Black Diamond Megamid
Price Paid: 150$
I've been climbing, kayaking, and backcountry skiing all over the Western Hemisphere for about 35 years, and my Megamid is one of my favorite shelters.
Like any piece of gear that is non-stupidity proof, it requires some skill, knowledge, and judgement in its use, so I'd have to attribute the few negative comments in this review (above) as due to the reviewers' lack of those 3 things.
I've used one on Denali below 14K and it stood up well to some pretty stiff wind/snow conditions. On ski tours, if you're clever, and dig your sleeping hole properly, with a little overhang to the sidewalls, you can sleep 5 people in there, snugly.
Next summer, I'll be using it as the shelter while kayaking the inside passage, and the only thing I'll be adding is a bit of bug netting wrap around the entire bottom, similar to how Dave Olsen at OWARE does his pyramid tents. I'm a little saddened that BD has chosen to discontinue this tent, in favor of the Mega Light, which uses the much less durable silnylon. But, I suppose that, like many other highly successful pieces of outdoor gear, (eg North Face Westwind) the damned things were just plain lasting too long, and weren't being replaced frequently enough for BD's profit margin and carefully crafted "planned obsolescence" marketers.
My current Mid is going on 10 years old now, and I suppose I'll have to grab up another that's been sitting on a shelf in a shop somewhere as soon as I can find such a deal.
Price Paid: $99
I have had the same idea, about adding removable netting around the bottom edge and, if possible, a permanent netting door. I want it to look really nice. I know some places will make modifications for you. I would also like a removeble "frost-liner".
I love the Megamid light-magenta and silver colors.
If Black Diamond must only make the Megalight, I wish they would offer light-magenta and silver.
I would like to try a "stove jack" and a small tent stove in an "extra" Megamid.
Of course, I don't need to purchase another Megamid. After a dozen years, my Megamid shows absolutely no signs of wear.
Black Diamond should consider bringing back the Megamid.
Ease of Setup: cumbersome
Price Paid: rented
I used this tent on a 6 day Sierra High Route tour in '97.
There were four in our party and the weight per person was extremely minimal. However, the work to erect it and make it weatherproof was substantial, especially after lugging a full pack, on skis, over high Sierra terrain for 6-8 hours!
To make it weather proof and roomy enough for 4 you need to cut and dig snow blocks at least 12" deep. This give the height needed for adequate floor area (for 4 people, two or 3 may require less). The blocks then are placed around the perimeter and gaps filled with snow to seal out drafts as much as possible. Once done, it is a very light, effective shelter. After our trip, we concluded that it was more work than it was worth.
For short trips where you don't mind putting so much effort into setting up your shelter, it is a good choice. For our SHR trip, it was a PITA!
Don't get me wrong, I like the concept!
Design: Pyramid Tarp w/ a pole and stakes
Sleeps: 9'x9',you decide
Ease of Setup: Can take a while to layout, anchor the stakes and raise the tent with the pole. Terrain is important due to staking requirements. Can use rope to suspend center from a tree and cut down to four stakes, but takes longer to set up and find right site.
Weight: 3lbs +, or less if you cut some tent parts out. See"ease of set up".
Price Paid: around $200
If you use the poles and the stakes, it can take a while to layout, anchor the stakes and then get in and raise the tent with the pole-then go around and adjust everything. Surrounding terrain is important due to staking requirements--9 stakes. On the other hand you can leave the pole at home, use a piece of rope to suspend the center from a tree or other and cut down to four stakes. Of course this takes even longer to set up and a while to find the right site. The weight reduction is worth it for me.
I discussed the set up which is an important aspect, especially after a long day of hiking, or if you need to be picky about the site you choose (Those self supporting tents really shine then, IF you want to carry their weight all day). The Mega Mid is roomy. No floor. Water can be a problem, ie. site selection is important, sleep on your non absorbent pad, or carry a tarp to sleep on if you go with the inflatables. It is so big that it is tempting to cook, be prepared for the condensation though. If you don't cook, it will still condensate. If you can tolerate this, you can shake it gently off the inside of the tent and hope that it rolls down the sides before it drops. Depending on how high you raise the pole, which elevates the sides off the ground, you can adjust the ventilation by allowing a breeze at the ground level. Therefore, if it is blowing hard, you may get cold or wet depending on the type of weather.
I believe in constructive criticism. It makes us more aware of our surroundings and the adaptive use of our gear.
So, this is not a negative review, just a look at the versatility of this tent. In my opinion, you have to learn to use this tent. I met a winter outdoorsman at the base of Virgina on my thru hike of the AT and he educated me on the use of this tent. I carried an Arch Rival Walrus and then a Marmot Bivy (thanks sis for sending me my bivy) all the way from Maine and was looking for something to protect me in the winter weather that I was dealing with day to day. Going from a cozy tent that pops up and totally protects, to a tarp with no floor takes some convincing. In the winter the weight reduction paid off. Once you learn to use the Mega Mid you will either decide it is too much to deal with, or that it is truly a lightweight luxury.
Design: Minimalist-Floorless Tent
Ease of Setup: Easy
Weight: Under 4lbs
Price Paid: $120
I bought my Mega in the Spring/Summer of 2000 directly from BD on a 'closeout' special. At the time, I knew nothing about their tents...and this was before they came to be associated with Bibler.
It was either this one or a Kiva (Mtn Hardwear), and the Kiva (brand-new at the time, as I recall) was about twice as expensive. It was a 'gamble' that definitely paid off.
Admittedly, I haven't tested the thing in winter conditions. But no troubles for 3-season minimalist trekking! It's come in very handy when visiting Pismo Beach in California, and it's been used a lot as a temporary shade cover on those family/friends beach outings.
It also works well if you're looking for a bike trek companion. I've used it for shelter for 2 bikes while we stayed in our other tent, but I think you might even be able to fit 2 bikes/2 campers into that tent if you really wanted to.
Has the Megamid been fazed out for the MegaLite now? Maybe so...but if you can find an existing Megamid out there, I highly recommend it.
Ease of Setup: 5-60 minutes
Weight: 3 lbs (without pole)
Price Paid: $125
Four people on a week long Sierra spring ski tour. This sounds like a job for a couple 6lb tents, right? No, 3lb the Megamid *comfortably* held all four of us, with our gear, and even included the option of cooking inside. Two sets of joined ski poles created a nice A-frame support, so we didn't need the pole that comes with the tent. We did take a thin plastic tarp to use as a partial floor, and we all had either Dryloft bags or bivy sacks, and these added some measurable weight to the system. But the space and comfort of this tent, along with it being so nice for all four of us to be in the same tent during the several nights of snowfall we encountered, made stuffing that little 3lb ball of nylon into the top of my pack a joy.
The downside? Well, you save weight with the Megamid by digging a pit, with blocks for walls. To do this for a party of three takes a little time, but it's not too bad. To dig it out for four requires a more exacting excavation and sometimes took us the better part of an hour to complete. So I wasn't always smiling over this tent. I renamed it the "Digamid". Still, given the opportunity to choose between the manual labor of digging in every evening or humping an extra 2-3 lbs of gear per person, I'd go with the Megamid every time.
Ease of Setup: Very easy - 2 minutes
Weight: A lot lighter than a full-featured tent.
Price Paid: Don't remember
I bought this tent about ten years ago and it works as intended. Very easy, fast setup... if it's not too windy I'll just use four stakes in the corners and one for the door. The pole in the middle and sagging sides make it a little less roomy than a conventional tent, but it can also be pitched via a rope in a tree, eliminating the pole.
I wouldn't want to share this tent with more than one or two other people. In humid conditions and/or where the ground is wet, it does get a little wet inside. Laying a tarp on the ground before setting it up really helps (I heard that now there's a floor that one can buy... floor - $80, tarp -
Ease of Setup: Fast and easy
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Price Paid: $150
For years I have hauled expidition style tents. Have found the Megamid to be my tent of choice in everything except extreme high wind conditions. Even in Teton winds it holds up well.
The weight can't be beat. For winter camping it is the best I have used. The center pole adjusts to allow you to dig down the sides. For those who want to go extremely light ditch the pole and use an adjustable ski pole or probe. I used the Megamid for a week in the Winds last year and was extremely happy. It's great for waiting out the afternoon thunderstorms. Nothing fancy about the design. Like everything from Black Diamond, it is clean, easy, light, and fast.
Design: 4 season, floorless
Ease of Setup: very very easy..and easy to adjust for ventalation and changing weather
Weight: 3lb 8oz
Price Paid: $197
This thing is awsome, floorless so you can dig into snow or get extra ventalation in summer. Has a loop on top so you can suspend from a line tied to a tree. You can set this tent up in the back of a truck if you 4-wheel drive camp. It sets up in no time, and has only one pole (shockcorded). You can use it to protect bikes if you mountain bike. This thing has a use for everyone !! I love it...drawback, no floor so you must get a good tarp.
Design: Pyramid - Single Pole
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: $50
The Megamid rules. We have used it on half a dozen alpine trips. It is light and spacious inside. Fairly wind resistant if you stake it down really tight. We seem to use it mostly on dirt or grass, but this thing is even better in the snow, were you can dig out seating, cooking, and sleeping platforms. Downside: no good for buggy areas. It has no mesh.
Design: 4 season
The tent was used in a snowstorm in the Sierra's last January. At 1:30 in the morning the pole snapped allowing the heavy weight of the snow to lay upon my body.
I do not recommend this tent for use in possible snowfall conditions
Price Paid: $200
I took this tent to Ladakh to do some lightweight trekking -- it was absolutely useless and I felt embarrassed to own it. Every evening I had to build a rock wall around it to stop the wind coming in. When I left Ladakh I GAVE it to some local horsemen who were RELUCTANT to accept it because they had witnessed how pathetic it was. I can't think of a single positive thing to say about it. I still cringe when I think about it!
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