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Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X
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Christopher Gilmore
(chrisjgilmore) - F - MLife

Locale: New Almaden
Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/23/2013 22:36:59 MDT Print View

OK folks, I have been reading for a bit on this site and others. I'm looking for the lightest possible fully enclosed shelter for a solo backpacking shelter. I already have a OR Alpine bivy for my bomb proof shelter and a TT Squall II for when my spouse tags along. As of right now I have been narrowing it down to fully enclosed very light shelters. I'm not tickled about paying an extra $100 for the Skyscape-X but if that is truly the best call I will fork it up.

However I have some of the Zpacks stuff sacks and dry sacks and they are of great quality. What are the opinions on the way the Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus stack up against the SMD Skyscape-X? I'm focused on cutting weight but not at the cost of sleeping with the mosquitoes, ticks and such.

I have considered a tarp but that presents its own challenges as I'm a quilt sleeper and I would need a bug shelter. I also live in CA and routinely sleep in areas where Rattlers are prevalent and don't cherish the thought of waking up with one in my quilt with me.

I already looked at the following sheet:

Do any of you have any additional thoughts?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Skyscape X on 04/23/2013 23:28:29 MDT Print View

I vote for the Skyscape X for its light weight and its very versatile design. I recommend buying the optional "porch" to zip in for cooking in the rain (or snow) and for shade.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
probably both are great... on 04/23/2013 23:50:25 MDT Print View

but I gotta vouch for the hexamid. I've had the twin for the last two years and its been flawless. All in, for the tarp with beak, mine weighs 6 oz.

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Hexamid on 04/24/2013 02:29:08 MDT Print View

I've not seen a Skyscape in action, but have used the Hexamid and its bug inner, the Hexnet. This is a very flexible combination, you can leave the net at home, giving you a 6oz shelter, or pitch the net on its own on still nights for just 7oz extra.


Hexnet 2

Edited by jhansford on 04/24/2013 02:44:02 MDT.

Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 07:12:54 MDT Print View

Another Hexamid fan. I'm 6'4" and find the Solo to be a perfect fit, feels roomier then my previous solo shelters which was surprising for the weight. No experience with the Skyscape X, though I'm sure it's a nice setup as well. My primary reason for not going that route was I wanted a shelter that only utilized one pole. I often use just one pole depending on the trip and my mood, and I have broken one before when I used two so I like only requiring one for set up.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Re: Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 07:51:51 MDT Print View

I don't have either shelter but one thought in favour of the heximid is that if you like Poncho's for rain wear you could use the Poncho ground sheet. For an extra 2 oz or so you also cover your rain gear needs.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 12:20:12 MDT Print View

I have been using the hexamid since it was first released several years ago... this was before the beak (though I sometimes use the optional "door". Both Hexamid and the Skyscape-X are really great shelters. If I was doing the purchase today, I most likely would pay the extra and get the Skyscrape-X because for not that much extra weight I get a shelter that is more livable / requires me to be less careful in how I move inside the shelter which lets me be more relaxed at the end of the day, especially in bad weather. I also appreciate how there is a full height door with the Skyscape-X... I find getting out of the Hexamid a bit awkward. I have been happy enough with the hexamid that I can't justify the cost of switching to the Skyscape-X.


Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 12:31:50 MDT Print View

You’ll always wish for the lightest; and it’s a bonus when it’s the lowest cost.
+1 Hexamid solo

-The mountains were made for Tevas

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 13:56:52 MDT Print View

Trade offs. I wish my TT floorless Squall had less condensation at times, but it was my lightest shelter to take on vacations until I got the Hexamid. You can always add a litle here and there, but the weight keeps going up incrementally. Whatever one is comfortable with.

Peter Nash

Locale: West Michigan
Skyscape - X / Hexamid Solo on 04/24/2013 15:14:20 MDT Print View

I'm transitioning to all-cuben gear, and I was considering the same 3 shelters. But the Skyscape - X was not available when I was ready to buy in March. (The Skyscape - X will be available at the end of May, according to the website.) I went with a Hexamid Solo because it only requires one pole, and I don't use trekking poles. I've only tested my Hexamid in the backyard so far, but I like it. I slept in it in cold, rainy and blustery weather, and I stayed dry.

I find entering the Hexamid to be a bit of a hassle because you have to duck down. But the peak height is good.

I don't have experience in the field with the net flooring, but some have noted that it can pick up snow, mud, water, etc. I think it might be good to get the cuben ground sheet sewn in. I may have that done with mine if I find the net floor to be a problem in the field. Not a problem on my grass yard.

I did have a problem with the pole that I ordered with my Hexamid. It broke when I left my shelter up in a heavy snow. Joe gave me a refund and I replaced the broken pole with a hefty Ruta Locura carbon fiber tarp pole.

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Skyscape on 04/24/2013 16:08:32 MDT Print View

There's a store in Portland that sells them. Once I got a hands-on with the SMD, I knew it was the one for me. It's much roomier than I expected, so I can squeeze a guest inside if need be. Also, the full bug screen with the fly rolled up and away is magnificent. Plus, you can set it up in about 45 seconds. Seriously.

Christopher Gilmore
(chrisjgilmore) - F - MLife

Locale: New Almaden
"Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X" on 04/24/2013 22:51:51 MDT Print View

Are you saying they sell a separate net insert that isn't part of the tent so it can be used as a tarp and net tent separately when desired and together when the weather calls for it?

Thank you all for the feedback. I think I'm leaning to ward the Hexamid solo. I don't see a really compelling reason to spend the extra $ given that i don't use trekking poles the single pole design is also a plus for me. Any other compelling points?


Edited by chrisjgilmore on 04/24/2013 22:55:00 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/24/2013 23:28:02 MDT Print View

Are you saying they sell a separate net insert that isn't part of the tent.

They don't list them on their site, but Joe will make you one.

Personally if I was going this route I would go for a Solo Plus, as your interior space is going to be pretty tight in a Solo with inner net.

I have a Hexamid Solo with netting, but only have one night on it. (should have been two, but I couldn't make it back to my tent one night and had to sleep under a rock :)).

It's a nice shelter, but not without it's compromises.

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Re :Hexamid Solo, Hexamid Solo Plus or SMD Skyscape-X on 04/25/2013 03:04:17 MDT Print View

"Are you saying they sell a separate net insert that isn't part of the tent..."

There is no netting sewn on to my Hexamid, hence the 6oz weight, and instead the seperate Hexnet has a cuben floor with netting sewn to that, and can be pitched on its own. When pitched together there is a little storage space outside the net but still under the beak.

However, I cant find the Hexnet on the site now, can't think why - it's a great piece of kit. It would fit inside other shelters too, and I'm going to try it in a Trailstar soon.

I would recommend getting the Hex with the beak sewn on. I think they all come with factory taped seams now too.

I too have suffered a broken pole on a trip, and would be wary of having a shelter needing two of them. Should be ok if you have tough poles or are more lucky with yours.

Edited by jhansford on 04/25/2013 03:12:35 MDT.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Hexanet on 04/25/2013 04:40:08 MDT Print View

From Zpack's FAQ:
"Can you make a separate bug shelter for the Hexamid tarps?
We used to make a separate bug shelter called the HexaNet. It required more stakes and did not pitch as well as the Hexamid tents. It also had less space. Most customers seemed to agree that the tent version was better, so we are now focusing on the tents."
It doesn't necessarily mean they won't do them as custom orders.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Hexanet on 04/25/2013 06:47:42 MDT Print View

William, that was my response also before I went with the sewn in netting as they recommended when I sent my Hex solo tarp in to get netting added, turning it into a tent. Adding the netting made my updated tent only an oz. more than the cuben bivy+tarp I sold a week back or so, giving me more tent time room from bugs.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
SMD Serenity inner fits on 04/25/2013 19:50:09 MDT Print View

I have a Hexamid Solo Plus fly (no floor) and use a SMD Serenity Net inner with it. I just put glove hooks on the elastic corner pullouts of the inner and clip them to the Hexamid guys. I also added a loop of shock cord with a cord lock to the apex of the Hexamid so I can adjust the height of the top attachment point of the inner depending on how high I pitch the Hexamid.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Skyscape X, Lightheart Solo, and GG "The One" on 04/25/2013 23:49:52 MDT Print View

Does anyone have an opinion or experience with one issue I have with the design of the Skyscape as well as the Lightheart Solo. When you open the fabric door, you are exposing the living area of the tent (not just the vestibule) to precipitation because the netting sides of the tent slope inward. The old Gossamer Gear "The One" did not have this issue because the netting sides (and treking poles) were vertical rather than inward sloping.

I actually prefer having a dual treking pole design for greater rigidity, as I have two poles with me anyway. So I like the direction this family of designs is going. Too bad no one is making a Cuben tent similar to the the GG "One."

I like the Hexamid design, but not a big fan of the netting floor idea and having to put a ground cloth on top of the netting.

The sad truth is, though, you can't actually buy any of these tents right now, at least not in Cuben.