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Thruhiker looking for (ultra)light shelter recommendations
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John Lucas
Thruhiker looking for (ultra)light shelter recommendations on 03/30/2012 09:44:36 MDT Print View

Hey all,

I'm currently hiking the AT, just passed the 300 mile mark, and am trying to slowly go more and more lightweight. For my shelter I'm currently using the MSR Carbon Reflex 1, which I know isn't too popular because of its cost, but it's on loan from my school. It's a great tent for the weight, super weather proof and roomy, but at 2 lbs. 8ish? Ozs. I'd like to go lighter.

Could you recommend some shelter systems around or sub 1 lb that I should consider? My only caveat is that Id like it to have good bug protection if possible. If not I'd still love recommendations just so I know what's out there.

Thanks in advance for the help,
Jake aka "Smiley"

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
shelter on 03/30/2012 10:00:47 MDT Print View

Look at Zpacks, tarptent, or a tarp and headnet.

McDowell Crook
(mcdcrook) - M

Locale: Southeast
tent on 03/30/2012 12:11:45 MDT Print View

I highly recommend the Zpacks Hexamid solo:

whitenoise .
(whitenoise) - F
Long wait on 03/30/2012 12:33:09 MDT Print View

Currently a 5-6 week wait if he gets one of the ZPacks. Looks like a great choice though.

The Tarptents are a good choice, but they're also 3x the weight of the Hexamid:

Should also note that 3x the weight means only 1.5lbs.

Edited by whitenoise on 03/30/2012 12:33:44 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
using shelters how much? on 03/30/2012 12:34:31 MDT Print View

This time of year on my AT thru I was at about mile 450, so not exactly equivalent but similar --- I wonder how much you plan to sleep in shelters going forward? And whether on balance people are passing you or vice versa (to make shelters more or less credible) ?

I slept in shelters most nights for the whole trip, finishing at the end of July. In that context, a really light shelter is a good idea, AND it doesn't have to be one that's the best choice in the world if you'll rarely be actually using it.

FWIW, I also had very very little in the way of bugs going NOBO and starting in late Feb. Not sure how much of that was just my particular year (2010).

Anyway, my hiking partner at the time had a Wild Oasis and liked it fine for this use; you might have a look for that at the SMD site. Or if blowdowns haven't been an issue for you (and unlikely to be much of one going forward), consider the Gatewood Cape plus net tent combo at the same place to also ditch your rain gear.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Thruhiker looking for (ultra)light shelter recommendations on 03/30/2012 12:44:36 MDT Print View

You can also get very lightweight cuben fiber shelters from

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
Re: using shelters how much? on 03/30/2012 13:29:33 MDT Print View

+1 for SMD Gatewood Cape.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: Thruhiker looking for (ultra)light shelter recommendations on 03/30/2012 21:45:41 MDT Print View

The Wild Oasis is decent and somewhat inexpensive (I have one) but I would worry about ticks getting to you. It looks to be a bad year for ticks (and therefore Lyme disease) making a fully enclosed shelter or tarp/net combo more worthwhile IMO. Although I used to have one and found it too cramped for myself, the Gatewood Cape + Net Tent may be very versatile as the Net Tent can also be used in shelters to keep the critters at bay.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Thruhiker looking for (ultra)light shelter recommendations on 03/31/2012 03:59:49 MDT Print View

Check Gossamer Gear TheOne solo tent. For about 17 ounces, you get a tent with good ventilation and wide vestibule entry that you can tie back for more of a tartp-tent like atmosphere/ambiance. Still has zip mesh to keep out bugs and critters.

However, it sets up with two trekking poles, but if you're not using poles, GG sells two light aluminum shock-cord pole syou can use to set it up.

Last i checked their website, it was in stock.

John Lucas
Thanks for the help on 03/31/2012 06:16:30 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for the recommendations. It's really hard to do research on the trail, and treallelps a lot.

I took a look TheOne, but it looks like it's out of stock. The ZPack looked like exactly what I was looking for, but that too has a wait and I'm not sure if I'll be able to seam seal in the field. I'll shoot them and email though to see if we could work something out.

But for other options, I was looking at some of the possible MLD tarp+net combos. How do you all feel about the solomid+bug bivy or the serenity+tarp?

As for the shelters, I don't plan to be using them much so I definitely need a shelter I can count on. I'd much rather tent then sleep in the shelter in general. I do use trekking poles though so the tent pole is no concern.

Update: Joe from Zpacks said he could probably help me out, so I think I'll get the Hexamid unless there's a better option out there for storm/bug protection?

Edited by jk5004 on 03/31/2012 07:30:54 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Thanks for the help on 03/31/2012 19:19:17 MDT Print View


If ZPacks doesn't work out you can also check Yama Mountain Gear. I've never owned one, but the few I've seen look really nice and their owners rave about them.


Robert Dolan
(thinknotforever) - F

Locale: New England
bearpaw on 04/01/2012 07:31:23 MDT Print View

Im having a BearPaw Cub Den 2 CF being made right's gonna be wickkked lightweight and amazing so compact, can be comparable to zpacks hexamid only major difference is it takes 2 trekking poles rather than one...
way way way less expensive and no wheres near as long as a wait to be made

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Is the Cub Den 2 really cheaper? on 04/01/2012 08:49:41 MDT Print View

"comparable to zpacks hexamid only major difference is it takes 2 trekking poles rather than one...way way way less expensive"
Am I missing something?
Cub Den 2 $220, Hexamid $195
Cub Den 2 + beak $275, Hexamid + beak $260
Cub Den + beak + perimeter netting + door $ 360, Hexamid + beak + FULL netting $360.
Or have I read the websites wrongly?

Edited by WilliamC3 on 04/01/2012 10:35:54 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Is the Cub Den 2 really cheaper? on 04/01/2012 10:33:19 MDT Print View

Having seen stuff from Z packs and Bearpaw. I would go with Joe. No hesitation.