View Full Version : Lunar Solo-e vs Virga

06-26-2006, 23:27
Can anyone with experience with these tarps give pros and cons for each? They look fairly similar, close enough in weight/price to not matter to me. The Lunar Solo looks like it has a more convenient entrance. 1) I am wondering if the floor attaches to the sides of the fly on the Lunar Solo. it's hard to tell in the few pics that are on the site. 2) is one easier to pitch than the other?

Oh: this may sound stupid to most ultralight hikers, but does shedding 2 lbs really make a lot of a difference? Worth spending $200 for? I've got a 3 lb 4 oz Eureka Spitfire right now, and am trying to decide if its really worth another 200 bucks for the weight savings. Just a lot of money, at least that is to me. Although next year when hiking the AT, I'm sure that all of these pounds can add up, and this is probably the best way to shave off weight. along with getting a lighter pack (currently have a 5 lb lowe-alpine). After that it seems like you can only shave ounces at a time..

bearbag hanger
06-27-2006, 00:27
I have a Lunar Solo. The floor is sewn to some netting and then the netting is sewn to the tarp body. Around the sides and the back, I would say about six inches of netting. The front door is all netting and then the tarp has a front beak which can be closed for rain protection. I like the tent a lot, but it takes a lot of stacks to set it up. I normally use a hammock, but when I have to go light, this is what I use.

Backpackinglight.com has an interesting article about weight versus how far you can hike in a day. Here is the link, BUT you have to be a member to read it. About $25 per year.


The articles conclusion is, for most people, each pound you drop off your pack is an additional mile you can hike each day. Not sure how many cubic inches the Lowe-Alpine pack is, but if you can get along with 3,700 cu in you could save an additional 3 lbs if you got a ULA Circuit pack. 5 lbs is a lot of weight, even if you were not able to hike greater distances each day. If the backpackinglight article is right, an additional five miles per day. For example, instead of 12 miles in a day, you would be able to go 17 miles a day with little additional effort.

Is it worth an additional $375 for another tent and pack? Only you can answer that.

As to saving additional oz after the tent and pack. If you have eight different items you can save an additional oz on, that's eight onces. But, you're right, the cost can really start adding up. Of course, some might say that if you have eight other items besides your tent and pack, you have way too much stuff.

06-27-2006, 04:19
I am a Europa user at the moment. I am seriously considering the Lunar Solo to save a few ounces and I like the side entry (like the spitfire) vs end entry. As to the Solo vs the Virga - I could not sit up in my Virga - an important issue when I was tent bound for a day. The Solo I test drove at Trail Days 05 was easy to sit up in. I like to have all my stuff inside the tent with me and I think the Solo will allow that (with the shape of the floor). The virga simply did not have the room I wanted. I still would not hesitate to buy from either dealer - both Henry and Ron are committed to customer service so with whatever you choose you can not go wrong.

06-27-2006, 08:28
I use the Lunar Solo and am very happy with it. It does take a few stakes to set up properly, but as a total package it is a very solid tent.

Weight vs. Price is always a personal decision. I have purchased a lot of lightweight items, and for the most part am very glad that my base weight is lighter than ever. Having said that, I have gone back to packs with full suspensions, so for me there is a balance. But when you can lop off two pounds off your tent and still have a high quality, comfortable product, then if you can afford the extra $ it is probably worth it if you plan on doing a bit of hiking.

06-27-2006, 08:36
I have the Squall (original version) and the Lunar Solo-e. The Squall is a larger version of the Virga but otherwise they are just about identical. They are both excellent, well made shelters.

There are 2 basic differences between the 2 tent designs. The Virga/Squall is an end entry design while the Lunar Solo-e is a side entry design. Second difference is that the Virga/Squall require a separate sectional pole to create/support the rear arch of the tent while the Lunar Solo-e has only a single support point by the entrance that uses a trekking pole (the Squall/Virga uses a trekking pole for the front entrance also).

It all comes down to personal preference. If you like the side entry design but want to go with one of Henry Shires tents take a look at the "Rainbow". That model was not available when I got my Squall. We are looking at the Rainbow ll as our next 2 person lightweight tent because we both prefer the side entry design.


06-27-2006, 09:17
I love my lunar solo for its weight and pack size. I have found that if you set it up and then go around and re adjust the tension and hour later this greatly helps the taughtness during the night. Apparently the material likes to "stretch a bit".
Easy set up, plenty room for one( and I am big. in fact my ass is so big it has its own zip code) and some gear.
Also make sure you stake out the front corners 5-6 inches of the ground as this helps ventilation.
I have the 06 version. Ron put a zipper where ther used to be velcro on the flY

BTW, I saw they were selling it at the hiking center when I was at Nells gap last month

06-27-2006, 09:23
I've got both the Lunar Solo and the Europa, which is very similar in design and dimensions to the Squall (which is basically a 2-man Virga). I bought 8" tall Easton aluminum stakes for the Lunar Solo which help to keep the side mesh open for airflow. I highly recommend the Lunar Solo, although I haven't experienced a really heavy rain storm yet.

Does a few pounds really make a difference? Most definitely in my case. While I'm not sure that each pounds translates into another mile of walking, I do know that I can hike a lot farther for consecutive days and feel better than I did when I was young and carrying a much heavier pack. As a twenty-something carrying 40-50 pounds I averaged 12 miles a day on Mid-Atlantic and New England trails. In my forties I'm averaging 17 a day with a 25 pound pack on the southern AT, and I don't need ibuprofen anymore!