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New Tent from Zpacks?


jeepingetowah

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I had the privilege of seeing this a while back (from the link, not in person, unfortunately). If there is anyone with one yet, it is not many, that is for sure. I am not so sure that Joe was ready for it to be released already to the public though. I think someone actually came across the page by Googling it and shared it over at BPL a few days ago and now there it is. Even if you go to his site now it is not available there. The only way people can access it (as far as I know) is by going to that direct link above.

Anyway, as far as the tent...2 things that draw my attention...

1. Will the sides flap in the wind when pulled down like they are? With the sides lowered down, it looks like the material along the edges are a little loose.

2. How much useable length is there inside? Pictures can be deceiving and I wonder how much room is there really to stretch out on top of a 2.5" pad and inside a sleeping bag? In a single wall shelter it is important to me for my sleeping bag not to rub against the walls. Although, this is a "UL" tent, so saying that there is a good chance that a typical buyer for this type of shelter would be using a ccf pad (which would lower the user to the ground and thus open more room along the length of the tent, at a little), but with all of the new very lightweight air pads on the market now, it is not fair for this to be assumed. (I myself use a full length Original NeoAir.)

Also, the interior useable ground space is pretty much the same size as the Solo Plus groundsheet footprint. Of course the Solo Plus is wider at the center and tapers at the ends, whereas the footprint on this tent is an even rectangle (it does not taper at the ends), but I would imagine it would be a little cramped for 2 people at only 42" wide, even on a standard 20" wide pad. However, to be fair, it is not listed as a 2 person shelter, but rather a spacious 1 person, or adequate for 2 person shelter. (I am basing this on my 54" wide SMD Lunar Duo footprint which is a palace, even with 2, granted this is only 12" more...but that small bit of room feels like such a LARGE space inside a tent.)

I like that the poles are inside as this should make getting in the tent fast in rainy conditions to finish set-up. However, is the center the only place where the poles attach to the tent (other than at the ends)? If so, maybe 1 more tie out in each corner would probably be helpful. It looks like the tent is 6 panels sewn together, so it should be simple to add in those 4 extra attachment points without adding any extra sewn seams. All that would be added then would be the weight of the extra loops.

As far as the weight, those poles sure do eat up a lot of it...but that is going to be hard to get around when it comes to a free standing tent.

I do not like the fact that the cuben ground sheet is sewn in. I have the Hexamid Solo Plus shelter with the Solo Plus ground sheet and I have been over it debating the ground sheet sewn in vs not sew in. Having the ground sheet sewn in means having an extra seam all the way around the floor which is extra potential for water to penetrate the floor. Also, as sweet and tough as cuben fiber is, from my understanding, it is not very abrasion resistant. So, with the ground sheet sewn in that means the cuben ground sheet will be directly against the ground and an increased incidence of a worn out floor.

I am partial now to the way my Hexamid tent works. The mesh floor with the cuben ground sheet that clips in and rest on top of the mesh floor. This means there are no seams at the bottom of the ground sheet and the mesh will help protect the ground sheet from abrasion. But, if the ground sheet were to ever become worn through, changing the ground sheet out would be as simple as unclipping the old one and then clipping the new one right back in... The downside to this though is that more weight would be added in since the mesh would be solid under the tent rather than cut out around the ground sheet.

The price point is a little hard to swallow. I would like to see this marked closer to the $475ish range. But then again, I have no idea how much goes into the actual production in making this tent as well as how much $$$ is in the materials. But, I have always felt like Joe has very fair prices for his gear, so there... (This is another reason I have so much of his gear...and will probably have more...)

The good thing about Joe though is that it doesn't really matter what he is selling...he will work with you, and if there is anything about this shelter that you do or don't like, chances are if you talk with him he will custom build it for you the way that you want (or anything else on his site...or even if it's not on his site and is in your head). I cannot think of another company that will do this for anyone, and for this reason, ZPacks is probably my very favorite shop to shop at...

Anyway, I like that Joe is working on this and I am interested to see what kind of changes he may make to it now that the public has their eyes on it... Currently though I am not in the market for a shelter such as this, but if I were I would definitely be more drawn to it. Who knows, I am sure that my mind will eventually change though... :) I will be watching out for some real-use reviews sometime in the future...

Edited by Stick
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Aaron Zagrodnick
Stick said:

As far as the weight, those poles sure do eat up a lot of it...but that is going to be hard to get around when it comes to a free standing tent.

Hey Stick,

Is the prototype indeed freestanding? From what I can tell it appears that the 2 side guy-outs might be required...And it's hard to see but it looks like the corners might be staked down as well. (Not sure if these are required however) Joe also lists 6 stakes in the weight details.

Either way, I think the size is a bit small for two IMO, but would work well for solo trips and solo trips with the dog in my case. I definitely agree that the Lunar Duo is a nice size for two - Some room to spare is always nice. With the weight and size of the Hexadome and focusing on Zpacks shelters, I think I might be inclined to stay with the Hexamid Twin + screen and extended beak along with the twin cuben fiber ground sheet for more space and less weight. (And a tad less $) However, one bonus that I do see with the Hexadome are the taped seams - No seam sealing required before your first trip.

By the way, agreed regarding the sewn-in vs. clip-in cuben groundsheet - More protection for the cuben with the screen underneath and you also get the option of using the groundsheet outside of the tent if the weather is looking good and you want to sleep under the stars...

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Aaron,

From the looks of it, I will say that it is freestanding, but as you point out, those sides likely have to be tacked down one way or another so it won't be hanging in your business.

I think that this is kind of a mixed up topic with most backpackers. Some people say that a freestanding tent means that no stakes are required and the tent can function 100% without them and some say that freestanding means that the main portion/body of the tent will stand erect without having to stake it out/down, but some features (such as the vestibules or corners) will need to be staked to function as intended. In the case of the Hexadome, I would say that it needs stakes to allow the beaks to function properly, but it looks to me like the cross poles actually go to the corners on the Hexadome, so I would imagine that the corners do not need to be staked out to take take advantage of all the interior room. It also looks like it can be erected with the cross poles and then one can simply pick it up from the outside and move it where they want to move it. This in my opinion is freestanding enough for me to consider it freestanding...others may disagree...

But, look at other tents such as the BA Fly Creek...technically, it needs to be staked out to take advantage of the full interior space. The center support pole does not go to the back corners, but rather just simply to the back of the tent. So, if the back corners are not staked out the back corners will flop into the tent. So to use all the room in the FC tents, the back corners at least need to be staked out. But again, I would still consider it freestanding because technically, I could set it up and crawl inside it and be sheltered from the weather...granted I would still have to consider the fly too on a tent such as this...

Funny you should mention looking at the stars...I do love cowboy camping, but I can almost get that same feeling out of my Hexamid...As you may know, Joe uses the 0.51 cuben fiber to build his shelters (unless you ask him to use something else). I can lay back at night and look up and see little blurry spots through the tent, and usually one big blurry spot. This stuff is quite see-through...it is cool. I love it... :)

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Thanks - I guess a lot of it is in the eye of the beholder. When I think freestanding I think more along the lines of something like this: (A Hilleberg Soulo)

Even though you'd still have to stake or tie this one down as well...Otherwise you might be in for an interesting chase when the winds pick up.

post-3-143508712126_thumb.jpg

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tmountainnut

I just stumbled across a new Zpacks tent. Has anyone seen this? What are your thoughts?

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

Looks nice, cannot wait to see some reviews. I think the price is high, and I would totally expect a for sure 2 person version soon?

Wallace - Supa Chef

before you go talking about the price, remember that his tents are built here as they are ordered, not in bulk at some overseas factory. when you actually compare them to the market for his kind of tents, they are pretty fairly priced.

I really like his newer heximid tents, and if i had some excess money to spend on shelters, i would get a heximid twin. its the lightest two person tent i've seen, and would be a palace solo hiking if the weather turned nasty.

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tmountainnut

I have the Solo Plus, and it is huge. I can fit my wife in it with me, or my son (or my daughter). But I wouldn't want to share it with anyone else... I would imagine that the twin tent is a great deal for the money, and quite light at that! If you ever do find any spare $$ laying around I suggest you go for it. Also, I would suggest having Joe tape it after sewing it, or better yet, buy the single sided tape and do it yourself. It is not hard to do at all, in fact, IMO it is easier than seam sealing it. Plus, it is less expensive if you buy it and do it yourself.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

While I'm pretty sure it will never happen, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Hexamid Twin Plus. Even though it's workable, our Twin is a tight fit for 2 + dog + gear.

Since Zpacks is moving to a rectangular floor plan / groundsheet for the HexaDome design (At least at this point), that should offer a bit more room inside compared to the tapered groundsheet design of the Hexamid. Hoping there is a larger version planned as well in addition to the current roomy for 1 / adequate for 2 design...

Edited by Aaron
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Aaron, the cool thing is, if you ask Joe there may be a chance that he could make something up for you. I agree with you though, that would be an interesting tent...

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Stick - I actually did run the idea past Joe but I get the feeling that he's just too swamped for such a project right now. So at this point I'm hoping that Zpacks will jump into the 2+ shelter market sometime in the future. Still very satisfied so far with the Hexamid Twin, but a little extra elbow room is always nice, especially on longer trips or during bad weather. Did you tape the Solo Plus yourself or was this something you requested on your order? I seam sealed the Twin, but I'm thinking that the tape method might be a better choice next time around. How's the tape holding up?

Edited by Aaron
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