Podcast Episode October 11, 2022

Episode 69 | Ultralight Shelters in Inclement Weather



In today’s episode of the Backpacking Light podcast, we’re going to talk about gear and skills for pitching ultralight shelters in inclement conditions – rain, snow, wind, and cold.

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In this Episode:

  • What is Inclement Weather?
  • How the structure of a shelter affects its performance in inclement weather.
  • Choosing your campsite based on terrain and height above the ground.
  • Pitching a shelter for stability in inclement weather.
  • The downsides to shock cord for guyline tie-outs.
  • Comparing different shapes and materials for tent stakes.
  • Major issues regarding shelters when used in inclement weather.

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Home Forums Episode 69 | Ultralight Shelters in Inclement Weather

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    Backpacking Light


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Companion forum thread to: Episode 69 | Ultralight Shelters in Inclement Weather

    Episode 69 of the Backpacking Light Podcast dives into ultralight shelters and how their structures hold up during inclement weather.

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    One question I have specifically for everyone: what’s your storm “kit” for stakes and guylines with the shelters you are using? I’m curious to know how much weight you are adding to your shelter package with stakes and guylines. For most of the trekking pole and pyramid shelters I’m using, I’m bringing about +4 oz of stakes & guylines for extreme conditions.

    Eric Kammerer
    BPL Member


    MLD DuoMid: Permanently attached MLD Reflecto cord = 27 ft / 1.6oz. Permanently attached or carried as spare ZPacks Z-line = 50 ft / 0.8oz. LineLoc V with loop = rounding error. Small Aluminum Carabiner = 1oz. 5 each: Easton 8″, Vargo Nails, BMW Ti Shepherd Hooks = 6.5oz

    So, about 10 ounces including both normal and extreme needs. I also carry a 3″ plastic lid from an old canister of hot chocolate as a load spreader for the pole if the ground is soft/spongy. I use the top-loop as an additional stakeout point.

    For some reason, the mid-seam tie-outs on the DuoMid have shock cord tie outs. On my Supermid, those are structurally important points — on this shelter, it isn’t really obvious what the intent is.

    For many guylines, a short piece of shock cord can be added as a shock absorber. The key is to attach the cord in a manner that allows the full cord to take the load at the maximum. I originally learned this as putting a couple of loops in the guyline to attach the cord — but a couple of Blake Hitches in the cord will also work.

    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southwest

    For my kit, about 7.5oz.  8 MSR groundhogs ~4.5oz and 48′ of MSR reflective utility cord ~3oz.

    Jon Fong / Flat Cat Gear
    BPL Member


    Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR

    With respect to shelters, I would add a note about substrates.  In particular, above treeline substrate selection can be as important as natural wind barriers.  My 2 cents.

    BPL Member


    I bought two 50 ft bundles of Paria Dyneema Guyline to replace guylines in my Lanshan 2 Pro tent, so that with longer guylines I have more flexibility. Here you can see how that tent is pitched.

    It has 4 corners, plus 2 ground level tie-outs on the two doors, plus 2 additional ground level tie-outs on the head and feet panels, for a total of 8 ground level tie-out points. I would use a length of 5 feet for those points.

    There are 4 other cords at the corners, though. Lanshan refer to them  as positioning cords. They are attached to the bathtub (not the flysheet), and their main function seems to help in positioning corner stakes for a standard pitch. So I don’t know whether I should put longer cords there as well, in order to have more flexibility at staking the buthtub corners as well. Is it really needed to stake the bathtub?

    Then there are apexes, and I would use 10 feet guylines.

    Finally, for the two mid-height tie-outs at the head and feet panels, I would use 7 feet guylines.

    Do you think it’s ok? What are your suggestions regarding the 4 guylines at the corners of the bathtub?




    BPL Member


    …what’s your storm “kit” for stakes and guylines with the shelters you are using? … I’m bringing about +4 oz of stakes & guylines for extreme conditions.

    I think 3-4oz “extra” in case of bad weather is about right.  For the Durston 2P Pro my normal carry is 8 Ruta Locura 9” CF stakes (4 for corners, 2 for the doors and 2 for upwind ends/doors if needed) as they are only a couple of grams heavier than TI wire stakes and have many times the holding power.  For expected wind/stormy weather I pack an extra 4 RL CF stakes (12 total) and ~32’ of Lawson glow line (4 apex guys @ 8’ each). BTW, using 2 guylines on each apex, oriented at 45 deg off the ridgeline (90 deg off each other) makes the shelter bomber…the poles and ridge line are absolutely rock steady.

    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Thanks, Ryan, for putting the emphasis on stormworthiness. This is a subject that I feel really passionate about.

    If you were to do a follow up or care to weigh in now, I would really love to hear about how shelter shape affects wind resistance. This is an aspect of structure that you didn’t have time for in this podcast. Rectangles, hexagons, octagons… One upright pole, one hooped pole, two upright poles, two hooped poles… Lots of different configurations.

    I’d love to see either quantitative or experiential data on how much of a difference shape makes. So far I think that a small octagonal mid is in a different class altogether from any other UL shelter in terms of wind resistance (even more so when used with peak guylines and 1/3 way up guylines and an inverted V poleset) but I don’t have very much data yet to substantiate and quantify that claim much less compare it to shelters of other shapes in the same conditions.

    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    Jon –

    I suspect that this data doesn’t exit in any formal form. It might be an interesting project for an engineering student – modern simulation software should be able to handle the testing digitally without the need for a costly wind-tunnel.

    But I’m not sure how much we’d really learn. I suspect that we can make a pretty good estimate based on rules of thumb and anecdotal field experience.

    To judge the wind-worthiness of a design, I’d suggest the following criteria:

    • How large are the individual panels?
    • Given that the wind-gradient, does the profile of the tent reduce with height?
    • Are there sufficient perimeter pegging points, and are they directly attached to seams that will spread the loads?
    • Does the design lend itself to apex and mid-height guying?

    By all those criteria, the small octagonal mid would seem an optimal design for performance in wind, and there are many anecdotal reports to back that up. The hexagonal TrailStar, which I use myself, is also legendary in the wind and good enough for almost any scenario. While the pentagonal or 4-sided mids, through still wind-worthy, have larger panels and are less ideal.

    But everything is a tradeoff. In a small shelter the single pole octagon or hexagon is not a very liveable shape and is quite challenging and time-consuming to pitch.

    Looking beyond the optimal hexagonal tipi there are some shapes which are clearly best suited to sheltered sites – but with others a great deal depends on the detail of the implementation.

    For example, I’ve seen many here imply that the A-frame is not weather-worthy in a lightweight design. But add a good guying arrangement and a 360 gram shelter such as the Kifaru Paratarp can withstand 60mph Alaskan windstorms with ease. Being pragmatic, do you really need anything more?

    Or take the single hoop or or crossed pole bendy-pole tent. On the face of it, not ideal designs for wind. But when they are implemented by Hilleberg in the Akto and the Soulo, they can survive a measured 85mph storm:


    So in the end, shelter choice always going to be a complex set of tradeoffs around:

    • The worst-case conditions you might encounter
    • The potential to reach a sheltered site in bad weather
    • The ability of the ground to accept peg placements
    • The priority you give to liveability and ease of pitching
    • The skill and judgement of the user
    • The quality of the shelter design, fabric and construction.
    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Thanks, Geoff.
    The tradoffs list at the end of your post is a very helpful summary, esp in written form.

    I myself have personal experience with all of the shelters that you mention: the Akto, the Soulo, the Paratarp, rectangular mids, the Trailstar, and of course a small octagonal mid.
    Since I was soliciting the input of others, I didn’t want to put my experience up front.

    Personally, I already have an answer to my question and the small octagon is it. Of the three that I currently have, the two made in sil/sil fabrics (one in 30D silpoly, the other in 10D silnylon, both double coated on both sides, no PU) are really easy to set up with a little practice. The elasticity of the fabric helps. The third, in DCF, is a little more finnicky due to the lack of elasticity in the fabric. Color coded webbing on the perimeter helps, too. The only thing that is a little bit fiddly is the inverted V pole but that’s not necessary to pitch it, either. True, 8 perimeter stakes can seem like a lot but in anything up to Beaufort 5 (22 mph) it doesn’t even begin to ask for guylines — which are, I think so far, not needed until winds move upwards of 35 mph, a point at which most rectangular single and dual trekking pole shelters are already flapping around quite a bit even with guylines deployed. As I said above, the wind resistance of these octagonal shelters is in a class of its own for solo-sized UL mids. Given just how well this works, I’m kind of surprised that there aren’t really any options on the UL market except for a custom order from Xavier at Tipik Tentes in France — he and I worked on the design together so he now has the plans all drawn up and buyers would not have to pay the additional fees for custom design work, but even so the price is about double what you’d expect to pay for a rectangular sil mid from a top cottage manufacturer.

    In terms of living space, it’s a palace for me at 5’7″ (170cm). I don’t think it would work for people above 180 – 185cm. The ones I use have a long diagonal of 270cm and a height of 135cm (which I usually pitch higher at 140 – 145cm).  The 10D one weighs 373g. The 30D one, which has double doors and perimeter netting, weighs 600g. The version in DCF weighs 410. Sizing it large enough to accommodate a really tall individual would incur a substantial weight penalty. Small octagons are best for shorter people, or, larger ones for groups of three or more.

    Ryan would probably love one.

    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria


    A very thought-provoking post. You obviously write from extensive experience!

    Like you, I mainly camp in high and exposed locations and place a much higher priority on stability and quietness in the wind than the typical hiker. Flappy Duplex-type things are not for me…

    I’m currently using a TrailStar, and that can certainly handle the weather. But I’ve never loved the silnylon-in-your-face experience of the awkward living space. Crawling over dung in the Alps to reach your sleeping pad gets old pretty fast. And the footprint is humungous, which is a pain in some terrain.

    So for a couple of years now I’ve been playing with ideas for a more liveable stormworthy shelter in the 600g ballpark, but have never been convinced I’ve cracked it so inertia has prevailed. It’s not as though the TrailStar is a bad shelter, after all.

    I’ve designed an A-frame influenced by the Paratarp and the old Saunders mountain tents which would be pretty liveable and storm worthy, but would need a lot of guying in poor weather and certainly lacks the simplicity and elegance of a mid. I was about to commit and build the thing, but now you’ve got me dithering again.

    We can both agree that the octagonal mid is the ideal design for wind – but how to make it liveable?

    The steeper walls create a much more attractive space than the TrailStar and crawling is not required. Yet you’re not sacrificing weather-worthiness, so that’s a big plus.

    But my main issue with small solo mids has been bug protection – a major issue in Scotland and Scandinavia! Small mids are not human-shaped and don’t play well with bugnets – particularly an octagon. By the time your dauntingly complex nest is installed most of your space has gone. Alternatively, you can trap yourself inside a little bug bivy…

    I found your old post on your Tipik collaboration, and am intrigued by the idea of the perimeter bugnet. Do you find it really works? And what happens if you encounter snow? I can imagine a simple system that would make it detachable, and would offer the option of leaving it behind or replacing it with a snow/sod skirt depending on conditions – that would be quite a sexy setup.

    Unfortunately the WayBack snapshot of the old Tipik product page hasn’t preserved the detail pics. Any info you can kindly share about the design would be much appreciated – particularly the line-and-clip door arrangement for preserving tension. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel when there’s a mature design I could use as a foundation…

    Also, what arrangement do you use for the poles? I use the PacerPole alloys, which only extend to 137cm.

    As I say, any design info would be much appreciated!

    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    PS – the alternative design concept is the late-lamented Seek Outside Silvertip.

    In stable weather you pitch it quickly as a hex.

    But there is a clever guying arrangement in the middle of each panel hem that enables you to turn it into a dodecagon – a very wind-shedding shape that’s virtually round. Although there’s no seam for these mid-point pegs, the design ensures high tension.

    It also allows the option of a slightly asymmetrical design that gives a bit more room at the head and foot.

    How do you think the concept stacks up against the pure octagon?



    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Interesting podcast with loads of information. Thanks Ryan.

    1.) My “semi-UL” tent is a Tarptent Moment DW with the new lightweight “solid” interior. I’ve camped in it in a 24 hour rainstorm and a heavy winter snow and high winds. All was very good as I guyed out the tent well in the winter storm (both ends and both sides) including the optional “Crossing pole” shortened 6″ and run UNDER the fly together resist snow load..

    2.) My Tarptent NOTCH Li has not seen even a rainstorm BUT I’ve added:

    *4 fly hem stake loops reinforced with two layers of  Dyneema and Tenacious tape wrapped around the edge of the fly (for an actual FOUR layers).

    *Also I’ve added more Velcro to the edges of the two end “flaps” for more closure strength in high winds.

    *Finally, for hot weather, I dyed the inner tent green with RIT DYEMORE (for synthetic fabrics) for more shade.

    Of all the SUL pole-supported tent designs I feel the Notch Li is one of the best for wind resistance and some snow load. The Rainbow Li is even better according to Henry Shires, who should certainly know since he designed all the Tarptents.

    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Hello Geoff,

    Sounds like we have similar expectations from shelters.

    I don’t think that the solo Octagon is a solution to silnylon in your face but entry is far easier than with the TS. Storm resistance is better, too, not just because of the eight sided shape but also because it extends all the way to ground when desired.

    I haven’t used a nest (an “inner tent”) with these octagonal mids. Haitao, the originator of the design that I worked with, used to make nests but since he left the building last year there’s no readily available source.

    The First Snow, a hexagonal design with two doors and two vents, uses the same clever principle that you describe for the old SO Silvertip. I never tried the Silvertip but I am familiar with the principle.

    There are a couple of designs on Aliexpress that use the same idea of mid panel perimeter tieouts to create a geometry with more panels than geometrical sides. For a brief time the Asta Gear First Snow (Xinxue) was manufactured in Korean 30D silnylon, a legendary fabric that is probably the best on the market. When the First Snow was offered in this fabric, I was very interested in getting hold of one but alas I was too late and just missed out. The current version of the First Snow is made with a sil/sil-pu 20D fabric that is too elastic and yet brittle at the same time; it doesn’t excite me but the price is certainly right. Another tent that uses mid panel perimeter tieouts to the same effect is the Aricxi Walker 2. Like the First Snow, it too is currently made in a 20D sil/sil-pu fabric that is very economical but doesn’t really play to the strengths of the design. The First Snow has ten perimeter stake points (the other two are impossible cause of the double doors) and even has vertical seams from each tieout point, including those that are mid-panel. These extra seams increase the weight but effectively create a double panel on each side of the hexagon. If the hexagonal First Snow were available in a top shelf sil/sil fabric, I would be very interested in that. Fabric choice is just as important as geometry. The 30D silpoly from ExtremTextil is a pretty ideal fabric in the sense that it is elastic but not stretchy like silnylon. It has excellent water resistance, very respectable tear strength, and weighs about the same as the 20D silnylon that MLD currently uses. In terms of wind resistance, a First Snow made in that 30D silpoly of in 30D Korean silnylon probably wouldn’t quite be the equal of the true octagon in the same fabric. The regularity of a true seam is an advantage for the even distribution of wind shear and the uniformity of the panel is better for avoiding deformation. But it would still be a heckuva lot more stable than a rectangular mid and the hexagonal geometry is more livable.

    I have an asymmetrical ocatgonal mid made by Xavier, the model that he calls the Aston. The asymmetrical shape makes the space inside more livable as you say. The price though is that the asym design cuts into the wind resistance, esp in situations where wind direction is variable.

    On the symmetrical octagon that I designed with Xavier, there are four apex tieouts in addition to the regular mid panel tieouts about 1/3 the way up each vertical seam. The addition of these tieouts gives the option of using two guylines on opposite sides of the mid for enhanced stability in really nasty situations. I’ve not had occasion to use these yet. I’ve had the version in 0.8 DCF made by Haitao, which doesn’t have those tieout points on it, and it stood up without budging to some severe hailstorms in the Pyrenees.

    No, the perimeter bug netting (made in 0.7 monolite) doesn’t keep all of the flying critters out. Generally speaking, some will always gain access when opening and closing the door. There is enough airflow to keep the silpoly door open, leaving the monolite inner door zipped out, to help make cooking inside more pleasant.

    Making the monolite skirt removable would add weight. Using one of the heavier, denser weaves would probably work as a snow skirt, adding weight but removing complexity.

    As I mentioned in the other thread, sometimes I use the octamid with a Wind Bivy from Yama Gear. I don’t feel trapped at all inside that bivy. The 3 zip design makes it easy to open up one side so that you can preserve the structure and sit up. The only drawback for me is that, at 213.4 cm, it is just a tad too long for the octagonal geometry. It would fit better if it were 200cm. I don’t need the extra length. The Y zip design of the bug bivy has a vertical-ish wall at the head.

    The line and clip on the base of front door is essential to preserve perimeter tension when the door is unzipped. It works surprisingly well. Here are a couple of photos that show it.

    As you can see, it is a 2mm cord that feeds an adjustable clip. Easy to deploy, easy to unclip, though there’s really no need to unclip it. You can also see in the second photo a clip at the base of the door. This is necessary. Haitao didn’t use it on his DCF versions and they suffered for it. You can also barely see on the right hand side one of the color coded perimeter webbing tieouts. It is useful to use red to distinguish one of the two rectangles that form the base of the octagon. This speeds setup immensely.

    For the poles, I haven’t used Pacer Poles so I don’t have any experience there.
    Of course, the mid can be set up using a single pole, but I prefer using two poles in an inverted V for better livability and unbeatable stability. The inverted V allows one to keep the poles out of the sweet spot along the long diagonal of the octagon, leaving that space free for sleeping, which is how it works best.

    The two versions that Xavier made for me were sewn with all of the seams against the bias making it as strong as possible but requiring more fabric.

    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria


    Many thanks for yet another thought-provoking post – your knowledge of mids is almost as formidable as Roger’s knowledge of tunnels!

    I composed an equally detailed reply, but BPL logged me out while I was drafting and ate my submission. I hadn’t saved it, more fool me. So this time round I’ll try to be more concise.

    You make an unarguable case that the symmetrical tipi is the most wind-worthy geometry for any ultralight solo shelter.

    And you also raise some very interesting points about design details, particularly your experience that even the modest asymmetry of the Tipik Aston compromises wind performance somewhat. If I did take the tipi route, that would raise some tricky tradeoffs – because asymmetric shelters like the SilverTip and the Arcixi Walker do look more liveable than your Tipik Octagonal unless you are quite short of stature…

    But despite your articulate advocacy for the tipi, I just don’t find myself feeling the love. I’m glad you’ve challenged my preconceptions, but for my use-case I still think that other tradeoffs will work better.

    I’ve fallen out of love with the TrailStar footprint – which is fully 4x the little SoloMid. Too many stressful evenings walking into the dark and rain searching for a viable spot to pitch… But tipis aren’t much smaller, so I’m not convinced this is the way I should be going.

    And bug protection isn’t a tipi strength either. As you say, you can just about squeeze in a small Yama-style bug-bivy, but anything more spacious would be a major MYOG project, and dedicated to that shelter design. I react very badly to bites and camp amongst Lyme-bearing ticks, so this is a priority issue for me.

    For bad weather, I’m pretty confident that the other viable ultralight trekking-pole design is the A-frame. I know that it’s deeply unfashionable amongst the coolerati, but I don’t really understand why.

    For all practical purposes, I think it can handle wind almost as well as a tipi. After all, they were used on the 1st ascent of Everest… I’ve spent hundreds of nights in A-frames, and properly executed they handle wind well. Hunters using the Kifaru Paratarp and Supertarp report surviving 70mph Alaskan windstorms unscathed. There’s an interesting thread on r/Ultralight where two separate people wind-tested the Yama Cirriform 1p in a measured 40mph+ and found it was rock-solid and quiet – users report being the only shelter left standing in their hiking group after storms. The Trekkertent Stealth 1 is popular with Scottish summit-campers. And even the Tarptent ProTrail gets good reports, though it’s clearly been designed more for convenient pitching than for wind.

    The Yama hybrid front/side loading design overcomes many of the liveability issues with A-frames. You get lots of space above your head and feet for sleeping. The footprint is much more modest than a tipi, and it plays much better with inserts. Venting is easier, and with the right design you get a nice sheltered vestibule for cooking in bad weather.

    This project has been gestating for far too long – it’s becoming an embarrassment. I think I should get in my order for the ExtremTextil silpoly and get going on my A-frame!

    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    If you haven’t had it in hand yet I think that you will be duly impressed by the 30D silpoly from ET. It’s a beast of a fabric, a totally different animal than most of the 20D silpolys around (excluding the new 20D silpoly used by Tarptent, which I haven’t seen and which is pure sil/sil on both sides with no PU mixed in). A small bonus: The dark green is really an ideal color for most environments in temperate climates.

    A 1P A frame is quite good. Small A frames usually have a low profile and a small footprint. I wouldn’t hesitate to feel confident using them above treeline. Let’s see, I’ve used the Stealth 1 in DCF, the original Tarptent in 30D silnylon, the Gossamer Gear Spinnshelter in spinnaker silnylon, and some A frames from the 70s that I don’t remember. The Stealth was the most impressive. Reliable, the small A frames are, however, noisier than Octagonal mids. The Yama Cirraform looks cool. I hope that Gen will be able to initiate production again.

    FWIW, a final comment: The octagon is always much easier to pitch, especially in a storm, than the Trailstar but never as much fun or as satisfying to pitch in good weather.

    I’d love to see pics of your shelter when finished. Happy Trails!

    Matthew / BPL


    The Yama Cirraform looks cool. I hope that Gen will be able to initiate production again.

    I just checked and it looks like Gen will be making the Cirriform Min for four weeks starting next week. He should have plenty of them on the way in both materials.

    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria


    I agree that in theory at least a tipi will be quieter than an A-frame. But I don’t think that any of the current commercial options have optimal arrangements for supporting the big side panels.

    The possible exception is this rigging on the old Kifaru Paratarp – which may be good enough to do the job. It is certainly lightweight and simple, and you can take if off if it’s not in use.

    Alternatively I may go the extra yard and implement the kind of winged panel support we used in the ’60s – but I’ll start with the Kifaru system.

    Thanks for the detail on the ET silpoly – I’ve heard good things about it, but it’s good to hear from someone who has actually used it. It really does seem like the best shelter fabric on the MYOG market if you need something low stretch, affordable and reasonably robust.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    That paratarp is going to collect any snow like mad. It will probably hold a lot more water too.


    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    Hi Roger

    I know that you regard A-frames as children’s toys suitable only for the back garden :-)

    But the fact is that the Kifaru Paratarp and Supertarp were specifically developed for use as hot tents. They have been used extensively by hunters in the US winter and do just fine.

    Their main weakness is that they appear to use a poor-quality silnylon that sags horribly in the cold and damp. I’ll be using a quality silpoly that will hold its shape much better.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Geoff

    My first tent was a green Japara walled A-frame, Paddy-made. I did use it in the Oz alps and in the snow. But iirc, it was a bit short: Boy Scout size maybe. It worked – if sheltered.


    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Here’s a link to a recent series of impressive blogposts by Geoff Fisher and Helen McKerral, who deal with the subject of “Tents in Strong Winds” in a 3-part series on their blog, Slower Hiking. Part 3 hasn’t been published yet but Parts One and Two provide easy to understand explanations of principles, suggestions for practical techniques, numerous illustrative links, and copious citations from UL shelter designers.


    I’m just a little surprised that they don’t mention hexagonal and octagonal mids, but that’s really a trifling detail.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Quite an interesting web site. But they make little mention of alpine tunnel tents, which to my mind suggests they have had little experience with them. Unfortunate. The flattened pop-ups are, on the other hand, amusing.

    One of the videos shows a tunnel tent in high wind, with the windward end near collapse. All the picture really shows is that whoever pitched the tunnel did NOT know how to do it properly. The windward end should never look like that!

    Thinking about this, I realise that in fact pitching a tunnel properly is rather different from almost anything else. With most tents you have to balance the tension at various points or the whole thing distorts; with a tunnel you put in as much lengthwise tension as you can. If there is ANY movement at the windward end, you have failed.


    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Well, the Macpac model they own is a dome design instead of the famous Olympus tunnel (now out of production). You’re probably right that they haven’t used tunnels much if at all.

    To their credit, though, they do make a point of discussing the importance of elements such as site selection, terrain, wind force, shelter construction, and pitching techniques, as well as the interaction among these elements. I think a lot of people could benefit from that discussion. Unfortunately, since the link is buried in this thread, it won’t get the visibility it deserves. BPL could invite them to repost here or make a link to the article. Personally, I feel that wind resistance is THE overlooked element of discussions about storm resistance in general, so it’s very satisfying to see a focus on the issue.

    The only thing that really made me shake my head so far was their choice of a Zpacks Duplex. That shelter is the poster child for poor design for DCF. Dan Durston really nailed it. But again, there is at least some mitigating mention of DCF’s ugly secret — its weakness for permanent deformation.

    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member


    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    Thanks for that link Jon, interesting, good info

    They talk about the drag increasing when panels are cupped in – better to have more taut panels

    I’d like them to look at reinforcing the ridges on a mid with a stiff strip, like polyester webbing or dyneema, and really tightening the tent stake connection.  This makes the ridge much more stiff and I think able to withstand a higher wind speed.

    The ridges on a mid are on the bias so it stretches a lot.  The weakness of the fabric is where it does the most damage to the design of the tent.

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