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Reconsidering tent in waist pack

March 03, 2021 — BarryK

I recently went on an overnight hike with a Daylight lumbar pack, also known as a waist pack, or fanny pack. Blog report:

The weight of the waist pack and contents was about 4.5kg, which is too high. I am now going through the exercise of exploring how to reduce the weight. Firstly, I considered the base load, without shelter or sleeping:

...which is 1.31kg.

In this post, I am considering options for the tent. Here is a breakdown of the weight of the Aricxi tipi-bivi-style tent used in the last hike:

Long pole (CF)
Short pole
Inner tent
Outer tent (fly)
Stakes & cord

So, this post is aiming to bring that figure of 989g down somewhat.

Apart from weight consideration, the tent has issues. There were things that I didn't like, such as constriction when sitting up, difficulty in erecting the fly, and requirement of at least 12 stakes.

Then, being elderly with all kinds of aches and pains, the difficulty of crawling into and out of, and contorting around inside.

I would like to revisit the Big Sky Soul 1P tent, that I used in 2016. Since then, it has been in the closet, however, I do think it is worth another look. The main reason is the ease of access: just step in and step out, no crawling around.

I introduced the Soul tent here:


Here is a field test in 2016:

Here is a weight breakdown of the Soul tent:

Poles (aluminium)
Groundsheet (tyvek)
Inner tent
Outer tent
Stakes, 4xshort, 2xlong

1115g is a bit on the heavy side. However, there are Duralite carbon fibre poles available from Big Sky, that weigh just 210g, which will bring the total down to 1008g.

The main objective is to get weight off the waist pack, so what if the poles could be carried somewhere else on the body, maybe even strapped across the shoulders? The weight of the tent carried in the waist pack would then reduce to 798g. Very interesting! Just a lateral thought, have to put that one on hold for now.

EDIT 2021-03-04:
Received an email from Bob, owner of Big Sky, informing me that the Duralite carbon fibre poles are currently not available. He didn't say when they will be available.
A possibility, maybe, is to have them custom made -- I think there are people who do that.
However, bending carbon fibre poles is tricky. They tend to split at the joins, as the fibres run lengthwise. I know about the splitting from personal experience. The feature of the Duralite poles is the fibres are criss-crossed so resist splitting at the joins.

The next overnight test is planned to be with the Aricxi tarp tent, with inner mesh bivi, another cheap tent that I purchased from Aliexpress:


I used a 125cm folding carbon fibre pole with the tent on the previous hike, but found it to be too long. I have also estimated that it will be too long for the tarp tent, so have ordered this one:

...only 60g and 114cm long. Folds to 28cm.

This tarp is extremely interesting, as there are various possibilities how it can be erected. Here is a table showing two choices:

Groundsheet (tyvek)
Inner tent
Outer tent (tarp)
Stakes & cord
Extra cord

Pole (CF)


These two choices are with or without the carbon fibre pole. Without, there would have to be two conveniently-spaced branches, to which cords can be attached. The tarp ridge-line can be held up by cord at each end. I have estimated an extra 20g cord, but that remains to be seen in the field.

Two possible weights, 751g or 711g. I plan to take the pole on the next hike, but extremely interested in exploring pole-less erection.

The potential is that weight of shelter will be reduced from 989g to 711g, which is a reduction of 278g.

Adding 711g to the previous tally of 1314g, the grand total is now 2025g, 2.025kg. This is potential, need to get out there in the field and test.

EDIT 2021-03-4:
I received an email from Jon, with a link to a light weight tent sold by Paddy Pallin here in Australia. The thing is, though, it achieves the light weight by being single-skin.

If you are interested in shopping around for a tent, it is important to be aware of the difference. This was my reply to Jon:

Thanks for the info. The problem is, it is a single skin tent.

There are a lot out there that will bring the weight down, but are
only single skin.

I know the value of a double skin tent. Have often camped when there
is heavy condensation overnight, and the condensation forms on the
inside of the outer tent, not on the inner tent.

With the single skin tents, the condensation forms on the inside and
runs down onto the tent floor. Plus, if the sleeping back touches the
side, it gets wet.

There are some single skin designs from specialist tent manufacturers
in the USA, super-ultralight, with a band of horizontal mesh around
the bottom to separate the floor from the walls, so moisture running
down will fall through the mesh and not run onto the floor. They are
very expensive, and still a compromise as the inside walls will get

Another consideration is ventilation in our hot Aussie weather. Many summer nights, you want all the cooling breezes that you can get, plus you want to keep the bugs out. Hence, the mesh inner tent is essential!

Having said that, if weight reduction is your highest priority, you might be prepared to put up with condensation on the inside walls and extremely limited ventilation. That is a choice made by some super-ultralight hikers.

Just remembered another type of tent, known as a "hybrid tent". This is single-skin but has one mesh wall with outside fly flap. In some cases there is mesh with fly flap on two sides. This is very much a compromise.     

Tags: light