View Full Version : Tent/Shelter Question

01-26-2015, 18:51
Serious tent question here. I start NOBO the first week of April, and still have not settled my shelter. I would like input from experienced past AT thru hikers, or other long distance AT hikers. I would like to get one of the Zpacks Cuben tents, but am concerned about a few potential issues.

1) Should I need to go with a free standing tent instead due to the necessity of platform camping up north?
2) Is condensation a major issue with the single wall shelters?
3) I have heard these tents get very hot in direct sunlight. Is this a problem?

I really like the weight of the Zpacks tents and have read good reviews. I have also gotten kind of gotten addicted to counting ounces and grams, but don't want to make a mistake with a big ticket item like this, and am willing to carry a bit more weight if necessary. (my base weight without food or water should be 12-14#)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

01-26-2015, 19:16
1) You can tie down on the platforms. Just bring some extra line. If you do decide on freestanding just know a lot of manufacturers use the term very freely.
2)It can be. Read up a bit on where not to pitch and how to pitch for maximum ventilation. Meadows and next to lakes are generally no no's.
3) You shouldn't have much of a problem staying out of direct sunlight on the AT. There may be some exceptions (My experience is limited in the southern portions) but for the most part you're good. Besides, how often do you plan on having your tent set up at high noon?

Zpacks have some awesome shelters, I don't think you can go wrong there. They are mostly hybrid designs so they are a little more prone to condensation, but still worth the ticket price imo. Since the cuben solong is no longer offered I feel as if Zpacks has the best lightweight hybrid designs.

01-26-2015, 20:13
Zpac makes nice stuff. Cuben has its limitations. It is not very abrasion resistant. You can save about a pound over something like the Big Agnes Flycreek UL1 at a cost of about $200. Take a few screw in cup holders to pitch on a platform.

Sandy of PA
01-26-2015, 20:46
I have used a Hexamid for 2000 miles. It is a bit tricky but not impossible to use a platform, I carried 4 extra cords and a longer peice that I use most of the time for clothesline. I did use the shelter at Kinsman Pond because the platforms were so high off the ground. Carrying a one pound tent for the rest of it was far better than fussing about the few platforms along the way.

01-27-2015, 03:11
I used a Hilleberg Akto. I only used shelters 3 times. If you dont want to be in the shelters get a good tent with a decent vestibule that you can cook in.I had no problems on platforms, carry some small cup hooks , to use as your tent anchor points. I bought mine at Hanover, you nearly walk right past a hardware store.


Don H
01-27-2015, 07:11
I've set up my SMD Lunar Solo (not freestanding, requires 6 pegs) on tent platforms. Just use a stick jammed between the floor boards as a stake.

01-27-2015, 09:23
We have a Hexamid Twin - great little tent. Just big enough for two people and gear, though our packs end up outside. For solo hiking, it's a 21 ounce palace.

The Zpacks tents come with fixed length guylines that you cut and attach yourself. I am not a fan. When you order the tent, also order a dozen "LineLoc 3 Line Adjusters with Loops" and also 50 feet of the 2.3mm Glowire cord. I put a Linloc 3 at each tieout location, then used the Glowire and the cord that came with the tent to create much longer, adjustable guy lines so I could adapt to pretty much any camp site, including tent platforms. I did carry an extra 20 feet or so of cord in case I needed it for a platform.

Condensation: this depends on all sorts of factors, but of course it can be an issue with single wall tents. If there is a heavy dew, expect all sorts of condensation inside and outside your shelter. We carry a tiny camp towel and use it to wipe down the tent inside and out. We don't find it to be a big deal, especially given the weight savings, but some people can't stand any condensation inside their tents.

The cuben fabric is semitransparent, so I expect in full sunlight it could get a little warm. Haven't tried it.

My suggestion for a solo tent would be the Hex Twin. If you will have two people using it, get the Duplex - two doors, two vestibules, more interior room, basically the same weight. I wish we had done that.