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HMG Echo I - Initial Impressions
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Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Echo I on 09/26/2010 21:59:49 MDT Print View

I wrote up a post about my Echo II experiences

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Echo I on 09/30/2010 21:35:26 MDT Print View

I spent some more time today shaving some weight off my Echo I and playing with the pitch. I think I'm getting the pitch pretty darn dialed in now.

Latest setup observations:
My idea today was instead of using a taller front pole (46-48") to lift up on the inner more and thus get the netting tighter, it worked even better to change where the front of the inner clips to. I routed some 3/32" shockcord through the existing LineLoc3 on the front of the inner and then I created a loop on the other end and put that over the top of the trekking pole. Having a clip would work even better as you could clip it to the guyline. This new setup pulls out more (horizontally) on the inner and it really does a good job of pulling everything tight. As a side benefit, since you don't need as tall of a pole on the front so the sides of the tarp reach closer to the ground for more coverage. 45" is fine. The rear doesn't matter that much, but I was doing about 30-32". One thing to keep in mind is that the lower you pitch the rear of the tarp, the more it will protect the foot end of the inner from any diagonal rain.

So in summary, 45" on the front and my LT4 as short as it goes on the back (about 30-32") works well when clipping the inner to the tarp guylines instead of clipping it to the underside of the tarp.

Another tip is to connect the shockcord in the middle of the inner first. This will roughly center the inner to the correct position under the tarp, so you don't wind up with it too far forward or back. As you stake down the inner, keep an eye on the middle shockcords and keep them lined up (ie. perpendicular to the inner) and you'll get the inner in the sweet spot.

For the rest of this season I plan to use the Echo I without the inner since there are no bugs left. I'll likely do a few winter trips and I'll use the inner for that for more protection and a smidge more warmth maybe.

Weight Savings
I replaced the bungie cordage on the inner with 3/32" instead of the original 1/8" shockcord. This 3/32" shockcord still works well with the LineLoc3's. IMO, this is how the Echo I should be sold in the first place. I saved 0.7oz off the inner (now 10.8oz) and that's with added shockcord to the front of the inner ridgeline.

A more radical step would be to use all 1/16" shockcord and/or use micro LineLoc's or no tensioners. I'm not sure 1/16" shockcord would give you as taut of a pitch for the inner but it would definately work. I think I'm going to stay with 3/32".

I did replace the side guyouts for the beak (that go to the bottom middle of the tarp) with 1/16" shockcord. I snipped the LineLoc3 and used a fixed length of 1/16" shockcord since this distance won't really change significantly. This dropped my beak from 4.1oz down to 3.7oz and it made setup quicker since there's nothing to tighten or loosen. I'm happy with this switch as well. The 1/16" shock cord seems strong enough to do the job.

The next step is I've got some 1.4mm cord coming from HMG. For the tarp ridgeline and corner tie outs I'm going to snip the bottom half of the 2.8mm cord off and attach this, while being careful to retain enough 2.8mm cord to use the LineLoc3's. For the middle guyouts I'm going to use only 1.4mm cord with a micro LineLoc. I might end up using all 1.4mm cord and micro LineLoc but I want to think about it a bit more before I go irreversibly snipping off the LineLoc3's.

Edited by dandydan on 09/30/2010 21:39:39 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
HMG Echo on 09/30/2010 21:57:59 MDT Print View

The more I look at this shelter the more I admire the design. But I don't see the weight savings over comparable silnylon shelters which would be expected given the huge price.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Weight Savings on 09/30/2010 22:43:56 MDT Print View

The inner net tent definitely doesn't stand out as saving weight compared to the other net tents out there (ie. Alpinlite Bug Shelter, MLD Serenity). The 1.5oz cuben floor is slightly heavier than a silnylon floor and the rest of it is mostly the widely used 0.7oz nanoseeum netting. There's only a wee bit of 0.74oz cuben at the foot end. The side shockcord tie outs add weight to, but they do add a nice bit of volume inside. The Alpinlite Bug Shelter 1.25 gives a similar amount of space at a slightly lighter weight and lower price, although with lighter 3/32" shockcord the Echo I Inner can be brought to the same weight (10.6oz) so it's really a question of what the 1.5oz cuben floor means to you.

The only argument one could make for the Echo I inner saving weight vs. other net tents is if you don't use a ground sheet with the 1.5oz cuben floor (I don't) but you would with silnylon (I would sometimes in foul weather).

Silnylon floor fans could buy the Echo I tarp ($260) and beak ($80) and then combine that with the Alpinlite Bug Shelter 1.25 ($119) and get basically the same end result for $459 instead of $490. You could also substitute the GG SpinShelter for the Echo components and save $145 but then you're using Spinn and giving up some modularity so it couldn't be used as just a 6oz tarp. Then again, $314 is a lot less than $490...

The tarp (6.1oz) and beak (~3oz) are quite light as you would expect with cuben and it's just the heavy guylines that HMG uses that hide some of the weight savings. I expect to have my tarp at about 7oz and the beak at 3.5oz once I have the guylines I want on there. One could go lighter still if they wanted but with diminishing returns.
I bet it's possible to go sub 20oz for the whole system which is great for a double wall shelter.

A neat product idea for HMG (or any DIY'er) is a hybrid groundsheet that serves as both the groundsheet and as the back wall to provide a more complete enclosure when used without the inner. I'm picturing a normal 1 person groundsheet but with an extra triangle of fabric at the foot end that clips up to the tarp to become the back wall. You'd need to stake the back of the groundsheet in place.

Another neat accessory would be a clip in floor with bug netting to essentially create a single wall tent. You could have a floor with a perimeter of bug netting which then clips up to the tarp. The hard part would be avoiding gaps where the bug netting meets the tarp, since there is only 3 clips per side. You'd almost need some sort of a velcro attached, bug netting rimmed floor but then you'd need to retrofit velcro on the tarp which would add weight. Anyways, that's enough thinking out loud and typing it down for one post.

Edited by dandydan on 09/30/2010 22:51:17 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
HMG Echo on 09/30/2010 22:54:03 MDT Print View

Whew! Thanks Dan.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Echo I on 10/02/2010 18:31:10 MDT Print View

I replaced the 2.8mm guyline on the tarp today. I used 1.4mm HMG guyline and micro LineLoc's instead of the LineLoc3's on all 8 guyouts. The tarp now weighs 6.8oz instead of 8.1oz.

The 1.4mm HMG guyline isn't the lightest stuff out there at 35g/50ft but I only needed about 35 ft (20g?). Zpacks 1.25mm guyline is 15g/50ft which would be 10g or 0.35oz lighter still. If I had bright Zpacks line instead of black stuff I'd think about using it. With that said, the HMG guyline is sharp looking stuff.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Echo I on 10/06/2010 19:28:46 MDT Print View

I used the Echo I again last night. I'm getting much faster at setting it up now. 46" on the front and as short as my pole goes on the rear (33") is working great with the inner ridgeline clipped to the tarp ridgeline instead of to the clips on the underside of the tarp. If you get the inner ridgeline nice and tight and don't overtighten the other shockcords (it distorts the inner and pulls the roof a bit lower) then you should have a good setup. Terra Nova 2g stakes are working well to stake down the inner at a minimal weight.

Right now it takes me ~5 min to get the tarp setup (first time tarp user) another 3-4 min to add the inner and then I slap the beak on in 30 seconds. In the future I'll likely leave the inner clipped to the tarp to save time.

Echo 1 f

Echo 1 g

Jonathan Hall
(recipher) - F

Locale: Scotland
Just Got Mine on 10/07/2010 10:41:18 MDT Print View

Mine arrived a couple of days ago. My Katabatic Palisade arrives tomorrow, I hope. Then I'm waiting for a weather window to go for an overnighter in the Scottish mountains.

I set up the tarp fairly easily. I put the front pole at 115cm and the back at the low point of my Leki corklights (not sure what that is). Once you get the front pole up, it's pretty straightforward from there.

The workmanship is first rate.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Nice on 10/07/2010 14:48:27 MDT Print View

Nice....try clipping the ridgeline of the inner to the tarp ridgeline guylines instead of the to the clips on the tarp. The pulls 'out' on the inner more instead of 'up' and in my experience gives much better results. Your tarp pitch can vary a lot more and you'll still have a good inner setup. This does require adding a bit of cord/bungie to the existing lineloc on the front of the inner.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Just Got Mine on 10/07/2010 15:57:59 MDT Print View

"The workmanship is first rate."

That it most certainly is!

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
questions on 10/21/2010 04:36:20 MDT Print View


Thanks a bunch for this review - and the ongoing follow-ups within this discussion. Great job.

I would really like your thoughts on just the bug-net (inner modular) setup. Such as we see in this photograph:

There are times when the weather is nice and the milkyway is awesome to see, so this is something that interests me.

At this time I have a TarpTent moment and while I like it, the single wall issues are obvious issues that are really annoying me. I live in the middle of the Redwood forest with a constant humidity of 90% and condensation is a huge huge factor/issue for me.

I have been looking for something that would give me the "inner" bugnet only option, while still having the ability to throw a tarp up to protect from rain when it is around.

I am also curious if a foot-end beak is available. Nothing I have seen indicates that there is. Sure, one sets up their system to face into the wind, but what about when the wind changes direction. Seems like this would become an issue. Thoughts?


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Re: questions on 10/21/2010 20:24:04 MDT Print View

"I would really like your thoughts on just the bug-net (inner modular) setup."

What sort of thoughts are you after? The inner would set up easily like this and work nicely, but you would need add the ridgeline guylines to it (or steal some off the tarp) because when you get the Echo I there is just an empty LineLoc3 tensioner on the front, and on the rear there is the short bungie cord to clip the inner to the tarp. So plan on spending 2 min adding guylines to the inner before you can set it up by itself. It makes sense for HMG to leave these guylines off because you wouldn't normally want an unneeded guyline just hanging in the doorway and at the rear they need to attach shockcord for clipping the inner to the tarp for the normal setup.

The process of adding the tarp in the night seems a bit slower than just adding the fly to a tent, because to set up the tarp you need to space the hiking poles further apart, so essentially you would be starting the setup over. I will use my Echo I in inner only mode, but likely only on fairly warm nights with close to 0% chance of rain, so there is little chance that I'll wake up when it's raining and need to spend 5 minutes re-setting up the shelter.

"I am also curious if a foot-end beak is available."

The tarp is about 2 feet longer than the inner so you get about 1 foot of overhang on either end (plus the beak on the front). You can shift the inner closer to the head end of the tarp to get that foot end overhang closer to 1.5' if you want. Accordingly, rain getting inside the inner isn't really a concern. It would have to be blowing nearly horizontal to get in. Even then the foot wall of the inner is waterproof cuben material so that would block most of it. Some wind could get in if the foot end is facing into the wind, but normally the foot end wouldn't be facing into the wind and even if it was, the solid foot end wall does a pretty good job of blocking it.

The only situation in which I would prefer to have a 'foot end beak' or wall is when I'm using it without the inner and I'd like the psychological advantage of feeling fully enclosed. I don't sleep well when I'm thinking about how a bear could just poke it's face in the open end of my shelter and munch down on my feet. Even though I know this is an irrational fear, I sleep better when I'm fully enclosed. I haven't used my Echo I without the inner yet, but my plan is to lean my pack against the foot end trekking pole to largely block this opening. You could do this too with or without the inner if you were worried about wind coming in the foot end.

If you want something similar but with a close-able foot end, you could look at the SpinnShelter from Gossamer Gear. It's similar to the Echo tarp+beak but it's all one piece instead of two and it had a foot end wall that velcro's into place. You could use this shelter with a inner bug tent like the ones sold by AlpinLite Gear. The SpinnShelter + Alpinlite Bug Shelter 1.25 is a nice combo, but personally I strongly prefer cuben over spinnaker so that advantage plus the additional modularity of the Echo is what drew me in. I also like having a 1.5oz cuben floor rather than a less waterproof, less durable and slippery silnylon floor that those Alpinlite bug shelters have.

Edited by dandydan on 10/21/2010 20:37:32 MDT.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Review up! on 10/25/2010 13:22:04 MDT Print View

I finally got around to write my HMG Echo I review after using it on my Russia trip.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
weight on 10/25/2010 15:31:18 MDT Print View

im looking at yr weights henrik ... and for 660g

you could get a Duomid in sil with innernet which i suspect might be easier to set up, proven in winds, have fairly steep walls to deal with snow, have more space and be cheaper to boot

or even lighter in cuben

or for an extra 100 grams you can get a tarptent moment .. which again i suspect might be easier to set up and cheaper

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Re: weight on 10/26/2010 00:11:01 MDT Print View

The Echo I looks heavy in Henriks review because the weights include HMG's heavy guylines and you're comparing that to the weights of those other shelters without guylines. Without guylines the complete Echo I setup is 20oz, compared to 30oz for the sil DuoMid + Inner or 28.5 for the Moment.

My complete Echo I weighs 21.7oz including guylines since I switched mine to lighter 1.4mm cord. I could go lighter still (~20.5 - 21oz total) but I'm a sucker for the handsome look of HMG's 1.4mm guylines.

The cuben DuoMid + solo inner would be an awesome combo at 20.5oz. I could be totally into this. This complete setup is basically the same weight as the Echo, it would setup quicker, you'd have more headroom and you may have more total protected area. On the downside, it's more expensive at $550 and you can't go nearly as light in tarp only mode (6oz vs. 12oz) which is nice for some fast & light trips. One of the nice things with the Echo I is that you do get a darn light cuben tarp that you can use for SUL trips and you can bring it along on other heavier trips to use as a tarp over the kitchen area or whatever.

Echo 1 cheakamus

Edited by dandydan on 10/26/2010 00:22:15 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ahhh on 10/26/2010 00:30:52 MDT Print View

ahhh but dan the sil duo + solo net weights 24.5 oz for $140 less ... and to be totally fair the echo 1 is a mono tent ...

so ... the solomid + solo innter = 21.5 oz and costs 175$ less ... and is "skurka" proven across in wild alaska in all seasons

the solomid cuben + solo inner is 2 oz lighter and $20 cheaper to boot

each to his own ... my poncho tarp + bivy is even lighter of course =P

Edited by bearbreeder on 10/26/2010 00:40:57 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Re: ahhh on 10/26/2010 14:27:25 MDT Print View

Yeah if you opt for silnylon you'll be able to get a cheaper shelter for a small weight penalty. I think this is an apples to oranges comparison though, because Cuben has a lot of advantages over sil besides weight (ie. waterproofness, strength, no sag).

Yeah the cuben solomid + inner is 2oz lighter and $20 cheaper, but I'd way rather have the Echo I in everything but deep winter because:

- The Echo I has a large amount of vestibule space. The solomid + inner has none. In terms of space, the Echo I is a lot closer to the DuoMid + solo inner.

- The Echo I has a 1.5oz cuben floor, which is far more waterproof and durable than a slippery silnylon floor. This is a big plus for me.

- If you don't need the inner, the Echo I is quite a bit lighter (6-9oz) than a smaller solomid (10.5oz).

Edited by dandydan on 10/26/2010 14:30:51 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Winter! on 11/10/2010 21:34:15 MST Print View

I went out for a 1 night/2 day trip with another BPL'er this week. It was my first time using the Echo I in the snow. The snow was really packy so I build some short snow walls to keep things warmer inside. It worked well and it was easy to do because you only need walls about a foot high. I was using the inner tent, but it would have been nice if I wasn't because I would have had a lot more space. On future trips this winter I'll likely skip the inner and just use the tarp, beak, groundsheet & snow walls:

Echo Snow

Echo Snow 2

I didn't build a wall at the door so it was easier to get in, and so I didn't suffocate myself. A little trick I discovered is that you can hook the loop at the bottom of the door flap over the trekking pole tip, and then zip the zipper down as far as it goes to create a beak over the vestibule so you can still easily access your stuff, while also protecting it from falling snow/rain:
Echo Snow 3

Imagine that inner tent wasn't in there and you can see I'd have a ton of protected space and great headroom. You could also pitch it higher for even more headroom.

Edited by dandydan on 11/10/2010 21:37:00 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
HMG Echo on 11/10/2010 21:59:57 MST Print View

Be careful not to suffocate.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Ventilation on 11/10/2010 22:03:34 MST Print View

In addition to the large air gap under the door, I also used a top vent. I put my full brimmed hat on top of the tent pole, secure it in place with the chin strap cord, and then I can unzip the door zipper down from the top (since it has 2 sliders) to create a protected vent. You can sorta get the idea here:

Echo Snow 4