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Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter?
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just Justin Whitson
Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter? on 12/27/2013 10:12:01 MST Print View

Anybody use this as a winter shelter? I ordered the .74 version of this, and plan to line it with a reflective liner as well.

The shape and the plentiful guyouts suggest to me that it could function pretty well as a winter shelter, but i figured i would ask more experienced folks about this.

On a side note, i was surprised by the competitive cost of this. I had always thought that Zpack tents were fairly expensive, but i hadn't previously focused on the difference in prices between the bare bones tarp versions and then the tents with the netting, etc.

A well made and fairly spacious cuben shelter for just under 300 dollars, nice. Some of the cottage silnylon tents cost almost as much.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter? on 12/27/2013 10:37:39 MST Print View

Depends on what 'winter' you are talking about.

Southern Arizona... okay... but vulnerable to wind

High Mountain Storms... very bad...

I have a Heximid Solo and found it to be vulnerable to wind above treeline last summer. And quite scary in high winds. Everyone makes their own gambles, but I would not take this tarp above treeline in the winter. I would want a 4 season tent.


just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter? on 12/27/2013 11:11:46 MST Print View

Hi Billy,

Is it because it's somewhat high in height? Do you have it with or without the extended beak?

I could see problems with using it without the extended beak as far as wind.

Unless i ever get to go to the Brooks Range (i would probably want a tunnel tent for that), i don't backpack in extreme places--mostly near SNP.

This is one of the feedback comments on Zpacks site,

""The Solo-Plus tent I bought a couple of years ago is incredible. I used it on an AT trip to Roan Mountain between Christmas and New Year's last year and it did GREAT! One night an ice storm and another night about 6 inches of wet snow and the Solo-Plus weathered the storms without incident."
--Steve S.""

Unfortunately Steve doesn't say whether he was above tree line or not. Well anyways, thank you for the reply and feedback. Hopefully some more folks will chime in as well.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 12/27/2013 11:31:26 MST.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter? on 12/27/2013 11:43:28 MST Print View

Yes, mine has the beak.

But there is still a gap between the lower parts of the tarp (especially below the beak) and wind gets under. High winds make the tarp fill up like a sail!

It was so bad one night that I dropped the pole and collapsed the tarp before it blew away. Spent the rest of the night on top of the tarp.

Of course the vendor will provide glowing testimonials :)
But the one you provided mentioned a 'storm' but nothing about high winds. Some storms have zero wind :)

Yes, zPacks will tell you to pitch it so the beak/entry is away form the wind. But, personally, I've never been able to predict the direction of the wind in the mountains. And some winds swirl from multiple directions. Really, it is 'pie in the sky' sales pitches to expect this thing to perform well in high winds... or any tarp for that matter.

Above treeline and deserts or anywhere where there are not trees or something to block the wind could be a problem.

Yes, you can pitch the Heximid lower and that will help. But to take this tarp out in high wind conditions is a risk. That's why they make tents. Yes, tents can blow down, but if you are in it, it will not likely blow away :)

I'm sure you will get lots of opinions that diverge from mine. But now you have mine.


just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ extended beak--a good winter shelter? on 12/27/2013 13:14:22 MST Print View

I appreciate you sharing your opinion Billy.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hexamid as winter shelter on 12/27/2013 13:45:09 MST Print View

I had a Hexamid Twin get snowed on this September and it really struggled with the wet snow load. The snow seemed to cling to the the cuben and the tent sagged quite a bit and required me to manually knock the snow off twice during the night. I also am very conservative about using the Hexamid Solo or the Twin in high winds. Guessing wind direction has it limits and I have found good, conservative site selection is more important. I am very hesitant to use either of my Hexamid's above the tree line. I recently picked up a cuben Duomid for use in shoulder season and winter camping.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Hexamid as winter shelter on 12/27/2013 14:40:46 MST Print View

Hi Edward,

Thank you for the info. I could see that being an issue with the twin (with the snow) since there is that middle top part between the two poles that in not being that angled would tend to collect snow. Seems the solo plus has more angled and steeper sides so might deal better with that issue.

Seems to be a consensus building on the wind aspect. Wonder if it could be modified to deal better with that, like sew/bond some flaps on the bottom that go underneath to sleep on top of--not a full connected floor, but enough to cut down some of the wind as well as hold it in place?

Curious, how and in what sense will the Duomid be much better for wind or winter than the Hexamid Solo plus? I'm asking that sincerely as i am somewhat ignorant when it comes to shelters and their function. (otherwise i wouldn't have started this thread and asked questions)

So any good alternatives in a similar price range? Preferably in cuben.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp w/ beak--a good winter shelter on 12/27/2013 14:59:59 MST Print View

I have a ZPacks Solo Plus CF groundsheet for sale that fits the Solo Plus Tarp w/ bathtub walls. Any interest just PM me.

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Hexamid long on 12/27/2013 15:00:57 MST Print View

I emailed at length with Joe before ordering my Hexamid long tent. He feels quite confident in it's storm worthiness. I indicated to him it would be used 4 season and that I live and pack in the Sierra regularly and frequently experience "sierra cement".
Due to the lack of snow this year I can't comment on snow loading abilities but I have had it out in a couple windy and very windy storms and have been just fine. I do try to pick sheltered sites to pitch but angling your pole and pitching it down low to the ground does make a positive difference. I'm sure in a heavy snowstorm I may have to shake the snow off but I'm ok with that and not packing the weight of a dedicated four season tent.
IMO stakes will pull out long before anything happens to the tent.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Hexamid long on 12/27/2013 23:08:07 MST Print View

Hi Jay, thank you for the offer, but i'm not interested.

Hi Brian,

Thank you for the feedback as well. Sort of along the lines of what you said about the stakes being pulled out, etc, i ordered the .74 cuben which is suppose to be pretty strong stuff so i'm not too worried about damage unless something sharp pokes it or the like.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Hexamid long on 12/27/2013 23:14:52 MST Print View

Regardless of whether it's the stakes that get pulled out or the fabric gets ripped or the guy lines break...

the result is the same: you have one big survival problem if any of the above takes place in high winds and storm in a winter camping situation...

I also talked with Joe before buying my Hexamid. And he tried to assure me about it's abilities in the winds. However, when I pressed him to be more specific about what mph he thought it could take, it became clear that it would, as I suspected, would not take high winds...say in the 50/60 mph range. I bought it anyway. And as I suspected it was indeed a problem in that kind of wind. Glad I was not out in the winter in those conditions.

Best used in summer as the consequences of failure are not so dire...


just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Re: Hexamid long on 12/27/2013 23:37:28 MST Print View

Billy, what do you think of the idea of adding some material to the bottom creating sort of a partial floor, like a flap to the front and back, which goes under, and which you then sleep on?

It might deflect some wind and at the same time keep the tarp from flying away in the middle of the night?

I would love to be able to afford one of those really nice, serious 4 season tents, but last i checked a lot of them are quite expensive and i just can't afford them. I can barely afford the Solo Plus Hexamid Tarp.

Is there anything better than the SP Hexamid in a similar price range?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
giyline rip? on 12/28/2013 01:03:01 MST Print View

Has anyone had a tieout rip or the cuben rip on thier hexamid?

I have had a silnylon bear paw lair (like hexamid) in insane wind where the tent was blown almost flat and I had to keep up with the stakes getting ripped out of the ground. I was using a single carbon .6 ruta locura Pole that held up very well. I have not had my hexamid in this strong of wind yet but it seems like it should do just as well or even better?

It doesn't stretch though, has anyone has any catastrophic problems with it?

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hexamid long on 12/28/2013 09:19:44 MST Print View


"Billy, what do you think of the idea of adding some material to the bottom creating sort of a partial floor, like a flap to the front and back, which goes under, and which you then sleep on?

It might deflect some wind and at the same time keep the tarp from flying away in the middle of the night?"

What I think of is: Rub Goldberg contraption...

Light weight gear is great. But you must always think of and be prepared for the consequences of gear failure. In the summer the consequences are mostly just extreme discomfort.
In the winter the consequences can be death. Even if the chances of gear failure are minimal (a judgement call subject to its own failure), the magnitude of the consequences should be your guide.

Buy the right gear for winter. Even if it is heavier and more costly.

That's what I think.

(of course, the 'right gear for winter' will vary depending on what are of the world you are talking about)


hex on 12/28/2013 14:22:17 MST Print View

Spindrift coming thru mesh
Mesh freezing to ground

These are problems you dont want in a true winter shelter

just Justin Whitson
Re: hex on 12/28/2013 19:16:38 MST Print View


I did not get the Hexamid tent, but the tarp--hence no mesh floor, etc.

What i was thinking though, was this. To sew some tent material that is cut into an elongated triangular shape, two of them.

At the wide base of the triangle, sew/bond one triangle to the outside edge of the front of the tarp.

The apex of the triangle goes inside of the tent. Do the same with the other piece on the opposite end of the tarp. Perhaps put some velcro on the apexs where they meet inside.

Sleep on inverted, meeting triangle floor. Saves weight in comparison to a full tent floor, but deflects some wind, but provides stability to the tarp while sleeping on same (shouldn't go flying off in the night since your weight will be holding it down too) and still allows enough ventilation.

Note, i would still put some "polycryo" underneath the mini floor. So, cuben mini floor may be viable. I do have a little 1 oz cuben left, but won't be enough.