Pyramid shelter as 4-season basecamp tent?


Original Post
Tom Owain · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Hi all,

I'm interested in getting a pyramid shelter (e.g. Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid) to use in lieu of a four season tent for longer trans-alpine trips and less technical mountaineering where I don't need to camp on small ledges etc. I'm thinking for trips here in New Zealand where I live and in the Andes. Does anyone have experience with these kinds of shelters? I'm thinking it'd be the same weight or lighter than a BD FIrstlight, much more comfortable, can sleep more people, and almost as wind resistant? 

This is the design I'm looking at: http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/camping-and-hiking/ultralight-tent/mountain-laurel-designs-supermid

Any advice would be much appreciated!

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

I have a supermid that I've started taking snow shoeing. It's pretty good. The thing only weighs 740grams (current model wt, mines more like 900g+).

Nice thing about mids is you can dig down and get more space that way. Heard of one guy pitching on a parameter of snow blocks so snow would completely slide off the mid, neat idea.

But that's a lot of fabric to catch wind, always figured if stuff went real bad I'd just collapse the center pole and reduce the structure to effectively a silnylon groundsheet with a human shaped  lump underneath it. I've been playing it safe and camping at the top of the tree line.

My recollection of the Mt Cook region was "wonder when the hut will blow away", wouldn't personally take a supermid up there.

People seem to say good things about trailstairs with respect to wind. Probably not so good with respect to snow.

Tom Owain · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Hey thanks for the reply, great to hear from someone who's actually got one. Yeah I've heard their good on snow, especially seeing as you can seal them off with snow around the perimeter, but I'm a bit worried about whether wind will get up under the shelter when camping on rock or grass. But other people say the design makes them great at shedding very high winds even though it is tall. 

Is it possible to collapse the centre pole a bit so that it has a lower profile? I'm guessing if you lower it you can't get the lower edges tight?

Graham Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 0

Hey Tom. I'm also in NZ and there's a reason a lot of people don't use a 'mid down here. Sandflies being a primary one!  Terrible weather is the other. That said, I use a BD betamid (smaller than a megamid but similar concept) for most of my camping above and below treeline here. Very common to see megamids on glaciers around the world as basecamp tents. You can pitch them lower, to a degree, but you'll have to re-adjust the corners/guy out points so not something you can do at a moment's notice. 

You also probably don't want to seal the whole thing up with snow along the edges as this is your ventilation. 

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Yeah, once the edges are touching the ground I can't see how one would drop it the center pole any lower and still have a nicely tensioned structure without a lot of screwing around.

There are low mids about, MLD used to make a speedmid which they seem to have dropped but they might be floating about second hand. It's like a supermid, but significantly lower.

Forgot about the sandflies, you can ask for perimeter bugnetting when you order from MLD. Won't be as perfect as a tent, but closer.

(All this talk is making me think about buying a duomid!)

(Edit: Ahh, here's a speedmid and perimeter netting: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HLyFSocOOAw/TcpTJG8kR0I/AAAAAAAACX8/zxuOgcLVEM4/s1600/SpeedMid+front.jpg)

(Edit 2: Netting + snow = unhappy netting)

Tom Owain · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

I think sandflies could be dealt with adequately with a mesh hanging insert, Torpedo7 has one for $50. I'm finding it so tricky to get a sense of how they'd perform. It'd be so great to have the weight savings but maybe I should go the safe route with a tent...

That speedmid looks nice, but will be tricky to find I fear!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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