Questions & Answers, #004

Questions & Answers

Wow has it really been a week already?

Here are responses to four questions that I have received over this past week. I have had more but want to keep this weeks Q&A short, as my answers will be a bit longer.

Hope they provide some help and insight.

HPB – Wondering if you still feel strongly about your choice of the Duplex Tent by Zpacks? Did you consider the Heximid Tent as well prior to choosing the Duplex? I’m about to make a choice between the two and would appreciate any comments pro and con. Many thanks!

Hello HPB,

I am still very much of a fan, and user, of the ZPacks Duplex shelter. See my review of it.

If you have seen me talking about using the Six Moon Designs “Haven+NetTent“, that is a much broader issue than I would care to share in a Q&A.

The basis of my using the SMD Haven is that there are times of the year when I very much want a double wall shelter. For a few years I have been asking ZPacks to produce a double wall Duplex. While they did make a prototype (photo 1, photo 2), it has, sadly, never brought to market.

That has forced me to look elsewhere, and once I started looking around the SMD Haven(cf)+NetTent turned out to be a very amazing option for my desire of a double wall large sized solo shelter.

At 26 ounces that SMD combo is only about three (3) ounces heavier than the ZPacks Duplex Camo, and almost identical weight with my ZPacks Duplex Aluminized, AND it is double wall. So, win win. Add in the fact that having a two piece shelter makes it easier to stuff into smaller spaces inside my backpack, and that makes it extra nice.

Does that mean I am giving up on my ZPacks Duplex? No. By no means. My Aluminized Duplex is going to get a lot of use this year as I venture through the Mojave desert as I continue to build a new trail route.

Now regarding your second question of “Did you consider the Heximid Tent”, I have owned many ZPacks Hexamid shelters. The Solo tarp. The Solo Tent. The Pocket Tarp. The Pocket Tent. As well as the SolPlex, which I think I was the first person to write about and shoot/post video of (bpl, facebook,etc). So, to answer your question: Yes.

Regarding your wanting “pros and cons“, it seems to be that the decision should come down to how much livable space you want and what type of environmental factors you tend to deal with. I would put forth that the ZPacks SolPlex is something worth considering too, it is sort of a happy medium between the two.


Aaron Sorensen:

Okay so my question is why is “no one” taking a stand for the new 7d or Membrane?

Both fabrics are amazing and as for Membrane is 10X easier to sew than Sil Nylon.

I’m not talking about taking over Cuben but there are so many companies out there that sell most of their versions of gear in some shape or form of a Sil Nylon.

Lighter, more water-proof, less slippery meaning easier to work with. If I were a cottage company that makes Sil Nylon gear, I would have already made the switch. I wish TarpTent would catch on first. they are the one company that could benefit from it the most.

Is everybody waiting for a 7d with the same characteristics as Membrane?

The strength of Membrane seems better suited for public needs in replacing Sil Nylon.

So it’s not really the question of Cuben replacement as it is the replacement of the now behind the times Sil Nylon.

Hey my good buddy!

You and I have talked about this, a few times, but why not share my thoughts on it again :)

Honestly, I have no idea. But as I have mentioned to you a few times, my thinking is that most of the cottage companies are probably at a point where they are using well proven fabrics and taking a risk on fabrics is not good for their bottom line or public reputation. If they produce a few dozen, or a few hundred, products with a fabric and it starts to fail on them, they are going to get those products sent back to them and they will have to financially suffer, and if those people take to the forums/facebook/reddit about their experiences, well, that is bad PR for them.

So my thoughts are that it is just too big of a risk.

I also wonder if it has to do with long term availability of the fabric, something rather important.

But, really, what do I know when it comes to all of this issue… not a darn thing.


Niels C – First of all thanks for so many, useful and insightful posts, you have helped me determine quite a bit of gear. Since i‚’m about to buy a new one person tent I’ve been wondering if you have any thoughts on the MLD SoloMid, since this sounds like the perhaps the most versatile ultra lightweight shelter when combined with there bug netting/bathtub floor, all in cf. Is there a reason you haven’t gone that way In terms of versatility I’m thinking that it’s all season, good with large amounts of snow since it can be pitched low, (unlike say zpacks), extremely wind proof, good airflow when pitched high, and a 18,5 ounces extremely light for the above features… What has made you go with packs in the past for small footprint one person shelters Hope you can help, you already did many times.

Hello Niels,

I have never used a MLD SoloMID so I do not really have anything I can share about it.

Triple Crowner, Joshua ‘Bobcat’ Stacy has 6000+ miles of use with one, he would be the person I would talk to.

The reason I have never done a review on any MID shelter is that I am just not a fan of the MID style shelters.

No particular reason, just never went “wow, I like this” in the three different MID’s I have tried.

There is no doubt that they are well proven.


John G — John, You are the best. Your knowledge humbles me especially as my Dad first took me backpacking ( with a Trapper Nelson pack ) in 1963. The last two trips have been memorable for rain, lots of rain. Tarps saved us on the first trip but Hurricane Dolores did not go as Far East as I predicted and it really rained. We kept essentials dry but I would have killed for my North Face VE 25 tent. (my son and I had a 10 x 10 Granite Gear tarp and a MSR tent we were using for the first time). Please write about back packing in rain some day.

Hello John,

Thank you for sharing your story and the kind words.

Regarding writing about backpacking in the rain. That is something I have thought about doing a few times, but I keep going back to the fact that there is really nothing all that different about hiking in the rain than hiking when it is not raining.

Yes, you have to deal with thermoregulation, wet gear, wet feet, and all of that; but as I tend to see it, the vast majority of hikers seem to feel there is some great fear of hiking in the rain. Personally, I do not like hiking in the snow and I do not like hiking in super hot weather. But eventually it is something we have to do.

Some do not mind hiking in the rain, and others do not mind hiking in hot weather. I personally love hiking in the rain. The weather tends to be such that I do not have to have a bunch of base layers on (such as in the snow) and it is not so hot that I want to rip off all my cloths and find a bathtub full of ice.

For the most part, I have reached a point where, when it is raining, I just end up wearing shorts and a tshirt, and toss up an umbrella sometimes. I tend to approach using rain gear as a method of thermoregulation for if it is raining and it is cold (either from low temps or a cold wind).

In many ways I approach rain garments as a quasi VBL. That is, I see rain gear as a means to help keep the cold away. Rain is just water, like taking a shower or taking a dip in a river or lake while on the trail.  The only thing that sucks about hiking in the rain, is the 2am pee break and getting back into my really dry tent when I am all wet. That kinda sucks… and I am just not a pee-bag kinda person.

So, anyway, if I were to ever write about hiking in the rain, it would basically just be me saying the above, only with a lot more words, for the sake of rambling on about it.

2 thoughts on “Questions & Answers, #004

  1. Hi John. Ok, sometimes a lot of Q&A ain’t relavent to me, but there’s ALWAYS something that is. Lovin these regular posts, so a(nother) big big thanks Mr Hiker…….and the guy who said you’re the best. Well, you are!

  2. Love the Q&A. I know you are just making a guess about the motivations or reasons for why cottage companies aren’t adopting Membrane fabric. But if your guesses are true, it would represent a surprising development as far as I’m concerned. After all, the whole reason we have a budding cottage industry is, in my mind, because the big name gear makers are too conservative and too slow moving to pursue the niche lightweight and UL gear markets by trying new fabrics and designs. At one time, Silnylon and Cuben Fiber (aka Dyneema Composite Fabric) were unproven and viewed by many as risky fabrics to use in the manufacture or shelters, packs, and rain gear. Does anyone remember Ray Jardine’s videos where he performed tear tests of Sil vs Cuben?

    Anyway, it feels like we’re in the same situation regarding Membrane.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s