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View Full Version : New to hiking... Zpacks, Tarptent, or LightHeart?



Rybir
05-18-2016, 22:57
Hello White Blaze. This is my first thread. I plan to do a SoBo thru-hike of the PCT starting in July.

There is so much valuable information on WB it is outstanding. Thank you.

Now to the tents. I know I want something that is ultra-light and isn't just a super easy pop up tent such as the Big Agnes Copper UL 2. There is just something awesome about these cottage manufacturers and the aesthetic of their products.

So that leads me to: Zpacks. LightHeart. Tarptent. With all the research I've been doing I find myself repeatedly coming back to Tarptent. The thing that trips me up is... I do not plan to use trekking poles and from what I see Tarptent doesn't offer an alternative pole. Maybe I am overlooking something? The Double Rainbow seems to be what I am leaning towards (I am 6'3 and like to stretch out a little bit).

If anyone can just kind of steer me in a bit of a direction with this decision that will really help. I am still open to splurging (although it seems unnecessary) on a Zpacks Duplex and also still open to LightHeart. All help is greatly appreciated and I am really excited for this experience.

OCDave
05-18-2016, 23:29
https://www.tarptent.com/store/vertical-support-pole

This is the Tarptent product to use in lieu of hiking poles.

Good Luck with your hike

Franco
05-19-2016, 01:18
We have a mix of trekking pole supported tents and standard tent pole supported one.
The Double Rainbow comes with it's own pole , a standard Easton aluminium type (and 6x stakes)
You can sort of see that pole inside the yellow sleeves in the product photos.

For the trekking pole supported 2 person models (SS2,MoTrail ,Squall 2 ) you can get the one posted by OCDAVE (preferred) or the lighter but not as sturdy Substitute Front Pole (also listed under Extras)

[email protected]

-Rush-
05-19-2016, 02:01
My latest tent is the Lightheart Gear Solong 6. It's got nearly as much room as my MSR Hubba Hubba NX and comes in at 1lb 14oz without stakes/sack. It packs down enough that you could fit it into a Nalgene bottle. The trekking pole support (which I use) is optional; LightHeart sells adjustable aluminum or carbon fiber poles for the tent as well. It withstood a 3 hour downpour in the Smokies without issue. There was a bit of condensation and eventually a small amount of misting during this storm, but you're going to get that with any tent in the right conditions. Just keep a small towel handy and wipe it down. The inside of the tent stayed dry and I've been happy with it.

Vegan Packer
05-19-2016, 02:11
My finalists were the Solong 6 and the ZPacks Duplex. I went with the Duplex. 21 ounces, and lots of interior room with plenty of room in the vestibule.

Hoofit
05-19-2016, 06:06
Hello White Blaze. This is my first thread. I plan to do a SoBo thru-hike of the PCT starting in July.

There is so much valuable information on WB it is outstanding. Thank you.

Now to the tents. I know I want something that is ultra-light and isn't just a super easy pop up tent such as the Big Agnes Copper UL 2. There is just something awesome about these cottage manufacturers and the aesthetic of their products.

So that leads me to: Zpacks. LightHeart. Tarptent. With all the research I've been doing I find myself repeatedly coming back to Tarptent. The thing that trips me up is... I do not plan to use trekking poles and from what I see Tarptent doesn't offer an alternative pole. Maybe I am overlooking something? The Double Rainbow seems to be what I am leaning towards (I am 6'3 and like to stretch out a little bit).

If anyone can just kind of steer me in a bit of a direction with this decision that will really help. I am still open to splurging (although it seems unnecessary) on a Zpacks Duplex and also still open to LightHeart. All help is greatly appreciated and I am really excited for this experience.

I have a double rainbow and like it a lot, especially the two side doors, easy to get in and great views. It doesn't need any hiking poles for normal setup, just to set it up freestanding and then you'd need two. Lots of space and under three pounds.You can get it lighter, like I did, by going with carbon instead of aluminum.

newtgirl
05-19-2016, 08:41
I've also been looking at the same brands, but my partner is a big guy, so we're looking to upgrade to a 3p. I'm really leaning toward TT rainshadow, though he's gunning for the cloudburst. How much headroom is there really in the Rainshadow?

rafe
05-19-2016, 08:59
Lightheart, it seems to me, is at the cutting edge. If I had unlimited cash on hand I'd grab one of those Solong 6s. But my nine-year old Tarptent is still serving me flawlessly, so I've not bee lusting after a new tent.

Venchka
05-19-2016, 09:12
I've also been looking at the same brands, but my partner is a big guy, so we're looking to upgrade to a 3p. I'm really leaning toward TT rainshadow, though he's gunning for the cloudburst. How much headroom is there really in the Rainshadow?

According to the TarpTent online information, peak height of the Rainshadow is 48".
Also look at the StratoSpire 2. If you relax the floor, the interior sleeping space rivals 3 person tents. 2 side doors and 2 HUGE vestibules are a bonus.

Wayne

Dogwood
05-19-2016, 09:47
Don't limit your shelter choices based on you using or not using trekking poles. It's so easy and not all that expensive buying or making your own dedicated UL tent poles of Al, CF(both wrapped and pultruded), and fiberglass. http://www.questoutfitters.com/tent_poles.htm

http://tentpoletechnologies.com/?page_id=631

http://fibraplex.com

http://www.rutalocura.com/Tent_Poles.html


Plus, several cottage gear light wt/UL shelter manufacturers offer their own dedicated UL CF and Al poles. Packs, SMD, MLD, etc

Rybir
05-19-2016, 10:22
Awesome. Mystery solved. Thank you.

rafe
05-19-2016, 10:26
For what it's worth, the single ridge pole on my Tarptent Rainbow weighs 6.1 oz. In the overall scheme of things, not a big burden. Peace of mind to know I can set it up in about 2 minutes or less, without fiddling with hiking poles.

Rybir
05-19-2016, 10:27
We have a mix of trekking pole supported tents and standard tent pole supported one.
The Double Rainbow comes with it's own pole , a standard Easton aluminium type (and 6x stakes)
You can sort of see that pole inside the yellow sleeves in the product photos.

For the trekking pole supported 2 person models (SS2,MoTrail ,Squall 2 ) you can get the one posted by OCDAVE (preferred) or the lighter but not as sturdy Substitute Front Pole (also listed under Extras)

[email protected]


I actually have really been considering the SS2. I think it is only a few more ounces than the DR, however is the SS2 something that come mid trail I will realize I really do not need all the room it provides since ultimately it is just me. Of course it is all subjective based on preference, but I definitely trust some of the experience people have on here. For me, I imagine it will difficult to adjust to sleeping well outside and stealth camping so my rational is the more comfort I have at camp the better the challenges (mentally and physically) the hike will be.

Rybir
05-19-2016, 10:30
For what it's worth, the single ridge pole on my Tarptent Rainbow weighs 6.1 oz. In the overall scheme of things, not a big burden. Peace of mind to know I can set it up in about 2 minutes or less, without fiddling with hiking poles.

That is peace of mind. Especially for someone new to this. Might be reason for me to not go with the SS2 and stick with the DR... Although the SS2 just seems awesome if I can really get the setup down in my training before the PCT.

Rybir
05-19-2016, 10:35
Don't limit your shelter choices based on you using or not using trekking poles. It's so easy and not all that expensive buying or making your own dedicated UL tent poles of Al, CF(both wrapped and pultruded), and fiberglass. http://www.questoutfitters.com/tent_poles.htm

http://tentpoletechnologies.com/?page_id=631

http://fibraplex.com

http://www.rutalocura.com/Tent_Poles.html


Plus, several cottage gear light wt/UL shelter manufacturers offer their own dedicated UL CF and Al poles. Packs, SMD, MLD, etc

Really helpful. Thank you.

Rybir
05-19-2016, 17:46
Talked to Henry Shires (responded within 12 hours) and he said the SS2 is too much tent for one person. But the Double Rainbow, as I look more into it, seems a little tight with limited space. I am 6'3 and definitely plan to want to sit up comfortably. Is the StratoSpire 1 the answer? Seems pretty narrow.

Hosh
05-19-2016, 17:53
I actually have really been considering the SS2. I think it is only a few more ounces than the DR, however is the SS2 something that come mid trail I will realize I really do not need all the room it provides since ultimately it is just me. Of course it is all subjective based on preference, but I definitely trust some of the experience people have on here. For me, I imagine it will difficult to adjust to sleeping well outside and stealth camping so my rational is the more comfort I have at camp the better the challenges (mentally and physically) the hike will be.

I owned an SS2 and ended up selling it. It's a great tent, huge vestibules, lots of interior space. Set up is a bit weird due to the geometry, nothing that can't be overcome, but if you're on a slope you have to get it right the first time since it's not free standing. The floor is very slippery even with added silicone strips.

It also has a very large footprint for a 2 man and takes a pretty big area to set up.

The outside geometry is excellent at shedding the wind and it's very weather proof overall.

Franco
05-19-2016, 18:31
Set up is a bit weird due to the geometry

Yes it can be but , for some at least, setting up the rectangular floor area first and then pulling out the vestibules becomes much easier.
This is how I do it, the clip is well under 2 minutes and in real time :
<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); background-color: rgb(235, 235, 235);">
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyQT9JHloQM

Franco
05-19-2016, 18:35
I've also been looking at the same brands, but my partner is a big guy, so we're looking to upgrade to a 3p. I'm really leaning toward TT rainshadow, though he's gunning for the cloudburst. How much headroom is there really in the Rainshadow?

here is my video clip on the RS @ , I'm 5'8"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNf837Dl1B0

Venchka
05-19-2016, 18:43
Rybir,
The StratoSpire 1 is virtually the same size as the StratoSpire 2 except for the width of the floor. The floor is adjustable and widens from 32" to 42".


Floor Width (in/cm)
32/ 81

Bathtub floor widens to 42/ 106


That may work for you.

Wayne




Sent from somewhere around here.

Shutterbug
05-19-2016, 19:55
Are you sure about not using poles? Hiking Washington in July means that you will be hiking in snow. Poles really help when hiking in snow.

Hosh
05-19-2016, 20:27
Set up is a bit weird due to the geometry

Yes it can be but , for some at least, setting up the rectangular floor area first and then pulling out the vestibules becomes much easier.
This is how I do it, the clip is well under 2 minutes and in real time :
<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); background-color: rgb(235, 235, 235);">
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyQT9JHloQM



Not to contradict Franco, his videos are excellent and very helpful.

The issue I had was in forested areas where bushes and trees interfere with the stake out of the vestibules while trying to keep the slope running from head to foot. In those cases, set up can be a bit of trial and error. I got lazy and switched to a free standing tent.

Rybir
05-19-2016, 21:50
Rybir,
The StratoSpire 1 is virtually the same size as the StratoSpire 2 except for the width of the floor. The floor is adjustable and widens from 32" to 42".


That may work for you.


Wayne




Sent from somewhere around here.




That may. I am unsure how it gains 10 inches though.. just buy adjusting guy lines?

Rybir
05-19-2016, 21:56
Are you sure about not using poles? Hiking Washington in July means that you will be hiking in snow. Poles really help when hiking in snow.

Although the thread is about tents... this might be the gem of knowledge gained. Also there is a chance I will hit snow in the Sierras as well.

Franco
05-20-2016, 00:57
That may. I am unsure how it gains 10 inches though.. just buy adjusting guy lines?
You drop the inner so that you have less bathtub height but more width.
(there are two ways of connecting the inner to the fly at the apex just for that)

Franco
05-20-2016, 01:00
The issue I had was in forested areas where bushes and trees interfere with the stake out of the vestibules while trying to keep the slope running from head to foot. In those cases, set up can be a bit of trial and error. I got lazy and switched to a free standing tent.
Yes that is in common with other tents with large vestibules but you can set the SS1 and 2 up without deploying the vestibules at all in that situation.
All you need is to guy out the apex to the bush or nearby tree.
If you do that you end up with a similar rectangular area of a freestanding crossover pole tent.

Franco
05-20-2016, 01:12
This is a photo of the SS1 with one vestibule only in place.
You can eliminate that vestibule too if you wish, it will look like the other side :
34894

-Rush-
05-20-2016, 03:29
Here's my Lightheart Solong 6 on top of Rocky Bald Summit. It's about $300 lighter than the Zpacks Duplex. :D

34895

Rybir
05-20-2016, 09:06
You drop the inner so that you have less bathtub height but more width.
(there are two ways of connecting the inner to the fly at the apex just for that)

Ah okay. Makes sense. You would want more bathtub height maybe in inclement weather situations to prevent water from coming in.

Dogwood
05-20-2016, 12:22
I'm 6'4". Shire's Double Rainbow is OK. ZP's Hex, Hex +, and Solplex are a tight fit w/ the ZP CF bathtub floor not good when adequate coverage is needed in more challenging weather or if you sleep spread out fully long ways. Lightheart Solong 6 plenty of length.

Rybir
05-20-2016, 15:33
I'm 6'4". Shire's Double Rainbow is OK. ZP's Hex, Hex +, and Solplex are a tight fit w/ the ZP CF bathtub floor not good when adequate coverage is needed in more challenging weather or if you sleep spread out fully long ways. Lightheart Solong 6 plenty of length.

I am not too concerned about length. More so just having enough room to have my gear in there, to be able to sit up, to be able to write comfortably, and just feel like I am in my home for 4 months.

Dogwood
05-20-2016, 15:51
You might reconsider after having a sleeping bag/quilt footbox that touches the inner wall of a single wall shelter in WA in July and possibly further south with wet snow underneath. It does rain in WA and OR on the PCT too. It's not as fair weather as one experiences from the get go heading SOBO verse NOBO from the different termini.

Rybir
05-20-2016, 15:52
My latest tent is the Lightheart Gear Solong 6. It's got nearly as much room as my MSR Hubba Hubba NX and comes in at 1lb 14oz without stakes/sack. It packs down enough that you could fit it into a Nalgene bottle. The trekking pole support (which I use) is optional; LightHeart sells adjustable aluminum or carbon fiber poles for the tent as well. It withstood a 3 hour downpour in the Smokies without issue. There was a bit of condensation and eventually a small amount of misting during this storm, but you're going to get that with any tent in the right conditions. Just keep a small towel handy and wipe it down. The inside of the tent stayed dry and I've been happy with it.\

Wow after all this I think I am doing a Solong 6. For the weight and space it just seems like what I need. The SS2 is too big for me. The SS1 too small..

-Rush-
05-20-2016, 18:52
You might reconsider after having a sleeping bag/quilt footbox that touches the inner wall of a single wall shelter.

This is true. The outer layer of the footbox can get a *little* damp in certain conditions IF it comes in prolonged contact with the wall, but I have a dry down bag and it wasn't really an issue and never penetrated inside of the bag. I figured you could cover the bottom with a lightweight trash bag and solve the problem, but I've never had to do it.

Connie
05-20-2016, 19:01
I avoid touching the inside of any amd all tents or tarps, because touching the inside helps the place touched to provide a path for water entry.

I think the dissimiliar "materials" actually provides penetration of moisture, and so, the shelter fabric "wets out" right there first.

At least, my effort for an explanation matches my experience.

Venchka
05-20-2016, 21:03
\

Wow after all this I think I am doing a Solong 6. For the weight and space it just seems like what I need. The SS2 is too big for me. The SS1 too small..

Standby. I will be at the LightHeart Gear shop at the end of May. I'll give you a full report.
I'm still on the fence about single wall tents and the made up "misting" term.
I'm 5'-8" and 145 pounds soaking wet. The SS 1 isn't too small nor too big. For my purposes, the SS 1 is available in a 20th century real double wall configuration that only adds 2 ounces. Two benefits: keeps sand and dust out in the desert (Big Bend) and snow out in the winter.
Decisions. Decisions.

Wayne

Rybir
05-20-2016, 22:11
Standby. I will be at the LightHeart Gear shop at the end of May. I'll give you a full report.
I'm still on the fence about single wall tents and the made up "misting" term.
I'm 5'-8" and 145 pounds soaking wet. The SS 1 isn't too small nor too big. For my purposes, the SS 1 is available in a 20th century real double wall configuration that only adds 2 ounces. Two benefits: keeps sand and dust out in the desert (Big Bend) and snow out in the winter.
Decisions. Decisions.

Wayne

Yes, but the "double wall" means...you have to carry around an interchangeable interior wall. Right? Or is the actual inherent design double walled? And the "solid or mesh" is actually a choice of what you want the second wall to be?

These questions may be very noobish, but I have no shame in asking in regards to what I am about to do in the summer :)

Rybir
05-20-2016, 22:12
Standby. I will be at the LightHeart Gear shop at the end of May. I'll give you a full report.
I'm still on the fence about single wall tents and the made up "misting" term.
I'm 5'-8" and 145 pounds soaking wet. The SS 1 isn't too small nor too big. For my purposes, the SS 1 is available in a 20th century real double wall configuration that only adds 2 ounces. Two benefits: keeps sand and dust out in the desert (Big Bend) and snow out in the winter.
Decisions. Decisions.

Wayne

Also I am 6'3 and 170 :/

-Rush-
05-21-2016, 04:09
Yes, but the "double wall" means...you have to carry around an interchangeable interior wall. Right? Or is the actual inherent design double walled? And the "solid or mesh" is actually a choice of what you want the second wall to be?

These questions may be very noobish, but I have no shame in asking in regards to what I am about to do in the summer :)

The best way to progress from being a noob is to ask questions. "The more we feel we know about, the greater the unknown." -- Neil Peart

Exactly. Double wall means there's a separate rain fly outer wall and the tent itself is the inner wall. In the case of the Solong 6, it's a hybrid single/double wall design without a detachable outer wall component. It still has plenty of ventilation with the awning, vents, and openness of the tent design. Judy has made improvements to it over the years and has addressed earlier issues with condensation. I had the friendly folks over at Outdoor 76 in Franklin, NC school me on the history of the tent. They all spoke very highly of it.

Here's a good article I suggest reading before you make a purchase.
https://backpackinglight.com/single_wall_shelters_condensation_factors_tips/

Rybir
05-21-2016, 08:45
The best way to progress from being a noob is to ask questions. "The more we feel we know about, the greater the unknown." -- Neil Peart

Exactly. Double wall means there's a separate rain fly outer wall and the tent itself is the inner wall. In the case of the Solong 6, it's a hybrid single/double wall design without a detachable outer wall component. It still has plenty of ventilation with the awning, vents, and openness of the tent design. Judy has made improvements to it over the years and has addressed earlier issues with condensation. I had the friendly folks over at Outdoor 76 in Franklin, NC school me on the history of the tent. They all spoke very highly of it.

Here's a good article I suggest reading before you make a purchase.
https://backpackinglight.com/single_wall_shelters_condensation_factors_tips/

Awesome. Thank you.

newtgirl
05-21-2016, 09:43
here is my video clip on the RS @ , I'm 5'8"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNf837Dl1B0

Thanks for both of those videos. Hubs is 6'4" and 240, a big wide guy. We currently use a heavy ol' Mountain Hardware 2p I bought back in college. It's gotten a lot of miles out of it, but it's just not big enough for him and I both.

After lots of debate, I think we both are digging SS2. I think I prefer that over the 'front loader' aspect of the rainshadow. Neither of us is the most graceful, so moving the poles even slightly out of 'right in the way' would be a benefit. And I really like the giant vestibules. We're upgrading gear with the goal of a thru-hike in mind.

Franco
05-21-2016, 19:03
I shot a couple of videos on the SS2 as well.
One has my version of the set up, some prefer it others don't...
You Tube Franco Darioli channel

Venchka
05-21-2016, 20:09
Yes, but the "double wall" means...you have to carry around an interchangeable interior wall. Right? Or is the actual inherent design double walled? And the "solid or mesh" is actually a choice of what you want the second wall to be?

These questions may be very noobish, but I have no shame in asking in regards to what I am about to do in the summer :)

If you go to TarpTent.com and study all of the photos and all of the verbal descriptions, including PDF files, and look at all of the videos it should all become clear as mud.
In a nutshell:
A double wall tent, like the Moment, Notch and StratoSpire 1, comes in two pieces. The inner body which has a waterproof floor and breathable walls. The outer half is called the fly and goes over the inner body. The fly is made of waterproof material.
TarpTent sells the inner bodies in two versions: mesh walls or solid nylon walls with some mesh about midway up the walls. You can buy one or the other or both.
One nice feature of the TarpTents, in my personal opinion, is the fact that the inner body and outer fly are set up together. The fly keeps the inner dry if it's raining.
Look at the ProTrail and MoTrail for single wall examples.
Look at videos of people setting up tents. Think of it raining during set up.
I know. The Anointed Ones will say "Balderdash! Rain don't matter if you know what you're doing."
And I would counter that it matters to me and I'll choose my own tent.

Wayne

Franco
05-21-2016, 20:39
Rybir,
Yes it can get a bit confusing..
This might help
This is the SS1 with the mesh inner :
34908
and this is the same SS1 with the solid inner :
34909
so the fly is the same, you buy the inner that you prefer (mesh for views and extra air flow, solid for wind or sand protection)
(think of the fly as your rain jacket and the inner the layer you wear under it...)
and this is the fly by itself :
34910
as you can see there is plenty of space under the fly only so you could have 2 or 3 others out of the rain in there at lunchtime or cook, if in suitable areas.
An advantage of the two wall design done this way is that when the fly is wet you can detach the inner pack that up, get your rain gear on , pack everything then get out and pack the fly last .

Rybir
05-21-2016, 21:27
Thank you Wayne and Franco. Now that I have the clarity I realize that a double wall tent is what I have wanted the whole time.

Rybir
06-15-2016, 10:05
First setup of my SS1 today!