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Dyneema tent reviews NEEDED

There are a lot of Dyneema backpacking tents on the market. Yes, they are all pretty pricey so I understand why many, including myself, do not own them. 

So try to rent then or borrow them (after taking out an insurance policy on them). I've been calling around but so far nobody I know owns one (or so they say. ;o)

Eric B.

I believe that Ed, Whomeworry, has a Hyperlite Mountain Ultamid 2 made of Dyneema that he speaks highly of.

Hi Eric,

A number of Trailspace members have reviewed their Hyperlite shelters, including

And while we don't have reviews of these yet, Big Agnes has introduced several Dyneema tents (they all have "Carbon" in the name):

Of course, if anyone has used these or other Dyneema tents, it would be great to have them share reviews here too.

I would not suggest getting a dyneema tent floor, as the fabric does not stand up well to contact with rocks and other sharps.  Some say use a footprint, but I am guessing you'll still get holes if a water tight floor is imperative.  If you are just keeping condensation from the ground, the footprint will suffice.  Given this consideration, perhaps a dyneema floor is worth it if you are trying to keep crawling bugs out of your sleeping quarters.

Brian is right, I do use the Megamid2.  It comes with a inner netting option, but I choose to use a much lighter personal bug net, designed for sleeping under the stars.  The Megamid is large for 2P - huge as a solo tent.  Nevertheless I only use it in snow or rain; otherwise it's cowboy camping under the stars for me.  If your set the tent taut, the rain drums loudly, like a tin roof.  Some like that, some don't.  And the tent walls can make a racket if the wind kicks up, regardless if the pitch is taut or slack.  I wear ear plugs at home (light sleeper) and they solve the noise issue in these tents. 

Lastly note dyneema is somewhat translucent.  The lighter color ones may not offer sufficient privacy for modest campers.  On the other hand the darker color options seem so oppressive.  There always seems to be trade offs...

Ed

I suggest looking at Tarptent for some very innovative Dyneema tents. Usually they are in the "Lithium" line such as the Notch Li, to distinguish it from the silnylon Notch. 

Most recent is the AEON Li which has many clever improvements on the traditional solo 'mid (pyramid) design. 

Some TT Dyneema tents have the option of a silnylon floor that adds only about 1.5 oz.

Hopefully somebody here ponys up the cash for a new AEON and reviews it at Trailspace.

Eric B.

Thanks, Ed, for the feedback on Dyneema! FYI,  think you meant Ultamid 2 (Hyperlite) not Megamid2 (Black Diamond) above.

Eric, good call on suggesting Tarptents. They have three models made from Dyneema (all have "Li" in the name): 

  • Aeon Li (solo, single wall, $535)
  • Notch Li (solo, double wall, $539-619)
  • StratoSpire Li (two-person, double wall, $689-709)

I'd also love to read some reviews of these shelters if anyone out there has been using them.

Alicia said:

Thanks, Ed, for the feedback on Dyneema! FYI,  think you meant Ultamid 2 (Hyperlite) not Megamid2 (Black Diamond) above.

 I stand corrected.  Hey Alicia, perhaps you can go over my taxes and catch my errors:)

Ed

At TT Lithium is the sub brand  for DCF, the way BA uses Carbon for theirs.

When someone at TT came up with the name Lithium it immediately sounded "right" to me but could not think why.

Then I realised it was from the weight of the lithium AA batteries compared to alkaline or Ni Cad, much lighter...

( I used to sell them) 

BTW, there will be more Lithium models coming out. 

whomeworry said:

Alicia said:

Thanks, Ed, for the feedback on Dyneema! FYI,  think you meant Ultamid 2 (Hyperlite) not Megamid2 (Black Diamond) above.

 I stand corrected.  Hey Alicia, perhaps you can go over my taxes and catch my errors:)

Ed

 Ha ha! I don't think we want to go that far.

One thing I'd like to see is the option on ALL Dyneema tents for  a colored fly (green. brown or camo). This not only affords more privacy but gives shade as well. Surely adding color to Dyneema can't ve that expensive. I'd pay another $50. max for this option.

Eric B.

You will be disappointed attempting to find shade in a dyneema tent.  Even if they provided shade, inside they are going to be oven-like, unless a stiff breeze is circulating through the shelter.  The green and brown dyneema options I've seen are dark, really oppressing and claustrophobic inducing.

Ed

I picked up an Aeon, and have spent a couple of nights in it in the backyard, but won't have a chance to use it in the backcountry before May probably. I promise a review then. 

From what I've seen, colored Dyneema is only slightly more expensive, and slightly heavier (it's an extra coating apparently?). I generally don't camp where I need my tent to provide privacy, and for me the translucency of DCF is a huge benefit -- I feel a lot more comfortable being able to see a bit what's going on around my sleeping spot. I especially like the white for that reason.

Ed, I can't see why WELL-ventilated Dyneema tents would be "oven-like" any more than well-ventilated silnylon tents. Both fabrics are pretty much wind blocking because of their high hydrostatic head.

The Tarptent Dyneema tents i've seen look to have good ventilation, with the necessary  lower and upper ventilation. I have a TT Moment DW silnylon tent that is vented the same way the very similar Notch Li Dyneema tent is ventilated. It works very well in most conditions.

Granted some other makers of Dyneema tents have not addressed ventilation adequately and in this competitive market they will have to improve to succeed.

Eric B.

Zalman said:

..I feel a lot more comfortable being able to see a bit what's going on around my sleeping spot. I especially like the white for that reason.

I like the white because it is bright and cheery.  I've spent way too many hours back in the day ensconced in tents with colored canopies that blocked out too much light or made for funky ambient lit interiors.  Hyperlite uses a heavier gauge fabric than most other brands, so the transparency is reduced to vague silhouettes of nearby objects.  I hear what's outside my tarp well before seeing it through the tent wall.

Ed

Eric:

I find all single and double wall tents too warm in direct sun, unless there is a good breeze and you open all vents and doors.  Even in pretty cold conditions a bright sun will turn a tent interior into an oven.  I find resorting to a dining fly or other shade source more satisfactory.  There is a hack: cover the tent with your sleeping bag, it will block the sun from heating the tent.

In any case I prefer a blue sky or stars over my head.  I am in a tent solely to get away from rain and snow.  But I do very much appreciate shade, and carry a parasol that gets much more use as a shade than as cover from the rain.

Ed

Ed,

For some reason I feel more comfortable in a tent (unless it is boiling hot). Sometimes after making camp in an early afternoon I'll just go inside, zip the door closed and take a well deserved nap. Hey, I'm a geezer and we do nap a lot. ;o)

The gray silnylon on Tarptents seems to strike there right amount of shade but a nice green color would also be nice.

I cowboy camper I ain't unless conditions are perfect, i.e. cool but not too cold and clear skies W/O any bugs.

Eric B.

The cold is not an issue with me, I just take a warmer bag.  But bugs can be a real distraction.  As mentioned previously, I have a personal bug net designed for sleep.  FWIW, the color dyneema options always seem to be grayish, for example green appears gray-green, etc.    

Ed

I generally do not camp where I want my tent to provide privacy, and for me the translucency of DCF is a huge advantage with  -- I experience lots more relaxed being able to see a chunk what is occurring around my sound asleep spot. I specifically like the white for that reason.

Whomeworry,

My 1st camp with my new NotchLi was this June in coastal southern California with my grandsons. it was 80 F. overnight but I opened both fly doors and the breeze going through the tent was just right. That mesh top 1/3 of the inner tent sides was just enough to permit a nice cross ventilation without it hitting me in the face.

Eric B.

One of the German couples I shared the trail with on Hornstrandir/Iceland had a Stratospire Li, which accommodates two under under 2 lbs. I was impressed, but haven't gotten up the courage to drop $700 on a tent, never mind the 25% Norwegian VAT. I think I would want the solid wall option  for Norwegian conditions, and might still worry about wind-worthiness. Some reviews characterize it as pretty sturdy, but I'm guessing you want some extra pegs to guy it out.

Meanwhile, REI has come up with a UL two-person tent at only about $300, not Dyneema but in the same weight class if you use trekking poles.  Single wall with mesh side panels inside the vestibules. It has a ridge pole the looks to help the tent keep its shape even with an imperfect pitch. The single wall ends would reduce wind blowing fine rain or grit in, but with the potential for some condensation drippage. Some reviews on REI are critical of wind performance.

The Skurka-designed SD High Route 1 is also in the $300/UL class without Dyneema. It has a similar diagonal-offset pole set-up to the Stratospire to maximize head room, but the vestibules look awfully small. All-mesh inner tent. Since I'm not much of a soloist these days, I'd be more interested in a 2P version.

Big Red,

That 25% Norwegian Value Added Tax you mentioned is a good example of why the US should NEVER have a VAT type tax. It is a "multiple sales tax" paid by every entity along the line (distributor, wholesaler, retailer) until it finally lands on the consumer as an ACCUMULATION of all the previous VAT taxes in the line. The tax "buck" is passed directly to the consumer.

It is in fact a multiple sales tax, plain and simple.

OK enough ranting.  

Yeah there are a few light silnylon tents, mostly single wall or hybrid single/double wall. I had a Tarptent Contrail single wall and the original single wall Moment with optional partial "liner". Nothing new. I just like double wall tents.

The TT AEON Li is single wall, thus its feathery weight. But it can't withstand a blowing snow storm, as proven Backpacking Light's article on the tent by Ryan Jordan, not that it was ever intended to do so.

Eric B.

I haven't dropped the $ on these tents yet...its my natural cheapness kicking in. Every time I think about it I look at the weight savings and decide to haul my 2 lb silnylon tent back up the hills again (apparently that's less work than prying open my wallet). I think my pack weight has reached a balanced equilibrium with my wallet.

Same reason I haven't used Backpacking Light. I'm sure its a good site based in you and others but I'm too cheap to subscribe! Maybe one day. 

Phil, I think you are doing the right thing.   Dyneema is great, but I'd save up for it, and in the mean time wear out that silnylon tent.  Dyneema is only modestly  lighter than silnylon, albeit tougher in the wind.  If your tent was good enough, it still is.  

Ed

September 26, 2020
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