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todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 12/30/2011 18:54:55 MST Print View

Nice piece John!

I enjoyed and appreciate the article a ton!!

I think one of the parts I appreciate most (I know this wasn't your goal!!) was that you DIDN'T include this or that (MYOG, over the weight limit choices,etc.). After all this was YOUR article and it was written from YOUR perspective. Too often I see articles on BPL picked apart unnecessarily for things that didn't fall squarely within the author's objectives and/or word choices.

Excellent write-up and comparison.

Todd

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 12/31/2011 06:18:50 MST Print View

The article is probably best left to SUL comparisons since it's doubtful anybody can really go "Alan Dixon XUL" (sub 5 total base weight which is packed and worn) with a 20 oz shelter. You can hardly do it with a 10 oz shelter (only 1 listed in your spreadsheet).

Constructive criticism
1. The article needs proofreading as I see at least 14 typographical errors.
2. You say it's about enclosed shelters and say,

"And I will probably never do a comparison on Fully Enclosed Shelters as none of them are SUL/XUL."

then after that you say,

"Finally I would like to point out that in this comparison I very much want fully enclosed setups only."

and repeat with,

"...because I am after a shelter comparison that is fully enclosed."

Edited by jshann on 12/31/2011 06:19:21 MST.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 12/31/2011 07:00:05 MST Print View

@Todd: Nice piece John! I enjoyed and appreciate the article a ton!! Excellent write-up and comparison.


Thank you Todd!


@jshann: The article is probably best left to SUL comparisons since it's doubtful anybody can really go "Alan Dixon XUL" (sub 5 total base weight which is packed and worn) with a 20 oz shelter. You can hardly do it with a 10 oz shelter (only 1 listed in your spreadsheet).


It would not be at all hard to go with a 20oz backpack and still be in the XUL range - even with the strictest of XUL definitions (of which mine is probably near the strictest).

I could take my summer time setup and double it and still be under the standard XUL definition of XUL hiking.


@jshann: You say it's about enclosed shelters and say...


When I stated I would probably never do a "fully enclosed shelter" what I should have written (and will go back and edit it) is a non-solo shelter or even the solo shelters that are 2+ pounds such as MSR and Big Agnes and such.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 12/31/2011 11:58:27 MST Print View

re: SMD Gatewood Cape

If like me, you have the original version of the SMD Serenity Net Tent, it is only 7 oz vs. 8 oz for the latest version. That alone will bring the setup under 20 oz.

And you're correct, the GC is one fantastic shelter. I've taken it on most of the PCT and on the CT where the winds and rain really blow. A cuben version would drop another 4 ounces from the setup. Dreams!


.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 12/31/2011 19:43:50 MST Print View

@Bob: A cuben version would drop another 4 ounces from the setup


Yeah you know it would!

Though I highly doubt Ron would push out a CF version because it is being used as a poncho and there would be questionable durability issues with it. If he did however, yeah, it would become a serious - a very serious - contender as a leading option for me!

The Serenity NetTent is a weebit tight for 6+ hikers though.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
re: article on 01/01/2012 04:03:19 MST Print View

John, nice work on your article and spreadsheet, it's obvious you put a lot of time and energy into it.

I echo Bob's concerns over having shelters set up vs. actually living in them. Wear and tear is being removed as a variable, and I would say that is one of the most important (if not the most important) variable for a good shelter.

Next, there is a sub 20oz shelter that you ought to consider in your article/spreadsheet that is missing: the hobo tent. Especially if you are taking cost into account!

My hobo tent is comprised of clear plastic from a big roll I bought from a hardware store. It is a 2.5m x 2m rectangle. The entire roll cost me 150 SEK (about 22 USD), and is 20m total and 2m wide; which means 2m costs 15 SEK (2.20 USD), but my shelter is half a meter longer, so let's round it up to say 20 SEK (2.90 USD).

I tie a plastic rope between two trees to hold the shelter up. I can't remember how much I paid for the rope, but it was not much. I know that 10m of heavier plastic rope costs 20 SEK at IKEA, so we could use that as a similar price. Then there are two small plastic clips (similar to the kind used to close off potato chip bags) to hold the plastic sheet to the rope, which are also next to nothing as far as cost, I think 2 SEK would be a high estimate, as they come in bags of like 20 for a low cost which I also can't remember exactly.

For a ground cover I use a garbage bag that is cut in half to create a big rectangle that fits my frame perfectly, leaving some space on each end when I lay in the middle. The garbage bag is for toughness and goes on the bottom, on the top I have duct taped a rectangle of space blanket to fit the garbage bag. The garbage bag cost me about 2 SEK, and the space blanket was 30 SEK.

That's the entire shelter, and if my math is right, it costs about 64 SEK (9.30 USD). It weighs 338g. You could save weight by only using a space blanket as your ground cover, but where I hike/camp there are lots of pine needles, sticks, etc., so I would not opt for that. Or replace it with Tyvek or Cuben.

It's not fully enclosed, but you could add several different options to make it so. I own both a Ti Goat Ptarm bivy (200g) and a Zpacks Solo bug tent (193g), and when I add them to my hobo tent it's 538g/531g, which makes it under 20oz. And you could tweak this set up with a lighter bivy or bug tent.

For the record, I have used my current hobo tent 4 or 5 times this year (all far off-trail I might add), and each of those times I got rain and/or snow and was dry as a bone. I have used the same sheet of plastic, same plastic rope (about 7m of it, 30g), same clips, and same ground cover. There is some mild wear and tear, but I plan on using this same set up more in the future. And if it needs repairs, all I need to do is add a bit of tape. Oh, and I am 6 foot tall and weigh about 180lbs, and yes if pitched correctly I am able to sit up in this shelter (though my head does rub on the top some). I am also able to clip my flashlight to the rope at night, and you could clip a bug shelter to the rope the same way. Also for the record, I have yet to try the Zpacks bug tent with the hobo tent, just my bivy, but I plan on trying the bug net out in the future during bug season and don't see why it would not work.

I firmly believe that one could use the hobo tent on thru hikes in most areas. All you need is to have two trees around to tie your rope to. There are people that have done thru hikes of AT, for example, that I know of, using a hammock as shelter. Worse case scenario, the shelter gets badly damaged beyond what duct tape can fix. No big deal, just have a friend or family member mail you another one that you could have made and packed and ready to go just in case. And would be very surprised if you could beat the price of two hobo tents compared to any other shelter!

I hope this is helpful. :)

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: re: article on 01/01/2012 19:21:40 MST Print View

Hello Ceasar,

Thanks for your nice post!

I very much understand where you are coming from and agree that going the MYOG approach can be a much less expensive (and sometimes lighter) approach.

I addressed this in the first paragraph of my "final thoughts" section when I wrote this:

It is by no means a complete comparison and I fully understand I have not touched one bit on DIY/MOY gear which many hikers in the SUL/XUL world do these days. I wanted to come at this from a perspective of ‘purchasable gear’ and not get into the whole DIY/MOYG factors which really complicates these type of comparisons.


At some point I just had to say "enough is enough" when it came to how many different setups was worth having in one spreadsheet. It could have gone on for a lot longer but it was/is already long enough, what with all the different configuration setups for just a small handful of different companies setups.


@Ceasar: And would be very surprised if you could beat the price of two hobo tents compared to any other shelter!


That is a very good point. A person could even have an extra one of your hobo shelters inside of their bounce box for if they did need to replace it.

Edited by JohnAbela on 01/01/2012 19:22:16 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 01/01/2012 19:59:19 MST Print View

Excellent article, John! I'm just wondering if during those 31 days of rain, there was also enough wind to test the ones you had set up?

I recently bought the ZPacks Hexamid Twin (on the recommendation of Eric Gjonnes of "Balls and Sunshine" fame). Using the same criteria, the total weight of the screened Hexamid Twin with beak, plus the ZPacks Cuben groundsheet (the lighter version) and 8 Vargo Ti stakes, is 17.0 oz. Is there any lighter 2-person tent?

I wish I'd been able to get the tent seam sealed and set up outside; there's plenty of wind to test it in tonight! I'm quite sure this won't be our last east wind episode this winter, though!

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparisons on 01/01/2012 20:09:24 MST Print View

Hello Mary,

Excellent article, John! I'm just wondering if during those 31 days of rain, there was also enough wind to test the ones you had set up?


Thank you!

Yes we had two very bad storms during the month including some crazy wind (took down three of them one night as the stakes pulled up) and hail twice. The purpose of the test was to determine (1) which materials where quickest to saturate and (2) which of the materials suffered the greatest condensation. Those are the only two things documented for the whitepaper. I observed other stuff but those were the two main things I was testing for. Never published the whitepaper it was done to provide data for manufacturers.


I recently bought the ZPacks Hexamid Twin (on the recommendation of Eric Gjonnes of "Balls and Sunshine" fame). Using the same criteria, the total weight of the screened Hexamid Twin with beak, plus the ZPacks Cuben groundsheet (the lighter version) and 8 Vargo Ti stakes, is 17.0 oz.


Yeah how awesome is that! A two person enclosed shelter at under 20 ounces! Unheard of just a few years ago.

Is there any lighter 2-person tent?


That I do not know the answer too. Perhaps I can make that my next comparison project. I was going to do my next one on non-enclosed shelters (for those of us that like to cowboy camp, but still need a tarp for rain/snow days) but it should be a rather easy one. The 2-person one seems much more of a challenge to research!

I wish I'd been able to get the tent seam sealed and set up outside; there's plenty of wind to test it in tonight! I'm quite sure this won't be our last east wind episode this winter, though!


I will be very interested to know how the ZPacks Hexamid Twin works out. It creates an odd way to go about a two pole setup. I suspect a great amount of people are wondering just how well that specific shelter will hold up to hard wind. Please drop me a note some day in the future when you have been able to get some trail time with it!!

Thanks again for the nice message Mary.

John

seth mcalister
(sethmcalister) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Hammock Setup on 01/20/2012 13:16:50 MST Print View

I haven't seen any mention of a hammock setup. My current setup with hammock, suspension and tarp comes in at about 15.1 ozs. I say roughly, because I have not weighed everything on my scale, I merely took the manufacturer's weights which we all know can vary. I would also need to include guyline, stakes and a bug net. I can't remember what my guyline and stake weights were for my MYOG tarptent but a bug net is roughly 1.87 ozs. and made by Papa Smurf over at Hammock Forums. This would most definitely come in at under 20 ozs.

I realize that some of you may bring up the bottom insulation, however, you aren't including your pads for your shelter anyhow.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Hammock Setup on 01/21/2012 11:44:23 MST Print View

I haven't seen any mention of a hammock setup.


Nor will you within my article or spreadsheet.

Back in late 2010 I put together this which is pretty much the only production hammock system I feel that could be worthy of making it onto such a list compared with the finest SUL/XUL fully enclosed solo shelters that exist. If I would of put that one into the list I would than have been blasted by the masses for not adding others, and really, I just do not care to get into that.

The whole hammocks versus tents is not a game I am going to play. There is a dedicated section here at BPL for hammocks, perhaps you can put together your own list and present it to those that are into hammocks.

Just so you do not think I am a hammock hater (I am not, I just do not use/care about them anymore) the lightest hammock setup I have owned is a 136 gram hammock (hammock+suspension) and than I could put that together with my 80 gram tarp for a hammock setup of 216 grams. So, I am fully aware of what is out there for SUL/XUL hammocks. I just do not care about them anymore and feel putting them into my list of SUL/XUL fully enclosed solo shelters would just have caused undue chaos by those who love to stir up the hammocks versus tents issue.