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Mid vs Tarp
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Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Mid vs Tarp on 12/17/2012 22:45:22 MST Print View

Interested in your opinions of a Tarp vs MLD Solomid for regular 3 season use. For comparison purposes, I have a GG SpinnTwinn which is 11oz in its stuff sack including line locs. I know the basic differences are that the Tarp is more breathable, lighter and has more room. However the Solomid is more storm/wind worthy. Any other functional differences that you would highlight?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 12/17/2012 22:56:22 MST Print View

The only bad thing about a solomid is it required 2 poles to setup, thus giving you even less space inside.

A 1 pole hexamid is very roomy.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re Mid vs Tarp on 12/17/2012 23:01:12 MST Print View

A Solomid with a ground cloth or bivy (the MLD Superlight bivy is great!) makes for a quite roomy shelter. Less room with the innernet. It's a very sturdy little shelter.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 10:14:02 MST Print View

My original purpose in raising this was trying to decide whether to continue with the Tarp/Bivy combination or make the move to a Mid. I think the other big advantage of the Tarp/Bivy combo for me is cost. To achieve the same or better weight with a Mid you have to spend about $100 more ($300+ range). Hexamid is $385 with screen.

Edited by randalmartin on 12/18/2012 10:36:36 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 10:38:19 MST Print View

While the mid may offer more protection and storm worthiness "out of the box" per se, the same can mostly be accomplished with the tarp with pitching techniques and site selection.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 11:15:00 MST Print View

I have mainly used my solomid with only one pole slightly offset to the front, plenty of room and I am 6' 1" + big feet... The only time so far I used two were for extreme snow testing. Ayway, most folks who use poles carry two anyway but a single found stick is ok too, I sometimes do just that on the AT on short trips when I don' t take poles all the time.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 11:18:56 MST Print View

Ron, would that work with using a bivy or one of your innernet tents?

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 21:00:18 MST Print View

A mid goes up faster and you have more freedom in site selection.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/18/2012 22:31:41 MST Print View

Paul, I'll give you the fact that the mid goes up faster, but site selection can go both ways. Depending on a person's needs and wants, the lower weight of the tarp may be more attractive to people regardless of the fact that it may require a more careful campsite choice. A tarp can also hypothetically be MORE adaptable to the surroundings because of its simplicity, especially flat tarps. Even A-frames can be pitched around low shrubs and rocks whereas a mid may not.

However, since mids are more weather resistant, site selection may not be as important, thus giving you more options.

I'm not trying to rally against mids; just offering food for thought. Truth be told, if I were to buy a shelter tomorrow, it would be an MLD mid.

Ryan Gabriel
(rgabriel) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Transition from Tarp to Mid on 12/18/2012 23:04:14 MST Print View

After about a year of tarping exclusively with the MLD Grace Solo, I decided to give the Solomid a try with hopes that its design would address some issues I experienced with a tarp. Although I will miss how light the Grace was relative to the Solomid (~5 oz difference in my case), I was willing to trade off the extra weight for the full coverage the Solomid provided. With the Grace, my living space would get damp at times from sideways rain into the front/back of the tarp and from rain splatter along the perimeter. With the Solomid, I like the concept of having coverage on all four sides, with the option of keeping the entryway open if the conditions allow.

Another issue I had with tarps was that they were a little finicky to set up. For me, I could pitch the tarp fairly quickly, but would spend a lot of time "fine tuning" it to get it nice and taut. With the solomid, set up was foolproof and the fine tuning was very minimal.

Lastly, the footprint of a tarp is very deceiving. I learned that tarps actually take up a lot of space once all of the lines are guyed out. This can get tricky when sharing a campsite with a limited usable area (e.g. Pt Reyes NS). This is not as much of an issue with the mid's design.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Mid on 12/19/2012 07:20:45 MST Print View

I like a mid. Tarping is fun if you like the challenge and freedom of all kinds of set up options. But for me, I would rather put up the mid in a minute or two and spend my time doing other things. I also really like a mid for the fact that if weather blows in, you don't have to possibly get out of your bag and re adjust. You can just snicker at your hiking partner out in the rain instead. I also like a simple mid for the afternoon rain showers. It just takes a minute to put it up and take it down when the rain is over.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Mid vs Tarp on 12/19/2012 15:47:03 MST Print View


I have been using a MLD Tarp & Bivy combo for years, but I am considering getting a MLD Duomid or some type of MLD Mid for situations of prolonged bad weather/rain.

One of the things I found using the tarp and bivy in the rain is that I simply want to sit up and have room to move around.

On a trip on Mt. Whitney, I used a MLD Bivy and Tarp and my friend, Cameron, used a DuoMid.....13 hours of rain with winds that shredded other shelters, we both did fine.

I was amazed at how well my MLD silnylon poncho tarp...have total faith in Ron's workmanship after that long night of howling winds.

Anyway, I was really jealous of Cameron's ability to sit up and stretch out in his Duomid, which I was left with tossing and turn under my tarp.

There was only so much laying on my side, back, front that I could take...being able to sit up and move around would have been a nice relief in a Mid.

Just something else to consider between the two types of shelters.