Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

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Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Tony » Fri 28 Jan, 2011 8:48 am

Hexamid tent field review.

Image
The Hexamid at dawn near Rams Head 2150m KNP (Great photo by Dave)

After owning my new Zpacks Hexamid for nearly 10 months I finally got to go on a walk where I could to use it.

The trip was a three day, two night trip in the Kosciuszko National Park around Australia’s highest peak Mt Kosciuszko, the first night was spent on a ridge near Rams Head at an elevation of 2150m. The ridge was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever set up camp with exquisite views but being high and exposed it was quite windy.

I found the hexamid easy to setup and was just roomy enough for my Neoair sleeping mat, pack and some of my gear bags that I wanted easy access to. This night I used a Gossamer Gear ploycro ground sheet on top of the mesh netting floor. When changing head room was just adequate, I am 1.82cm tall. As the possibility of rain was forecast I brought the optional door along which I did not use. For a tent pole I used the pole from my Tarptent Contrail which is nearly the perfect length, to protect the tent fly from the narrow end of the tent pole I used a rubber tip from a walking pole, this worked very well.

I set the tent up with the backside to the then easterly wind. After retiring for the night I was woken up with the tent flapping in the strong winds, I readjusted the guy ropes and this stopped the flapping a lot, though I still had some noise but this did not stop me from going back to sleep, in the morning I was woken by another flapping noise and discovered it was the polycro ground sheet near the front side, the wind had shifted during the night and was now coming from the west, when the ground sheet was re adjusted the tent was reasonably quiet for the brisk winds that we where having.

In the morning there was some condensation inside the hexamid, with the brisk winds I was a bit surprised, but when I thought about it rain was forecast and there was probably a bit of moisture in the air, after a quick shake, the tent packed away easily, the CF stuff sack has ample room for the tent and door, I used a tent pole from my Contrail tent which I packed away in my Tenkara Hane fishing rod sleeve.

That day we walked 33k up and over 11 of Australia’s highest peaks, at the end of the day we where absolutely exhausted, we ended up camping beside the Snowy River near Charlottes Pass, the mosquitoes where very bad so after a nice meal we retired early, I had no problems sleeping and was not aware of the Hexamid flapping at all during the night, this time I set the ground sheet up under the fly screen floor. It was a warm night and we where camped near a river, in the morning there was a lot of condensation inside the tent, in those conditions any tent would have had a lot of condensation inside.

Do I like the Zpacks Hexamid tent after first use, Yes and I look forward to using it on my next trip.

Likes
Easy to setup
Easy to packup
Reasonably quiet in windy conditions (when setup properly)
Very light

Dislikes
No Top vent (Could do with a top vent to improve ventilation but this adds weight.)

Tony

Image
Closeup of Hexamid near Rams Head, Neo Air Mat, WM Summerlite sleeping bag
Image
Contrail and Hexamid near the Snowy River, Charlotte's Pass.
Image
Another closeup of the inside
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Side view
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There is no such thing as bad weather.....only bad clothing. Norwegian Proverb
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby ninjapuppet » Mon 07 Feb, 2011 10:30 pm

Tony, in the 2nd picture, that pole in your tent looks really flexed. Is that just the camera playing tricks?
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby ninjapuppet » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 2:00 am

very nice photos tony! and heres my review to contribute to your work.

SUMMARY: A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TENT!

Positive: ultralight. Handled 60km winds
Negative: Fiddly set up in the dark. cooking inside during rain required some serious caution.

=======================================================================

DETAILED REVIEW:

The plan was to head out for 5 days doing some pretty hardcore bushwacking so i guess the route better not be disclosed here? Originally planned to take my MLD trailstar for a test. Realised after 100m into the track that the bush was quite thick, so i went back to the car and replaced it with the hexamid. I was worried i wouldnt be able to find enough of a clearing to set up the trailstar which has a massive footprint. Scrub was very thick and we only covered about 6km in 9 hours. My HMG windrider pack had no issues, but prickly plants kept going through my trailshoes. should have taken boots.

a0.JPG
bushwacking through scrub above head height and no tracks. My mate here has it easy after I'm forming a path for him.


1st night: easy conditions, nothing to write about.

2nd night: we arrived at camp in the dark at 9pm. sky was clear. wind meter read a mild 2kph breeze. temp: 20C humidity: 68. elevation ~ 1600m
There was quite alot space so the trailstar would have been fine here. ive set up the hexamid a few times previously and found it straight forward but in the dark, it was simply a pain in the butt. This was because the guy lines should run in a straight line from the angle it comes off the tent but this was very difficult to judge in the dark without a decent headlamp. (I swear the next time, the RXP comes with me!). I like to use strong stakes when going into the unknown, but forgot to replace the groundhog stakes from the trailstar, so I used 2 gram tent pegs from my last trip.
Needless to say, the tent was abit lopsided but i didnt care. just wanted dinner and crash.

This night turned out to be one of the hottest nights ever recorded in sydney. However it was another story in the snowies. the temp started to drop rapidly to 8C overnight (inside the tent) and showers started comming in. i got out to tighten everything down and was cursing myself for not using proper stakes. There wasnt any rocks around to secure the stakes. The lineloks I added made adjustment easy. Around 3am, rain started to hammer down pretty hard. I just checked online and it turned out we had 70 mm of rain within 4 hours. Probally nothing for you tough tassie folks, but my wind meter at 5am registered 58kph winds. To me, that is significant as I anticipated a warm, calm, docile weather pattern.

RAIN
I know cuben is totally waterproof, but i kept an eye on the seams which i sealed. not 1 drop came through all night. I did not use the optional door and found the door netting did get wet, but mostly just ran down to the ground. Rain was getting blown into the back of the tent but had it changed direction, i surely would have gotten very wet without the optional door. Here, I was very glad i had the cuben groundsheet due to the bathtub walls. I added zpack's shock cord to the sides and ends to ensure water would not leak in. the weight of these cordlocks is very light and negligible. Alot of rain splatter did hit the outer walls of my groundsheet so i would have definitely gotten very wet had i used a simple flat polycro or tyvek groundsheet instead. I could feel water running under me but the cuben floor kept me totally dry.
CONCLUSION: Tent handles showers easily, but rain does get in. Problem mitigated with cuben bathtub floor and light bivy.
a2.JPG


WIND
I wasnt scared of the tent material failing, but the wet ground made me very nervous about the 2gram stakes! the ground water started to form a slight stream all around me and even under me so the ground became really moist. To my satisfaction, the tent pegs held in the crazy wind and rain. Heres a photo of the wind against the side of the hexamid, and my friend's tent half flattened in the background. Another friend's hubba hubba looked like it was on the verge of being flattened too, but i think it wasnt staked down tightly.
CONCLUSION: the hexamid can easily handle winds over 60kph with good stakes in moist soil
a1.JPG


CONDENSATION
On the 2 nights i used the tent, there was some wind and I only experienced minimal condensation with humidity hovering around 60-80%. I forgot to check dew point on my meter. It was Nothing you could see but if you ran your fingers along the tent roof you could feel your fingers get damp. This is about the same as any other breathable tent. This only occured within the vicinity of where my head was. Keep in mind with the copious netting all around, there was a slight breeze inside the tent at all times so it is not a tent for winter.

In the morning there was a continuous shower but I had to cook my meal. It was 12C which isnt usually that bad, but after getting used to Sydney's longest heatwave on record I found it pretty cold and looking forward to a warm breakfast. My stove didnt tolerate working in the rain, so i had to bring the caldera into the tent and cook. unlike other stoves where the bottom stays cool, the caldera stove tends to heat the floor up to very high temperature and the largish cone gets equally hot. I was very afraid of melting the cuben or netting floor even after placing the whole thing onto my little pocket towel and hat. Boy did i wish i had a proper vestibule. It turned out ok, but I still wouldnt be comfortable doing this day after day.
CONCLUSION: cooking in a hexamid during rainy weather sucks


I would love to test this tent further by pushing to the boundaries of 80kph winds, more rain, and abit of snow loading. It doesnt have a top vent so obviously you would suffocate if the snow gets above a foot high. But for 95% of the summer camping i do, the hexamid is going to be my main summer tent for a very long time yet.

Its drawback of lacking a cooking vestibule is only a small price to pay for its 270g weight which includes stuff sack, guy lines and 8 pegs. the cuben floor adds abit more but it is still the lightest bug proof tent that i know of.

On the third night I used a friend's tent in calm conditions and then our trip got cut short after he stepped onto a snake while bush bashing. The snake bit him at the calf through this Outdoor research expedition croc gaiters and pants. Funny because he was walking behind me in my footsteps, but i only saw the snake slither away after it had bitten him.
He's asked me not to put any details up but all i can say is that he's fine.
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Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby andrewbish » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 7:00 am

Interesting reviews, guys. That tent is crazy lite!

NP - on a tangent...what do you use to get the meteorological readings?
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Tony » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 8:04 am

Hi NP,

ninjapuppet wrote:Tony, in the 2nd picture, that pole in your tent looks really flexed. Is that just the camera playing tricks?


You are seeing correct, the pole has a good bend in it, when I first noticed that the pole was bending I was unsure if this was a good thing then after some thought I decided that the bent pole could act as a tensioner and keep the tent taught which it did.

Tony
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Tony » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 8:18 am

Hi NP,

Great review, awesome photo of the Hexamid in the wind, good to see that it can handle strong winds and rain.

I am interested in some information about your cuben ground sheet as you are right about the polycro ground sheets would be a bit marginal when it come to very heavy rain, I have just checked the Golite site out and I am not able to find a CF ground sheet, could you let me know some details of where you got your ground sheet please.

With cooking in the hexamid, Joe now makes a beak instead of the door, the beak would allow cooking outside the mesh floor. I have just received a e-mail from Joe about having the beak fitted to my hexamid and if you send the tent to him he will do it for US$60, I am considering having it done after Autumn walking season.

Tony
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby ninjapuppet » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 7:37 pm

I have a kestrel 4500 and a Silva ADC PRO.

The kestrel was alot more expensive than the silva, and for my purposes, i should have just stuck with the ADC Pro since they give identical wind, temp, humidity readings 99% of the time and the ADC Pro is much cheaper and easier to use.

The kestrel 4500 is more of a professional tool and i dont understand 70% of its functions.

All i need is altimeter, wind meter, and a thermometer that displays the past 24 hours readings so that i know how cold it got last night without having to get up every hour and physically take readings.
======================================================================

Tony, Its pretty funny that you have such sharp eyes. That golite sticker was found in my pack so i just stuck it in the corner. It's joe's cuben groundsheet found here:

http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/cuben_groundsheet.shtml

Dont know why but mine weighed a fair bit less than he stated.

That extended beak sounds like a good idea. I would have definitely gotten it had it been offered from the start. $60 doesnt sound bad but with postage to and fro it'll probally be over $100
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Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby andrewbish » Tue 08 Feb, 2011 9:32 pm

Thanks, NP. I am looking at getting a Suunto watch (Core or X10) to do the Alt, baro and compass functions
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Jellybean » Wed 16 Feb, 2011 6:13 am

Thanks for the reviews guys!! Hmmm, I'm very tempted to try one.. now how do I justify this? (thinks to self)

If I buy the Twin version with the extended beak (only 65g more from memory), then I'll have a lightweight 1 man (TT Sub-lite Sil) and a lightweight 2 man (Hexamid Twin).. Easily justified! :lol:

Seriously though, for the extra space afforded by the Twin version I think it's worth the extra 65g - you then have a palace for one (with more space/less hassles on those heavy condensation nights - you can more easily avoid the walls) and room for two if necessary. After your description of it's usefulness in the torrential rain NP, I'm also sold on the cuben fibre groundsheet with the bathtub floor!

Cheers,

JB
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Tony » Wed 16 Feb, 2011 7:54 am

last weekend I used mine for the first time in the rain, the rain was light with occasional heavy shower, the Hexamid was surprisingly good, even though I did get some condensation inside I stayed dry and did not experience the spray problems that my Silnylon tarptent does, at one stage I did get some spray through the entrance but I had the optional door handy so I put that on and was fine from then.

With my Hexamid I used a Polycro ground sheet, Neoair sleeping mat and a BPL 180 quilt, this turned out to be a great combination, I was dry, warm and comfortable.
IMG_3689.jpg
Hexamid in rain
IMG_3689.jpg (169.18 KiB) Viewed 17782 times


Thanks for the reviews guys!! Hmmm, I'm very tempted to try one.. now how do I justify this? (thinks to self)

If I buy the Twin version with the extended beak (only 65g more from memory), then I'll have a lightweight 1 man (TT Sub-lite Sil) and a lightweight 2 man (Hexamid Twin).. Easily justified! :lol:

Seriously though, for the extra space afforded by the Twin version I think it's worth the extra 65g - you then have a palace for one (with more space/less hassles on those heavy condensation nights - you can more easily avoid the walls) and room for two if necessary. After your description of it's usefulness in the torrential rain NP, I'm also sold on the cuben fibre groundsheet with the bathtub floor!

Cheers,

JB


Hi JB,

Life is full of tough decisions.

I am thinking of sending my hexamid back to get the optional beak put on which will give me a vestable to be able to cook in and I will get the CF ground sheet at the same time.

Tony
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Jellybean » Wed 16 Feb, 2011 2:21 pm

Tony wrote:Hi JB,

Life is full of tough decisions.

I am thinking of sending my hexamid back to get the optional beak put on which will give me a vestable to be able to cook in and I will get the CF ground sheet at the same time.

Tony


Alas, this was an exceptionally easy one!! :lol: :lol: Thanks for your contribution!! :wink:

The beak sounds like a great, hassle-free option and the CF ground sheet good insurance against torrential rain!

Cheers,

JB
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby under10kg » Thu 10 Mar, 2011 8:00 am

Ninja, You did mention a light bivi?
What are you using as I was thinking of adding this when I use my tarptent?
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby ninjapuppet » Thu 10 Mar, 2011 4:28 pm

I just use a Vapr Nano from BPL.com

Its great for your purposes because its only 175g and keeps the water off. However, I think the material will puncture if used under a tarp without a floor.

I got a 1kg bibler bivy I can use alone, but looking for something around 300 grams with durable material
Thats the problem with these sorts of UL gear - you cant touch and feel it before buying. just gotta read reviews, and blindly hit the BUY button and hope for the best.
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Jellybean » Tue 15 Mar, 2011 12:08 pm

Hi NP and Tony,

A quick question for you. Based on your experiences to date, would you feel comfortable/safe using your Hexamid in the Snowies at the end of April? (Guthega, Disappointment Ridge, Gungarten, Tin Hut, Tarn Bluff, Jagungal, Tarn Bluff, Schlink Hilton or Whites River Hut).

Thanks!

Cheers,

JB
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Tony » Tue 15 Mar, 2011 1:14 pm

Jellybean wrote:Hi NP and Tony,

A quick question for you. Based on your experiences to date, would you feel comfortable/safe using your Hexamid in the Snowies at the end of April? (Guthega, Disappointment Ridge, Gungarten, Tin Hut, Tarn Bluff, Jagungal, Tarn Bluff, Schlink Hilton or Whites River Hut).

Thanks!

Cheers,

JB


Hi JB,

Yes, but I would take a bivy bag with me.

Tony
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Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby ninjapuppet » Tue 15 Mar, 2011 3:47 pm

I don't have the beak nor optional door so I would personally take one of my other shelters for late april. It can handle a crazy amount of wind but rain does compromise it especially if there's enough rain to run a stream under you. My trailstar can handle more wind, and my duomid can handle more rain but both weigh more than the hexamid - so it just depends on what conditions I expect.

If I am completely unsure of conditions, I take the cuben duomid because it feels a little more solid.

Having said that, I find myself taking the hexamid +/- bivy most often in moderate weather- even as backup for long daywalks. I think it's the lightest tent in the world.

Ofcourse if I had the beak to cook, then it might be my only 3 season tent I'd keep
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Jellybean » Wed 16 Mar, 2011 9:57 am

Thanks guys. I just received my Hexamid Twin with the extended beak and twin size CF groundsheet with 5 inch bathtub floor. Think I will take that (plus my bivvy) if the weather forecast is looking ok at the time. Otherwise, I'll take a more sturdy shelter. Will post some pics when I get a chance. (Oh no, think I'm becoming a shelter tragic).

P.S. I have to say I'm impressed with Joe's customer service - absolutely first rate!
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Mountain Rocket » Wed 09 May, 2012 10:52 am

Hmm I have been drooling over these 'tents' since I first heard of them. I wonder if I could get away with using a Hexamid Solo + with the beak, netting and groundsheet here (Tas) in summer/good weather... hmm. Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby forest » Wed 09 May, 2012 11:10 am

After I had a good run with mine in the Snowies and endured 75km/h gusts and sideways, rain I'd say you would be fine.

The bathtub floor makes it quite good and worst case you can peg the thing at ground level. You might get a little more condensation though if pitched really low.
The shape is quite streamlined, so long as your pegs are in solid I'd say it would cop a fair flogging.
Mind you campsie selection plays a good part in any light weight shelter system.

When I'm not hammocking it's the second most favourite piece of gear I have.
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Review-Zpacks Hexamid tent

Postby Mountain Rocket » Wed 09 May, 2012 11:25 am

Thanks forest. Everyone that owns one seems to love it, I just wonder if it is suited to the conditions down here.
From the looks of it, with the added beak it should be OK most of the time.

Alternatively I could go with something like a (cuben) Duomid from MLD, which seems a bit more snow friendly.
Currently I have a Tarptent Scarp 1 for everything, but with a lighter cuben tent it would be retired to worse conditions (or completely replaced).
Hmmm... now which colour (hexamid) should I get? ;)
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