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Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter?
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Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: available single pole shelters on 06/13/2008 09:04:06 MDT Print View

I wholeheartedly agree with John with regards to the unavailability of different fabrics!!! This has been a major turn-off and makes other companies much more attractive.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: HEX versus the MLD MID on 06/13/2008 11:43:48 MDT Print View


Any pyramid tent can be fitted with a bug "skirt" for next-to-nothing additional weight. I have done this with my Hex 3. If you do this, you will want to sew a velcro strip around the tent perimeter and the opposing velcro onto the no-see-um netting. That way, you can detach it when not needed. Netting stuck in frozen snow in the morning isn't pleasant!

When it's warm, you pitch the center pole high so that you have a ventilation space all around the perimeter at the ground. Hunker it down when it's cold and blowing.

Tyvek floor works for me on dry ground but is useless in a bog or on soft, wet snow. I bought the floor for those conditions and can choose to bring it or not. The floor is substantial, IMHO.

One other small distinction among pyramids is that the Hex takes a little less ground space than square pyramids which would be important only if you camp in forested areas where tent space is hard to find.

As much as I appreciate the qualities of a pyramid, IMO, they are not suited for hot, humid conditions which I deal with on the East Coast. Being in Colorado, this may not be a problem at all.

Nathan Boddy
(nnboddy) - MLife

Locale: Hamilton
Utilitarian shelter on 06/17/2008 07:14:33 MDT Print View

I gotta open a real can of worms now...

Have you all seen this?

Will did a review of this item from the Winter retail market. I'd guess no one has it yet and if all I read about Big Sky is true, no one may actually GET it for some time to come. The price would be steep but the ability to combine several different outer shells with a low weight interior WITH mesh may be perfect. A true 4 season capabilities while still having easy bug proof options for 'those' seasons. It's also got vestibules (which the MIDs lack). With the multiple combination options, the only downside I could foresee would be the weight (which still isn't bad for two people and what you'd receive), the price (ouch), and the customer service reputation.


Edited by nnboddy on 06/17/2008 07:15:49 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Cape Pelorum on 06/17/2008 09:44:48 MDT Print View

You admit to knowing the reputation of this entity and it’s principal. He has isolated himself by his past business practices. His “sirens” continue to call forth to the unwary. Don’t be seduced.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/17/2008 10:38:51 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 21:01:59 MST.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: bs. on 06/17/2008 11:12:58 MDT Print View

B.S. indeed! I see that Bob is charging $999,999.95 for the Mirage 1P. He must be getting ready to retire. He only has to sell one tent and he's got his Maui Retirement Condo and money for Coronas too.

I'm glad I got my Evolution 2P before the price went up.

Edited by redleader on 06/17/2008 13:30:07 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/17/2008 16:17:22 MDT Print View

We all know what BS stands for, but just as a reminder here is a definition of Mirage :
A mirage is an optical illusion. It is not a real phenomenon, and one cannot take photographs of it. The interpretation of the image, however, is up to the fantasy of the human mind.
"a mirage shows images of things which are elsewhere"
(like a picture on a web site rather than a product in your backpack.)

But new designs and products keep coming out, so you never know your luck.

Nathan Boddy
(nnboddy) - MLife

Locale: Hamilton
Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/17/2008 20:43:29 MDT Print View

Ok, ok. I kinda figured that would be the general consensus.
The idea is beautiful; however. Almost exactly what I'm after. I want a shelter that can be layered like you'd layer clothes. One configuration for dry bugless weather, another for bugs and moisture, another for three feet of snow... all in one package.

Back to the juggling of the MID options.
MLD = wait
GOLITE = Too heavy
OWARE = the front runner?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/17/2008 21:42:31 MDT Print View


I think the same way too:

One basic tent structure that one can use with a mesh inner for 3-season use, and a solid-fabric add on for winter or sandy beach use.

One pack frame and harness fitted with different size packbags that one can select depending on trip duration.

Nathan Boddy
(nnboddy) - MLife

Locale: Hamilton
Re: Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/17/2008 22:42:22 MDT Print View


That's exactly what I'm getting at! If the super-structure of clothing system, sleeping system, shelter system or packing system can remain in place, than the skin should be able to be interchanged with various fittings to create:


Got any interest in staring a business?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/17/2008 23:26:28 MDT Print View

Alas, I think most people perfer to buy multiple packs, tents, etc. rather than one that they can build/layer up or down. An all-season tent that's strong enough for winter use is somehow going to be too heavy for some -- even if we're just talking a handful of ounces. Ditto for packs. A frame/suspension good enough to handle a real load will be too heavy for UL purpose.

I think you and I probably enjoy tinkerig with different options, like playing with construction sets or transformers back when we were kids. Sigh.

Edited by ben2world on 06/17/2008 23:57:12 MDT.

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Hex 3 on 06/17/2008 23:50:42 MDT Print View

A Hex 3 in Spinnaker is a good choice. MLD has the design in silnylon as spinnaker has left the earth it seems. As far as bugs are concerned, get this or a bivy like this A bug tent is total overkill. In Australia, a bug skirt would not protect you from the insects underneath you.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
"utilitarian all purpose shelter?" 21 ounces/person; free standing tent on 06/17/2008 23:54:09 MDT Print View

I bought tents one after another, lighter and lighter; and finally settled on the Black Diamond Hilight as my light-4 season tent. Sometimes called a 3+ season tent. Weight is 2 lbs 10 oz for the tent and poles; and actually the 3rd pole is optional in mild weather.

For two hikers, that's an average of 21 ounces carried weight each, for an enclosed, free-standing, two person shelter. (although the weight can not actually be split equally). It has the critical, and sometimes omitted, peak vents.

I've used this mountaineering tent in humid summer conditions and in the middle of winter on an exposed concrete helipad in severe winds at 3,000m.

Because the poles are inside the tent, within two minutes you can be inside, out of the rain, finishing the pole assembly/framing.

Just read the recent posts on the desire for a 'layered' tent with bug layer, shell layer, etc.. BD has the 'Mid' series which does just this.. Similar to the Golites of course.
Components are the pyramid shell, floor only, fully enclosed bug tent.. and you can use your trekking pole as the center pole.

Also, the REI Quarter dome 2 and 3 have a fully enclosed, free-standing bug-inner

Edited by Brett1234 on 06/18/2008 00:01:05 MDT.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/18/2008 14:09:12 MDT Print View

For my wife and I it is the Black Diamond Beta Light.

We have used the Betalight as a tarp on the AT, and with a hiking partner I have used the floor whilst my wife prefers the full bug protection of the bug inner.

The BD Betalight may not be the lightest option available it is perhaps one of the most cost efficient as it allows the owner to mix and match as preferred, or as I tend to say these day modular gear. That is the shelter is made up of a set of modules which are interchangeable depending on the conditions.

Nathan Boddy
(nnboddy) - MLife

Locale: Hamilton
"Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter?" on 06/18/2008 17:37:32 MDT Print View

Thanks for your comments Roger.

I like the weight savings of the Betalight and had considered it (and the MLD Superfly) until I realized that I wouldn't be able to sleep side by side with my wife. It sounds like the MIDs will allow me to adjust the pole to one side for this option, but it doesn't look like that would fly with the Betalight.

She would veto that in a hurry.

Edited by nnboddy on 06/18/2008 17:38:39 MDT.

Nathan Boddy
(nnboddy) - MLife

Locale: Hamilton
Is there any such thing as a utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/19/2008 20:00:41 MDT Print View

I made the jump at about 6:30 this morning. Enough deliberation...

I've purchased the GoLite Shangri-la 3 (essentially the new version of the Hex as far as I can tell.) In fact I jumped all the way and got the tent, the bug nest and the floor. With these options I should be able to configure it any number of ways.

You all have been VERY helpful with your suggestions and I enjoyed this forum very much. The MID option seemed to be the most desirable for me, and for the majority of contributors to this forum. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I'm hoping that I just purchased...

A Utilitarian All Purpose Shelter.

Thanks again,

Nathan Boddy

Edited by nnboddy on 06/19/2008 20:02:20 MDT.

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Oware Alphamid and 2 persons on 06/20/2008 17:26:31 MDT Print View

The Oware Alphamid is a 1/2 pyramid. The pole sits outside the front door, so two people can sleep inside the tent without knocking up against the tent pole (two hiking poles linked for example with a BlackDiamond pole link).

With proper preparation, the Alphamid can be used as a winter shelter. I have camped in the Sierra's at 10 to 20 degrees, on 10 feet of snow with the Alphamid, a bivy sack, and a zero degree winter bag.

The silnylon version was light and cheap enough for my purposes.

Edited by btolley on 06/21/2008 17:10:55 MDT.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
utilitarian all purpose shelter on 06/22/2008 05:38:44 MDT Print View

Hi Nathan,

Congratulations on the Shangrila 3. I have one, and it is fantastic for one or two people.

The inner net from Golite is heavy, and when I go solo, and for bug infested conditions, I am coupling the ShangriLa 3 with a Six Moon Designs Serenity Net. This adds 190g or 7 ounces to the weight, but gives full bug protection and leaves a massive vestibule to hang out in.

When my wife comes, she goes in the net, and I tough it out under a homemade net for my head. Normally we are above treeline, so bugs aren't an issue. I use a TiGoat Ptarmigan bivy and sleep on my Golite poncho tarp. I've been through storms and stayed warm and dry.

Have fun with the shelter.


John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: utilitarian all purpose shelter on 08/17/2008 13:46:33 MDT Print View

Good choice on the Shangri-La 3. I own the Hex 3 and love it. A few comments that I have not seen addressed elsewhere:

1) There have been several comments about not using the Hex 3 in summer. What many people don't realize is that you can open up both sides of the door panel, so that 2 of the 6 side panels are rolled back. This effectively opens up 1/3 of the shelter for nice breezes. The peak still overhangs enough that if you sleep perpendicular to the door and push the pole over, you can both still be completely covered by the Hex (think oversized Gatewood cape for 2). Plus, if you use long tent stakes, you can get a good 8 inches of space between the ground and the Hex. So the Hex can indeed be a great warm-weather shelter as well. Hunkering down simply means closing the two door panels. The Hex 3 only has a pullback tie for one of the panels, but if you roll up the other panel, you can secure it by staking out the guyout.

2) If you both carry trekking poles, sew loops into the ends of a 5' grosgrain strap. Connect both sets of poles as you normally would, so you have two very long poles. Then, place them as an inverted V, using the grosgrain strap to prevent them from sliding apart. This will allow you to sleep in the middle of the shelter, with 5' of sleeping width. It eliminates the center-pole claustrophobia, and gives you much more headroom, since it effectively opens up the space in the top center normally occupied by the center pole.

3) I've adapted a setup technique I learned from these forums. The great thing about the Hex 3 is that the side panels are the same length as the radius (when measured from the panel corners), which is 5' exactly. This means the Hex floorspace is made up of 6 equilateral triangles, with all sides 5'.

If you have 5' poles (my Komperdell CFs' are exactly 5'), you can 'triangulate' a perfect pitch. Start by placing a stake in the center. Use one pole as your radius and the second pole as your perimeter side. Work your way around the perimeter, with one pole touching the center stake and the other pole touching the last perimeter stake you placed. Where the two poles meet is where you place the next stake. I've done this 4 times now and have gotten a perfect pitch every time.

In the 2 years I've owned the Hex 3, this is the first time I've accomplished a perfect, taut pitch, without over-stretching here and there. It also means you can precisely determine where you will be lying down. Just place the center stake in the middle of there you want to by lying down, and put the first perimeter stake where you want the door to be.

I only wish that someone made a lightweight, rectangular 2-person inner bug nest that comes to a point in the middle apex. This would save substantial weight over the Hex 3 nest. I'm thinking something like an Integral Designs Silshelter bug liner, but with the peak over the center rather than over the head end.

4) And finally, I find it interesting that most people never think of using a bivy in a Tarptent. Most seem to think of using a tarp and bivy, tarptent, OR double wall tent.

If, on the other hand, you used a tarptent AND two lightweight dwr or wp/b bivies or overbags (Montbell Breee Dry-Tec comes to mind), you'd still be lighter than true double wall tents (and lighter than the Hex 3 with stock inner nest), and be much more versatile. There are many advantages:

a) You'd have the sewn-in bug-proofness, breathability, and ease of setup of the tarptent.
b) You'd have the wind and condensation resistance of the bivy (creating a quasi-double wall tent), and still be protected in the event of tent failure.
c) You could just use the bivies for starry alpine nights, or just the tarptent for warm buggy nights.
d) You'd have more room than a double-wall tent.
e) If you get a tarptent that only uses trekking poles, you are further protected from poles snapping in a double wall tent.
f) wp/b overbags would double as emergency shelters as well as act as stuffsacks for the sleeping bags.

Edited by jcarter1 on 08/17/2008 14:06:08 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Adding a bug netting skirt on Hex 3. on 08/17/2008 15:35:14 MDT Print View

I too have the Hex 3, nest and floor. After reading about Michael Davis adding velcro netting to the Hex, i think i've come up with the perfect solution.
Attach a strip of velcro to the outer AND the floor. This way you can attach netting to the outer and connect it to the floor. This would eliminate the crawling bug problem too.