Archive for the ‘Shelter Comparisons’ Category
A number of months back I wrote an article and corresponding spreadsheet which went into detail many of the lightest fully enclosed solo shelters on the market. It quickly and to my surprise, became a sort of de facto reference guy for hikers around the world. Since it was published I have received countless requests to put together a similar article that focused on two person shelters. So a number of months ago I started working on compiling the mass amount of data that is required to put together an article and spreadsheet of this kind. It has taken me much longer than I expected it would, but I am now ready to release this.
I think it is important to note a few things from the very start.
First is the fact that I had initially set some minimum and maximum weight limits for the chart and have had to change it along the way. I asked the public for feedback and asked many cottage owners for feedback regarding this as well. It was wonderful. I have, however, made slight modifications to the maximum weight limit that will be focused on within the chart. Details of why are explained below. What I would like to mention is that I have received an amazing amount of feedback from almost all of the cottage owners. It has been an honor and pleasure.
Next aspect to note is the fact that this is not an all-encompassing list of the lightest two person shelters in the world.
There are a number of reasons for this, but the two primary reasons are:
(1) I initially set some criteria for what the spreadsheet would be based on in regards to Total Shelter Weight. Along the way the maximum weight changed a few times, all as a result of the list of shelters becoming much too long to detail them all; it would have taken countless hours of work. As it is this article has consumed a little over 65 hours of work and over two hundred emails. There simply had to come a point where I was forced to reduce the maximum weight limit in order to reduce the amount of work, the complicated, and length of the spreadsheet. When I started this article there were a number of shelters that I wanted to include but they ended up being well over 1300 grams Total Shelter Weight – and if I were to include them than people would make the case that I should have included others in the same weight category, and a list which is already long enough would have become three to four times longer. I very much respect these cottage companies out there producing amazing two person shelters that are in the 1000-1200 gram range, make no mistake about it.
(2) There are a number of companies out there that fail(ed) to provide the true weights of their shelters. Most of them simply do not list accurate Total Shelter Weights on their website. There were around a half-dozen companies that I emailed asking for accurate numbers on their shelters and they never responded. I would be doing a dis service to my readers to pull numbers out of nowhere and use them just for the sake of including a specific shelter. Companies that do not publish exact weights of their shelters are doing nothing but losing business. I can say that for a fact, as last year I was looking at one specific shelter that I really wanted, but the company fails to list accurate weights of their shelters. Rather than dealing with the back-and-forth emails to try to get it out of them, I simply moved on and purchased a shelter from another cottage manufacture. So again, there are a few shelters on the market that I highly suspect might be less than 900 grams, and even more under 1300 grams, but because they fail to provide technical details about their shelters on their websites, and in many cases never responded to my emails, their shelters are not within the chart. I make no excuse for this. I simply will not make up numbers on my own because a company is unwilling to provide information that their customers should have.
For the better part of the 2010 and 2011 hiking seasons I invested a great deal of time and money buying and trying different shelters that are presently on the market that meet the sub-20 ounce mark.
To me a sub-20 ounce shelter setup is something that should be considered a SUL/XUL shelter so if it is over 20 ounces I have kept it out of this review. I fully realize there are a lot of hikers out there who feel that there are some truly amazing tents that are in the 20-25 ounce range – and I agree, there are. As a SUL/XUL hiker I have come to realize that ounces count – and grams compile really fast – and that in order to achieve and maintain a truly exceptional SUL/XUL base back weight I decided early on that the 20-ounce range was going to be the limit for this review. This really did narrow down the available options, and the list I came up with is by far not a complete list of sub 20 ounce shelters that are on the market or that can be concocted together, but if it is missing anything, you can always let me know.
Again I just really want to lay forth the fact that I fully understand that there are some exceptional shelters out there in the 20+ ounce range that in their own right deserve some huge praise, but the goal of this Shelter Comparison is to compare those shelters that are in the sub 20-ounce range.
It is also important to recognize that this list is specifically targeting the “enclosed shelter” setups and does not include tarp-only settings. This is key because as I have presented a 2 ounce tarp is really all a person needs if they just care about basic protection from the rain.