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Help decide on a shelter
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Steve Zavoda
(Anotherdyemention) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Help decide on a shelter on 03/12/2014 06:05:23 MDT Print View

As the title says, I need some help deciding.
Bit about me. I live in NE Ohio and most of my packing will be in western PA or central Ohio. I've gone backpacking only once so far so I am pretty inexperienced. Though I have been camping my whole life. I'll be doing only three season unless we get a nice weekend during winter at some point.
We get some bad storms out here with high winds but nothing too crazy.
So with being new to backpacking, I have no idea what is too much or not enough. I've gotten it down to three shelters. They all have their pros and cons but what makes it hard is the cons are pretty major.
My first choice is TT moment dw. Easy and fast set up, 2 pounds, fairly versatile since I can just set up the fly or the inner. Only thing, it's $300. That's pretty steep for my budget

Second choice is a tarp and a bug net. Cheapest and the lightest but not as much protection as a tent and definitely seems like it would require the most fussing around.

Third choice is a tent like the salida 2. Heavy at 4+ pounds but simple set up and affordable.
Normally weight would be an issue but since all my other stuff is light, I feel I could make the sacrifice and carry an extra 2 pounds. I mean, so I carry 19 pounds instead of 17. Still manageable. I would prefer the lighter options obviously but both those come at a significant trade off. So any insight would be appreciated. Thanks

Edited by Anotherdyemention on 03/12/2014 06:06:58 MDT.

Mike Hensel
(mike220) - M

Locale: Northwest
Shelter on 03/12/2014 07:04:34 MDT Print View

Six Moons Lunar Solo
$180 and 30 ounces

Steve Zavoda
(Anotherdyemention) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Re smd on 03/12/2014 07:17:39 MDT Print View

I actually just returned my smd skyscape scout. While I know these tents are popular, my experience was not so good. I tried five times to set it up and each time ended in frustration. Again, I know these tents are popular and I've not read about any of the problems I had but at the same time I don't have much faith that buying another tent from them would be any better. It was probably my inability and my low tolerance for frustration but that is what makes me want a moment dw. 2 stakes, one pole, done.

Kenda Willey
Re: Help decide on a shelter on 03/12/2014 07:30:44 MDT Print View

For setup help, there are usually youtube videos on setting up just about any tent--including SMD. Except for Seek Outside's tipis--I looked, but I guess it's such a new company that they don't have any instructional videos yet.

BJ Clark
(bj.clark) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re smd on 03/12/2014 07:37:22 MDT Print View

If you thought the Trekker was fussy I sure would not go for a tarp. Infinitely more variables in setup even with a beaked tarp than either the Trekker or the Lunar Solo that Mike recommended. Hard to know what else to say since for me the Lunar and the Trekker were easy to pitch. Was it something about getting the poles set right that caused the problem? I don't have a Moment DW but the SW was an easy pitch.

Steve Zavoda
(Anotherdyemention) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Re on 03/12/2014 08:54:26 MDT Print View

I won't get into the problems on this thread but it wasn't an issue of fussiness, more like I wasn't able to even set it up before I was too frustrated to continue. That subject aside, the tarp I would get would be just a rectangle, or if I wanted to get crazy, something like warbonnets superfly with doors. I used to have that tarp for hammocking and it was nice. Had to fuss with it here and there to get it taught but it was manageable. I just haven't used one for camping on the ground. Seems like things would have to be a little more fine tuned to keep good protection. At least in the hammock I was off the ground so I didn't have to worry about getting wet.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
hammock on 03/12/2014 08:56:58 MDT Print View

have you considered a hammock and tarp? very excellent shelter for PA

Steve Zavoda
(Anotherdyemention) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Re hammock on 03/12/2014 09:05:57 MDT Print View

I actually used to use a hammock and tarp for camping at music festivals. I could just never get that comfy in it. Nice though to take a nap in but I toss and turn too much to get a good night sleep. If I get a tarp, I may try it again though. Especially in summer. Nice and breezy. I also think it was too much of a pain with the eno bugnet. Perhaps a different style woulda been better.

David Maxwell

Locale: eastern, tn
Re: Help decide on a shelter on 03/12/2014 09:06:01 MDT Print View

Since you say you've only been backpacking once, maybe a used tent would also work for you. Example: There is a MSR Hubba for sale on Whiteblaze for $115. I haven't searched down through BPL but I'm sure there are some here too at a good savings.

Steve Zavoda
(Anotherdyemention) - F

Locale: NE Ohio
Re re hammock on 03/12/2014 09:08:01 MDT Print View

Plus all my stuff weighed over 4 pounds and I didn't want to have to buy a quilt for colder weather. Figured it was more feasible to just buy a tent.

Thomas Rayl
(trayl) - MLife

Locale: SE Tx
Shelter suggestions on 03/12/2014 10:04:46 MDT Print View

Disclaimer: I have no connection with any supplier other than being a normal customer. I am, however, a bit of a "gear junkie"...

That said, here's my $.02 worth: Hammock: I love my HHDJ and I also toss & turn a lot. The secret, of course, is to lie a bit diagonally. They also have a rain fly which doubles as a rain cape (multiple use). For cooler weather, you may need an underquilt, but you don't need a pad, so that's a bit of a trade-off.

Tents: Do you use trekking/hiking poles? If so, you might consider a shelter such as the Zpacks Hexamid which sets up with your hiking/trekking pole to save some weight. Depending on your needs, you can get under 20oz in this ballpark. I don't have a TT Moment DW, but I certainly like the looks of it. We have a TT Rainshadow 2 for the wife and I (we're both a bit large-ish + have a pooch, so we like the extra room). Excellent quality. They are a bit pricy, but the quality is worth it (IMHO).

Tarps: Caution here. My impression is that tarps are better used by more experienced backpackers, especially smaller ones. If you really want to go the tarp route, you might check out the MLD Trailstar. I haven't used one myself yet (mine's on order, though), but most of the reviews are pretty positive.

Overall: I recommend picking something you're pretty SURE will meet your needs and plan to revisit the decision in a year or so after some first-hand experience. Whatever you choose, good luck!

Mark Heiser

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Solo? on 03/12/2014 11:14:00 MDT Print View

Do you do most of your hiking solo? I only ask because I have a Moment DW (which is such an easy shelter to use and roomy enough for me at 5' 10" 160lbs) that I decided on because I don't use trekking poles and I wanted something around 2 lbs or less.

I wind up hiking with friends more often than not so we'll either share a 2 person or they'll suffer carrying a whole two person for themselves while I carry my Moment. Anyway, all this to say that if you're with others the majority of the time its worth looking at the other Tarptent options or any number of 3-4 lb options available from the major retailers too (that come with very good return policies).

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
cheap tents - on 03/12/2014 17:21:02 MDT Print View

Hey Steve,
You can't beat those Tarp Tents - If you can afford 'em!
The Moment sure looks neat and easy to set up. I'm sure you'd love it if you can scrape up the coin.
My wife and I use a TT Rainshadow when backpacking together ( got it here used ) and I have a TT Squall 2 that I use as a solo tent.
It is the same weight as the Moment, very easy to set up, ( I think so anyway ) and a tad cheaper at 259 bucks.

I bet there are a few in-between steps as we move down the expense ladder. has a North Face Stormbreak 1 for 130 bucks. This is a nice looking sub-4 pound freestanding solo tent – That I know nothing about.

They also have an about-three-pound Easton Mountain Products Rim Rock freestanding solo tent for 160 bucks. Again, I know nothing of this tent.

And they also have the good ‘ol Eureka Spitfire Non-Freestanding tent for 130 bucks. This is also about a three pound solo tent, possibly the lightest of the bunch. Maybe a little harder to set up? I bet you can google lots of vids about this popular tent and decide for yourself.

I have a friend with a Spitfire. He likes it and thinks it easy to set up with plenty of room. In high winds he once he had a stake pull out in loose desert soil and since this is a non-freestanding tent, down came the tent. The two main stakes must be well set. He also once had lots of desert dust blow in through the mess inner in a 70 mph wind storm. No tent is perfect!

I don’t think you can get much below this unless you go to simple tarp shelters. One low cost shelter that catches my eye is the Appy Trails Mk III.
100 bucks

Yopu can see it set up here.

Not hard to do but plenty of fussing with stakes. This is a floorless shelter with no bug screen. It is cheap at 100 bucks and light at about 1 lb 7 ounces.

I hope this gives you some food for thought!

Edited by Bawana on 03/12/2014 17:25:10 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
TT Moment DW on 03/12/2014 19:27:42 MDT Print View

Your 1st choice is a good one. I had a Moment SW and loved it but sold it this year to get a Moment DW for 4 season use.

The new Moment DW has two doors and two vestibules. The "rear" door is handy for storing smaller like shoes/boots, the larger for your pack and for cooking (with canister stoves) in bad weather.

Plus, you can use the Moment DW in winter (W/ripstop inner) with the X-ing pole for support against snow load.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
A few comments on 03/12/2014 20:52:12 MDT Print View


Any Tarptent that meets your requirements ought to provide more than adequate shelter in Pennsylvania.

The Appy Trails mentioned above got great reviews on A lower cost alternative.

Is there anywhere you can rent gear near where you live? If so, try a few out an see what you like. You may for example prefer a few extra ounces over cramped sleeping quarters. Then go shopping.

Check out online bargain bins, such as,, and's outlet. L L Bean also has good deals on tents private labeled for it by very good manufacturers.


michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: cheap tents - on 03/13/2014 00:30:50 MDT Print View

I feel like its pretty benificial to go with a double wall, seperate inner and tarp. Something like a mld solomid xl and a smd net tent.

19oz plus 8oz but you have a versitale setup that is easy to change the tarp out without costing as much. I regret not doing this to begin with. Its also nice to setup just the net tent on clear nights, or just tarp when snow camping etc.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Help decide on a shelter on 03/13/2014 01:44:00 MDT Print View

Yes true, but if you want to go that way (trekking pole supported shelter) the Solomid XL plus SMD Net tent is $330 plus two postage charges, the TT Notch is about the same weight including stakes and $275 plus postage.
The Notch can be set up net/fly only or together and of course the inner is made to fit the fly.

You can also set up the Traptent Moment DW net only/fly only or both up at the same time.
looks like this :
Moment inner
moment fly
Moment together
(the Notch will look the same except it uses straight poles)

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
DW on 03/13/2014 21:02:40 MDT Print View

That looks cool. Would have been handy a couple of years ago on our big cycle tour so I didn't have to carry a seperate mozquito net in Africa, oh well.

What is the weight split of the inner and outer set-ups? I often thought, lying in the Moment for 9.5 months, that without the inner it would make quite a versatile little shelter for my wife and I to share. With the inner it is quite a squeeze for two, only just do-able.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Help decide on a shelter on 03/13/2014 21:15:40 MDT Print View

Originally Henry designed the Moment as a two door/two vestibule solo shelter with the inner attached (as in the DR) but then at the last minute he must have pressed the wrong button and his CAD programme came up with the other design.

Anyway , from a previous thread , according to Henry , :

The interior is 10 oz (10.1 actually), the fly + stakes + stuffsack is 34-10 = 20 oz. Of the 20 oz, the included arch pole is 6.5 ounces. The "crossing pole" is a 7-ounce option

Takes about 1 minute to attach or detach the inner, if you so desire.

Lapsley Hope
another consideration on 03/14/2014 07:20:52 MDT Print View

The Tarptent Moment DW would be an excellent choice (I own a Scarp 1 and a Contrail), and am waiting to try out a new MLD Cricket with inner net. The Cricket would be worth you checking out as well. The MLD Solomid has been mentioned and I have a Duomid for tougher weather conditions, I appreciate all the extra room when going solo. That said 70% of my backpacking trips during the warm months are with a hammock and tarp (due to the excellent sleep I get in a hammock).

Edited by Laps on 03/14/2014 07:23:38 MDT.