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Reader Reviews

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Golite Hex 3

in Shelters - Tarps & Floorless

Average Rating
4.43 / 5 (14 reviews)

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Dan Healy
( electricpanda )

Golite Hex 3 on 08/09/2005 03:02:10 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Looking for a lightweight shelter for 2 people plus gear? Looking for a shelter that is robust enough for high winds with rain and sleet? Looking for a bit more space so you can cook and hang out in the shelter while sheltering from those pesky alpine and sub alpine storms? The GoLite Hex 3 is your baby! At 787g it is not the lightest 2 person shelter. But when the temperature drops and the winds pick up, its ability to be pitched to the ground and still have minimal condensation is quite unique. The tepee shape is brilliant at shedding wind and as long as all the peg out points are used, a very tight pitch can be achieved and so is very quiet. The immense amount of space is a real bonus - nothing else comes close here in its weight class. A Winner

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John Chan
( ouroboros )
Excellent shelter for 2 on 11/26/2005 17:09:38 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I recently applied UL philosophies to group camping so I replaced my MH Trango 2 tent with a Golite Hex 3. This week, I took the Hex 3 on a planned circumnavigation of the 100 km LaCloche Silhouette in Killarney Park (in 2 nights). The trip didn't work out (parts of the trail were severely flooded by 1 week of non-stop rain) but the Hex 3 was palatial for us. The great thing about it was the height of the shelter allowed for 2 candle lanterns + cooking meals without the worry of burning a hole in the floor or setting the canopy alight. It was howling outside with a windchill of -25 C but inside the Hex we were spared the wind and it remained a relatively "balmy" -5 C. I can't wait to use this shelter for the up-coming ice climbing season.

Also, the advertised weight + construction quality of the shelter were top-notch and I rate it above the mainstay manufacturers. Looks like China is headed down the same path as Japan once took (in terms of QC improvements).

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Steve Martell
( Steve )

Eastern Washington
HEX 3 on 11/27/2005 14:19:43 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I concur. This is a great shelter & sure beats a bivy/tarp when the winds start howling. What I like best is how well it handles high wind from any angle. Many shelters have to be oriented to wind direction--which is a pain when the wind shifts at 2AM. Not a problem with the Hex.

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Rick Dreher
( halfturbo - M )

Northernish California
Hex 2 at least 66% as good on 11/28/2005 20:43:45 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've used a Hex 2, the 3's somewhat smaller brother, with good success for a few seasons. The quarters are a little snug for six-footers, but it's a minor concern. My main complaint is that the ventilation is overwhelmed on very still nights when there's any kind of moisture present, making any touch of the inner walls a drenching experience. This is the case even when there's a fair air gap around the perimeter.

The upsides are many, and it's often my first choice for a two-man shelter.

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Al Shaver
( Al_T.Tude - M )

High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Light Weight, Damp and Poor Space Utilization on 11/29/2005 02:19:36 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I agree with everything said previous regarding this type of shelter having slept over 100 nights in rain, wind and snow in the Black Diamond Mega Mid. Wanting to go ultra light I ordered my Hex 3. When I set it up in my yard I immediately discovered that the hex shape is far less efficient at fitting prone bodies than the square of the Black Diamond. I'm very happy with my new 1lb. 8.3oz Mega Light and would be happy to part with my unused Hex for a good price.

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Matthew LaPatka
( gungadin - M )

Pittsburgh, PA
Great shelter, especially for winter on 11/29/2005 10:39:30 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have used the Hex 3 in a variety of conditions and really love all it can do. I usually use it for winter trips without much snowfall (I go lighter most of the year) and find that it is perfect for this. I feel the hexagonal shape is a large asset. The "points" of the hex are great for storing gear, and I don't find them to be inefficient at all. In addition, they help the shelter shrug off the wind much easier than the four cornered Black Diamond pyramids which suffer much more deflection. While there is condensation in it, like all pyramids, I feel that I can avoid it with another person in the tent. It has never dripped on me, even in windy conditions. The stability of the shelter is great, and the fabric is more durable than any other sil nylon I have seen.
I feel that this is a very adaptable, strong shelter for a low weight. While condensation is an issue, I feel that the many assets (strength, stability, room, durability, a great green color choice) make it a fantastic shelter!

Edited by gungadin on 11/29/2005 12:31:12 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Hex Green priced at: $19.98
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Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Hex As a Winter Shelter on 12/01/2005 09:42:09 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I use the Hex 3 for two applications:

1. Family camping.
2. Winter ski trips as a shared shelter.

For #1, we often use the enclosed Nest (car trips) and I made a velcro netting perimeter we use during bug season for backpacking. For the three of us (wife, son, dog) it's great. The pole is in an interesting spot for this configuration, but not much you can do aside from drilling a hole in the middle of your couple's bag (a good tip I got from Roman Dial) or skooching the pole to the side a few inches.

For these trips, we take the Hex 3 for one reason: room. It has a good space:weight ratio and the headroom is bliss when backpacking with a family. The goofy shape is an asset because we can stick kids/dogs/gear in the corners.

2. Winter

For winter, I'm a little more critical. To weather a good stiff winter blizzard, and to maximize living area, you need to stake out 11 points. Combined with the need to get that geometry "just so", this is quite a lot of work to set up camp. Arrive early if the snow is deep: setting 11 stake out points in the deep fluffy powder snow, of say, the northern Rockies, is no easy chore. Sure, you can use trekking poles, ice axes, snowshoes, and all manner of 1 oz deadmen stuff sacks but the reality is the fastest and most convenient stakes are nice long tube stakes like those sold by Kifaru. And when a shelter requires 11 stakes (vs., say, 7 for a good MegaMid pitch), the weight of big stakes adds up.

We had an entertaining conversation about the Hex on my last trip. My partner said, "this shelter would be perfect it was square". But I'm not real concerned about lost space in the corners, I like them for gear storage, but the hex shape does make for a lot of stakeout points.

Also, in winter conditions, having a nonbreathable fabric for a floorless winter tent can be a real nightmare if you are trying to keep stuff dry. In very cold conditions, especially if it's still, the Hex, or any of these shelters, will not vent enough moisture through its peak vent to keep the insides of the walls dry. You have a very high humidity environment in here: snow floor, two+ people, cooking, etc. The condensation doesn't drip if its wet because of the steep walls but look out if you brush against it. Worse, however, at cold conditions, you can get some pretty gnarly frost rains when the wind blows, resulting in a fair bit of spindrift swirling around. A bivy sack or sleeping bag with a very water resistant shell is essential for a trip longer than a few nights in winter temperatures.

Having said all this, we use Epic fabric Hex 3's in BPL's winter courses here in Montana. Epic solves a big fraction of the condensation problems mentioned above, adds only a few ounces, and is far easier to pack up, with a lower packed volume, after the first night of big freeze.

To improve the Hex 3, I'd make it out of Epic, and include as an option, a winter stake kit that actually works, like the Kifaru snow stake kit, AND is ultralight, unlike the Kifaru kit...

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Inaki Diaz de Etura
( inaki )

Iberia highlands
Winter comment on 01/18/2006 07:47:33 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Not a full review but just a small addition on what's already been said regarding winter use. While skis make for wonderful stakes on deep snow, unfortunately the tie out loops at the end of the 6 main ridge lines are too narrow for them (at least in my Hex). I suppose you can use an additional cord or webbing loop to fix that but one would expect a bit more thought put into such small detail. Oddly enough, the other 5 mid panel tie out loops are wider and they do fit skis.
The comment is on the negative but I like the Hex.

John Lovell
( lovellj - M )

The marrow of the world!
Excellent! on 05/04/2006 07:53:49 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The only thing that could make this setup better would be if it were made out of a lighter (but of course less durable) material. As is, I don't hesetate to camp above tree line.

Colin Briggs
( colinpbriggs )

Melbourne Australia
Pegs and Floor on 09/21/2006 17:55:26 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Excellent shelter. If you are going into sandy country make sure you take sand pegs. The Hex is great provided the pegs hold well. We had to resort to using sticks in the sand as normal pegs wouldn't hold in strong wind. We also used a lid of a 20 litre plastic drum under the pole. As the wind moves the tent around it slowly works the pole into the sand, the inverted lid fixed the problem.
I am in Australia and we have a significant Bug problem so I bought the Nest to go with the Hex. It works great till you open the door in the rain, then the water lands in the tent. To fix this I have cut one point of the floor off and sewn the bug netting and zip up to suit. The floor is now five sided so I have a vestibule to cook in and the rain no longer lands in the tent when the door is unziped.

john seward
( seward )
Hex vs Megamid on 12/12/2006 23:52:22 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I own a Hex. The question is whether it's better than Black Diamond Megamid and I think it is, though it's slightly heavier and not functionally larger. It's NOT an IMMENSE tent, but much larger than 2-person backpacking models.

It's six inches taller than Megamid. Non-square floorplan makes it possibly smaller than BD despite larger gross dimensions.

I've tacked down the edges of several models of tarp tents against wind and for reasons slightly hard to explain, Hex is most effective, though I don't think it's equal to floored tent.

I may use my MSR Twin Peaks in preference over Hex in very cold weather because it's lesser headroom seems likely to produce warmer interior. Never would want Hex for three people.

It's very nice in snow, but notably less warm than double-walled tents.

For myself only I question whether larger tipi styles available from Kifaru or Titanium Goat are more desirable. They are still quite light at four pounds or so... & offer option of very small woodstove and are approaching "immense size... Hex & Megamid are too small to bother with this unless in solo use.

Edited by seward on 12/13/2006 00:04:30 MST.

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John Kays
( johnk - M )

Hex 3-Perfect Two Man Shelter on 05/01/2007 10:40:55 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Can't add much to what has already been said. For me it is the perfect two man shelter, particularly in nasty damp weather.

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Jay Wilkerson
( Creachen )

East Bay
Bombproof Shelter on 12/11/2008 14:21:54 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I bought my Golite Hex back in 2004 it is now called the Shangri-La 3. What ever they call it-it still works great in just about any stormy condition. My wife, son and me have been caught in 2 storms since 2004. The last storm was a very windy summer monsoon in the Sierras. The pyramid shape really fends off mountain gust with total of 12 stakes. I have the Hex bug shelter also and the both of them together really make a excellent family tent!
The shape of the tent is it's key to success. One adjustable center pole [12oz]or use your trekking poles with a Golite Aluminum tube connector[1.4oz]. A simple and easy tent to use.Highly Recommended!!!!!

Hex Bug Shelter=38oz.
Dark Green 2004 Model

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Hex Green priced at: $19.98
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Tjaard Breeuwer
( Tjaard )

Minnesota, USA
Great for family of 4 on 04/06/2012 21:33:42 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I was surprised to see we fit comfortably with our family of 4, while using the nest.
By hanging it from a line between two trees, we have room for a double bag in the center and no pole to be knocked over. I am 6'5", so often jammed tight in tents but the long center line gives me plenty of room, and the kids fill up the odd shaped sides of the hex shape.
I agree that rain comes in the door, but would not tailor the nest. Instead, pul up a stake and have that vestibule to cook or get in/out dry, then put it back for more room at night. I will call this my patented versa-vesti(bule) ;-) After-all, when you are using a vestibule, you are not sleeping and vice -versa, so having the option to take space from one into the other is great.
The tent is extremely windproof.

My negatives concern details of design and construction:
Only 1 zipper. If there were a (short) zipper in the other side of the door panel, you could unzip them both a few inches and leave the door open a bit at the bottom for more venting in rain, as I often do in other tents.

Nest is too large in surface area. Unless the Outer tent is pitched very low, the Nest edges are to close to the outside, so not protected from rain.
The tension on the nest is solely on the floor, meaning the sides slope very flatly for the first few inches, making it hard to tension the nest tight. This relates to the above also.
To address this the nest should have short vertical bathtub walls with guy-outs attached to the TOP of the 'wall'

The intermediate guy-outs lack adjustment and are too short.

The nest is very heavy, mostly due to the floor I assume?Hex in the fall woods

Edited by Tjaard on 04/06/2012 21:34:36 MDT.

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