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Ultralight Shelters Not Just About the Light Weight

Shelter systems are pushing boundaries not just for weight, but for innovative and interesting designs. Many shelter systems weigh less than a bivy sack, but offer far more space and features.

Here are a few highlights, fresh off the OR show floor, from Eagles Nest Outfitters, Easton, Sea to Summit, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Eagles Nest Outfitters

ENO Reactor
Eagles Nest Reactor Hammock showing sleeve.

Eagles Nest Outfitters' hammocks start at approximately 12 ounces, and the North Carolina company has introduced two products that extend the comfort and functionality of these light shelters.

First, the new Reactor hammock incorporates a second layer of nylon to add warmth and solve a problem that vexes many hammock campers: a sleeping pad adds warmth, but tends to scoot out of the hammock. The Reactor's two layers trap the pad, creating a warmer, more comfy shelter. 

ENO Reactor Hammock

  • MSRP: $94.95
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • Capacity: 400 (!) lb
  • Available November 2011
ENO Hot Spot
ENO Hot Spot
.

ENO also debuted the Hot Spot, a product that secures a sleeping pad in place with wings, and adds additional warmth to the thicker sleeping pads that winter hammock campers use. Paired with ENO's Ember Underquilt, this creates a light system for cold-temperature hanging.

ENO Hot Spot

  • MSRP: $29.95
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • 6 mm closed cell foam insulation in wings
  • Available October 2011

 

Easton Mountain Products

Easton Mountain Products added the Kilo 1P and 3P to its ultralight Kilo line for 2012. Both the Kilo 1P and the Kilo 3P utilize Easton's proprietary Ion carbon fiber poles with AirLock locking technology.

Kilo 3 P
Kilo 3P, showing cavernous space inside.

The Kilo 1P compares favorably in weight to many bivy sacks, and the 14-inch poles mean it fits with ease in smaller packs and panniers. The Kilo 3P accommodates three times as many people for less than three times the weight of the 1P. It also features three poles and weighs three pounds, making it a triple threat!

Easton Kilo 1P

  • Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
  • MSRP: $350
  • Available Summer 2012

Easton Kilo 3P

  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • 3 pole design, includes vestibule
  • MSRP: $499
  • Available Summer 2012

 

Sea to Summit Specialist Solo
Sea to Summit Specialist Solo.

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit, known for light and functional stuff sacks, accessories, and sleeping bag liners debuted two extremely light shelters made from an unusual material. The new Specialist shelters uses Pertex Endurance, a waterproof-breathable membrane often used in shells, laminated to light 15 d nylon. Available in a Solo and Duo model, the Specialist includes poles, but can be pitched with trekking poles to save more weight.

Sea to Summit Solo Specialist

  • Weight: 15.6 oz
  • Weight with poles: 21.8 oz
  • MSRP: $429
  • Available March 2012

    Packed-up Specialist Solo

Sea to Summit Duo Specialist

  • Weight: 22.3 oz
  • Weight with poles: 29.7 oz
  • MSRP: $499
  • Available March 2012

 

 

 

Hyperlite Mountain Gear

HMG Echo 1
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 1

Hyperlite Mountain Gear, a small Maine company new to OR, showed off their Echo Shelter systems (one- and two-person models), constructed from Cuben fiber, and laminate that has attained ultra-light cult status for water and UV resistance, and high tensile strength.

These shelters pitched tight as a drum, and feature three components: a tarp, and mesh insert with waterproof bottom, and a weather-defeating wing.

Echo 1 Shelter

  • Total weight: 1.48 lbs
  • Tarp weight: 6.1 oz
  • Insert weight: 11.49 oz
  • Beak weight: 4.1 oz
  • MSRP: $495
  • Available now
    HMG Echo 2
    Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 showing tarp, insert, and beak.

 

Echo 2 Shelter

  • Total weight: 1.84 lbs
  • Tarp weight: 7.1 oz
  • Insert weight: 15.5 oz
  • Beak weight: 4.3 oz
  • Price: $595
  • Available now

Filed under: Gear News, Outdoor Retailer

Comments

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 12:27 p.m. (EDT)

The Easton Kilo looks like a nice shelter. Question for ya Seth, is it a 3 season or suitable for 4 season use? I will look into this a bit further. 

Wow shelters are getting light. 

Patman
REVIEW CORPS
488 reviewer rep
1,109 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 4:21 p.m. (EDT)

I camped with a fellow last weekend that was using the Sea-To-Summit Solo from this article. He bought it heavily discounted under the condition that he must right a full review for a local outfitter. It was pretty cool looking; he had a wide (large) NeoAir pad and the pad pushed the sides of the tent out. I was very curious to see what his condensation would be (being that we were in the Smokies) with this single-wall tent. He left his side door open all night and still had some condensation on the top of the tent interior in the morning (although it wasn’t much). I maintain my opinion that single wall tents don’t belong in the Southern Appalachians.

 

gonzan
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,137 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 4:38 p.m. (EDT)

Price check- above it list the Echo 2 as $220, but the Echo 1 as $495. Surely there's a typo in there somewhere. If not, I've got dibs on the Echo 2!

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 4:39 p.m. (EDT)

Single wall tents scare me as far as condensation goes. I have not had positive experiences with them in the past. I am still juggling the ID bivy(between the Wedge and Uni.) 

Being they are event models I am not as apprehensive towards them. I have time to sort it all out. Winter is still a few weeks away. ;)

trouthunter
MODERATOR TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
884 reviewer rep
3,432 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 5:41 p.m. (EDT)

Thanks for the article Seth.

I wonder just how far these design & material boundaries will be pushed? Time will tell I guess, very interesting products though. The Echo tents made by Hyperlite Mountain Gear are basically tarp tents aren't they? The weight is certainly appealing!

Patman Said:

"I maintain my opinion that single wall tents don’t belong in the Southern Appalachians."


My experience has been that double wall tents are easier to manage (condensation wise) in the SA's than the single wall tents I have used or stayed in. So I would agree to a great extent with the exception that some single wall designs do seem to have pretty good air flow and that there is an art to managing that. I am still hesitant to buy a nice single wall even though I would love to have one.

Patman
REVIEW CORPS
488 reviewer rep
1,109 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 7:54 p.m. (EDT)

Trout,

Same here...they make so much sense for lightweight backpacking but I just can't bring myself to drop the money on another one after my first experience with a poor one....

Dave MacLeay (Dave)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
924 forum posts
August 5, 2011 at 10:35 p.m. (EDT)

The correct price on the Echo 2 is $595. I've updated the article accordingly. Sorry, Gonzan!

Tom D
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,741 forum posts
August 6, 2011 at 2:26 a.m. (EDT)

What is up with the hideous shades of green and yellow-green that tentmakes find so appealing? Is it just me? I see some really nice designs, but wouldn't think of buying one because the color is so awful.

My tent is tan and a maroon color, which I find rather soothing. The gold color that TNF uses is quite nice along with white and blue (my old Flashlight) but I have no interest in waking up inside something that looks like the glow in the dark windbreaker I wear when riding my bike so idiots in cars will actually realize I am in front of them.

Seth Levy (Seth)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
397 reviewer rep
963 forum posts
August 9, 2011 at 3:45 p.m. (EDT)

Rick, I asked Easton's PR company about the suitability of the tent for 4 season use.  Thier answer is "The Kilo line is considered 3 season use with the ability to handle some snow loads. Because of its higher fabric thickness and waterproof coatings the Kilo line is better suited than other ultra-lights for the harsher weather."  

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
August 9, 2011 at 4:16 p.m. (EDT)

Hmmmm, we have a tendency to get dumped on here in SW Pa. My next purchase would be primarily utilized for winter. The nastier the conditions the more I want to be out in it.

I am also planning on doing some out of state trips as well. The more I search the more the ID bivies are becoming appealing to me.  :)

Erich
REVIEW CORPS
405 reviewer rep
814 forum posts
August 16, 2011 at 10:57 p.m. (EDT)

I've had mixed results with single walled tents and condensation issues. My first single walled tent was a Bibler Impotent, one of the first ones he made with aluminum poles. Todd was still using Goretex then. In winter, there was always some frost that would form, but relatively little. I also have a 5 X 7 Baker tent in coated nylon. Because of the shape and the openess of the design, I have not had any condensation issues. Having good airflow in any single walled tent is a must, IMHO. This is especially important in a coated material, but can also be important in breathable fabrics. Even in my Exped Venus double walled tent, condensation can be an issue, as it forms on the underside of the fly and can then drip down on the tent material and come through.

Callahan
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts
August 17, 2011 at 12:23 p.m. (EDT)

Love the lightweight,  Just need to rob a bank first.

apeman
0 reviewer rep
1,236 forum posts
August 17, 2011 at 4:43 p.m. (EDT)

Tom Dsaid:

"What is up with the hideous shades of green and yellow-green that tentmakes find so appealing? Is it just me? I see some really nice designs, but wouldn't think of buying one because the color is so awful.

My tent is tan and a maroon color, which I find rather soothing. The gold color that TNF uses is quite nice along with white and blue (my old Flashlight) but I have no interest in waking up inside something that looks like the glow in the dark windbreaker I wear when riding my bike so idiots in cars will actually realize I am in front of them."

 

I would guess it has to due with the absorbation of light.  I've had tents that would turn into a sauna just after the sun came up.   The yellow's that are used in the old line of Garuda's, and Bibler uses now does not heat up till much later in the day and allowes one to languish in the morning if one wishes as well as not heating up during the day as darker tents will.  My very first tent the TNF Oval intention had a deep dark blue rainfly.  I was once stuck in Lake Tahoe for 5 or 6 days due to heavy rains on a Motorcycle trip.  Being that I was poor at the time I spent all the time in the tent.  By the end of the  of my extended tent stay I was depressed, ready to be done with the trip.   When the sun came out I realized that it was the color of the tent that made me depressed.  I find waking up in the morning in my yellow tents refreshing.  Personal preferance.   In fact I'm leaving in a few min for a trip and will be taking one of my yellow two man shelters with me.  This does not take into account the even tent designers can, quite often, have really bad taste.

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
August 17, 2011 at 4:49 p.m. (EDT)

apeman said:

I would guess it has to due with the absorbation of light.  I've had tents that would turn into a sauna just after the sun came up.   

 I think that is one of the reasons I am so fond of my BA in warm weather. It doesn't suck up the sun like a sponge.


2011-05-02_17-19-11_152.jpg

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
August 17, 2011 at 5:01 p.m. (EDT)

Ever notice that about 90% of hiking pants are black ?

I stumbled upon some Scholler Dry-Skin pants in tan and lt. gray.   Bought three pairs.

A(n) "Eureka Moment".

"Oh, Happy Day" -- by the Edwin Hawkins Singers

                                                    ~r2~

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,633 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
August 17, 2011 at 5:12 p.m. (EDT)

Robert Rowe said:

Ever notice that about 90% of hiking pants are black ?

I stumbled upon some Scholler Dry-Skin pants in tan and lt. gray.   Bought three pairs.

A(n) "Eureka Moment".

"Oh, Happy Day" -- by the Edwin Hawkins Singers

                                                    ~r2~

 90% are black? I must be an oddball. All of mine are green or khaki.

Robert Rowe
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
August 18, 2011 at 6:20 a.m. (EDT)

I guess (?) it's a regionally specific thing.

Just about every outdoor store I visit is overwhelmingly stocked with black hiking pants.

It's like I'm in a Harley-Davidson apparel shop.

In my usual calm and polite manner, I have mentioned the issue to the management / sales teams.   THEY are the ones that control stocking-orders.

                                                  ~r2~

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