Forum Index » SuperUltraLight (SUL) Backpacking Discussion » Tarp and bivy vs. hybrid tent debate 2013


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Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tarp and bivy vs. hybrid tent debate 2013 on 03/27/2013 23:21:13 MDT Print View

As others have said, there is no right answer. For years I was a tarp person: originally a extra large poncho/tarp and later a Spinnshelter. After around 6 years I decisioned I really liked bug free spaces to relax in at the end of the day. Protection from both flying bugs and biting ants, ideally where there was enough room for me to sit up / move, and have air circulate in hot weather. A few years ago I settled on the Hexamid to provide this. In general I have been very happy. The door is a bit low for my taste, and I wouldn't mind a bit more space went riding on nasty storms, but it's worked very well and I have been able to stay dry even in bad storms. After a year or so I added a MLD Superlight Bivy (cuben bottom, eVENT foot, DWR top). I found that using the bivy simplified using my quilt and stopped the nightly fight with ground cloth. It also permits easy shelter / cowboy camping. The only shelter than tempts me is the SMD Skyscape X for the extra space, but I had a hard to justifying it's cost when I have something that is working pretty well.

--Mark

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Tarp and bivy vs. hybrid tent debate 2013 on 05/10/2013 16:10:46 MDT Print View

Tarp and bivy can be more flexible.
Think of extremes in weather. A tarp can be pitched high and open for hot nights and tight and stormproof in cold andor windy weather.

Most hybrid shelters don't have that much in the range of flexibility.

Some tarps/bivy combinations can be quite easy to pitch.

I keep my bug bivy attached under my MLD Patrol and can pitch it just as easy as my tarptent.

Even a flat tarp can be pitched very quickly in a flying diamond or half pyramid.

Storm proof pitches for flat tarps do require more skill and time to pitch though.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Hexamid? on 05/10/2013 21:18:25 MDT Print View

Mark,
Which Hexamid do you have? Solo? Solo Plus?

And do you have the 'beak'?

I was thinking of ordering with the beak as it seems to me it would hold up better in high winds.

Your thoughts?

thanks,

Bill

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Hexamid? on 05/11/2013 07:45:34 MDT Print View

Bill,

I have the hexamid solo plus with the beak. If you had the plus and were by yourself you could get by without it, but it's such a minimal weight and volume penalty for such a huge difference in rain/wind protection I think it's a no-brainer actually.

Maybe someone without the beak could comment, but I find that it creates a really nice vestibule and allows me the full use of the inside without having to pull way back from the entrance.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Hexamid in high winds? on 05/11/2013 07:55:35 MDT Print View

Jennifer,

have you had your Hexamid in high wind? How did it do?

thanks,

Bill

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Hexamid in high winds? on 05/11/2013 08:57:53 MDT Print View

Not sure of your definition of "high" winds...

Last trip it was gusting for a while at maybe 35-40 (pretty typical here in Chicago, so that's what I guesstimated...) and it was rock solid. Took a bit to actually set it up (corners flying everywhere before I could stake it down) but it was great once it was standing. I had the back to the wind and it barely flapped once I had everything staked properly. I added line locs to mine when I got it, so that was very helpful to get it nice and snug.

With the back to the wind it really seemed strong and I had no concerns at all.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Hexamid? on 05/11/2013 19:42:48 MDT Print View

I have the original (no beak) hexamid. If I was buying today, I would most likely get a beak. I did purchase a door, and it was invaluable in a couple of storms where the rain was being blown almost vertical. I am not sure how much the beak will help with wind. I found the hexamid very stable in wind, even when it changed direction and was coming strait in the front. There is enough room around the edges for the air to escape and the shelter to stay stable. In was "breezily" inside :)

--Mark

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
breezy on 05/12/2013 10:54:22 MDT Print View

mine has done well in light winds too. I always pitch in a sheltered location if its really windy though.

Yep, its breezy inside.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
pitch down to groung? on 05/12/2013 11:02:59 MDT Print View

Can you pitch the Hexamid lower so that the bottom is at ground level?
That would minimize the breezy inside effect.

bill

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Tarp and bivy vs. hybrid tent debate 2013 on 05/12/2013 11:04:31 MDT Print View

I would get this fully enclosed shelter for aroun 18oz. Looks like it would be very stable in the wind and given the weight, render a bivy and tarp combination fairly obsolete.

http://yamamountaingear.com/gear-room/complete-shelters/cirriform-sw

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
hex on 05/12/2013 16:04:43 MDT Print View

Nothing wrong with breezy in my book. That means no condensation. Sleeping gear provides all I need against minor breezes.

You can pitch it lower, but you have to shorten the guylines somehow ( add linelocs, temporary loop , wrap around stake)

The cuben floor wont be supported if its pitched much lower either.

If ground isnt flat, it will be challenging to get a decent pitch when pitched lower too.

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Cuben floor? on 05/12/2013 17:43:16 MDT Print View

I thought we were talking the Zpacks Hexamid... I don't think it comes with a cuben floor. Though it can come with a netting floor... but I would have neither...

I don't think I've ever camped at a level campsite in the past 40 years or so :(

It's not the breeze inside that concerns me (though it would be warmer without a breeze)... any time the wind can catch something it has a chance to compromise your tent/tarp... that's what concerns me... on a high wind night I'd want it down...

Wouldn't want to go 18oz for a tent/tarp... my set up is/will be 10oz bivy and 5 oz hexamid... total 15 oz... AND flexibility... prefer the bivy and the stars at night if the weather is good... if not, pitch the hexamid...

bill

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
and... on 05/12/2013 17:45:51 MDT Print View

I haven't used stakes for about 40 year either...

learned decades ago that they are mostly useless weight in the high sierra... either too rocky and they just bend... or too sandy and they don't hold anything...

Instead of carrying stakes I use the rocks that are available on site...

bill

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
floor on 05/12/2013 19:58:25 MDT Print View

the hexamid has a cuben groundsheet option that is suspended from the tarp with shockcords, to make a sort-of bathtub floor. If you pitch the tarp lower, it wont make a bathtub anymore. Its heavier than a poly groundsheet, but also much more durable, and easily repaired with a spot of tape if you get a hole. Ive slept on some fairly rock imbedded ground, and no holes yet in my mine. The 1.1 cuben is pretty puncture resistant.

the length of guylines is important on the hexamid to getting a good pitch due to all the fixed angles in the tarp. I imagine it would be more difficult using rocks and sticks to achieve that. Not that it really matters much.

Easy enough to just stake it down. But, the distance from feet to tarp, and nose to tarp, is predicated on the tarp being pitched about 6" above ground. If you are on an air pad and attempt to pitch it tight to ground, the tarp may be uncomfortabley close to you. Propping up the end tieouts with sticks will help.

Edited by livingontheroad on 05/12/2013 20:08:02 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Yama Cirriform on 05/13/2013 05:23:25 MDT Print View

Regarding the Yama Cirriform,
It seems that it suffers from the limitations of other hybrids, the lack of flexibility.

If it can be pitched tight to the ground, that can be good when needed, but it doesn't look like the net is separate and so in extreme heat you are stuck with the limited ventilation.

It looks to basically be the same thing as the MLD Patrol and others, but with fixed netting around the perimeter and bathtub floor.

This make for a no brainer pitch, but lacks the flexibility of the tarp/bug-bivy combo.

I won't go that way anymore after realizing that I can have the flexibility of the tarp/bug-bivy combination for the same weight as a hybrid.