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Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior
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Aaron Smith
(Aaronsmity) - M
Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 02/25/2014 12:29:39 MST Print View

At what temperatures and wind speeds should one consider choosing each type of inner wall for a tent? Are there any rules of thumb? Thanks

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
+1 on Topic on 02/25/2014 13:46:38 MST Print View

I have the same questions as I consider the material to use in a custom inner for a cuben mid. I posted a topic yesterday but little reply. Hope to here from the pros!


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 02/25/2014 13:54:01 MST Print View

I can safely say that if you really need a 2-layer expedition tent, then you really ought to get a 2-layer expedition tent. On one climb, we were going to be camped up around 20,000 feet elevation in a place with a reputation for knock-you-over windstorms. All of our tent teams had 2-layer expedition tents except for one team. They had some rinky-dink single-layer tent that would fold up every time the wind blew hard. They suffered, but survived.


David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
REI mount mckinley pyramid on 02/25/2014 14:11:50 MST Print View

When on Denali, a solid fabric.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Conditions on 02/25/2014 15:07:22 MST Print View

It might be easier if you let us know what kind of conditions (altitude, temperature, rain, snow, wind, etc.) you are looking to address with your tent?

Edited by wiiawiwb on 02/25/2014 15:10:08 MST.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 02/25/2014 16:37:36 MST Print View

I primarily backpack in Washington State and I do so at elevations and/or seasons where the night time temps are usually in the 50s F or lower. I prefer solid fabric interiors for these conditions because it is warmer.

Netting interiors let in too much breeze for me. That nagging breeze interferes with my sleep.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 02/26/2014 00:19:27 MST Print View

I can extend the use of a light weight down bag into cooler temperatures with a semi-solid inner tent but I'm only gaining a few degrees of warmth. In my case it makes sense because I don't have to buy an additional (heavier) bag for the shoulder season. More importantly for me, it provides a degree of comfort by blocking the direct breezes and helps block out wind blown dust and sand.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
Hybrid mid inner on 02/26/2014 00:29:21 MST Print View

I'm considering a similar problem at present, but for less extreme conditions, and in particular able to handle excessive heat at night (with bugs), as well as colder conditions and also some privacy for gear when travelling. I am favouring a 2/3 inner for my mid, so asymmetric in section to give lobby at front, but the mix of ripstop and mesh is eluding me. Thinking of a higher ripstop at back, lower in front, with sides mediating the two, so sloping top to the ripstop on the sides (where it changes to mesh). So upper part of inner mid is mesh.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Multipurposeq on 02/26/2014 06:34:34 MST Print View

All of my camping is wilderness, usually on 1-2 week long hikes, this makes weight and durability important. My Ultamid2 outer accomplishes this.

For the inner, my priority is weight with reasonable durability.

Realizing that multipurpose use necessitates compromise, I need to accommodate 2 types of weather:

1. Shoulder Season - Very wet, moderate wind,with temps ranging from 10C(50F) to -5C(20F).

2. Winter - Dry, moderate wind, with temps ranging from -10C(14F) to -30C(-22F).

70% of my campsites are in the woods, only occasionally having to camp on an exposed land above the tree line or in a river valley.

My very cold winter camping experience is limited, and to date have used the cuben mid pitched about 6" off the ground with a cuben\event bivy inside. I have done this down to -24C. I want to move to a more comfortable space with a floor as the ground I camp on is often wet which adds much condensation in the shoulder seasons, and I want the same inner to be adaptable for optimum very cold winter conditions.

So far I assume I would use a breathable material (Momentum, Pertex?) for the solid panels and the lighest noseeum for the mesh panels.

I am thinking of the following starting from the floor and moving up:

- solid panels up 12-18" from floor
- then mesh 6-12" horizontal panel
- then 2nd solid panel above that
- then a second mesh panel to the top peak, with the lower mesh panel having closable flaps for really cold nights.

The outer cuben tent has 2 top mesh vents that can be closed with flaps. If they were closed and the outer tent staked tight to the ground, I am thinking the upper mesh panels could be left open with minimal airflow and no spindrift.

I also use a Uco Candle lantern during the winter, not for warmth but to increase air movement through the tent. I would hang it fro the peak about 2 feet down, level with the upper solid panel which would push air up and theoretically draw air in through the lower mesh panels.

I am left with 2 questions:

1. Would there be a situation where I would want to completely seal the inner with no mesh at all?

2. Would the closable lower mesh panels be sufficient on 2 sides only, to save weight.



Edited by miku on 02/26/2014 07:25:16 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 03/02/2014 22:38:24 MST Print View

Aaron - to my mind the only real rules of thumb that apply are not about wind speed, but about what the wind may be carrying. Thus, in summer where the precipitation is rain, solid or not is a matter of taste and humidity and not wind speeds per se. But in winter, the wind may blow snow up under the outer and it will come right through mesh if it's fine spindrift, so solid is the way to go. Also, in the desert a solid inner is often appreciated because of windblown dust.

Derrick - for your stated use I'd think solid, with a mesh and a solid door so that you can control your ventilation but still close up totally to deal with spindrift. If you are going to make this (sounds like you are) then get the most breathable fabric you can find - high wind resistance is not needed. The candle idea is an oldie and a goodie, and will be helpful regardless of how much ventilation you have, because it works on two levels: it does, as you state, encourage chimney effect ventilation. It also keeps the fabric of the inner tent warm which reduces condensation regardless of ventilation.

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
Y horizontal venting layers? on 03/03/2014 04:43:50 MST Print View


Why vertical stratification into horizontal layers?

i.e. It seems to me there are qualitative differences between the front and the back of a tent, and the sides; for example, where possible I intentionally pitch facing South, except when conditions are too hot )(taking into account wind, and view); and also the fact that my 'Mid has a door on the "front" means that micro-climate conditions there are a bit different than at the "back"; and of course a 'Mid tends to be pitched with front mid-edge higher than back mid-edge (in my experience, and both significantly higher than side mid-edges.

Maybe low vents at the front, and high vents at the back; or vice versa...?

I think there is a case for fore-aft asymmetry in a one-man shelter; also I tend to sleep with head at the one end/side rather than the other, unless the constraints of the site prevent that, and this would affect where I would want venting.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Inners on 03/03/2014 07:21:27 MST Print View

I think of weight as being pretty much equal between these inner styles. Noseeum mesh is about 0.7oz, while the lightest solid nylon fabrics are also in that range. The lightest solid material would be 0.5oz cuben, but it's too light for a floor IMO, and you wouldn't want most of a solid inner made this since it's non-breathable.

The main advantage to a mesh inner is that it's cooler on hot nights. It's also nice to be able to see out. I start to prefer a solid inner around the freezing point because it stops drafts and thus keeps me warmer. If I lack a solid inner I can always pack warmer though, so if I can only have one I prefer mesh (mountaineering tents aside).

The semi-solid inners seem like more of a niche design, or a compromise between full mesh and full solid. They are great in hot weather if camped on sand. They would also outperform a full mesh inner when camping on snow, but a full solid inner would still be better here. So having just a semi-solid inner is a decent all around compromise, but having a both a mesh and solid inner would be much better.

I use a DuoMid with a solo mesh inner for much of my trips. A solid inner would be nice for winter use, but it's also a lot of weight just to stop drafts, so I'd really only appreciate it in really harsh weather. Most of the time in the winter I prefer to go without a 9oz inner and put that weight into other gear instead.

So with regards to your situation Derrick, maybe I missed this but it sounds like you're just looking for something for shoulder season and winter use. I don't see much reason not to just go full solid in this case. If you want to use it in bug season then you'd want mesh, but for shoulder season and winter use there's a lot to like about a full solid design. It's also going to be lighter than a more complicated mixed design with vents etc. If you want mostly solid but also the option of more substantial venting, you could have an L shaped door made of both materials. Make the door of mesh and then have a second door layer of solid fabric that can be either rolled up or deployed on top (via a second zipper or some velcro).

I would have the inner occupy 1/2 of the mid, so that you've also got substantial vestibule space for your boots, pack etc, and this provides a good area to cook, or even to add a wood stove.

Edited by dandydan on 03/03/2014 07:31:02 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Solid vs Semi-solid vs mesh interior on 03/03/2014 08:03:32 MST Print View

I assume you mean wind coming into a floorless tarp shelter.

An inner with solid sides 12" or so will block a breeze while lieing down when using a floorless shelter and the netting above will give summer ventilation. The bathtub sides are tougher as well. Go too tall and condensation can be a problem. It's all compromise.

A breathable UL bivy with a bug net head end option is another alternative. That will protect you from wind,wet and bugs and you can cowboy camp with it in good weather. It is lighter, less expensive, effortless to set up. It can be used in other shelters and may allow using a lighter sleeping bag.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Best Fabric for Winter Inner on 03/03/2014 08:51:54 MST Print View

Thanks Guys. Very helpful.

Yes it is really just shoulder season and winter use that I am thinking of the inner. During summer I use a tyvek ground sheet and the S2S bug net.

For this mid, the competing interests are maximizing warmth and minimizing condensation. The outer mid would always be pitched ground tight, and given that I was wondering whether a solid fabric inner would work with no vents.

Any suggestions re the material to use. Some research indicates that Momentum would be the most breathable and lightest.


Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Ode to the double door on 03/03/2014 14:46:21 MST Print View

I remember back in the 80's, it seemed as though many of the "three season" tents all had a double door: one solid and one screened. I suspect it was due in part to the early adoption of a vestibule on on some tent models, while others still had the awning. Many of those old tent designs had both an awning style, and a vestibule style. My first tent, a TNF Junebug, had the solid door with a screened door behind it. It's entire ceiling was all mosquito netting, which ran down to about 18" above the floor of the tent. There was an awning version of my tent, so I suspect that was the primary reason that the solid door was still there. Even the earliest version of the venerable Tadpole had not only the double door, it had operable panels over the side screens (I now think it was actually the bigger sibling - called the Bullfrog.)

My Junebug was an awesome little tent, and I used it EVERY month out of the year, including in snow (it was a double hooped design so it could only take so much.)

I explicitly remember that simply closing that solid door made a HUGE difference on the interior temperature of that tent. My next lightweight tent (a Moss Starlet) had both the solid and screened door as well (it too had an awning version of itself.)

My point to all of this is that in my experience back then, that operable solid door was not only very helpful toward keeping the vestibule partially open for better ventilation in the rain, but it allowed me to bring those tents much further into the colder months, even with their mosquito netted ceilings and such. Although it might seem light a weight penalty to some, it offered a high degree of versatility toward ventilation that I have always appreciated.

MattJune bug

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Ode to the double door on 03/03/2014 16:36:13 MST Print View

+1 to Matt's post

Robert Meurant
(rmeurant) - MLife
Definitively D^2 on 03/04/2014 03:09:27 MST Print View

Not knocking the other ideas, but indubitably, Dan D's decisive deliberations are decidedly dandy.

I would just have the mesh door on the outside of the inner, so that the opening of the solid door can easily be adjusted from within.