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Emily B
(emilyb)
hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/23/2012 18:01:16 MST Print View

Hi folks, my recent gear swap posting turned into a conversation that I thought might be suitable for this forum. I'm thinking of getting a Zpacks hexamid, and have been having trouble finding online discussions speaking from experience about one thing:

Do any of you have experience with pitching a hexamid all the way to the ground? (I'm a cold sleeper in the chilly "3-season" Pacific Northwest, and would want to block breezes.)
If so:

Did you find that it left enough head/foot room that you weren't bumping the walls? Or if not, do you think it would work for someone 5'6", on an inflatable mattress, with a fairly lofty 3-season bag, but also in a bivy with possibly some head/footbox water protection?

If you've pitched to the ground with the addition of the beak or a door that also goes close to the ground, how was condensation? I was thinking of constructing my own clip-in door (no extended beak), which would come to or close to the ground, but would not come up the full height to meet the beak, thus leaving an open spot / vent. Do you think that's a viable condensation-management option? (Of course, depending on site selection, etc).

Thanks for your thoughts!

Emily

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/23/2012 18:30:23 MST Print View

Hey Emily, Expect to get some serious condensation inside if you pitch it all the way to the ground - just as you would any other shelter when done so.

I have only suffered major condensation inside of my hexamid twice, once is when I lowered the shelter really tight to the ground, and the other time is when I was forced to setup to close to a river and it was really really foggy, which would have happened in any solo shelter. It is just not a good idea.

Most modern solo shelters that are sold today, especially in the sub 2 pounds TSW category, are designed to keep you mostly protected in the worst of the worst shelters.


Almost-Off-topic Philosophy:

(this is NOT targeted towards you Emily, just all of us in the hiking community these days)

It seems, to me, that too many people are going out there with these sub 20 ounces shelters and expecting them to perform like a 40 ounce shelter.

And lets not forget that 15 odd years ago we here in America were the ones that used a shelter for utter storm protection and than used cheesy sleeping bags, and over the last few years it has switched: we now depend upon our sleeping bags to defend us from the elements and depend on the shelter to just keep the worst of the worst off. (oddly, it seems that just as we were switching to this way, those across the pond were switching back to how we use to do it, lol)

So what if a few drops of water are on your groundsheet/bathtub.... that is what DWR on your sleeping bag is for.

So what if air flows through your shelter... that just means less/no condensation.

So what if your shelter suffers condensation... a 10gram towel can solve that problem.

So what if... and the list can go on.


If you are expecting to use one of the few sub 20-ounce TSW shelters that exist in the world, and expect it to perform like a 40oz+ shelter in the world, you might just be buying (or bought) the wrong shelter for you.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/23/2012 19:18:48 MST Print View

John,

I have never pitched mine to the ground, but don't see how you would get condensation, since the opening is so large. It is not an enclosed shelter... it is really a tarp with only one set-up configuration. Now if you call fog rolling into the opening, yes you would get some condensation.

I have gotten condensation to the point the interior walls were sheets of ice in a Chouinard Pyramid and a Wild Oasis, so I know what condensation is. And both times these shelters were not pitched to the ground.

My Hexamid has also withstood ~ 45 mph wind gusts. But, lets not fool ourselves; it is not a 4 season shelter by any means.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Orange County Socal
Hexa on 02/23/2012 20:42:05 MST Print View

You will be fine pithing it to the ground. As far as condensation, its really going to depend more on the nights weather (temp & dewpoint) than the small amount of air flow lost from pitching it to the ground. I have had severe condensation issues in the hexamid on nights far away from water while pitched on sandy terrain (4-6 inches off the ground). That night it got below freezing. Following night, I slept next to a stream on top of grass and to my surprise had no condensation (0-3 inches off the ground due to uneven terrain). Was slightly above freezing that night.


You will be fine space-wise with it pitched to the ground if you are 5 ft 6 even with an inflatable.

Edited by surfingdwedge on 02/23/2012 20:44:33 MST.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 00:23:18 MST Print View

You could get Joe to put add a peak vent, which being high up might be better than leaving a gap at the top of the door. The beak doesn't come all the way to the ground by the way, but ends a couple of inches from the bottom of the tent.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 01:15:00 MST Print View

I suppose you could pitch the back side to the ground, but you would still have a pretty big opening in the front. Not sure it would be worth it, especially since you will lose space. If wind is a big issue for you, then I would say use a bivy, or go with a heavier shelter that gives you the level of protection you are looking for. The hexamid is a fairly minimalist shelter. From a wind/rain protection prospective, it's just a half step up from my poncho tarp. A huge step up when it comes to bugs which is why I have it.

I have also seen it hold up well in winds I clocks at 45mph (so the gusts went higher that than), but as Nick say, it is not a 4 season shelter. If I was expecting really nastiness, I would be using a different shelter.

--Mark

Ludo P.
(Fils) - F

Locale: France
Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 01:59:27 MST Print View

max length : 2.50 m (8.2 feet)
max height : 96 cm (3.15 feet)
height at enter point : 96 cm (2.2 feet)

with my 1.78m (5'10) I'll only use it when weather will be really bad...

Here's some pics of hexamd pitched to the ground :
Side view

Rear view

Front view

Lying down

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 09:22:47 MST Print View

Nick,

In the other thread that you posted pics in, I noticed that you have the Zpacks Groundsheet/poncho. When using in poncho mode do the sides being folded in 5" bother you at all?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 09:48:39 MST Print View

"In the other thread that you posted pics in, I noticed that you have the Zpacks Groundsheet/poncho. When using in poncho mode do the sides being folded in 5" bother you at all?"

In poncho mode the sides are flat. The way Joe sewed the corners and how the clips attach to the shelter makes the sides turn up, but in poncho mode you wouldn't know it. Also there is a water proof zipper below the hood and two short zippers at the bottom of each side in poncho mode. Hard for me to describe.

zPacks Poncho

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 10:06:01 MST Print View

Thanks for the info and pic, Nick. Appreciated.

Another question: What is your size and do you feel adequately protected when wearing the poncho over your pack?

I have cuben to make my own groundsheet/poncho. Have been going back and forth on the size though. Like the idea of making it as big as my Equinox Terrapin (58"x90") for extra floor space and wiggle room (so my sleeping bag doesn't get in the dirt) but cutting it down to a similar size as the Zpacks for weight and space savings seems attractive too. Hmmm....maybe I should make a Zpack sized proto from an old cotton sheet.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 10:28:19 MST Print View

Rusty,

See my post in the other Hexamid thread

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=59934&skip_to_post=513987#513987

Also I should mention that I have a cuben quilt. It is not 100% water proof since it is sewn, but more water proof than most other sleeping bags/quilts so I am not as concerned about getting it wet as I am with other pieces I own.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 10:51:49 MST Print View

Thanks. Very helpful.

I just noticed that the .75 oz/yd cuben option is no longer listed on the Zpacks page. 1 oz only. My cuben is the .75 oz/yd. Hope I can get some long life out of it, using it as a ground sheet most of the time! 7 or 8 times out of 10 though, I'm camping on a soft forest floor, grass or sandy soil.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 11:29:22 MST Print View

"My Hexamid has also withstood ~ 45 mph wind gusts."
Nick,
With a strong wind, do you prefer to pitch with the back into the wind, or one of the the sides? I have a Hexamid Solo-Plus but I've only been able to use it a few times so far, and it hasn't been windy. Perhaps your experience can save me a bit of first-hand learning.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: hexamid pitched to the ground? on 02/24/2012 11:53:09 MST Print View

Back to the wind. But wind direction in the desert often moves around. I also always try to find a berm or bush to pitch close to.

I have been using the zPacks 1 oz carbon fiber pole. It flexes quite a bit and causes some nervousness, but it has held up. I am going to buy a heavier pole from Ti Goat. I have stopped using trekking poles, but they should be much better.

The other thing I should mention is that wind in the desert is often accompanied by sand storms. In some areas I am talking about almost zero visibility. We get storms that can dump 3 feet or more sand on the roads leading out of town over a weekend. Snow plows and earth movers are required to open the roads when the storm is over. The bath tub floor really helps mitigate the sand, but you cannot avoid it completely. And when the weather is warm, you don't want to be in an enclosed shelter.

Emily B
(emilyb)
hexamid pitched to the ground? -thanks! on 02/24/2012 16:28:28 MST Print View

Thanks much to all of you. It is very helpful to hear about peoples' various experiences, specific and general, even (especially!) if the findings conflict sometimes. I feel now that a hexamid with bivy will do the job for me.

Thanks to the folks who included photos, too-- I find that, when considering gear that I can't go and see myself, one of the most useful things is to see pictures of actual people inside the shelter / wearing the gear, etc.

This has been so helpful that I'm about to post a new thread seeking hexamid users' thoughts about which size may be most suitable for my needs. If you still have plenty of hexamid talk waiting to bubble forth, feel free to send it my way.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Hexamid low to the ground on 03/10/2013 14:22:17 MDT Print View

Um, ok...really stupid question here...sorry.

In order to pitch it all the way to the ground on the back and sides, it looks like you just put the stakes directly in the loops on the tent, right? NO use of the guy lines except at the front pole?? Which I then assume must be shorter to accommodate, right???

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Hexamid pitched to the ground? on 03/10/2013 15:01:40 MDT Print View

I have only pitched my Hexamid once in the garden, so take this with a pinch of salt. If I remember rightly I lowered the pole height by about six inches and reduced the guyline length by the same. I am going on a five day trip next week with the Hexamid and will report back after that. Inner space gets pretty tight when pitched this low.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Hexamid low to the ground on 03/10/2013 15:37:27 MDT Print View

Yes, pretty much, Jennifer.

At 6' tall with size 10 feet, and using a 72" NeoAir, pitching to the ground doesn't allow enough interior height. The foot end of the bag is against the tent with loft being smashed and my face only has a few short inches of clearance.