View Full Version : Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

11-14-2004, 21:33
I ran into Ron Moak of Six Moon Designs at a mini Gathering in Olympia over the weekend. He brought along his new Lunar Solo tent and I had an opportunity to check it out in person. I was really rather impressed by the design and have put up two pictures in the Photos section.



I have not used the tarp, so take what I write not so seriously. That is why I am not posting this in the Gear Reviews section.

First off, the Lunar is, I assert, more liveable for those under 6 feet tall than the tunnel design of Henry Shires (like the Virga, which I own and use). At 6'4", I just barely fit, and my sleeping bag would definitely rest against the mosquito netting (but not the silnylon). Rather than being a tunnel, like Henry's design, the Lunar is more like a tent or like Brawny's Tacoma Tarp (which I have and like - it was my PCT tarp). Unfortunately, this design doesn't work well for taller hikers. Rather than give a geometry lesson, you'll need to figure this out for yourself or just sit inside one. There is a completely sewn in floor, including a small area off to the side of the tarp (opposite the door), in which one can stash some gear. There is also a pocket sewn onto the mesh so that you can stash things like a headlamp that you might need during the night. The vestibule is enormous and there is significantly more room under it than under the extended beak on my Virga. The resident of the tarp is completely encased in bug netting, and dual-zipper door provides access in and out.

I cannot evaluate the storm worthiness of the Lunar, although it appears to be very good. Ron has solved two big problems with shaped tarps. First, silnylon sags when it gets wet, meaning you have to get out and restake. Ron has come up with a tensioning device on the main (and only) pole so that you can re-tension your rig from inside the tarp. Very nice. Second, the mosquito netting is sewn into the silnylon above the bottom edge of the sil. This means that a gutter effect is created and rain water should not come down the tarp and onto the netting, a problem I had with the Virga (although this is easily enough solved by using a large enough ground cloth and bathtubbing with it). Also, a nice feature. The tarp rides at, I believe, 44 inches high, which is 2 more inches than the Virga.

If you are in the market for a shaped tarp, the Lunar seems to be near or at the top of the heap, provided you are 6 feet tall, or shorter. For those over that height, I think that the Virga is a better choice. The Virga, from my own experience, is a very good tarp and I have no plans to switch to the Lunar, mostly because I've got something that works, but also because I really wouldn't fit in the Lunar. However, for others it might be perfect.

Note: If you haven't used a tarp before, I would highly recommend a shaped tarp like the Lunar or the Virga rather than a flat tarp. Although more expensive, the first time user will find either of these much faster and easier to set up correctly than a flat tarp: There is no reason to carry a shelter if you cannot rig it properly to keep you dry in a squall. The Lunar and the Virga can be rigged by any one who can set up a normal tent and thus make for excellent first time tarps.