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Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

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Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby justm » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:53 pm

I'm thinking of getting the Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo Tarp Tent, does anyone here own one ? Good buy or not? Thanks



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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby Baffman » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:32 am

So did you ever buy the Lunar Solo? I am looking at getting one too. Too bad you didn't get any replies. If you got one, how did it work out?

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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby badtux » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:44 am

I have had the Lunar Solo for about 5 years now.

Pluses: It packs small, about the same size as a small loaf of bread, it'll fit in the side pocket of my Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack. It's light. It has enough floor space inside so that you never need to leave your backpack outside the tent unless you want to (because, say, it's wet). The vestibule is big enough for most backpacks. It keeps you dry in the rain and is fairly weather-tight. The side-opening door makes it easier to enter than the tunnel-type tents -- backup, plop your behind down on the sleeping pad, take off your boots and shove them to the right under the vestibule, pivot, recline, you're ready to zip up and go to bed.

Minuses: It's a PITA to pitch the thing -- it takes six (6) stakes, each of which must be the 10 inch Easton stakes because to get the canopy taut the canopy must be pitched floating about four inches off the ground, and it takes a lot of re-staking before the canopy is pitched correctly. Headroom is almost non-existent -- the only place there's any headroom is right under the peak where the pole goes up. Expect to brush the (damp) back of the tent when putting your jacket on in the morning. If you pitch it low (staked against the ground) because of bad weather, it flaps and headroom becomes especially minimal. It takes up a *huge* amount of space due to the massive overhangs on all sides of the floor tub, massive overhangs that make it especially weather resistant but makes the tent take up more physical space than my two-man Eureka car-camping tent. Forget about pitching it on a slope... it doesn't like that at *all*, you'll never get the canopy taut.

It is shelter, but annoying shelter. Frankly, I don't think I would buy the Lunar Solo if I were buying today, I would look the competition:

* Gossamer Gear's "The One" if I was willing to risk the ultra-light and expensive spinnaker fabric,
* The Lightheart Solo, which is basically an updated and somewhat enlarged version of the silnylon tent that started it all, the Wanderlust Nomad. It's fairly easy to pitch, stake out the head, stake out the foot, get in and put in the poles, restake the foot to tighten the pitch, stake down the sides for wind resistance, done. It is, however, 11 feet long (!), due to the fact that Heartfire took out the spreader pole that Wanderlust used to make more room at the head of the tent, and instead just made the tent longer.
* The Tarptent Moment is fairly compact and needs no hiking poles to keep it up. It's especially easy to pitch (one stake at head, pivot until find place to stake foot, one stake at foot, then guy out the hoop to two more stakes or rocks or whatever -- note that you *must* guy out the hoop or even the slightest wind will flatten the tent). There's a Youtube video of some guy putting it up in less than a minute.

The Lightheart is about the same weight as the standard Lunar Solo with the heavy floor, "The One" is about 10 ounces lighter but you have to add another 5 ounces for a ground sheet because its super-expensive ultralight spinnaker fabric floor will just shred on normal Sierra surfaces. The Moment is about 5 ounces heavier than the Lunar Solo, but remember that it doesn't need hiking poles, so if you don't normally carry hiking poles it's actually lighter than packing poles just to hold your tent off the ground.

Hiking poles required: The One: 2. Lightheart Solo: 2. SMD Lunar Solo: 1. Tarptent Moment: None.

If you're a two-pole guy, I'd suggest looking closely at The One or the Lightheart Solo. If you're a one-pole guy, look at the Lunar Solo or Tarptent Moment. I'd probably choose the easiest to erect of each of these pairings -- i.e. the Lightheart Solo or the Moment -- just because the SMD Lunar Solo has annoyed me so much over the years with how frickin' difficult it is to get a good pitch in the kind of uneven terrain that I'm often having to pitch it in.
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby badtux » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:48 am

Hrm. Forgot to say that if you want a trail luxury condo for a reasonable weight, the Tarptent Rainbow is also worth looking at. It's reasonably easy to pitch, is very spacious for a solo tent, has a compact footprint, and has a *huge* amount of headroom in it. The downside is that you end up paying 38 ounces rather than 28 ounces. And it does take eight stakes to pitch it -- four on the corners, two to hold the beaks out, and two to guy out the hoop (if you don't guy out the hoop, any wind that hits the foot or head of the tent will collapse the tent).
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby Baffman » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:18 am

Wow, thanks for the information. I really appreciate it. I've used a Marmot Eclipse for several years now and I really like it. The problem is weight. The tent is lightweight and free standing, but the darn rainfly weighs about as much as the tent. One just has to bring that when in the Sierra. I'll do some more research and make a decision.

Thanks again.
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby oldranger » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:40 am

Baffman,

We have had this discussion before but of course since then we have new options. Sometime in the past I posted a fairly extensive review of my Contrail Tarptent which has served me well since 2007. It ain't perfect but nothing is. I really like the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 because it is a double wall and the inner tent is mosquito netting so on layover days if you want to escape skeeters above the treeline you can use the tent as a shelter without the fly on. Neither the contrail or the rainbow provides enough ventillation to do so if the sun is out. The Fly Creek is lighter than the Rainbow but heavier than the Contrail. The Fly Creek is probably a little easier to set up than the Contrail (it is an art to set up the contrail) because all you have to do after attaching the poles is to stake it out. The Fly Creek also doesn't require hiking poles to set up while the Contrail requires at least one. (I would never get a tent that requires two hiking poles to set up as I usually take a single pole with me when hiking or fishing during lay overs).

Anyhow have fun selecting. I'm kind of envious of your search as I haven't bought a new piece of equipment (not counting fishing rod and boots) in a couple of years because nothing I have seen is enough of an improvement over what I have to make me pull the trigger. Off topic but I am interested in the Fly Creek UL3 for my wife and I because it is 10 oz lighter than our current Big Agnes Seed House SL3, but $450? I could almost spend a night in the Ahwahnee for that!

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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby badtux » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:10 am

I looked at the Contrail a couple of years ago as a possible replacement for my Lunar Solo due to being so annoyed by the Lunar Solo, but I didn't see it as a real improvement, and in one respect not as good as the Lunar Solo: It's a tunnel tent. I don't in general like tunnel tents because they're hard for me to get into with my creaky knees, with the Lunar Solo (or any side-opening tent) after unzipping the fly and screen you back up to it, plop your behind on the sleeping pad inside the door, take your boots off and shove them up under the vestibule to keep the morning dew off of them, swivel, and recline. Minimal scooting around required. Front-loaders on the other hand require me to swivel then scoot towards the foot of the tent once I get my boots off, which is hard to do with stiff knees.

The new side-loaders like the Moment and Lightheart, on the other hand, look like they might be winners. We'll see. I must say it's really deja-vu to see the old Nomad design pulled out of the dustbin of history and freshened up... that was a cool little tent, too bad Kurt was such a flake. Heartfire is a nice lady and *far* better at running a business than Kurt was, her update of the tent is bigger than Kurt's but has a lot of its basic "goodness".
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby oldranger » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:33 am

Badtux

I agree with your assessement of the Contrail and while knees are not yet an issue with me flexibility (despite doing yoga) is an issue. But like you the benefits of the new design are not enough for me to pull the trigger on a new solo tent.

Mike
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby PCT1981 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:28 am

Here is another lightweight tent option. I do not own one of these (I currently use a tarp and a bivy) but have considered it as an option.
http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/hexamid.shtml
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Re: Looking for a lightwieght tarp tent

Postby Baffman » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:35 am

Thanks, I'll have a look.
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