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New shelter advice
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Kevin S.
New shelter advice on 03/16/2014 07:59:21 MDT Print View

- I searched every thread on the topic - most of the comparative threads I have seen, do not offer any first hand experience with the Duplex (since it is relatively new). I am considering a cuben shelter (Zpacks Duplex, Cuben Solong 6, skycap x) or maybe even a hammock. I primarily hike in Ky, Tn, WV and nearby those, with a bigger trip every two years (acadia, AT sections, colorado.....). This will be 3 season tent (summer and the milder parts of spring and fall). Bugs are usually a problem in these areas as well.

Concerns for shelters. I am 6'3"/6'4", I enjoy my large neoair. The places I will primarily be using this are prone to humidity and condensation - looking for maximum ventilation, and minimal condensation issues.

Another concern is footprint size. Most of the areas I will be using this will be wooded and hilly/mountainous areas. I often have a hard time finding a flat open area with enough space for a standard tent - without longer guy lines. I think I will always be able to find a spot, eventually, but a larger total footprint would eliminate a great deal of areas.

For the reason above, I am also considering a hammock (WBBB XLC), although I have no experience sleeping in one aside from the the old rope hammock in my backyard I nap in when pretending to do yard work. I don't foresee any problem sleeping in one, though. But since the neoair came out, I have little trouble on the ground either.

I always use trekking poles as well.

Any input, guidance or suggestions is greatly appreciated. These are all fairly pricey shelters, so I want to make sure I make the right choice - although I think any of them could work, as they all seem like quality companies.

Edited by kstephens on 03/16/2014 08:02:28 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: New shelter advice on 03/16/2014 09:08:23 MDT Print View

Ah....the conundrum. You are a very tall guy, so you need a big shelter. But you can't have a big shelter because there aren't a lot of places to put one....

You will find happiness in any of those shelters you listed. A friend brought a duplex on my trip this past week to the Gila and that sucker was ginormous inside! I mean, huge!!! It took up a fair amount of real estate...but honestly, nothing much more than a "regular" REI type tent.

My brother is 6'4 and he loves my tarptent stratospire's plenty large enough and wide enough for him. And both doors can open up all the way (just like the duplex) which helps with condensation. A SLIGHTLY smaller footprint than the duplex....

I also hear the notch is a good tent for uber tall guys.....much smaller footprint and can also open up all the way.

Personally?? I really, really like zpacks stuff and am pining for the solplex (or duplex?) - only my incredible indecision is saving me (and my bank account) right now.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: New shelter advice on 03/16/2014 09:15:30 MDT Print View

I'd go with the hammock. You won't have any trouble finding a place to hang it where you do most of your hiking, and uneven ground becomes a non-issue. Hang the tarp high enough and condensation generally becomes a non-issue as well.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: New shelter advice on 03/16/2014 09:23:17 MDT Print View

Wooded, hilly, rocky

Sounds like perfect hammock country.

+1 w/ trying a hammock.

<---- I am biased.

Edited by kthompson on 03/16/2014 09:24:36 MDT.

Kevin S.
Re: Re: New shelter advice on 03/16/2014 09:45:20 MDT Print View

Thanks - the notch is another tent I was looking at - not too much room on the inside - but enough to sleep, and plenty of vestibule space for everything else.

I am biased towards Zpacks as well. Joe has been great answering questions, and making suggestions - so really the duplex is my number 1 tent choice right now - I was just making sure the others didn't have any advantages I have overlooked. I would love to go the solplex route, however, the way the duplex opens up on both sides is worth the extra $ and weight.

Hammock question - I am aware this is the heavier option. I am looking at the double layer WBBB XLC. Most of my nights out, temps stay in the low 70's - mid 60's so I think I would be fine without an under quilt for now. How low temps would the Lawson's 1/8" CCF in the hammock keep me (mid 50's?). This seems like the lowest weight option for my needs - although I have a feeling I'll eventually attempt a DIY under quilt or get tim from EE to make one.

bayden cline
(pyro_) - F

Locale: Ontario Canada
Soloplex on 03/16/2014 10:36:59 MDT Print View

FYI I believe I read that you can get the soloplex with two doors by request

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Soloplex on 03/16/2014 11:31:19 MDT Print View can get two doors on the solplex. It's part of why I'm sooooo torn about which to get.......

Added: of course, now I don't see it on their website....

Edited by Jenmitol on 03/16/2014 11:37:52 MDT.

Jeff Gray
(JeffGray) - F
hammock insulation on 03/16/2014 12:22:03 MDT Print View

I have not used Lawson's pad in my hammock. I did just order one for underlaying my neo air when I can't hammock. I usually use a z lite short. It keeps me plenty warm into the 40s even though I'm 6'6". I have also used salvaged aluminized bubble wrap (kind of a 1 sided reflectix). I always sleep great in a hammock. Make sure you lay at about a 20 degree angle to the suspension to get a flat lay.

bayden cline
(pyro_) - F

Locale: Ontario Canada
Re: Re: Soloplex on 03/16/2014 12:30:50 MDT Print View

Jennifer from what I was reading while the option was removed from the website you can still get it if you request it

Personally I am going to go with the duplex. Only 4oz more than the soloplex and should give a lot more room while will be nice when I am relaxing it in in bug country when I am out solo. It will also give me room if I take someone out with me without having it get another tent

Only real downside I see is the amount of space it will take up which could makes finding a site to set it up a bit harder depending on where you are

Edited by pyro_ on 03/16/2014 12:31:42 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Check the Length on 03/16/2014 14:29:11 MDT Print View

FWIW, I put my inflatable sleeping pads into my hammock with me. I used a full-length NeoAir in a Hennessy hammock for months and I'm 6'1".

You need to make SURE you get a hammock in a long enough length if you're 6'4". The Grand Trunk Nano 7 would be a nightmare for you.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Hammock looks OK on 03/16/2014 18:25:32 MDT Print View

+1 on the hammock-- at least I'd say you should give it serious consideration, especially if you tend to sleep on your back.

Reggie Garrett
(regarrett) - M

Locale: Lost in the mountains
+1 on the hammock on 03/16/2014 18:43:22 MDT Print View

I've converted over to hammocking almost 100% of the time. Can't beat it. Wet, rocky, lumpy, uneven ground is not a worry any longer.
If it is stormy just rig the tarp way down close to the hammock. If not, rig it higher. I hike in Arkansas and have never had an issue with condensation in my set up.

Since you're tall, I'd try a 11' foot hammock. You don't need a real cadillac of a set up. Hammock, tarp, underquilt or pads once it is below 70, and for the bugs just make you a simple bug sock out of netting.

I've made hammocks from 8'8" up to 11' long. While I am almost 6'1", for some reason I just love my 8'8" hammock. The sides are shorter thant the middle and it just cradles me. I crawl in that thing and it's just like I took 3 sleeping pills. I am out cold.

Shug Emery has a youtube channel dedicated to hammocks. You just gotta watch his educational stuff on hammocking.

That's my 1/2 cent worth (dang economy).

Happy trails,


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

+1000 on Shug on 03/16/2014 19:03:40 MDT Print View

Few videos on any subject are as enjoyable to watch as Shug's hammock youtube videos. Highly recommend.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: +1000 on Shug on 03/16/2014 19:19:00 MDT Print View

I've never tried a hammock, maybe someday, but that doesn't stop me from watching Shug's vids. That's just good TV!!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: +1000 on Shug on 03/16/2014 19:22:44 MDT Print View


His mouth was a little stiff, and that doesn't happen to often.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: +1 on the hammock on 03/17/2014 01:17:06 MDT Print View

I will echo the hammock supporters here. There is really no better solo shelter/sleeping system for the Appalachian backcountry, IMO. You are even covered during the dog days of summer when it's 70 degrees at night and 90% humidity. Just sleep without a pad and your exposed underside will keep you from overheating.

Bottom line: If you are already comfortable sleeping in a hammock then this decision is a no-brainer. Don't worry about the slight increase in weight compared to a ground setup. A hammock setup is just a much more functional and flexible system to use in forested areas like where you will be backpacking. The modest weight penalty will be more than worth it.

Hammocks + tarps shine most where tents are the weakest-- in continuously rainy and humid conditions. And this is weather that you will often find on the east coast where you'll be hiking.

Edited by dmusashe on 03/17/2014 01:22:36 MDT.

Kevin S.
Thanks for all of the input. Made a compromised decision. on 03/17/2014 05:50:45 MDT Print View

After discussing it with my wif, she led me to make a great decision where I can try out a couple. The duplex is by far my first choice - but it was going to cost over $630 after it was all said and done- although I am sure it is worth it, it would stretch my current budget by over $100.

Here is what I decided. I am going to try to the tarp tent notch, for a few short trips this spring - I have a feeling I will like it. It also has a good resale value if i don't, or decide to go with a hammock.

I also got the go-ahead to get a Warbonnet blackbird XLC for my birthday (end of May). This way I can try it out this summer to see if it is for me. Trying out in the summer would eliminate the need for under insulation, and I can get a true feel if I will like it or not.

If it weren't for the fact that I sleep great on the ground, I would go with a hammock now. Also, I have never had my base weight down to 10 pounds, and the tarp tent would allow that for now. This way, I will end up spending the same on both to try as would for one of the cuben shelters.

Edited by kstephens on 03/18/2014 05:06:58 MDT.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Thanks for all of the input. Made a compromised decision. on 03/17/2014 19:40:40 MDT Print View

Just a quick FYI, unless the night is really hot in the summer (i.e. 70 degrees or above), then you are probably going to need some insulation under you in your hammock. This can be as simple as a closed cell foam pad or as deluxe as a dedicated down underquilt that hugs you underneath the hammock.

You probably already have a sleeping pad of some sort, so just be sure to bring that along when hammocking in anything other than really, really mild weather. If it's going to dip down into even the 50's at night, you will want something to keep your backside warm. Trust me.

Edited by dmusashe on 03/17/2014 19:41:57 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Thanks for all of the input. Made a compromised decision. on 03/17/2014 19:44:26 MDT Print View

"Just a quick FYI, unless the night is really hot in the summer (i.e. 70 degrees or above), then you are probably going to need some insulation under you in your hammock."

Yeah. I'll go one step further - even at 70 degrees you might need some insulation under you if the daytime temps were in the 90s. It's not how warm or cold the nighttime temps are that really matter, it's how warm or cold they are relative to the daytime temps. Even 70 feels cold if it was 95 all day.