Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT
Display Avatars Sort By:
Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT on 03/30/2012 12:48:22 MDT Print View

My girlfriend and I are planning a CDT thru-hike for next year, and we’re looking for a shelter. Specifically, I want:

- a tarp with a separate bug net
- 360° protection; something that can be pitched to near the ground (so no A-frame type tarps)
- ability to withstand strong winds
- around 2 lbs. or less for the complete tarp and inner net

Some tarps I’ve considered but have doubts about:

- SMD Haven: I like the design, but I’m not sure if it would be stormworthy
- MLD Speedmid or Supermid: meets my criteria but the footprint is huge
- Bearpaw La Garita 2: with that flat front, it doesn’t look very stormworthy
- MLD Trailstar: cat-cut panels might make it hard to pitch to the ground
- MLD Duomid: too small for 2 people?

I think the ideal tarp might be a 2-person GG Spinnshelter or a lighter version of the old Golite Shangri-La 2 canopy. Of course, neither of those are being made now! Maybe I’ll get in touch with John at Bearpaw to see if they might make one for me.

Any thoughts? Are there tarps I haven’t considered?

Edited by sschloss1 on 03/30/2012 12:53:20 MDT.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT on 03/30/2012 12:59:05 MDT Print View

I've never seen one in person, so take this with a grain of salt, but the YAMA Terraform 2P seems pretty similar to the 2P Spinnshelter you mentioned.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Yama on 03/30/2012 13:04:16 MDT Print View

I saw that one--and it might be what I'm looking for--but I don't think that they're making it anymore. There's a message on the front page that they've shifted to DIY support instead of making equipment.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Golite on 03/30/2012 14:13:03 MDT Print View

Golite Shangri la 2 would be super storm worthy.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Golite on 03/30/2012 14:17:05 MDT Print View

+2 on the Golite.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
My Experience on 03/30/2012 14:42:53 MDT Print View

Our two person shelter is the SMD Haven. Preferred because it is roomy and has two entrances. The two entrances makes it so you don't have to crawl over your partner when you get in and out. That is the main reason it is preferred by us. It is also quite light for a double walled two person tent.

We have used and liked the TarpTent Rainshadow and the Golite Shangrila-2.

If I was going to be sitting out strong winds on exposed plains without any wind break, the Shangrila-2 would be my choice, but is much heavier with the bug inner.

The Haven does OK in extreme conditions if you run extra lines and if you can deal with some splash. It is roomier and much lighter than the Shangrila-2.

Most on this list agree that the Trailstar and Mids are popular storm worthy designs.

You may or may not want to think about some form of bug protection in the form of a bug bivy or mesh inner with the Trailstar or mids.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Haven Storm Experience on 03/30/2012 19:13:49 MDT Print View

A couple comments to add to Steve's on the SMD Haven.
The 2011 redesign eliminated the splash issue in the earlier model.
There are also extra guy-outs on the 2011 model.
As a test of the 2011 Haven's storm-worthiness, I set mine up
in a field when the tornadoes came roaring across Tennessee
last month. No tornadoes came through my area, but the
Haven was subjected to 55 mph straight-line wind and large hail.
I had it drum-tight and it did not flap or budge.
I had it staked down with six groundhogs and I used
a setup trick I figured out where I run the side guylines
out the vents rather than under the vestibule.
This allows a much wider stance for the tarp's side stakes
which improves the Haven's stability in high wind.

Here is a picture of the setup trick if folks are interested
in trying it:

SMD Haven with guylines run out the vents

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT on 03/31/2012 09:49:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips, folks. Any more?

Also, George, what's the advantage of running the guylines out the vent instead of under the vestibule on the Haven?

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: SMD Haven setup option on 04/01/2012 16:38:43 MDT Print View

>George, what's the advantage of running the guylines out the vent instead of under the vestibule on the Haven?

Hi Scott,

While the Haven works fine with the guylines under the vestibule,
and I like the compact structure of the Haven not having guylines to trip over,
I have found three advantages of running the guylines out the vents.

1. wider stance on the side stakes increases tent stability in storms.
I measured and I typically get an extra two feet wider stake
placement running out the vents vs under the vestibule. And
by using longer guylines than the ones that come with the Haven
you can get as wide a stance as you want when the guylines are outside.

2. more stake placement options. If there is an underground rock
right under the stake or like last week when I wanted to move the
stake over a foot to get into firmer ground, having the line
outside the vestibule makes this easy without affecting the shape
of the tarp.

3. less interference with the vestibule zipper. When underneath,
the line runs right under the vestibule zipper. Thus when I
zipped the vestibule closed I needed to push the guyline back to
keep it out of the way of the zipper. With the line outside
there is no interference.

Kudos to Ron for designing the Haven so that it gives us
several guyout options.

Al

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: SMD Haven setup option on 04/01/2012 18:25:16 MDT Print View

Thanks, George. Great info.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
An Example with an older model Haven on 04/02/2012 05:24:00 MDT Print View

The older model Haven with extra ties to weather a strong wind storm that was heading our way:

Haven Side View

Edited by brooklynkayak on 04/02/2012 05:25:03 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
factoring in the wind on 04/02/2012 11:33:08 MDT Print View

"If I was going to be sitting out strong winds on exposed plains without any wind break, ..."

I bought a new tent for the CDT, driven initially by the same concern, but ultimately I compromised to find an overall good tent to sleep in in general, and went with a Lightheart Solo. I forget who it was on BPL who said at some point that any lightweight 3-season tent is going to handle wind only to some degree, i.e., if you're really really concerned about wind, get a four season tent and eat the weight penalty, else recognize that you have to take more care with any 3-season tent.

In any event, I'm glad I went with the Lightheart Solo, and in fact, you might consider their Duo model. It certainly is windy on the CDT (!), but in fact it was quite rare that it was really, just fiercely windy where I was actually sleeping. You're doing a lot of miles, you can generally find somewhere to sleep where it's not howling, big-bad-wolf huffing and puffing and blowing you down type of wind.

So bottom line is I would pick a light 3-season tent that handles wind above-average for a 3-season tent, but make sure that you get something you're comfortable spending time in in general too.

And I would make sure that your tent is really well seam sealed. Some pretty intense rain there at times, and I found that I had a small seam sealing gap that only showed up under intense rain.

Best of luck! It's a hell of a trail. You going NOBO or SOBO? Keeping a journal?

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
re: factoring in the wind on 04/02/2012 19:09:46 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips, Brian. All good points. Yeah, odds are I'll go with the Haven or something else that's not really 4-season because I want to keep my base weight under 12 lbs. I like the design of the Lightheart tents, but I want a separate tarp/bug net so I can save weight outside of bug season.

We haven't decided yet on NOBO or SOBO. I'll have a journal of some sort, but not til much closer to the hike (in 2013). I'm sure I'll post a full gear list before then. Can't wait to get out there.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT on 04/02/2012 22:08:56 MDT Print View

Why not a Shangri-la 3? Most 2 man tents aren't really for 2. Unless one is a GF.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Looking for a 2-person shelter for the CDT on 04/02/2012 22:13:08 MDT Print View

I like Joe's recommendation, especially since there's one with the inner tent going for $200 or less in the Gear Swap right now.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: SMD Haven setup option on 04/02/2012 22:17:37 MDT Print View

In addition to the reasons George gave for having the guyline further from the tent, it also makes it easier and safer to stack rocks on your stakes.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Shangri-La 3 on 04/03/2012 07:16:32 MDT Print View

I doubt we'd need anything bigger than the SL2 or Haven. My girlfriend is pretty small, and I don't need a lot of space (I'm a bivy user when I hike solo).

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Shangrila-2 on 04/03/2012 15:59:54 MDT Print View

By the way, I would definitely consider the Shangrila-2 a 4 season shelter.
I just can't justify the weight when combined with the bug-net inner for 3-season use.

The Haven with the bug-net inner is significantly lighter, and a little roomier.

My wife and I have put almost 100 nights in our Haven and love the dual entrance and the fact that we can both sit up without bumping into the wet walls in the AM.

Now if it was me, we'd be under a tarp, with bug bivys when needed, for the flexibility and roominess, but I can't convince the wife, so I only tarp camp when I'm solo.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re:Shangrila-2 on 04/04/2012 11:48:34 MDT Print View

I agree about the weight of the inner on the SL2. If I did go with that one (which I probably won't), I'd either get a custom inner made or see if I could jury rig a light inner made for another tarp, like the one from Hypermountain Gear. That would keep the total weight for tarp + net to somewhere around 36 oz. versus 32 oz. or so for the Haven + net (8 oz. lighter for the cuben Haven).

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re:Shangrila-2 on 04/04/2012 11:57:30 MDT Print View

The inner on the SL2 is a pound. That is not bad given the floor construction.