Shelter options

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
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Ultralight Bushwalking/backpacking is about more than just gear lists. Ultralight walkers carefully consider gear based on the environment they are entering, the weather forecast, their own skill, other people in the group. Gear and systems are tested and tweaked.
If you are new to this area then welcome - Please remember that although the same ultralight philosophy can be used in all environments that the specific gear and skill required will vary greatly. It is very dangerous to assume that you can just copy someone else's gear list, but you are encouraged to ask questions, learn and start reducing the pack weight and enjoying the freedom that comes.

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Base pack backpacking the mass of the backpack and the gear inside - not including consumables such as food, water and fuel
light backpacking base weight less than 9.1kg
ultralight backpacking base weight less than 4.5kg
super-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 2.3kg
extreme-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 1.4kg

Shelter options

Postby racca » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 8:04 pm

Hi gang,

So over the last couple of years I have been trying as many different shelter options as possible in an attempt to find that one perfect shelter for me. I've tried hammocks, mids, freestanding tents and tarps and bivvies of all types and sizes. My conclusion is probably the same as everyone elses, there is no perfect shelter for every circumstance. So I need several :D . I love my TT Double Rainbow and that is my go to for taking one of my kids with me or when I'm willing to pack a bit heavier. For solo trips when I'm going as light as possible, I currently use an old faithful TT Contrail but I think it's time to cut some wait back from that one. My favourite UL solo shelter so far has been my SMD Gatewood cape and Serenity bugnet, serious sellers regret on that one.

So thats the kind of shelter I'm looking for again, single trekking pole, side entry and as light as possible, so I'm thinking DCF, although this would be my first foray into DCF. So far I have found my options to be:

TT Aeon Li
Zpacks plexamid
Zpacks hexamid with doors + bugnet
SMD deschutes zero-g + bugnet

Are there any other options in this style? Ultimately aiming for the 500g-600g range. Also if you have a second hand one of these that you're willing to part with, let me know! :D

Thanks!
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Re: Shelter options

Postby ribuck » Fri 21 Jun, 2019 12:49 am

You could consider the Big Sky International "Wisp". The "cubic fabric" version is only 300g plus guys and pegs! Even the inexpensive "Super-sil" version is only 500g plus guys and pegs.
http://bigskyproducts.com/big-sky-wisp-1p-tents.aspx

It sounds like "cubic fabric" is some kind of competitor to DCF.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 21 Jun, 2019 7:39 am

:) could always buy the new model Gatewood. 280 grams and packs down 40% smaller than the old model.

I love mine. Pair with a sts nano bug net and polycro ground sheet and you have a robust shelter for 395 grams.

I used it in the rain a few weeks ago, I took down the bugnet when i woke up for more space and thrn was able to comfortably sit up, cook breakfast/coffee and then pack up all under cover.

Despite the air being saturated with mist had no condensation and the new Sil material they are using barely sags in the wet.

If going DCF route, should also keep in mind that DCF shelters will be a bit fatter packed than similarly sized silnylon.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Franco » Fri 21 Jun, 2019 8:24 am

"Big Sky's Let-it-PorTM fabric is made by Cuben/Cubic " according to the BigSky product page.
The Cuben Fiber side of Cubic Tech was purchased by Dyneema 4 years ago. Looks like the BSI info has not been updated since then or they still have the original Cubic Tech stock.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby ribuck » Sat 22 Jun, 2019 5:04 am

Thanks for explaining that, Franco. It wouldn't surprise me if they still have original stock, considering how few reviews of the tent are "out there".
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Franco » Sat 22 Jun, 2019 8:33 am

There was one for sale at BPL recently :
https://backpackinglight.com/forums/top ... bivy-tent/
looks to me that the description "Super Bivy" is pretty accurate, I would worry about condensation .
(BSI does warn it isn't for humid climates...)
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Al M » Sun 23 Jun, 2019 3:56 pm

Also consider Big Agnes latest Dyneema Range https://www.bigagnes.com/Gear/Tents/Crazylight

If you don’t need the hiking poles there is weight in them also.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Franco » Mon 24 Jun, 2019 7:08 pm

Al M wrote:Also consider Big Agnes latest Dyneema Range https://www.bigagnes.com/Gear/Tents/Crazylight

If you don’t need the hiking poles there is weight in them also.

Just curious :
Have you seen in person one of those tents ?
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Al M » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 2:04 am

Havnt seen the latest Big Agnes lightweights but have a 7 year old Fly Creek UL2 person at about 1.2kg and not bad really. Someone in the FS section has two UL1 brand new 700g for $400.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Franco » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 9:08 am

Al M wrote:Havnt seen the latest Big Agnes lightweights but have a 7 year old Fly Creek UL2 person at about 1.2kg and not bad really. Someone in the FS section has two UL1 brand new 700g for $400.

Those Crazylight BA tents you have posted about are made with a type of DCF that no one else so far has used so I would think a bit hard to reccomend when there is no real world usage reports on them.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby racca » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 8:37 pm

So after contemplating for most of winter I've decided I'm going to try a Hexamid pocket tarp with doors paired with an SMD serenity bug net. That's what I'm telling myself anyway, I've only changed my mind 43.5 times. Thanks for all the advice.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Lamont » Sun 11 Aug, 2019 8:38 am

Good on you boyo. Make sure you get back and tell us how it goes.That's also good feedback WW, didn't realise you had added that. Any windy use WW? How'd it go?
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Mark F » Sun 11 Aug, 2019 3:10 pm

Franco wrote:
Al M wrote:Havnt seen the latest Big Agnes lightweights but have a 7 year old Fly Creek UL2 person at about 1.2kg and not bad really. Someone in the FS section has two UL1 brand new 700g for $400.

Those Crazylight BA tents you have posted about are made with a type of DCF that no one else so far has used so I would think a bit hard to reccomend when there is no real world usage reports on them.

Actually ZPacks made a 0.3 oz dcf version of the Hexamid Solo - tarp only no netting or floor - for a short while. Even they said it was not for mainstream use and that it was remarkably fragile.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Franco » Mon 12 Aug, 2019 8:22 am

Hi Mark,
yes I was aware of the Pocket tarp, I meant no one had used it (commercialy) to make a tent .
ZPacks now sell it made with the .51 oz DCF.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 17 Aug, 2019 8:41 am

Lamont wrote:That's also good feedback WW, didn't realise you had added that. Any windy use WW? How'd it go?


Used it about 6 nights now. Just came back from NZ where I used it a couple of times including one setup in heavy rain and another in a swamp. (glad I bought the bug net)

I learnt something after setting up during heavy rain :?

- Dont pre attach the bugnet! As then it drops on the soaking ground during setup. (or if you put the ground sheet out first the polycro gets wet). So in future il set up the tarp, then attach the bugnet. Im buying some micro snap buckles so I dont have to retie shock cord.

Was alot of wind about but I was set up in very sheltered spots so I didnt get the brunt of it. So while it was gusting to 60 km/h, I was maybe getting 10-20 km/h. And at those mild wind speeds the gatewood worked great.

The shape of the gatewood does well in wind however its a UL setup so i use ti shepherd hooks for pegs, not great holding power in big wind. (I suppose I could also add rocks if available). Also gatewood is asymmetrical with the entrance side significantly higher off the ground. So if a big wind swings to that side, you have potential for lift off :P I also think the windward sil panels would push in during significant wind. You’d survive but it would be uncomfortable.

So its a great UL shelter for mild conditions, a bit of rain and wind no problem. But for significant weather I would prefer a more enclosed shelter that can hold its shape in wind and also one that offered more space to move around. Its a bit tight under the bug net, even though I use shoes and water bottles to stretch it out. When the bug net is gone there is quite a bit more room, and its easy to cook/coffee etc.
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Re: Shelter options

Postby Lamont » Sat 17 Aug, 2019 11:44 am

wildwanderer wrote:
Lamont wrote:That's also good feedback WW, didn't realise you had added that. Any windy use WW? How'd it go?


Used it about 6 nights now. Just came back from NZ where I used it a couple of times including one setup in heavy rain and another in a swamp. (glad I bought the bug net)

I learnt something after setting up during heavy rain :?

- Dont pre attach the bugnet! As then it drops on the soaking ground during setup. (or if you put the ground sheet out first the polycro gets wet). So in future il set up the tarp, then attach the bugnet. Im buying some micro snap buckles so I dont have to retie shock cord.

Was alot of wind about but I was set up in very sheltered spots so I didnt get the brunt of it. So while it was gusting to 60 km/h, I was maybe getting 10-20 km/h. And at those mild wind speeds the gatewood worked great.

The shape of the gatewood does well in wind however its a UL setup so i use ti shepherd hooks for pegs, not great holding power in big wind. (I suppose I could also add rocks if available). Also gatewood is asymmetrical with the entrance side significantly higher off the ground. So if a big wind swings to that side, you have potential for lift off :P I also think the windward sil panels would push in during significant wind. You’d survive but it would be uncomfortable.

So its a great UL shelter for mild conditions, a bit of rain and wind no problem. But for significant weather I would prefer a more enclosed shelter that can hold its shape in wind and also one that offered more space to move around. Its a bit tight under the bug net, even though I use shoes and water bottles to stretch it out. When the bug net is gone there is quite a bit more room, and its easy to cook/coffee etc.


Great to hear WW. The number of nights I set out and it is fair weather for a night or two, this set up might be very sweet. A bit windy, a bit wettish you can cope for a wee while-but yes best to avoid lift off :shock:
Tramp on boyo.
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