Richard Bucker

DIY - shelter... how low can you go?

Posted at — Feb 4, 2017

UL and SUL rejoice! Hikers and backpackers alike know that most of the weight in their pack is either the big 3 or food. When determining competitive pack weight people talk about base weight because you never have the same pack weight when you start and when you end. Meaning you eat and poop your food. Some hikers nit pick and talk about the weight of the water container but unless this was an actual competition I’m not going there.

The tyvek referred to in this post is the kite tyvek. It’s liter and softer than house tyvek. Kite tyvek is actually used to make kites.

My first tent was an 8 person family tent. It’s only use is car camping. My second tent was a 6P with the same use case. My next shelter was a lightweight hammock and after testing all sorts of suspension systems I found out that my local county park did not permit hammock. So I purchased a Six Moon Designs Luna Solo.

The Luna Solo weighs 23oz and is the heaviest of all of my shelters. (not pictured here; I need a footprint. The tyvek version is 8oz and the polycryo is less than 2oz.)

Luna - 23oz bare
30oz with tyvek
25oz with polycryo

This is a Bear Paw Designs Minimalist 1. The Minimalist 1 weighs in at 9oz. Since these are mostly made to order there is no reason why they could not reduce the weight with a different netting material. Add to this shelter two tyvek sheets and the total weight is 23oz. A few things that would aid this configuration would be either skipping the ground sheet altogether depending on site selection the sil tub may or may not last as long as the rest of the shelter.

Minimalist - 9oz bare
11oz with polycryo floor
16oz with a tyvek floor
23oz with tyvek floor and fly
13oz with polycryo floor and fly
18oz with polycryo floor and tyvek floor

polycyro is clear so there is no privacy.

For the weight; the shelters above are enclosed meaning no bugs are getting in. The Luna is a proper single wall tent with all the creature comforts you’d expect. The Minimalist can give you plenty of rain protection but there are gaps so consider using an SOL or 2GO Systems bivy instead of a sleeping bag.

Lastly this is the lightest shelter that offers bug protection.

This is a sea to summit insect shield bugnet at 2.9oz. The thing about this bugnet is that it does not have a floor. You could always sleep on the ground with an air mattress but unless you’re actually cowboy camping then why.

sea - 3oz bare (no floor)
5oz with polycryo floor
10oz with a tyvek floor
17oz with tyvek floor and fly
7oz with polycryo floor and fly
13oz with polycryo floor and tyvek floor

The last shelter is here as an emergency shelter even though I hate emergencies. SOL, Survive Outfoors Longer makes a number of “survival” products that are good for every day use. I’m considering the blanket and shelter. (The shelter is the same product as the blanket only the kit includes stakes and simple cordage. Essentially this kit is two sheets of mylar, You can deploy a few different configurations. But what makes this material important is it’s heat reflectivity.

The SOL blanket is 5’ x 8’ which is almost the exact same size as the tyvek. It is also the same weight. This makes the SOL blanket better than the tyvek for a groundsheet. It is certainly interchangeable.

(darker colored objects appear smaller than lighter objects but I can assure you the SOL is smaller.)