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Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up?
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Erica Napolitano
(naperica) - F

Locale: Northeast
Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/24/2014 16:26:00 MDT Print View

So... originally, I was looking for a net tent to put under a possibly new tarp that I would purchase for when it was just my 7 year old and I. I typically hammock when alone and love it. He is not quite sure about hammocking alone, so I was opting to buy a net tent for the two of us to share when out together.

Now my husband makes a good point, (just brought up to me tonight and no, he doesn't backpack yet), what if we all want to go out together or maybe just him and I (in our dreams!).

What would be your ULTIMATE solution (and I know that there will be many ideas) for a family of four or maybe just two at a time or solo. BTW (kiddos are 7 and 5)

We (I) like lightweight, price may be negotiable if it works all around.

What are your thoughts?

Edited by naperica on 07/24/2014 16:28:44 MDT.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
re: on 07/24/2014 16:37:08 MDT Print View

I have multiple shelters. I use a triplex for 3 of us. I have a Double Rainbow that was for just 2...might just go triplex without the kid too!

I have a soloplex and a lightheart solo tent for just me.

If I was looking at 4 with the kids old enough, I might just get a couple of 2 person shelters. That offers the possibility to go double with spouse. And you can share with one kid or they can. As soon as my son is old enough, I'm booting him into his own!

Edited by mpl_35 on 07/24/2014 16:46:15 MDT.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
80 / 20 rule on 07/24/2014 16:43:09 MDT Print View

Get the ideal for what you will be using it for 80% of the time. Don't get the gear that will accomodate every possible group scenario.

Deal with the other rare 20%, when it comes up. You can always borrow from a friend or rent a tent from REI for that one large group outing, that may or may not happen.

Also, some of the "may be" people may not be interested in this activity after the first outing, and you don't want to be owner of an expensive gear that gets parked in the gear closet for that "one time when... may be"

Unfortunately, we all have closets, shelves and garage space filled with wishful thinking, hopes and dreams of others joining us. We have enough gear to outfit a small adventure company. We bought the stuff for that one large group event and never/rarely gets used...

If you do have a 4 person family outing in the future, you can rent, borrow, or buy an additional second shelter system, then resell it back online.

You know your kids will grow up, taller, and will need more space.
When they reach teen years, they will want more space away from YOU :)

Erica Napolitano
(naperica) - F

Locale: Northeast
Re: 80 / 20 rule on 07/24/2014 18:24:28 MDT Print View

90% of the time, or more, I am by myself, so that system would be my hammock.
All four of us love day hikes, and the kids can go up to 8 miles a day! (just toting youth camelbacks)

My oldest just started showing interest in overnights, so of course I want to jump on it right away so that he doesn't loose the drive.

There really isn't anyone I know that backpacks. (sad, I know) Our local REI does not rent any hiking gear any longer, just skis and snowshoes. (sad, I know).

Trying to come up with a versatile piece that would function as part of other systems depending on who was with me.

I was looking into the HG winter palace in camo as my dream. Thinking it would be my awesome go to tarp for my hammock, net tent and pad/bag. It is almost $500, so I will have to save and sell to earn that puppy.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Make the First Trip Fun on 07/24/2014 18:51:46 MDT Print View

If the 7 year old is interested in camping great! But I'd suggest a tent that everyone shares at first. That way he'll feel nice and safe and have fun. Later on you can introduce tarps or hammocks etc.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/25/2014 06:09:43 MDT Print View

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/25/2014 06:39:02 MDT Print View

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 -
$370 +/-, 4 pounds, weather-proof, bug proof, two doors protected by vestibules, free-standing.

It is light enough to carry for two, spacious for 2 adults and a kid, even in a tent-bound situation.

my .02

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/25/2014 10:50:15 MDT Print View

A nice compromise of weight and size would be either the MLD Supermid or Black Diamond Megalight. I own the Megalight and would feel comfortable sharing it with my wife and kids.

Couple options with the creepy/crawlies. You can have MLD add a perimeter bug net to the Super Mid or have Bear Paw Wilderness add it to the Megalight. Another option would be to use the S2S nano bug net (double and single) inside the shelter.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
For 3 - 4 people on 07/25/2014 12:51:08 MDT Print View

For our 3 or 4 person trips (my kids are 9 and 13) we use and love the Golite SL5. When it is just the girls and me, I leave the silly heavy nest at home and take the reasonably light fly. With my trekking poles lashed together as the center pole and a polycro groundsheet, it is a really reasonable weight.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Golite Pyramid SL5 on 07/26/2014 23:42:57 MDT Print View

The golite 5 pyramid is what I use for solo up to 2 adults and two kids.

It weighs as follows

29 oz fly
43 oz net tent
13 oz pole
2 oz steak

Solo I take the fly and a bora gear net bivy (7oz) for a total of a 38 oz solo set up. Heavy but manageable. I use trekking poles for the center pole.

2 man I add a second bivy so a 44 oz two man set up. And that is a palace for two 6ft plus guys. If it is me and my wife I go with the 74 oz net tent and fly. A little heavy for two people but very spacious. With 3 guys the 74 oz splits up nicely to 1.5 lbs each. And with my family of 4 it works great too.

The other benefit is headroom. Being able to stand up in your tent while backpacking makes you the envy of everyone around you.

The onky think I wish is that the net tent was lighte but everytime I map out how much a 30d floor and lighter mesh would save it doesnt seem worth it to have one fabbed. You could save about 10 oz.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Pyramid on 07/27/2014 03:04:21 MDT Print View

Faced with the same scenario (wife very interested in doing more bushwalking with me, and we have a 15month old daughter, planning for another), I've ordered a 4 person mid (a 9x9) from oware, in silnylon. Actually, most of my walking will likely be with them from now on. We carry our daughter, but over time she will do more and more walking, but total distances, etc won't ever be as much as when I'm solo, at best maybe 70%. So I didn't have to pick the lightest possible shelter for this (eg cuben) and silnylon is a bit more forgiving (stretchiness, abrasion) with kids inside.

I still have my trailstar if in the future I head out with one of the kids when they are older, or just me and my wife, or we can take the mid.

I'm looking at lighter options for myself. Actually as I won't get many nights per year by myself, I can probably shoot for lighter cuben (eg .3, .51oz) small tarps (will prob make my own), as it will still last a decade or more, and if I'm looking at more extreme weather I can pack the trailstar just for myself.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/28/2014 23:07:58 MDT Print View

I have found four-man tents are typically more than double the weight of a two-man tent. So... for a family of four I would suggest two 2-man tents. They can be exactly the same or two slightly different designs optimized for slightly different situations. For four of you, grab both. For two of you grab the best 2-man tent for that particular situation. You might get one of the 2-man tents big enough that you could squeeze yourself with both kids.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/29/2014 10:22:32 MDT Print View

Assuming you can pitch it in a sheltered location, a Tarptent Hogback would be a great solution. We use one for our family of 6 (along with a Scarp 2). The Hogback would probably fit all 6 of us if we really wanted to save weight since the two youngest ones are small.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Okay, so here is the new scenario.....(family and solo backpacking)..what's the perfect set-up? on 07/29/2014 12:32:54 MDT Print View

>> What would be your ULTIMATE solution

Ultimately? One of every flavor.

My son and I are the backpackers in our family. Sometimes I go alone, sometimes with my son and/or our dog (who, at 110lb, is as big as my teenage son.) So, we have a solo tarp, solo tent, 1.5p tent (me and dog), 2p tarp, 2p tent, 4p tent... It just evolved that way, even though I did try to plan it out.

For 4 people, it's easier to find two 2p tents for the same weight and price. BUT I also think it's more fun to share one tent. For us, it was a moot point since the dog was VERY unhappy about two separate tents.

We use tents when we need bug protection, tarps when we don't. To keep costs reasonable, I bought some tents used and also made most of my tarps. Used Tarptents can be a really reasonable way to go.

Herman E
(hre814) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Pyramid shelter on 07/30/2014 01:03:30 MDT Print View

I have a 10,8,5,3 year old and wife. We've used a go lite shangrila 5. I also have an MLD pyramid shelter that I had bear paw designs sew in a bathtub floor and perimeter netting. An inner net may not be needed depending on time of year, etc. I also had bear paw wilderness designs sew in a perimeter netting to the go lite, and we use it with a tyvek ground cloth.