Rating: 4 / 5
I had been searching for a shelter and rain jacket setup to replace my GoLite Poncho/Tarp (10.44 oz) and my Montane Featherlite Smock (4.16 oz sized L). I was lucky to not get wet with this small tarp setup (did not carry a bivy) and I wanted something lighter if possible and better rain coverage if windy.
I have never carried a bivy and was not willing to carry one for fear of added heat in the summer or restriction as a tumbling side/stomach sleeper with quilt. I also wanted my entire shelter bug free instead of just my bivy/head area for comfort reasons.
So it came down to two Cuben Fiber (.51 oz) shelters:
- Zpacks Hexamid (quoted weights):
7.45 tent (basically addition of bug netting to tarp)
+ 0.25 oz seam sealer
= 7.70 oz for just the tent w/out any guy lines or Line Lock 3s.
Basic area of foot print: 108in x 30in = 3240 in2
- Bear Paw Cub Den 1.5 (measured weights):
11.07 tent w/ line locks & webbing, bug netting and NO extended beak (taped/bonded, no seam sealing needed)
-0.37 subtracting Line Lock 3s & webbing (8 of them on shelter x 0.046 oz. weight quote sourced from Zpacks.com actually)
= 10.70 oz for just the tent w/ out any guy lines or Line Lock 3s.
Basic area of foot print: 100in x 38in = 3800 in2
So a difference of 3 oz between shelters.
(The included guy lines weigh .9 oz and CF stuff sack weighs .2 oz)
The Zpacks is pitched 6 in off the in their blueprint by default where as the Cub Den 1.5 is shown pitched to the ground in their's so it's not really a fair comparison (as you generally will pitch the Cub Den 1.5 off the ground as well unless it's storming). The BearPaw has more area under the tarp and is significantly taller. This is where the extra weight in materials comes in. Plus, I did not need a full bug net floor in the Hexamid, only perimeter to keep bugs out, my Polycro ground sheet does the rest.
I picked the Bear Paw 1.5 for the following reasons:
- Good reviews on workmanship.
- Could get the shelter quickly (Ordered on 5/4, delivered on 5/18).
- Don't (hopefully) need bivy or extended beak (potential condensation problems) because Cub Den 1.5 shelter is bigger than Hexamid and can be pitched directly to ground in inclement weather with more room to shift to the back of the shelter in driving rain.
- Cheaper than other considerations.
- Taped/bonded seams should hopefully be stronger and not separate with use over time.
- Could squeeze my GF in if she every decides to move on from car camping. :p (2 x Cascade Design NeoAir Shorts = 40 in wide)
*Of note. I had to go for the slightly heavier GG LT4S hiking poles vs. the TiGoat adjustable poles because they did not allow enough height when pitching this sehlter for me personally.
Based on weight and perceived coverage from the elements (just received the shelter today and have not tried it out)I gave this product a 4.
I did not give a rating of 5 because I was not able to obtain the average weights of the different parts/options on the shelter when I purchased the item. That was somewhat frustrating and a leap of faith for a gram weenie like me, but it looks like the manufacturer has changed their website to break it down a little better with average weights of components. The manufacturer was nice enough to spend time with me on the phone and let me know when the item shipped. I also appreciated the manufacturers willingness to customize the shelter to my needs (I opted for a vertical zipper for the bug netting to save weight at the expense of a little more difficult to get in and out.)
Here are the pictures of the shelter in my office today as I received it (looks to me in fine condition even though USPS beat the crap out of the box)
Ok 2nd update. I setup the shelter as soon as I got home in the pouring rain....bless my GF for standing out there to take pics. :p
I am DEFINITELY glad I got the larger shelter of the two. I can fit two regularly size sleeping pads in there with a little room at the end for my pack when pitched to the ground for storms. This would be fine if it were my GF and I, perhaps a little close for comfort with two guys but doaable (but the guy near the beak is exposed to sideways rain)
If I I pitch the tarp up off the ground 6 inches, I'm sure it could accommodate a friend and I pretty decently, but not a ton of room to spare.
Even pitched to the ground it gives my 5-9 self plenty of headroom to spare, and if I was solo gobs of space for my gear and room to move to the back of the shelter if the weather gets bad. I like not having an extended beat as it's one less thing to setup and I maintain my ventilation. Getting hang of pitching quickly will take some practice. Not easy in the pouring rain and dim light. :p
(For reference: I'm 5-9 tall and 195 lbs. Size 11 shoe. Red pad, 20in wide and full length, Yellow pad, is 20in wide NeoAir Short, Front beak is pitched at 30in, not sure on the rear peak as I had to rig a fixed length pole to work a little sideways, my adj poles aren't in yet.)
I fought with:
Cub Den 1.5 Tarp and Bivy vs. Cub Den 1.5 Tent w/ bug netting (what I got) and beak or no beak for both shelter options I considered.
I knew I was not comfy with the amount of coverage the Hexamid gave me (judging from photos, who knows maybe I'd be fine) in bad weather (only a little bit more than my Poncho/Tarp) and with the extended beak I figured I'd get wet with the condensation anyway and that would pull the weight difference of the Hexamid w/ beak vs. Cub Den 1.5 w/ no beak to 1.92 ounces and $120 extra. Wasn't worth it to me to have to potentially deal with condensation and the unknown, but others may differ in their choice.
With the ability to remove the bivy in colder weather with no risk of bugs, I could def go lighter, but then I'd miss out on one of the benefits of the bivy in colder weather...seal out drafts for a guy that tosses and turns in a quilt. And I didn't want a bivy in warmer weather, because I want the ability to stretch out and subconsciously regulate my temperature by putting my feet outside the quilt when I get warm.
The other nice things about the bug netting is that it would act as as primitive splash guard for rain as well at the perimeter of my tent, keeping not only my quilt, but most of my gear drier. Plus I am human....maybe I think there won't be bugs on a trip but I bed down for the night and I've guessed wrong on a multi-day trip, now what? :o So I carry a weight penalty for that comfort factor I guess. And with the bug netting at the perimeter I can squeeze on my GF or a buddy it looks like.
Tough calls all the way around, but nice to have options and quick shipping by the manufacturer. These days if folks want an extended beak he recommends a vent at the top of the shelter to vent condensation which I didn't want either (added weight). So I'll just get to the back of my roomy shelter is bad weather. From the downpour last night I think I'll be ok, but field testing is best.