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4P Lightest Shelter
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Joe Blow
(rouxjean) - M
4P Lightest Shelter on 04/12/2013 18:37:05 MDT Print View

I need a 3+ person, 3-season tent, preferably a 4P, that protects me from the elements as well as bugs & mosquitoes. Weight is really important, price is less important. This eliminates a lot of the usual players ie. lightheart gear, hyperlite mtn gear, integral design, zpacks, gossamer gear?, six moon design, etc.

My research brought me to the cuben fiber pyramid tents so far as I haven't seen anything else close in terms of weight, although there are some honorable mentions to the following brand/models, which are all in the 60-70 oz range:
-Big Sky Revolution 4P
-Tarptent Hogback
-Big Agnes Fly Creek UL4

Here's my wishlist in terms of pyramid tents options (usually less weight than a mesh inner tent):
-a perimeter netting
-full mesh door
-detachable batchbub floor

I've narrowed it down to the following candidates, all are in the 30-40z range:
-Bearpawwd Luna 4
-Oware Pyramid Tarp 8 x 8 - as they don't do 9 x 9 cuben fiber
-MLD Supermid

Let's assume for a second that each company can provide my wishlist(we know it ain't true, but bearpawwd does the custom work on the other brands), and that the weight is the same, can someone highlight some of the key differences between these tents?

Also, and more importantly, in terms of useable space, how does these pyramid tents compare to their closest weight competitors? Granted that from a 9 x 9 tent I have to remove, say 8" of floor area on each side for perimeter netting and protection from rain, and then another 8" because there is no sufficient "useable height" compared to other designs, which decreases useable space as opposed to the floor area, but even then, I come to approximately the same useable space at half the weight...So what's the catch? Please note that I took random numbers (8"), so if someone could help me out on how to more accuratly compare those please do!

Thanks for your help!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: 4P Lightest Shelter on 04/12/2013 19:21:23 MDT Print View

I have no experience of any the Mids you mention but had a Golite Sl5 on test which is similar size and with 3 it was an awkward fit because of the centre pole. I researched the TT hog back before and that is a true 4 person tent.

Best of luck with your search.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
4P Lightest Shelter on 04/12/2013 19:52:33 MDT Print View

Biased opinion...
A close comparison for usable floor space is between the TT Hogback and the Shangri La 5.
The difference is that the Shangri La footprint is almost twice that of the Hogback
(note that the drawing has the bug inner in both)
Hogback vs Shangri La 5
The Shangri La (and similar) would be better on snow, the Hogback would be easier on platforms and obviously where space is at a premium.
BTW make sure you compare the full weight of what you need (fly/inner/groundsheet/stakes/poles,stuff sack) not fly only.
It can quiqly add up.
As a tip , with a 4 sided pyramid it is very easy to make a string and rope mock up so that you can figure out the size for yourself.

Edited by Franco on 04/12/2013 19:57:48 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Pyramid useable space on 04/12/2013 20:02:17 MDT Print View

I think that you only lose about 8 inches total from the edge of a pyramid tent even when used with netting. Usually we put the first pad about 3 or 4 inches away from the edge of the mesh and the mesh is 3-4 inches away from the fly. The edge of your sleeping bag touches the mesh but it is well away from the fly. For spacious camping I thing 3 people need 8 feet of space that is 8 inches above the ground. Therfore the minimum size I would get is an 9 x 9 pyramid. You would likely want an inner net 8'6 x 8'6.

To save weight you will also want to use two trekking poles tied together as a center pole.

I have a golite shangrila 5 and the inner is a little ackward for four because of the missing corner in the inner net, but it is a nice area for wet gear it is also quite heavy at 43 oz.. But the outerfly is really good. It is 9'6 sqaure, 29 ounces. So if you got bearpaw to make you a 9x9 inner I think you could get it down to around 30 oz.

So your total weight would be around 60 oz plus pegs for 81 square feet of tent space and 73 square feet of space that is at least 8 inches above the ground.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Nemo Pentalite on 04/12/2013 21:12:15 MDT Print View

You may want to check this one out too. It will be over your weight limit I think, but I REALLY like the design. The biggest issue with floors in 'Mids in the rain is that the floor gets wet every time the door gets opened. Golite have tried to address this with the SL5 corner cutout, but I think the Nemo is much more elegant.

Also the trapezoidal sleeping area gives shoulder room where you want it and saves weight at the foot where you don't.

It's the only zip/velcro in inner that I know of. Note that I haven't seen one in the flesh, but I have just purchased a couple of Hexalites, and will probably get the Pentalite as well.

Joe Blow
(rouxjean) - M
Additional Thoughts on 04/13/2013 04:56:31 MDT Print View

Here are the maths with a Luna 4 (~ same with MLD):

Standard Weight :
Cuben Fiber Luna 4 (17 oz) + PyraNet (19 oz) + Trekking Pole Jack (2 oz) + Stakes (1.75 oz) = 39.75 oz

Standard Floor Area :
Outer Fly = 106” x 106” – PyraNet = 90” x 90”. So we lose 8” for each side and the wall angles become necessarily steeper so this has an impact on usable space as well.

Custom Weight :
Cuben Fiber Luna 4 (17 oz) + Detachable Floor (8 oz) + Door Net (6 oz) + Trekking Pole Jack (2 oz) + Stakes (1.75 oz) = 34.75 oz

Note: this can even be lowered of an additional 4 oz with a cuben fiber floor, which I can’t think of a reason why I would want this…

Franco : The rope mock up is a good idea, I’ll try this.

Greg F : I heard that two trekking poles tied together as a center pole was not advisable for larger pyramid tents…I was even not advised a pole jack. Can you direct me to a link for this, I’m curious to see how it works…

Rod_Lawlor : As you say, well beyond my weight limit, I wish I was strong as you :-) You also make me wonder if I shouldn’t get the Luna 5 with a PyraNet 4 instead, I hadn’t think of the problem of getting in and out when it’s raining or when the fly is really wet…That way I have a 15” between the fly and inner tent door.

Anything else I missed?


Garth Collier
(garthc) - MLife

Locale: Singapore
I have been going through the same thought process on 04/13/2013 08:18:00 MDT Print View

Similarly to I have been trying to work out the optimal lightweight tent for 3.

I have looked into the pyramids and narrowed it down to the MLD Super mid in Silnylon and the Locus Gear (LG) Khafra in a custom Cuben. Yoshida-san from Locus Gear provided the custom weight below. I have not contacted Ron to see if he would do the MLD Supermid in Cuben. I have done all my comparisons in metric so please convert if necessary. BTW Yoshida-san from LG is super helpful and his written English is excellent.

Both have similar footprints and height though the LG inner mesh is much taller.

MLD Supermid: 2.71m x 2.71m x 1.75m - 680g (24 Oz)
MLD Innernet: 2.34m x 2.34m x 1.37m - 680g (24Oz)

LG Khafra Cuben: 2.7m x 2.7m x1.7m - 425g
LG Mesh inner: 2.5m x 2.5m x 1.7m - 670g

The LG Khafra Cuben gives a weight saving of over 200g which is material though the cost is significantly more than the MLD Supermid. As this is not a published item on the LG catalogue it would be appropriate for you to contact Yoshida-san directly for pricing.

Lastly I have put this project on hold as I have a similar concern as raised above...Where to cook and get out of the elements when it is enter and exit the pyramid will let in rain. This is not an issue if the innernet/floor/usable area is for 2 but if going for full occupancy then it will create an issue. My late night thinking is to combine the features of the Lightheart wedge to these larger pyramids to give a protected alcove and for the wedge to be removable. My thinking for the ideal 4x pyramid is to have doors with a wedge on each side to enable a good cross ventilation in warmer weather and to have the choice of an access/cooking area depending on the direction of the rain. When I get some more time i will look into this further and try and get something commissioned as i would hate to waste all this thinking...


Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: 4P Lightest Shelter on 04/13/2013 09:46:45 MDT Print View

From 1.5 years ago - SOTMR: Family/Group Backpacking Tents

Ross L
(Ross) - MLife

Locale: Beautiful BC
Re: 4P Lightest Shelter on 04/13/2013 09:54:13 MDT Print View

Another mid worthy of consideration would be the Tigoat Vertex 6.5. With carbon fibre pole and stakes weighs in at 3lb 7oz. Personally I prefer a conical footprint over rectangular, it seems easier to find a setup site when off the beaten path. I also prefer roomier shelters when sharing, I just can't stand the sardine can effect that some don't seem to mind (and I like to bring my gear inside and cook inside when inclement).

The Tigoat construction and materials is of high quality. ( I have the Vertex 5 )

Joe Blow
(rouxjean) - M
More suppliers on 04/13/2013 14:45:45 MDT Print View

Garth Collier : MLD will indeed do the Supermid in Cuben Fiber. It will weigh about 18 oz. From their website the weight also seems to be 26 oz now, not 24?! Good find! I had overlooked Locus Gear it seems. Looking at their website the dimensions are not quite the same however… Did it change? Based on the weight you provided the outer fly would be the lightest on the market as far as I can tell.

Michael Ray : I missed that, helpful reading! It is indeed for my little family and I just can’t share the load yet hence the weight importance.

Ross L : Slightly too heavy to my liking but I might get one of their carbon fiber pole.

Anymore advices/comments? This is great!