinion.
Sep 24, 2017 at 3:34 am #3492907
- This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by David Poston.
David: ” The 0.74 is unnecessary in my opinion.”
It all depends on your usage, I think. For summer use in an area with no snow and moderate winds you’re probably right.
In big winds or moderate snow, you’re going to want the heavier fabric. Ron at MLD explicitly won’t guarantee the 0.51 – you use it at your own risk. I think his shelters would get used in a wider range of conditions than the Zpacks designs. HMG use the heavier weight for their mids, which are also designed for above-the-treeline conditions. Severe-weather makers like Hilleberg don’t offer Cuben at all.
Horses for courses…Sep 27, 2017 at 3:35 am #3493538
<p style=”text-align: left;”>David – thanks for the feedback regarding the hex! If it came up at a good price in the bargain bin or if zpacks did a black friday sale i would still be tempted.</p>
Have you had it out in really poor weather, besides rain? And how low can you get the beak and still have a taught pitch?
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Re 0.74, I agree with Geoff. It depends on your conditions. I saw images of a 0.74 Duplex that had its corner ripped off in some nasty UK weather (Joe told me there’s nothing to worry about if your pegging is solid.. well in this case maybe the pegging wad too solid?!). Granted it was extreme conditions, and for most people (especially in lots of areas in the states?) 0.5 is probably a safe and logical decision.</p>
Ah the sliding beak idea is a nice way to go doorless. Since it relies on a guyline though, might it end up being quite restricting regarding the angle and distance you can peg that guyline? Maybe more of an issue in theory than in reality, however..
Im also trying to put together an all round hammock-ground flexible set uo for my trips that move aboce and below the timberline over a week or so. So My current other idea is back with overlapping doors, with the idea that I could actually make this a hammock tarp as well.. pull the whole tarp flat, having no doors. With the extended Ridge length it should work as a enough coverage for a hammock. But this idea is very fiddly with getting the angles right and might involve too many compromises. If it can work though, I’d have a suitable tarp for fair weather hammocking and something pretty solid for ground if conditions call for it or I’m above the trees.
Yep the kifaru approach was going to be my plan. Less weight than two extra pegs and stronger (though puts a lot of tension on those corner pegs).
Yeah I’m still pretty concerned about the HR geometry and the flat walls. I asked skurka if he’d feel confident doing his Alaska trip with the HR and he said yes, but would probably look for something lighter for a trip that long. And did tell me to look for a mid if wind performance is of high importance.
Surely there is a compromise available here though? More angle on the wall for better storm performance, perhaps a slightly lower profile given you have two poles to increase the area of max head room..
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Interesting re vent sizes. I haven’t read enough about them, but I’ve also seen some writing that suggests above a certain size (I can’t remember what size that was, so not very insightful) you get diminishing returns oneffectiveness.. I’ll try track down that info.</p>
I’d be curious to know what real world effect the lower vents have.. maybe placed near the body you’d let some moisture that your body generates escape before it can condense?
Two doors seems the best approach when conditions allow. Also have the benefit of nice views and not needing to worry about the orientation of your door when pitching. Obviously weight starts to creep.
And another design to ponder is the tramplite design, which UK folks seem in love with (its like the UK duplex). Curious as it’s not too dissimilar from a hexamid or Deschutes which are not so well rated over there. But it’s a very nice design as well. Kind of a trailstar/cricket hybrid.Sep 27, 2017 at 5:28 am #3493542
Well, the TrampLite has a small following among the well-heeled! It’s only a part-time business for Colin and he builds in cuben to a superlative standard so it’s a very costly option unless you build one yourself. He likes it a lot and says it’s good enough wind-wise for most 3-season uses. It has a large footprint, though, at around 2.3 times that of the SoloMid, so it overlaps my TrailStar too much to be of personal interest. Colin liked his TrailStar but wanted a bit more livability. Plus he’s a tinkerer like us and he probably just wanted to use his own design for the fun of it.
I saw Andrew’s response to your HR question, and I’ve been playing with options in SketchUp to see how it could be made smaller and lighter. You could certainly reduce the height a bit – the Sierra version is huge if you use it without the inner. And you could shave the footprint too, making it little bigger than a bivy but much, much more livable. Reducing the size should make it a bit more weather worthy.
But if you slope the doors you add a lot of complexity and start to lose some of the benefits. First, the doors won’t be directly supported by the poles, which you’d probably have to pitch upright for strength, so they might not be much stronger. Second, the footprint will obviously get bigger. Third, you lose the square shape so the pitch might get harder.
Yama recently released a solo version of the Swiftline which is basically a HR with sloping doors. It’s much more complicated with a tricky looking pitch. To be honest if feels a bit Heath Robinson – it doesn’t quite look right. So you lose the simplicity, but I doubt that it would be much more wind-worthy than the HR. And it took them many iterations to design – not a simple project. The TarpTent StratoSpire1 is supposed to be pretty good in the weather, but that has a big footprint and an exotically complex design. If I was going with the HR concept I think I would just make it smaller and add lots of tie-outs to help with the wind. Possibly use the RSBTR 40D silpoly PU instead of the 20D so the panels deformed less – it would still be pretty light and I’m not a total gram-weenie. It would give a tiny footprint with great livability, but you’d have to be cautious with unsheltered pitches in case you got caught out.
If you wanted to splash out on composite it would be quite hard to fit the cut onto the narrow cuben roll but it could be done if you move the poles towards the center to shorten the ridge-line. Or you could add a seam.
A final thought on double vs single pole designs. The double poles do make for a better shaped living space, whether in lengthwise, transverse (eg Duplex) or offset configuration. But for wind and light snow the biggest risk is a peg pulling – with proper seams and reinforcement the fabric shouldn’t be a point of failure. As soon as you have 2 poles you have a ridgeline that you have to tension. That means you have at least 2 pegs that are doing a lot of work just to keep the shelter up, even before they handle the wind. With a single pole design you can distribute the tension more evenly around all the pegs, which must make it a bit more robust.
All in all, I think my first project will be an attempt at a better ventilated SoloMid with an inverse V pole structure, I’ve been dithering for months and it’s time I built something! By having a third of the footprint than my TrailStar it will give me more options.
I’m interested to see what you end up with – do keep posting as things progress.
Sep 27, 2017 at 6:27 am #3493549
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Geoff Caplan.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Yep the cost of buying a tramplite isn’t feasible for me. I think he also had a two year waitlist. I think if you camp in places you can afford the larger footprint, it really seems like a winning design to be honest.</p>
Sounds like I need to learn to use sketchup to play with these more complex designs. I’ve been travelling (and still am for the next month or so) without a laptop, so just been trying to envision design options in my notebook. Harder to get my head around the swiftline vs HR shape etc.
Fair analysis of the sloping sides. You also decrease livability which i believe is why Andrew decided on vertical. Beyond my abilities but I wonder what sort of slope you need to actually end up with a stronger design. Given Gen’s design prowess I’m assuming the swiftline finds this compromise? But yes it took them assuming long time to create the 1p swiftline (I think the first prototype was over five years ago? But I don’t know how actively they worked on it). Gen also said there was no cuben version yet – unsure if the “yet” meant they were putting one together.
But as a first myog shelter, I think the simpler HR design is really the edge of my capabilities.
And yes, pegging seems the most common point of failure, it’s very unlikely these fabrics break except in extreme conditions (hail). It’s something that very experienced people always bring up – and I wonder if we get too obsessive over having the “best” shape for wind, when perhaps there are a number of shelters that’ll suffice in most conditions as long as a peg doesn’t pull out.. of course the less windproof designs might be noisier and feel less rock solid, but..
And like you I keep coming back to mids. It seems viable as a myog project for the inexperienced. The only real downside is livability (this isn’t a deal breaker for me) and versatility.
I won’t be doing anything until I get back to nz, and maybe not even until the new year (funds are a little tight), but I will do some sort of post about what I end up doing. I’d be very curious to hear how your mid goes, if that’s the route you choose.Sep 27, 2017 at 8:34 am #3493561
Hoosier TBPL Member
I made a shelter attempting to sort of clone the tramplite/deschutes design philosophies. There are details in my thread. I no longer have my drawings (designed it with good ole geometry and pen/paper) as I lost them in a move but I made full size templates out of hardboard and would be glad to measure their dimensions and angles and send them to you. It was a fairly easy project but definitely time consuming. Feel free to PM me if you would like the additional info.Sep 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm #3493713
Wow, great looking shelter. Yes if you get a chance it’d be good to get the dimensions! Based on your comments on the thread I might scale it down a little however.Sep 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm #3494053
Hoosier – impressive work!
Jonathan – the TrampLite approach has a lot going for it, but as always with shelters there’s a tradeoff.
I’ve collected the footprint of a number of shelters using length * width and ignoring guys.
I used the Snugpak Ionosphere as a baseline as it’s pretty much a glorified hooped bivi and the smallest possible practical size. The SoloMid scores 1.2. The Tramplite scores 2.3 – almost twice the size. At the extreme we have the TrailStar at around 4.2 depending on pitch (yes – around 4x the footprint of the SoloMid!).
So the way it looks to me:
- Small footprint and good windshedding but sacrificing livability = SoloMid style
- Small footprint and good livability but sacrificing windshedding = HighRoute style
- Medium footprint and medium livability and medium windshedding = Tramplite style.
For the record, here’s the footprint list (yes, I got a bit carried away…).
Length/Width/SqM/Relative to baseline.
Ionosphere 265 100 2.7 1.0
SoloMid 275 110 3.0 1.2
High Route 274 122 3.3 1.3
MLD Patrol 250 150 3.8 1.4
Solplex 255 155 4.0 1.5
SoloMid XL 285 140 4.0 1.5
Khufu 265 160 4.2 1.6
Hexamid Solo Plus 275 158 4.3 1.7
Wisp 250 175 4.4 1.7
DuoMid 275 160 4.4 1.7
Altaplex 254 175 4.4 1.7
Gatewood 267 168 4.5 1.7
Stealth 1 305 150 4.6 1.8
Patrol Duo 250 190 4.8 1.8
Cirriform 1 317 155 4.9 1.9
Beta Light 250 200 5.0 1.9
Twin Sisters 290 180 5.2 2.0
Notch 280 193 5.4 2.1
Deschutes 265 205 5.4 2.1
Duplex 254 220 5.6 2.1
HMG UltaMid 2 270 210 5.7 2.2
StratoSpire 1 240 240 5.8 2.2
TrampLite 285 210 6.0 2.3
Cirriform 1.5 338 183 6.2 2.4
SMD Haven 290 218 6.3 2.4
SilverTip 274 272 7.5 2.9
Drift 2 280 280 7.8 3.0
Trailstar 330 330 10.9 4.2
Sep 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm #3494055
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Geoff Caplan.
Oh wow that’s a great list, so thanks for getting carried away!
I would dispute the claim against the tramplite’s wind shedding though. It’s similar in approach to a trailstar, but a more practical footprint and shape for someone to live in – which means it’s shape isn’t as steep, but apart from the steep-ish front (and maybe open depending on approach) it’s shape would shed wind better than a mid I think? Like the trailstar it won’t be great if the wind does a 180 or is swirling a lot, but for most cases it *looks* like it would handle wind better.
Edit: some slapdash math leads to me finding the angle between the centre of the bottom the solomid panels and the top of the shelter are 41 degrees and 56degrees.
The back of the trampline to the tip forms a 58 degree angle with the ground, and the seems connecting the side panels and the back panels form a 37 degree angle. The solomid weakness is the big long panel (obviously you can add extra guys), which the tramplite doesn’t have.
Edit this isnt so helpful as i very roughly the math on my break, and now realise its not a fair comparison (since I used the seems of the trampline to find angles, which will be the part of the shelter with the shallowest angle).Sep 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm #3494062
By the way, you might want to take a look at this DIY project – only a touch bigger footprint than a SoloMid XL. Most of the advantages of the Tramplite in a smaller package:Sep 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm #3494074
Small footprint and good windshedding but sacrificing livability = SoloMid style
The Solomid sacrifices livabilty? How so? My Duomid is gigantic for one person and on paper the Solomid is only slightly smaller.
Solomid 112 x 54 x 54
Duomid 110 x 66 x 56
(L x W x H)Sep 30, 2017 at 8:01 pm #3494114
Matthew – thanks for the input. I’ll have to mock one up and get a feel for the size.
I was simply going on a number of reviewers who say it’s tight, though there are others like you who say it’s fine.
It’s attractive because of the storm-worthiness, small footprint, simplicity and lightness, so if the space is OK I think my next project with be SoloMid based.
With a few tweaks I think it might do me fine. I’m a minimalist at heart, and you can’t get much more minimal than a SoloMid for above the treeline protection.Sep 30, 2017 at 8:52 pm #3494125
God this forum is crufty – just chewed up my post by logging me out moments before I submitted. So here goes again…
There’s a guy in Holland who has cloned the TrailStar and the Tramplite. He uses them in Scandinavia so he’ll be used to wind. Says the TS is better, but they’re both pretty good.
In terms of designing for wind worthiness it seems to be a bit of a dark art – difficult to get meaningful data. I guess you can mix and match low angled panels (TrailStar), a smooth wind-shedding shape (Seek Outside’s Silvertip tepee), or sheer brute strength (polar square mids, with 4 corner poles, lots of guys and 270D fabric). My experience with the TrailStar suggests that triangular panels with a single apex work very well for absorbing gusts. As soon as you have a big ridgeline as with an A-Frame or the offset ridge designs you’re going to need stronger pegging and lots of tension, as we’ve discussed.
I’ve seen people say that 45% panels are a good compromise for something that will shed both snow and wind. But I’ve no idea if there’s anything to it….
If you’re looking for an all-round balance, the TrampLite looks like a good starting point.
I’m prioritising footprint for my alpine trips, so I think I’ll use the SoloMid as a starting point if it’s as liveable as Matthew is suggesting, With a 40D fabric, some extra tie-outs, the Seek Outside pegging system we discussed above, and improved venting I think it could be a pretty nice little shelter. I’m planning a high-level traverse of the Western Alps so it would get plenty of use.Oct 1, 2017 at 7:39 am #3494194
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Geoff, I forgot about that thread. Nice looking design they had. The panel on the front looks very steep and hence vulnerable, but I guess that’s a similar weakness to a tramplite or trailstar tarp. I might try get some better info on the sphinxtar dimensions, as the footprint is surprisingly much smaller than the tramplite.</p>
But again like you I keep coming back to mids. If the Solomid is livable enough the simplicity and footprint makes it a tough design to beat.Oct 1, 2017 at 1:35 pm #3494219
I did ask how the Sphinxtar worked out but didn’t get a reply. But I do wonder if there’s any need for the extra complexity compared to the SoloMid. What specifically is it delivering compared to a well-designed symmetrical rectangular mid? A bit of extra space, I guess, but at what cost?
There’s a lot to be said for small, simple, minimal design. Easier to build, Lighter, Less to go wrong. Easier to find sites. Quicker to pitch. And the sheer Zen aesthetic. So I’m looking for the smallest, simplest solution that does the job.
I abandoned my A-Frame project because I realised that I couldn’t achieve the wind and venting performance I wanted without making the whole thing quite complex. It just didn’t feel right.
There is something very pleasing about the simplicity of the SoloMid. There’s really nothing left to take away. And how much space do you really need? For me the test is:
- Can I sleep without getting fabric in my face or getting wet from condensation and splashback?
- Can change and pack without acrobatics?
- Can I vent in most weather without getting rain in the sleeping area?
- Can I get all my kit inside?
With some design tweaks I think the SoloMid concept can deliver. If you’re on your own, what exactly are you going to be doing with the extra space?
I can see two issues:
- Your sleeping area might get dripped on when you enter and exit during rain
- There isn’t much of a vestibule for cooking safely in bad weather.
But they are only major issues if you use a structured inner nest. I’m happy with a ground sheet and a separate, zipless bug net. This means you can simple move things aside to cook and to protect them from drips. Should be workable.
Perhaps it’s a question of mindset. If you look at the SoloMid as a palatial bivi it seems more attractive than a tiny tent.
If you do go with the SoloMid concept let’s stay in touch and swap notes as we go along. We’ll probably get better results than either of us could achieve on our own.Oct 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm #3494351
I think the Sphinxtar is more of an attempt to address problems with the Solomid XL, which is slightly larger and asymmetric to provide more useful space compared to the regular Solomid. Namely it looks like the back end is a better ‘wind shape,’ it pitches higher (compensating for the lack of usable space at the back?) and possibly has more effective venting. The front looks quite steep, but that might be just a visual trick. If it is like the XL, MLD say the XL is as strong and sturdy as the Solomid. So perhaps you don’t sacrifice performance (and perhaps improve it from all but three sides?), have more useful space, and the asymmetric design would mean you can cover your gear better when entering/exiting in the rain. The cost is simplicity/minimalism, footprint and weight, then.
The space issue, if it is one, with a solomid can maybe be solved with an a-frame mod with trekking poles, according to some. Like you the space issue isn’t a big deal- I just need to be able to fidget around a little if I am waiting out a storm, change clothes without too much hassle and cook with some shelter. I’ll need to make a string mock up or something to get a feel for the space.
Yeah lets keep in touch, moving to PM might be more sensible now as the thread drift here is going quite strong.
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