Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My tramping gear: Shelters - Hiking Fly + Luxe Lightwave + Coleman Spirit 2 + SOL Bivvy Bag

Of tents, fly sheets and shelters...

Fly sheets/shelters

Oztrail hiking fly
I usually carry a  Oztrail hiking fly which I use as an emergency shelter when arriving at an over full hut.Total weight with guys/pegs + a Sea to Summit bug net is only 1 kg. I have never needed it as an emergency shelter as I have yet to arrive at a hut so full to the brim that I couldn't even sleep on the floor.

The Oz Trail Hiker Fly
Specifications are:

Oztrail Hiker Fly, 3.5(W) x2.1(H), 850gms (with pegs)+
Sea to Summit 1 person bug net, 240gms

Oz Trail Hiker fly in use

I would use this all of the time as I find flysheets to be very adaptable shelters, but they are not always the best choice especially in areas with a large bug population (most of the South Island of NZ especially the West Coast and Fiordland).

 Flys are not ideal for tops shelter either, hence my use of a tent.

A selection of shelters you can make with your standard rectangular tarp

There are many online articles dealing with the subject of tarps, one of the best I have seen is on the Section Hiker website. 


 I currently have 2 tents which I use, one is my main tent, the other is used as a base tent or as a 2 person shelter.

Big Agnes Coper Spur UL 1

I brought a new light weight tent for my Te Araroa Trail  thru-hike, it is the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 tent. This is a true free standing3+season tent which weighs a light 1 kg. I brought this in a 2017 summer sale for only $450 down from the usual price of over $700 NZD.

Specifications are:
Copper Spur UL 1, 2.24(L)x1.10(W)x98(H)cm, 1 kg

Copper Spur UL 1: fast shelter only

Copper Spur UL 1: no fly

Copper Spur UL 1: fly fitted but open

Copper Spur UL 1: fly closed

Luxe- Lightwave
I have just invested in a new lightweight 1-2 person tent.  I use this when I plan to spend the night camping rather than in a hut. After a lot of searching and comparison I went with the Luxe Lightwave, 1.28 kg, tunnel shape for wind resistance and a annex for my pack. I think this will serve my needs nicely, the NZD $280 price was also very competitive.

Specifications are:

Luxe Lightwave II, 2.4(L) x 1.55(W)x1.05(H)cm, 1.3 kg

Luxe Lightwave
Luxe is a newer Chinese outdoor company, quality looks to be comparable to well known brands like Vaude/ MSR/ Exped/Marmot etc. I have read some very good reviews for Luxe gear, it will be interesting to see how it performs.

Luxe Lightwave in use on the QCT, 2016
Me in my Luxe Lightwave on the QCT, 2016

The Lightwave in action

I will use this tent if planning to camp and continue to carry my hikers tarp/fly + bug net combo when I expect to be in a hut.

Luxe Lightwave II floor plan

Post Script 2016: I have been successfully using this tent for several years now and am in the process of sourcing an new lightweight tent. The tent has worked well but I am looking for something lighter.  I needed to re storm seal it after using it on the Queen Charlotte Track this last Summer, but apart from that it is still as good as new. 

Coleman Spirit 2

 My other tent is a Coleman Spirit 2 person tent, this is a excellent tent- roomy, good ventilation, stable and waterproof.

Specifications are:
Coleman ‘Spirit 2′ (small 2 person) 2.6(L) x 1.4(W) x 1.0(H), 1.9kg
The Coleman Spirit 2 tent

The Spirit 2 is a one pole or "hoop" design, it is not free standing and must be pegged to the ground to allow it to stand. You have to be very careful when selecting a tent site as these one pole designs are prone to collapse in strong wind. That said, I have used this tent in strong Nor'Wester winds and it was very secure.

Another view of the Coleman Spirit 2 tent

I have replaced the heavy steel pegs with triangular aluminium for a saving of over 100 gms. Unfortunately, it is still a bit heavy at 1.9kg for a solo shelter, I continue to use this as a true 2 person tent or as a base camp shelter.

SOL Survival Bivy Bag

If I am out on a day trip and expect to be home by nightfall I obviously don't want to carry a tent/fly with me. Safety dictates that I should be carrying some form of cover in case of accident, getting lost, or being forced to spend a night outdoors.

I carry a SOL Bivvy Bag which is basically a emergency "space blanket" in the form of a bag. 

These bags reflect body heat to keep the occupant warm (...ish...I have slept out in an older style survival bag and it was a bit chilly even with a fleece on...), it would be uncomfortable but at least you would survive the night.

One of the problems with these survival bags is condensation, happily the SOL bag is breathable which negates the condensation problem entirely.

Weight of these is about 250gms, they cost $90-$100 from most New Zealand outdoor stores.