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Chris Bosch
12-13-2015, 23:47
Hey there, everyone. Been doing endless research on the glorious options of shelters that y'all use for long distance hiking. I slept in a hammock for the ~400 miles I spent on the AT last year and am gearing up for the PCT thru attempt next year. Hammock was awesome but I hate having to carry an extra pad(can't use in hammock, loved UQ too much). Want something enclosed because I hate flying insects with all my heart. Been looking at SMD, Big Agnes, Lightheart Gear, Zpacks, Tarptent, and a few others but my main focus has been on Zpacks and LHG Solong 6. I'm tall(6'4") and would like the extra room to sprawl out or shelter another in a pinch. I think I want to go down the Cuben Fiber road, hate saggy wet tents and the weight of CF makes me all bubbly inside. So here we go:
1) Never been out west(past Grand Canyon), so I don't know what to expect weather wise. Should I expect a lot of rain and/or wind? This is my main concern with a hexamid twin vs the duplex. Like the detachable ground sheet but the duplex looks more weatherproof. Necessary?
2) I want this bad boy to last past the thru hike. I treat my gear with TLC and am curious on the life of CF vs silnylon. Would a $600 CF tent last as long(or longer) than a $250 sil tent?
Thanks everyone!

colorado_rob
12-14-2015, 10:13
95% of my backpacking has been in the west, though I did hike the entire AT recently, and I backpacked in the east when I was a kid, so I have some back-east experience to compare to.

But anyway, I bought a Hexamid Solo+ for my second half of the AT, and the main difference east/west is of course the humidity level. I think single wall tents are more "at home" out west when internal condensation is perhaps less of an issue. I think a CF single wall tent would serve you very well for the PCT. This is certainly what I will be carrying when I attempt the PCT (probably 2017).

FWIW, I'm 6'1" and the zpacks Hexamid solo-Plus seems plenty long and spacious for myself, doesn't seem like your extra 3" of height would negate this. My solo-plus, with beak and full netting only cost me $390 two years ago. I did not go with the add-on CF floor, which was an extra $90, but more importantly an extra 4 ounces. I use a Gossamer Gear Polycro sheet for my tent floor, saves 2 ounces of weight over CF, and it is much cheaper, 10 bucks for a two pack. But you have to custom trim the 6x10 sheet to fit the tent floor, plus I duct-taped little cord hooks in the corners and mid-sides to attach to the inner tent clips. these tarps are not as tough as the CF ones, I suspect. I wore one out on my AT second half, but simply used my other from the two pack for the rest of the hike.

Total weight of my Solo+ including cords, one polycro ground sheet and CF stuff sack is 16.0 ounces. I also carry 8 Ti UL tent stakes, I think 0.15 ounces each, except I carry one longer one for the critical front tent stake, so maybe 1.5 ounces total or 17.5 ounces grand total for shelter.

Chris Bosch
12-16-2015, 10:25
95% of my backpacking has been in the west, though I did hike the entire AT recently, and I backpacked in the east when I was a kid, so I have some back-east experience to compare to.

But anyway, I bought a Hexamid Solo+ for my second half of the AT, and the main difference east/west is of course the humidity level. I think single wall tents are more "at home" out west when internal condensation is perhaps less of an issue. I think a CF single wall tent would serve you very well for the PCT. This is certainly what I will be carrying when I attempt the PCT (probably 2017).

FWIW, I'm 6'1" and the zpacks Hexamid solo-Plus seems plenty long and spacious for myself, doesn't seem like your extra 3" of height would negate this. My solo-plus, with beak and full netting only cost me $390 two years ago. I did not go with the add-on CF floor, which was an extra $90, but more importantly an extra 4 ounces. I use a Gossamer Gear Polycro sheet for my tent floor, saves 2 ounces of weight over CF, and it is much cheaper, 10 bucks for a two pack. But you have to custom trim the 6x10 sheet to fit the tent floor, plus I duct-taped little cord hooks in the corners and mid-sides to attach to the inner tent clips. these tarps are not as tough as the CF ones, I suspect. I wore one out on my AT second half, but simply used my other from the two pack for the rest of the hike.

Total weight of my Solo+ including cords, one polycro ground sheet and CF stuff sack is 16.0 ounces. I also carry 8 Ti UL tent stakes, I think 0.15 ounces each, except I carry one longer one for the critical front tent stake, so maybe 1.5 ounces total or 17.5 ounces grand total for shelter.

Appreciate the knowledge! Looking at the hexamid twin(mostly for the extra room, ik the solo+ is plenty but I don't mind the little extra weight and I don't think my trekking poles go over 135 cm) but have an opportunity for 50% off if I see the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 or equivalent today at the local outfitter. If that doesn't work out, I'll be ordering a zpacks soon enough! Thanks again!

Lyle
12-16-2015, 11:43
While I use the tarp version, I can concur with the suggestion of the Hexamid Solo Plus. I've used it for a couple of years now, including for the JMT, and it works very well. One caveat, it has a large footprint, so you need some decent real estate to pitch it, but I have never found that a particularly big issue.

bigcranky
12-16-2015, 11:54
We used the Hexamid Twin for two people for a Long Trail thru. Love it, especially for solo use. Plenty of room, good bug and weather protection. Crazy light.

colorado_rob
12-16-2015, 14:16
Appreciate the knowledge! Looking at the hexamid twin(mostly for the extra room, ik the solo+ is plenty but I don't mind the little extra weight and I don't think my trekking poles go over 135 cm) but have an opportunity for 50% off if I see the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 or equivalent today at the local outfitter. If that doesn't work out, I'll be ordering a zpacks soon enough! Thanks again!The Copper Spur is a fantastic tent, on our list for when my wife and I go together, finally replacing our trusty BA Fly Creek 2.

I'm not trying to talk you into the Hexamid Solo+, the Twin will work fantastic for you at only a small weight penalty, but I don't get the 135cm comment, perhaps it's a typo, the recommended pole length is 132cm, and it just so happens I used my fixed length 120CM pole for part of my hike, and that worked just fine. It basically just lowers the inside height by 12cm or about 5". So I don't recommend using 120CM, but if your pole goes to 130CM, that's all they recommend for the solo+. Looks like 120cm for the twin, plus another shortie. One main reason I chose the solo+ is that I am generally a one-pole hiker, though I'm starting to use two more and more because stuff is hurting more and more with my O.L.D.

One other note: Setting up these Hexamids involves a bit of a learning curve, practice at home. It's important to get them taught, as is true of all tents of course, but seems to be more important with the hexamids. Consider one single extra-long tent stake for the ultra-critical front middle stake; if that one pulls out, then tent collapses. I back mine up also with a rock. And these tents take up a lot of room length wise; they don't fit well at all on those damn tent platforms out east, though obviously not an issue on the PCT.

bigcranky
12-16-2015, 15:07
One other note: Setting up these Hexamids involves a bit of a learning curve, practice at home. It's important to get them taught, as is true of all tents of course, but seems to be more important with the hexamids. Consider one single extra-long tent stake for the ultra-critical front middle stake; if that one pulls out, then tent collapses.

+1 on all of this. Took a while to get the hang of it, then it sets up quickly. I use a 9 inch Easton stake in the front for the main guy line.

cmoulder
12-17-2015, 12:51
My dog and I love the Duplex. Superb in bug-only mode on warm summer nights.

bigcranky
12-17-2015, 23:18
The Duplex came out just after we got the Hex Twin -- it looks a lot like our Lunar Duo. I've been tempted to sell both the Hex Twin and the Lunar Duo and get the Duplex. Nice photo. :)

Vegan Packer
12-18-2015, 01:08
My dog and I love the Duplex. Superb in bug-only mode on warm summer nights.

Psyched! I just ordered mine. Can't wait to try it out!

BTW, ZPacks now has an optional "Double Wall Insert" for the Duplex, which takes care of the condensation issues. Not sure if there is any kind of retrofit involved, but I think that it just clips into place. The great thing about it is that you can elect to leave it home when you are going someplace that is dry enough not to have condensation concerns, and you can carry it only when needed.

cmoulder
12-18-2015, 09:59
I think you're gonna like it... now, just the long wait!

I've never had enough condensation (very little even with rain and high humidity) to warrant an additional insert, but that's a YMMV thing depending upon where you hike and your tolerance for dampness.

As noted, there is a bit of a learning curve for getting a good pitch, and it is possible to pitch it pretty low to the ground or higher for more ventilation, but it's not a no-brainer. It pays to futz around with the geometry at different heights to get a feel for the angles that work best for you. In the first photo below, I pitched it low because it was a bit breezy and 17F. In the second photo it was warm, humid and rainy, so it's pitched a bit higher.

Malto
12-18-2015, 12:16
Since you have limited western hiking experience, it will be hard for you to wrap your head around my reco. Don't take a tent at all, do a tarp or mid. there are few places where bugs are areal issue at night. even in the Sierra during the heart of blood sucker season, the bugs go to bed at nightfall. If you want more protection, add a bug inner further north.

On my PCT thru I set up my tarp a grand total of three times, once in each state. one huge advantage in cowboy camping is the wind. You can throw down in a protected area and avoid having a flapping tent or tarp keeping you awake. one caveat, I did a 98 day hike so I missed the early and late season which is more likely to have rain. but I am glad

Now that I hike mostly in the east, I use a mid with bug inner during three season. I usually still cowboy camp but I definitely see the appeal of a tent or more robust shelter in the east. I just don't believe the western trails have the same set of requires which is why I am challenging some of your assumptions. just another potential option.

Chris Bosch
12-18-2015, 15:02
Thanks for all the help, gang. I wanted to throw the coin on a new Zpacks but a full price shelter vs a Copper Spur UL2 at 50% was too much to pass up. The buddy I'm hiking with has the fly creek and he says he appreciates the ease of site selection(although he's from out east as well). I like the little bit of warmth that gets trapped in tents because I'm a coldddddd sleeper. One downside is the size. I'm sure I'll be rubbing up condensation with my feet, is there any fix for this besides a larger shelter? Could I wrap something around my feet?

sliverstorm
12-18-2015, 15:54
One downside is the size. I'm sure I'll be rubbing up condensation with my feet, is there any fix for this besides a larger shelter? Could I wrap something around my feet?

Zip up your rain jacket, pull it over your feet like a demented sock puppet? :)

Venchka
12-18-2015, 16:18
Thanks for all the help, gang. I wanted to throw the coin on a new Zpacks but a full price shelter vs a Copper Spur UL2 at 50% was too much to pass up. The buddy I'm hiking with has the fly creek and he says he appreciates the ease of site selection(although he's from out east as well). I like the little bit of warmth that gets trapped in tents because I'm a coldddddd sleeper. One downside is the size. I'm sure I'll be rubbing up condensation with my feet, is there any fix for this besides a larger shelter? Could I wrap something around my feet?

hOW TALL ARE YOU? mORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW LONG IS YOUR BAG? tHE CS UL2 should afford you the opportunity to sleep diagonally and gain enough extra length to keep your bag foot off of the tent. However, the possibility of a drop or 3 of condensation on the bag would be better than guaranteeing more condensation over a larger area of your bag from your rain jacket in constant contact with the bag.
I just don't get the constant worry about a sleeping bag possibly/maybe contacting the tub floor of a tent. Periodically air out your bag and tent. Done.

Wayne

Vegan Packer
12-19-2015, 17:06
I think you're gonna like it... now, just the long wait!

I've never had enough condensation (very little even with rain and high humidity) to warrant an additional insert, but that's a YMMV thing depending upon where you hike and your tolerance for dampness.

As noted, there is a bit of a learning curve for getting a good pitch, and it is possible to pitch it pretty low to the ground or higher for more ventilation, but it's not a no-brainer. It pays to futz around with the geometry at different heights to get a feel for the angles that work best for you. In the first photo below, I pitched it low because it was a bit breezy and 17F. In the second photo it was warm, humid and rainy, so it's pitched a bit higher.

Nice! I was lucky enough to be there when Joe Valesko pitched a Duplex for me to check out. In fact, it was the first time doing it at the new ZPacks factory location. At least I can say that I have a first in something. LOL

cmoulder
12-19-2015, 21:32
Nice! I was lucky enough to be there when Joe Valesko pitched a Duplex for me to check out. In fact, it was the first time doing it at the new ZPacks factory location. At least I can say that I have a first in something. LOL

Now that's a cool experience — a demo by Mr. Zpacks himself! :cool:

What color did you get? My next one's going to be camo... a few years from now.

Vegan Packer
12-20-2015, 02:17
Now that's a cool experience — a demo by Mr. Zpacks himself! :cool:

What color did you get? My next one's going to be camo... a few years from now.

I am going with the standard. I wanted the lightest version, though I did go with a grouncloth and the liner option.

I also ordered a custom backpack. That one will be completely customized. I picked a bunch of features that I had on my wish list (no bladder, custom interior pocket, custom mesh front pocket but with a zipper to the main compartment, straps to port my bear canister on top, etc.), and they are actually going to do the pack this way.

ZPacks was fantastic about everything. I'll be counting the days!

Team Pancho
01-08-2016, 21:28
Is it going to be a pain in the ass to find a big enough spot to set up a Duplex? I really like the idea of having a 2 person shelter but keep worrying about this.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Malto
01-08-2016, 21:37
Is it going to be a pain in the ass to find a big enough spot to set up a Duplex? I really like the idea of having a 2 person shelter but keep worrying about this.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

it depends on your hiking style and conditions on the trail. I spent several night sleeping in tree wells in the snow or directly on the trail since it was one of the few places possible. For others they would stop much earlier when a spot was found. They would have little difficulty.