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Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids
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Joshua Hill
(Ricardovalomas) - F

Locale: Central West, Blue Mountains
Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/11/2008 17:04:09 MST Print View

I'm looking for a shelter in which I can take my family out bushwalking/hiking. The shelter needs to be quite lightweight as one of us would be carrying the littlest one (14kg plus 2kg carrier) and the other carrying everything else. One would think that that the pyramid design would be perfect and I've looked at designs such as the golite hex, BD Mega light, and MLD Mid. The only issue is kids wiggle around brushing against the sides of the shelter. I would want to place them at the centre of the shelter...right where the pole is found. I've looked at the dimensions and made estimate of our length and width and there is not any placement that would fit all four of us comfortably in any of these shelters. If you guys know of any other shelters I could look at or had experience hiking with two adults and two wiggly children that would be fantastic.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Titanium Goat on 02/11/2008 17:24:17 MST Print View

I don't have any experience with them, but check out the Titanium Goat Vertex 8. It should definitely be durable and large enough. The design should shrug off the wind as well. I have a Golite Hex and absolutely love it, but I think it would be tight for you. The Vertex 8 weighs 3 pounds twelve ounces without the pole. Perhaps you could rig something with two trekking poles. For the huge size, that weight seems reasonable. There is also a smaller Vertex which also may work.

Edited by gungadin on 02/11/2008 17:33:24 MST.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Oops, big bucks!! on 02/11/2008 17:31:58 MST Print View

Wow, I just saw the prices for the Titanium Goat! The Vertex 8 is $850!! So these probably won't work unless you have some serious cash.

Joshua Hill
(Ricardovalomas) - F

Locale: Central West, Blue Mountains
oh if cash flow was not an issue on 02/11/2008 17:39:20 MST Print View

yeah I noticed that as well...It looks pretty good a bit heavy though. I could get the BD Guiding light for cheeper and less weight penalty.

Ben Egan

Locale: The Grid, Brooklyn
Division?? Maybe? on 02/11/2008 20:34:07 MST Print View

My recommendation would be to have a pair of two person shelters. I'm not trying to say that I think you haven't thought of this, you probably have. But perhaps one parent could be with the younger child and one parent could be with the older kid. A drawback (besides the obvious family split) I see though could be the price. Unless you already have a two person shelter that you've used in the past. And in the future, if your single tent lasts so long, your kids may or may not want so much closeness.

I'm just adding my two cents as a teenager though. So in the matter of tent specs (weight, size, price) you might get a better deal of out two separate lightweight tents.

I admire that you're taking your kids out at such a young age though. Mass rad.

Bottom line: Maybe try two tents.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/11/2008 21:27:51 MST Print View

Go for the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 (typo correction--I originally had nbr 3 erroneously) -- we used it for 3 full size adults with their packs for 9 days and it works fine -- in the middle, is room for 2 small kids to sleep as long as their combined length is under 7.5 feet long. Weighs 2.5 pounds. at $275.

Edited by marti124 on 02/11/2008 23:45:49 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Another approach... on 02/11/2008 22:06:38 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 01/22/2013 00:16:37 MST.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/11/2008 23:25:16 MST Print View

I use a Rainshadow for my family of 3 and it would certainly fit your 2 adults and 2 kids, but possibly not as comfortably as you'd like.

Have you considered a Golite Shangri La 4? It appears to be a larger Hex and you could put kids against the pole and adults on the outside near the walls...

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/12/2008 06:43:49 MST Print View

I would think an Oware 10x10 pyramid could easily shelter 2 adults and two children.

My three kids are older and they all sleep together in a 9x9, which is a palace for them and all their gear.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/12/2008 07:39:30 MST Print View

How about the Mountain Laurel Designs Mids? (1.35 Silnylon or the MLD) Would be under 2lbs and with bug protection.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
3-person RayWay tarp on 02/12/2008 07:39:49 MST Print View

I made a 3-person RayWay tarp, following the instructions in the Tarp Book, but scaling things up from 2-person. I had some help from Ray Jardine, but you could work things out yourself easily enough. Perhaps you would need a 3.5-person tarp.

See my member review under tarps, or get back to me if you'd like more information. It was pretty easy to sew, and it was light. It also was fairly cheap, as I used Silnylon seconds from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics.

About the only way to get a lighter one would be to use state-of-the-art expensive UL fabrics.

Edited by ewolin on 02/12/2008 07:42:56 MST.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/12/2008 15:26:53 MST Print View

The MLD 'Mid is massive (9x9)... sized for 4 adults... 29.5 oz with bug net perimeter. No floor... but that might actually be a good thing with kids. You don't have to be as neat and clean inside. No vestibule either... but again... with no floor... you can just keep all the muddy boots inside in one corner. The big vent and bug netting options are nice features that you don't always see in pyramid tarps.

The RainShadow is nice too. TarpTents are beautiful and functional. It might be a little small for 4 people though? Even tho' two of those people are smaller? And it's 42 oz. But it has a vestibule and a floor.

They're both about the same price ($270 vs. $250)

Edited by davidlewis on 02/12/2008 15:33:13 MST.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/12/2008 15:44:20 MST Print View


Nice call on the MLD Mid... I may need to consider that as I've got a second on the way soon.

Joshua Hill
(Ricardovalomas) - F

Locale: Central West, Blue Mountains
G'day everyone on 02/13/2008 05:39:07 MST Print View

Thank you all for your suggestions. It's funny, most of you keep going back to the pyramid design...the design I was first drawn into as a possible solution.

The hardest thing living in Australia and looking at gear from the States is that you can only look at the dimensions online. I cannot simply walk into a store plop my two kids down in the middle of the tarp and get a feel for the space. This is further aggravated by the fact that there is very little following in Australia (or at least what I have seen) in UL backpacking/bushwalking. This makes comparing gear (and buying for that matter) in the stores very difficult.

I can get a feeling by reading post from you guys that sometimes you feel that UL backpacking is a bit on the fringe in the outdoor community. I would like to put out the idea that backpacking/bushwalking with kids is on the fringe as well. Most parents who I tell I take my kids out bushwalking cringe at the thought of taking their kids out into the bush. I guess what I'm saying is that if UL backpacking/bushwalking is on the fringe and backpacking/bushwalking with kids is on the fringe, UL backpacking/bushwalking must truly on the outer edge. Sigh.

Enough of the whinging.

Back to Gear. I've decided that I'm going to go with the Black Diamond Mega Light simply because at under $200 it is the least expensive option at the moment. And with this at least I have a base design if we need to make a bigger shelter. My wife god bless her is fantastic with the sewing machine. I'll let you guys know how it goes once we get out and use it.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/13/2008 08:41:33 MST Print View

I'd have gone nuts if I had had a floorless shelter when Ford was little. Having a floor meant once we got in we could be clean. Shoes came off at the vestibule.

Just are pigs but it can be controlled. It keeps the gear cleaner as well if the kids are running around playing inside. Also helps to keep out biting insects as well.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Ultralight shelter for two adults and two kids on 02/13/2008 09:22:44 MST Print View

I make two mids that are larger

10x10' by 6 ft tall 26 oz.
11x11' by 7.5ft tall 42 oz.

The 10x10 give lots more room for 4.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: G'day everyone on 02/13/2008 10:12:18 MST Print View

Hey. Glad you have a decision made.

One thing tho'... you know... you can't drop into any stores here to see this stuff either! :-) The only place to buy MLD, GG, SMD, Titanium Goat etc. is from their websites... as far as I know. I guess if you live where their offices are located... you might be able to see the stuff in person. But I don't buy ANY of my gear in stores. And we have some really good outfitters where I live (a MEC and some local shops). No one sells UL stuff though. The only thing I can buy in a store are basics like stakes, clothing, etc. For UL packs and tents... everything is bought online.

That said... there are some mainstream products now that are not too heavy... from companies like GoLite and a few others. But the extreme ultralight stuff will always be a niche provided by a few small cottage industries selling online.

I know what you mean though. And sometimes the pictures on the websites don't give you a very good idea of the size. It would be nice on all the websites to see pics with people and gear inside... and just more pics in general. That said... MLD usually has a good assortment of pics. I'd say that they do the best job overall of providing product photos.

Edited by davidlewis on 02/13/2008 10:22:07 MST.

bobby c
(bobbycartwright) - F

Locale: i don't need no stinkin badges!
double rainbow? on 02/13/2008 14:58:48 MST Print View

Have you considered's double rainbow tent? I bet 2 adults and 2 kids could easily stay in that and you'd have bug protection. And it's UL and made by a great company in the US. That's my two cents worth.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: double rainbow? on 02/13/2008 16:05:23 MST Print View

> Have you considered's double rainbow tent? I bet 2 adults and 2 kids could easily stay in that and you'd have bug protection. And it's UL and made by a great company in the US. That's my two cents worth.

Actually, I would not recommend trying to squeeze two adults and two kids in a Double Rainbow. That model sleeps two adults (and maybe a very small child if the adults are both relatively small). The Rainshadow 2 could work, size depending, for 2 adults and 2 kids but only if the kids were still pretty young.

We have a new model coming out this spring which will sleep 3-4 adults and will easily sleep 2 adults and 2 kids.


Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Also in Oz on 02/13/2008 19:17:43 MST Print View


I'm down in Victoria, and use a BD Mid. (In fact I have two) We camp with my wife and I and the two kids, now eight and six, and have been using it since they were two and four. I bought a floor, and sewed on my own insect mesh, before the nest was available.

They're seriously a great tent, with an absolute sh*tload of room for sleeping. They get a bit small with gear, and we drop all four packs into one, pull a pack liner over it and leave it outside at night.

I know they're considered fringe down here, but only till people see you all climb out in the morning.

Drop me a PM if you like, I'm happy to have a chat on the phone. Paddy Pallin's down here sometimes has one in stock, so they may have one up there. I can email you some photos if you like.

Regards, Rod