Monday, 30 January 2012

My 3-season solo home away from home


On my previous post I detailed my 265g portable kitchen. This is my current ultralight shelter/sleep setup for 3-season solo trips and is what I will travel with on the Kiwi Brevet next week. I believe that this set of a equipment is light, without being stupid self-destructing or getting myself into trouble kind of ultralight. For example, the McIII sleeping bag is rated to –2C which should make this camp setup useful for all non-alpine, 3-Season conditions.


This setup is based around an incredibly light cuben fibre shelter from It is difficult to find weight efficient solo shelters. I haven’t used this the ZPacks shelter enough to judge yet but I may be close to having cracked that issue. It is so light, it can be difficult to trust it not to tear requiring mental recognition of the science of the amount of power this fabric can handle when used for sails in yacht racing. For tramping trips I can leave out the pole and use a trekking pole instead. There is no external loop for tieing the peak of the roof to a tree, or upside down bicycle so a pole is needed for bikepacking journeys. I will be interested to see how this shelter compares to my Huntech Two-man Bivvy which I rate highly, but it is much larger and substantively heavier.



The titanium pegs are light, but easy to lose. I painted the heads to make them more difficult to lose in the grass. also offer an option of pre-painted peg heads for a fee.


I could probably shave grams from the groundsheet by trimming it a bit. I do find myself using it folded, but all the same I like having it oversized for comfort and use under the stars on a clear night, or in a rock bivvy etc. A lighter cuben fibre groundsheet would be a lot lighter (and more expen$ive ) too. For jaunts into sandfly territory swapping the groundsheet for a ZPacks Hexanet bug shelter could be a great investment for very few additional net-grams. [hint: birthday; christmas :D]


I’m still using the same Thermarest Prolite 4 Short mattress that I have for years. It seems current models offer more insulation for less weight but with an emphasis on flash-packing and comfort not a lot of opportunity to save weight. As I favour through-trips and spend more time carrying than camping so comfort for me is making it easy to carry.


There are several sleeping bags lighter than the Mc-III but were not stocked by my local retailers. I haven’t gone extreme on the saving of the grams here with the Mc-III is a quality bag rated down to –2C which will meet my 3 season requirements. My scales weighed it in at 758g including the manufacturer supplied Cordura™ compression sack (claimed 680g is presumably sans compression sack).



tem Brand My scales
Cuben fibre Fly/Tarp ZPacks Hexamid Solo-Plus, including tie lines & stuff bag 111g
Carbon fibre pole ZPacks 30g
8 Pegs Titanium – from Zpacks, I added some paint on the heads 46g
Large Tyvek groundsheet Dupont (“homewrap”) 193g
Sleeping insulation mat Thermarest Prolite 4 (short) 384g
Sleeping bag Sea to Summit McIII 758g
Total   1,522g


Adding in my 265g kitchen, I now have a 1.787g solo 3-season ultralight camping setup for use on both tramping and bikepacking trips. This provides me with a complete camp and kitchen setup for approximately half of the weight of most popular tramping backpacks.

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