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hexamid users: which size would you choose?
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Emily B
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 16:32:43 MST Print View

You folks have been so helpful with my other hexamid questions. If anyone still feels like hexamid-talk, maybe you’ll have some thoughts on my dilemma about what size to get. Of course, I’ll have to make my own choice, but it can help to hear how other people have made or would make similar decisions for themselves. So,

In the following circumstances, if you could have only one hexamid, which would you choose?
1. Solo
2. Solo-plus
3. Twin, modified to include vertical zip in the “back” as a second entry/exit, so that each inhabitant has their own

Here are the circumstances of use:

No netting weight; used with bivy.

My first UL shelter purchase. (Well, that’s not true—I have a 4x8 spinnaker tarp and have found I want more coverage.) Now that I have all the gear I absolutely need and most of it is UL, I’ve resolved that if I purchase any new gear, I’ll go the lightest that is feasible for my comfort and eternal-grad-student budget, with an eye to it being a long-term use item.

Thus far, I’ve always hiked with a group, and probably will continue. Thus far, there has always been someone in the group with whom to share a shelter, which has been my Hubba Hubba HP.

I want the option of a solo shelter in the event that there’s no one to share with, or in the event that I don’t feel like sharing a shelter. Both the hexamid solo and solo-plus look great for this; I’m drawn to the higher height of the solo-plus.

Then again, it would be nice to have the option of a 2-person UL shelter, so that I could share without lugging around the hp. The solo-plus could be feasible to share with a cuddle-buddy, but other than that, it may be a little crowded. (Can any of you speak to this from experience?) Not to mention that the people I’d share with are not-quite-UL hikers, with corresponding expectations of a shelter. I think that the twin with the extra door could be satisfactory in this situation.

Joe at Zpacks estimated the door mod would add less than half an ounce. This means a twin with extra door would be only up to an ounce more than the solo-plus—still an amazing weight for a solo shelter.

Even though this mod would not add much cost, it would still be significantly (for my budget) cheaper to get a used solo/solo-plus (which I’ve found) than a new, modified twin. I also am drawn to the simplicity of the solo and solo-plus.

I’m trying to decide by the end of this weekend so I can let the folks know if I want to buy their used hexamid, or order one in time for early 3-season use.

I think that’s every last detail; thanks for any thoughts you send my way!


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 16:40:30 MST Print View

Not much additional weight, and a lot more versatile to get the 2p. It will be a palace when solo, and still a lot lighter than the Hubba.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 17:03:50 MST Print View

I read that Joe V shared his solo Hexamid with his wife. To be honest I would not be interested in sharing a shelter with anyone, except my wife -- emergencies excepted and hopefully no one has been eating beans :)

Mine is high enough to sit in and do chores.

Since you will be using a bivy, I don't see a need for a door. I don't have a door or a beak and am happy with the coverage. Now if you are traveling with mixed company, the door might be something you would want.

So the lightest and least expensive option would be the solo.

Also as a consideration, I don't use a shelter at all if the weather is good.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 17:17:41 MST Print View

I have a solo and find it adequate. I get some spray in heavy rain. If I were to get another hexamid today I'd probably go with the solo-plus w/ a beak -- more space and versatility with very little weight penalty. I can't imagine sharing the solo w/ anyone.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 17:31:14 MST Print View

For me, it seems like the only downside to the Twin or even Solo Plus would be the larger footprint. You will probably know if that will be an issue for where you typically go (high mountains, maybe, or really dense forest without campsites) but I think that there are probably not that many situations where that would be an issue for most people.

Tough choice, but you probably won't regret having the extra space of the Twin even if you use it solo 90% of the time. And unless you have a personal goal of going SUL, I wouldn't worry about the extra ounces.

However, I'm not a Hexamid user, so real-user experience might be more useful!

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Hexamid on 02/24/2012 17:39:37 MST Print View

I recently bought a hexamid twin, and I am modifying it now. I haven't used it yet. Whether the extra cost is justifiable for you is difficult for others to judge, but disregarding the difference in cost it is clear to me that the twin is the most sensible option if you think you might ever share your shelter with anyone else. I am actually tinkering with mine to give it more room, because, especially with a companion, I think it would be appreciated in heavy rain.

Emily B
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 17:49:52 MST Print View

Colin, I would be interested to hear how you're tinkering with yours to add extra room, because I've had ideas for that too.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
height on 02/24/2012 17:55:15 MST Print View

I have a solo and when I first got it i thought it was a little claustrophobic in there (im 6'3). but after using it a few trips its fine.. If i were to buy one now I would have to say I would prob get the solo plus and take the 1oz penalty for the extra room.

Last summer I was out in emigrant wilderness with my buddy and his dog and we got separated on the 2nd day of our 4 day trip and the dog was with me at the time so he had to sleep with me in the hex solo! I had my head all the way up as much as i could and just put my legs to one size and he curled up on the far end. (90lb dog). It wasn't terrible but def wouldn't do it again on purpose.

I would say if you are 5'9-5'10 and under the solo is fine, 5'11 and up go with the plus.

Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
Footprint on 02/24/2012 17:57:20 MST Print View

I have a Hexamid Solo. I debated between the plus and solo for some time and for me the reason to go with the solo over the plus was the footprint. In the regions I camp available flat ground space is quite limited. The extra space of a plus would be more of an annoyance and honestly, once I am in my shelter I am asleep within an hour (or at least trying to sleep).

To me, ul and sul backpacking is not just about reducing the weight but also about learning to survive/live with only whats really needed. Getting a palace (twin) just because the weight increase is little goes against what got me into this in the first place. However, HYOH and follow your own beliefs.

I would weigh how important the following are to you:

Footprint size
Length of time normally spent in your shelter awake (If Im awake, Im moving)
Average weather conditions for your area in your hiking season.
Amount of gear/stuff not apart of your shelter/sleep system (cooking system is mine)

For the average ul person, id say go plus. If you go with a solo, you should have a reason for the selection. I would not go twin due to the reliance on two poles.

If someone wants to share, throw them your hubba and make them hike it in while you sleep solo in your ul shelter...just my thoughts;-)


Edited by Micronorton on 02/24/2012 18:27:39 MST.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/24/2012 20:43:45 MST Print View

Solo+. My friend has an older Solo that I've set up and played with, and it's just a wee bit too small if I wanted to keep my pack + extra gear inside. With the Solo+, the size is perfect, extra coverage from rain splash, +1 person in a pinch for emergency or SO, and a not so large footprint of the Twin.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Twin on 02/24/2012 21:55:59 MST Print View

I figured I would be fine in any of the three, so it really came down to a question of comfort gained vs the weight cost ...

In my calculations I had the Plus being around 45 more grams than the Solo and the Twin being a mere 9 grams more than a Plus .... Since my on trail happiness relies heavily on how I sleep (especially if there's bad weather), I was stuck between the Twin and the Plus until I ran the weight differences ...

Keep in mind the Twin and Plus have the exact same foot print size, which means you can use a Twin footprint in a Solo Plus (as is the case in my numbers above) ...... so all what you're gaining with the Twin is the extra headroom in the back, which the extra pole in back gives you .... I also thought about whether or not the extra pole added stability or decreased it .... still not sure about that one ...

In any case, waiting on the twin and if I'm solo it will be a palace for mere grams and if I'm lucky, I won't be solo and she and I will have a palace. :)

Darren M.

Locale: West
Jack-of-all-trades? on 02/24/2012 22:18:49 MST Print View


Your dilemma is one that many of us have been up against and I pulled the trigger on the Twin. My decision was easy. For the price penalty of less than .5 of an ounce over the solo+, I have the ultimate in cuben versatility (never considered the solo as I'm too tall). Now, it's not the best for every situation, as there is not one shelter that is best for everyone or every outing, as we all know.

I sometimes have my kids/wife join me on trips. The footprints are the same for the solo+ and the twin. Weight difference is negligible. I got the tent with the beak. I really like the option of buttoning it down if need be. I'm 6'0 and there is not a ton of extra head/foot room for me if someone else is joining me. These are not palatial shelters, as you know. Even with my wife (5'9) sleeping against the back wall, it's a snug fit. I'm not sure how much room there is to tie up a bivy net with the slope, if you are looking to do that. I also can't even imagine trying to get out of the tarp with that custom door. It's pretty tight and low just getting out of the main door for me!

All in all, you have to decide if having the two person option is important. The only 'real' difference in my opinion is the additional pole for the twin. Well worth it if you ever have someone joining you in the same shelter.

Good luck with your decision.


Edited by dmacdaddy on 02/24/2012 23:02:11 MST.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
hexamid twin for me on 02/24/2012 22:36:12 MST Print View

I chose the hexamid twin because i often hike with friends and also solo. The weight of the twin over the plus or solo is so minimal that i figured that the twin is better. Also, if you think about it, the plus uses 10 stakes while the twin uses 8 stakes. depending on what stakes you are using, the twin is larger and possibly overall lighter!

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: Twin on 02/24/2012 22:56:46 MST Print View

Didn't notice that the Twin was the same floor print, I don't know what I'd choose now.

Emily B
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/26/2012 16:45:44 MST Print View

Thanks folks, this has been helpful. The main thing that struck me was that all your points put together give perspective on my main dilemma: the wish for a balance between utility and simplicity. Yesterday I came across this article from a few years ago, which, myself having discovered UL only a year ago, I felt articulated what I enjoy with a lightweight pack:
"Decision-Making and the Lightweight Pack"

I especially like the last little section, "Heightened ability to appreciate the wilderness". The main point there was that, when it comes to gear/equipment in our outdoor adventures, "The less I have, the happier I feel". That's the reason that my gut is drawn to the solo-plus or solo. As we've been discussing, there's not actually too much difference between all the sizes, as far as the "stuff" side of things. So it's more conceptual-- I think I would love the feeling of using the solo shelter, no extra bells and whistles.
Then again, in matters pertaining to physical worldly possessions, this same concept also holds true in my life in general: The less (physical possessions) I have, the happier I feel. (Very convenient for a student living in a little apartment.) That's why I'm selling a couple of my much beloved but redundant heavier tents to fund the purchase of the hexamid. In this light, it seems the Twin would be the natural choice-- no need to eventually acquire both solo and duo UL shelters.

So, I'm guessing I'll go with the twin.
Now I'm just getting overly philosophical for a simple tarp purchase-- I think I'm procrastinating working on my thesis today!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
hexamid users: which size would you choose? on 02/26/2012 17:11:58 MST Print View

I got the Twin because I backpack with my 70-lb. dog and because occasionally I take a grandchild out with me. In the latter case, I save over a pound over my Squall 2, but the Hexamid Twin won't work for two humans plus dog after the kids become teenagers and start shooting up. Of course the kids will be able to carry more weight then!

The additional weight of the Twin over the Solo is so small that IMHO it's worth having for the extra space. However, if I didn't have the dog, I'd have gotten the Solo and been fine with it.

Edited by hikinggranny on 02/26/2012 17:14:45 MST.