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HMG UltaMid 2 first impression and pics
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Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
and further... on 07/16/2013 21:37:09 MDT Print View

And while I'm at it, I respectfully disagree with your (Anthony Weston's) comment:

"How much good did zipper flaps ever do when the wind is blowing the rain in sideways anyway."

Firstly, proper rain flaps as on the Locus Gear Khufu and I presume the MLD Duomid, are held down by velcro.

Secondly, the purpose of a rain flap is not to provide a 100% seal against rain penetration. What it is designed to do is to break the speed of the wind-driven rain, so that it is much slower, and reduce the effective water pressure, so that the water can be disposed of by the design elements of the opening - the slope of the wall, allowing gravity to drain the rain, and possibly ridges of seams and zip to provide small upstands, which also help channel and drain the rain.

Edited by rmeurant on 07/16/2013 22:00:10 MDT.

David Alexander
(davidta) - MLife

Locale: New York City
Ultra Mid Question on 08/20/2013 14:00:25 MDT Print View

I recieved my Ultra Mid the other week and have only been able to set it up in a freinds back yard once (I live in NYC). I will give it its firt real test over labor day. I have a revised version where they have added a zipper garage and snaps to relieve pressure on the zipper when zipped. I have a question for the few other ultra mid users out there, I was wondering what people are doing withthe tie out loops, are they running lines from the bottom edge tie outs to a single stake and up to the loops or using seperate lines with an additional stake for each tie out loop?

Edited by davidta on 08/20/2013 14:01:46 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Rain and snowfall on 08/20/2013 19:37:21 MDT Print View

Now just open the door(s) and let the rain or snow in.

Nuff sed.

Edited by Danepacker on 08/20/2013 19:37:52 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Flaps on 08/20/2013 20:40:19 MDT Print View

"...proper rain flaps...are held down by velcro."

You can certainly argue that a robust rain flap has some protective value - and I agree they do add some function - but it's not the ideal approach. By the time you've added extra fabric and velcro you've added a fair bit of weight and complexity for a crude solution. The outcome is a more complex and heavier doorway that is more of a hassle to use as you battle with the velcro. A better solution is to utilize to a zipper that is weatherproof enough that it doesn't need a flap. This approach is simpler, lighter and easier to use. It's also more robust, since high winds can't open a #5 toothed zipper nearly as easily as they can a velcro secured flap.

In my opinion, water resistance "uretek" zippers are good enough to be used without a flap (ie. it's standard in the jacket world), but if you're rather have something even more robust, I referenced some high end zippers that are fully wind and water proof in my earlier post. These waterproof higher gauge toothed zippers are a more elegant solution, as they have a lower probably of weather ingress, and they're also much nicer to use (smoother) than a low end zipper - and they hold up better to regular wear like sand. My guess is the evolutionary outdoor industry will start to use them in 3-5 years and label it is a new breakthrough.

Edited by dandydan on 08/20/2013 20:42:22 MDT.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
No need to get into a flap... wisdom tech on 08/20/2013 21:05:23 MDT Print View

I don't agree the rain flap is a crude solution - the area of velcro is quite small, but the key fact is not that velcro is used, but that some means is used to approximately hold the flap down, thus allowing reduction in water velocity and pressure, so the water can drain away, and is not forced into and through the zip area. I find it an elegant, and time-proven solution.

But if you use only zips, without flaps, as you suggest, what happens when the zip fails in a remote area? e.g. someone stands on the zip with crampons? Then, you are likely screwed. But with a flap,a vertical zipped opening can be secured just by stakes, or you could even sew a temporary closure to the lapped opening with cord.

More to the point, I think the tendency towards minimalism in UL philosophy at times becomes too extreme, so there is little or no redundancy. It is really an aesthetic, which in part I relate to, in that it tends towards a reduction of paraphernalia to what is considered essential. But (in my opinion) it is then taken too far. Then it becomes not a wise policy in the wilds, which are, by their nature, unpredictable.

Edit: Of course I meant lace, rather than sew...

Edited by rmeurant on 08/21/2013 04:12:33 MDT.

Richard R
(alaskaoneday) - MLife

Locale: Northern CA
Tie out loops on 08/20/2013 21:06:08 MDT Print View

I have not used the panel tie outs at this point as I have not encountered high enough winds to cause any real deflection of the sides (yet). When I do need them, I will use a separate line to it's own stake. I am interested in seeing any pics you might have of how they implemented the zipper garage and bottom snaps.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Flaps on 08/20/2013 22:18:47 MDT Print View

Robert, I imagine we both like the idea of a minimalism, while also appreciating redundancy where it's truly important. I carry redundant gear in some areas (ie. firestarting methods, waterproof pack + drybag for my sleeping quilt on some trips).

Ultimately I suspect we both want to achieve the same thing: an acceptably low risk of failure via the lightest/cheapest/simplest/most elegant design. To that, I submit that:

1) A higher gauge zipper is less likely to fail (break) than a lower gauge zip + flap
For the weight of a flap + velcro, you could instead opt for a larger gauge zipper. So whatever flap + zipper combo you can imagine, I submit that putting that weight into a beefier zipper will be (1) lighter and/or (2) less failure prone. While this choice is never directly given to consumers, we're debating theoretical designs so I think it's fair to bring up.

2) A very weatherproof zipper is less likely to fail (let water in) than a modestly weatherproof zip + flap
There are zippers that are extremely good at keeping out wind and water. These zippers are used on marine safety equipment like full body survival suits for crew abandoned on the ocean. In my opinion, a shelter with one of these stands a better chance of keeping the wind and rain out than a shelter using a modestly weatherproof (or not weatherproof at all) zipper plus a flap which can be torn open by high winds. Pragmatically, both designs are likely totally sufficient but theoretically I suspect the waterproof zip wins.

3) A flap doesn't make field repairs substantially easier.
Ideally we'd have a design that doesn't break (which is what #1 gets at), but of course anything can always break so it's smart to have gear that can be repaired. Since this is an unlikely thing, we don't need a fantastic way to repair the tent, but just something simple and do-able. With a flap-free design, I suppose I'd have to use a needle and actually sew in a closure system with cord - much like you would with a flap unless fortuitous weather allowed the camper to gamble on just using velcro. So a velcro flap system has the advantage of avoiding temporary repair if the weather is nice.

4) Flap-free designs are nicer to use
A flap free design makes for a more fluid ingress/egress experience. There's no velcro re-adhering while you're trying enter, nor is there is a flap jumping in the path of the zipper slider to cause a jam when you're dashing for a pee in the night. Plus a larger gauge zip simply works better (smoother) with less hiccups from sand etc. This is really my main motivation, and why I refer to flap-free designs as being more elegant.

BTW, MLD doesn't use velcro on their flaps (or at least the ones I've seen).

Edited by dandydan on 08/20/2013 22:28:23 MDT.

David Alexander
(davidta) - MLife

Locale: New York City
Pictures on 08/20/2013 22:55:03 MDT Print View

I will try and take some pictures for you next weekend when I get it set up of the zipper garage implementation and the snaps. As far as the zipper garage goes though it is just a cuben fiber square just below the logo that covers the top of the zipper and I don't think it is even as long as the entire pull of the zipper.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
Flaps up! on 08/21/2013 05:44:43 MDT Print View


You might well be right.

My opinions are colored somewhat by some of the radical buildings appearing here (Seoul), with free-form geometries and very organic shapes - generally museums and similar public buildings. They have very high-tech surfaces, with butt-jointed curved panels, and no real external definition of walls, roof or floor (though they are tending to plant grass on the topmost sections). They both fascinate and repulse me.

Jeongok Paleolithic Museum

Their aesthetic strikes me as being unnatural, notwithstanding their organic shapes and snake scale-like cladding. Unnatural, because they do not pay proper homage to gravity, and to the elemental forces of nature.

Dongdaemun History & Culture Park (under construction)

By contrast, traditional architecture tends to respond with subtle mastery to the environmental forces from which it provides shelter, of sun, wind, rain and snow.

Daepyeong Museum exhibit, near Jinju

I agree your point 2 re survival suit zips is quite relevant, excepting that I would like my wilderness experience to be more than survival, and more a dwelling (verb) in the wild; I want my shelter to celebrate beingness in the cosmos, which is something traditional (sacred) architecture does provide. The environment in which I then operate is not just the physical, but extends to the metaphysical.

For somewhat similar reasons, I disagree with your point 4; for me, the act of passage through a doorway partakes of a ritual movement from one state of being to another. Traditional architecture is rich in this sense of gesture and ceremonial transition, so the notion of sweeping a curtain aside to pass through, of allowing it to sometimes partially close the opening, to act as a screen, like a veil that reveals as it conceals, which is something that I find more satisfying.

Paeleolithic shelter at Jeongok

When I look at nature, I see the flap in many guises, in the eyelid, the fingernail, and the overhang of the brow. By contrast, I don't see the butt joint in (animate) nature; and even tectonic plates, where they meet, slide upon one another. I see your reductionism to a minimal serviceable opening as a machine aesthetic, that reduces the richness of spatial gesture and of depth of meaning to an idealized homogenized purity of instantaneous transition and transformation. But I would like to dwell, as I pass through, to metamorphize; as I would like the rain to take its time, in shedding itself from my shelter, to pond and to drip, and to evaporate...

So the tent/tarp/shelter becomes not just a highly functional machine, but an expression of something deeper, of some valued insight into the heart of nature.

At this point, I think I can sense the stars preparing to barf on me, so I had better shut up. As I said at the start, you may well be right; and I appreciate your insights and speculations...

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Flaps on 08/21/2013 06:47:54 MDT Print View

I agree with Dan. Once the door is zipped up, how do you close the flap against the Velcro?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Flaps and Stars on 08/21/2013 08:11:56 MDT Print View

"I see your reductionism to a minimal serviceable opening as a machine aesthetic, that reduces the richness of spatial gesture and of depth of meaning to an idealized homogenized purity of instantaneous transition and transformation. But I would like to dwell, as I pass through, to metamorphize; as I would like the rain to take its time, in shedding itself from my shelter, to pond and to drip, and to evaporate..."

Great post Robert. It's hard to argue against a missive that beautiful, so I won't try. I think we've both explained our sides well.

Okay one little thing: These high end zippers I've referenced do still use flaps, just at a different scale. They incorporate rubber micro-flaps along the edges of every tooth to seal each to the next. Maybe there's some beauty in that.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
s/f on 08/21/2013 21:49:31 MDT Print View

Fukushima doorway
Peace, bro.

Edited by rmeurant on 08/21/2013 21:52:00 MDT.