More on the ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tent

A number of people have made recent inquiries as to how I liked my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus tent and what are my thoughts on it. So, this morning I weathered the storm and made another video…

To date I have only used the tent on 4 nights. Temperatures have ranged from mid teens (F) to mid 50’s. The nights have varied between calm, windy, and as of last night (or rather early this morning) rainy. I am saying this to say up front that I do not have ton’s of experience with it, but the limited amount of use so far has been in a respectably wide range of conditions (IMO). By this I mean, other than in the dead of summer, these are the conditions in which I expect to use this tent in.

Real quick, the bottom line is that I LOVE THIS TENT! I have found it to be very easy and surprisingly fast to set-up. The interior space is more than adequate, and so far it seems to protect me from the elements rather well. Despite the lack of top vents, thanks to the ventilation around the entire perimeter as well as the large amount of ventilation at the front of the tent I have yet to experience any moisture build up on the interior walls. I am not saying that it will not happen, but so far there has been none, and I feel that this is due to the high amount of air that easily passes through the tent. On the other hand, be prepared to account for a drafty tent on cold nights. So far I would compare this tent to the openness/breeziness of a tarp. However, I welcome this.

I love the fact that I chose white (or clear) cuben rather than the green or the blue. Granted at 0.51 oz/sqyd none of the colors will provide complete privacy, but I really like how see-through the white is. I can kick back at night and almost see the stars (they turn out to be blurry spots, but it is rather beautiful). As well, since the edges do not tack down to the ground and the front offers a large amount of visibility when lying down (even with the beak pulled out) I can check out my surroundings with hardly a distraction. The last night of our hike when I laid down I was able to roll over on my side and watch the fire die down from the comfort of my tent (and the warm sleeping bag).

There are 3 “tricks” that I have learned about the tent (which very well may not be tricks at all but rather me just learning about the tent).

  1. When setting up the tent, the 2 front corner guylines are staked down first. When staking the second guyline down Joe recommends to give it about 8″ of slack. (This allows the appropriate amount of slack to be in the tent so the trekking pole fits correctly.) I have simply marked a black line on the spectra cord at the 8″ mark. Now I always know to start with the corner where the ZPacks patch is first. (I also know that this is my front left facing corner so I can easily orient the tent.) Then the rest is easy-peasy…so make that mark to get it right the first time, every time!
  2. Before staking out the front beak guyline I stake the back center guy line down. This prevents the front of the tent from falling over when I am trying to guy out the front of the tent. When I stake out the back guyline I simply let the guyline lay limp on the ground and then stake it down about 2″ in from where the end of it lies. This has been the right amount each time. With the back staked out I can pull the front beak out and it works great!
  3. The shock cord for the beak is attached to the loop with a mitten hook at the end of the front guyline where it stakes in the ground. Up until last night I would simply attach the shock cord to the loop on the beak (with a second mitten hook) and leave it at that. However, the beak seemed to sag in a bit despite how tight I adjusted the shock cord. A light bulb went off last night…once I attach the shock cord to the beak loop, then attach it to the front guy line too… It pulled the beak out a little more. Sweet.

Also, I have found that the mitten hook can be a little difficult to attach to the loop on the beak. So, I am planing to add a small spectra loop to the beak loop. The spectra is much easier to slide the mitten hook over.

However, there are some things that I am not the happiest about. Namely one, and it has nothing to do with the actual tent. I HATE SEAM SEALING! When I seam sealed my Hexamid I added exactly 1 oz of extra weight to the tent. That’s ok, but now that it has rained on it, well, it’s not ok anymore. There are a few areas that water will still drip in with enough rain… Crap…

So, now I have 2 options. Buy some more SeamSil which I do not (will not) want to do. Or I can buy some of the tape and an extra yard of cuben from Joe and tape the tent myself. This will be the route I will go with, but first I need to save up another $60 for the tape and the cuben. Then of course I will have to actually tape it…bummer.

The biggest problem I have with this is that it will add additional weight. I wish that I would have thought about asking Joe to tape the tent before shipping it. I am not sure if he would have done it, or how much extra it would cost to tape a tent even if he did, but knowing what I do now, I would have asked Joe about it and if he would have said yes, I would have done it. Now, I will have both seam seal and tape on it…

But, like I said, that does not change the way I feel about the tent itself. I still love it and am very happy that I have it. You know how you get something and you use it and you think to yourself, this just works for me…well, that is how I feel about this tent. It just works for me. I am not saying this is the best tent in the world, or even that you would have the same feelings about it…but for me, well, I love it…

So, I hope that this has answered some questions for those of you interested. And if my writing has merely provided confusion, maybe the following video will better explain it…If not just post or comment below and I will answer them the best that I can.

Thanks for watching…

~Stick~

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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16 Responses to More on the ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tent

  1. Grover says:

    Did you sell your hexamid

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Grover,

      I did and picked up the Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp & (updated) Hexanet to replace it. I have a few write ups & videos of it here on my blog if you are interested.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. SandyofPA says:

    Hi Stick, I have the Hexamid Solo and I wanted to mention if you want to shave just a squeak more weight off yours, you can remove the mitten hooks on the ground sheet and use the toggles to button it on the loops instead. So far, the ground sheet has not come unbuttoned!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Sandy,

      Great tip! Thanks for sharing. I will look into doing this…plus it gives me extra mitten hooks for other diy things too… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. dMac says:

    Hey Stick! Thanks for all the effort you put into these reviews. I hope to be doing the same soon. I have a Hex Twin on order now with Joe and have found all your tips extremely helpful. I have only seam sealed TarpTents in the past and always used 100% silicone and paint thinner. I then used a foam brush to apply from ‘inside’ the tent. This was per Henry’s instructions for the Tarptents. Never had a problem with those seals. I wonder if the issue is SilNet, Cuben or applying from the outside that changes this dynamic? Sorry for the frustration and I am concerned myself for my upcoming purchase! Hate to invest that much money for an ultralight tent, only to add another 2oz. of silicone to make it waterproof! Thanks again for the blog, keep up the good work!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      dMac,

      Thanks for checking out my site, and I am glad to hear that the content was useful to you…

      Once you get that Hex Twin in you will have to be sure to come back and let us know what you think about it…and those things that you only find out once you have it in your hands…

      That is the same concoction that I had planned on trying the next time I seam sealed a tent, but when my Hex came with the SilNet I just went with it again…TBH, I wish I would have went with the concoction…

      As far as inside vs outside, I had always heard of doing it from the outside rather than the inside. This way the sealer will also protect the thread from wetting out. Now whether this is right or wrong…beats me… Also, as you probably know, I got my Hex in white…and it is really hard to see the sealer on this color once applied…maybe it was the lighting I was in, I don’t know. I seam sealed it inside though, so the area was well lit.

      Anyway, good luck with your new tent…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. Trace says:

    Do you find that if two people are in the tent that there is inadequate headroom for the person against the backwall? Since there’s so little weight difference between this and the Twin, wondering if going with the twin might be worth the extra headroom … any feedback appreciated!

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    • Stick says:

      Trace,

      Of course that would depend on the size of the person. My wife or my son are both small people so it is not that big of an issue. So, it would depend on that of course.

      If you are planning to use the tent for 2 you may be better off with the twin. I am not planning to use mine for 2 very often which is why I went with the Solo Plus.

      Hope this helps,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Len Glassner says:

    Regarding seam sealing, couldn’t agree more.

    A few months ago I asked Joe why he didn’t didn’t seam tape. He said he did initially, but then the tape pealed after a while and he got some returns, so he stopped. That’s unfortunate, as it keeps me reluctant to buy a shelter from him. And I’d love to, no other vendor is as easy to work with as he is.

    Anyway, I have a Lightheartgear Cuben Solo that I used for my AT thru, Spent 80-90 nights in it and the seam tape seams to still be OK. Ironically, it did develop a leak in the end points where the silnylon bottom is exposed – that seam requires sealer.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Len,

      I too remember Joe mentioning this in one of the many emails we have exchanged. Which surprises me now though that he is offering a couple of products sewn and taped (CF Overmitts, Poncho/Ground Sheet, and his newer WP/B CF rain jacket is stated as being “bonded”). Of course Joe now also sells the double sided tape. And now, after I exchanged a few emails with him about how to make the tape single sided I have noticed that he now sells 54″ sections of the tape that he has made single sided by bonding a strip of cuben to one side of the tape. I actually need to email him and ask him if I can get the single sided tape with some white 0.34 as the backing rather than the green 0.51. This way I can use these strips to tape the tent.

      Anyway, it makes me wonder if the peeling had something to do with the older cuben or maybe the tape. I have seen some DIY videos in which people bonded their cuben tarps, but they used a primer with the tape. So, I don’t know. I have a pair of the Joe’s Overmitts, and they are sewn. As well, I sent a dry sack back in which some of the side seams came apart and he taped it after sewing it back to help reinforce it.

      But anyway, thanks for stopping by an offering the info about your LHCS tent. I was quite interested in these a while back, but didn’t have the $$ at the time. It just so happened that once I had the money Joe’s Hexamid was in my sites…and I gotta say I am very happy with it so far…don’t think that I made a bad decision…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. Pat Combee says:

    Great review Stick! Lots of great detail. I do have a suggestion regarding the pull outs. This is something I do on my Cuben Hammock tarp from Z-packs: I use a short piece of shock cord on each pull out, then attached my guy line to the shock cord. It keeps the pull outs taught but still has some give to it if the wind hits it.
    I really like the info about the corner guy outs; Like you, I would not have seam sealed them. Nice to know that seam sealing them might be a good idea.
    On the front beak, you could tie a Prussik on the the main guy line and then attach the mitten hook to the Prussik (like the SixMoonDesigns Lunar solo, not sure if your Lunar Duo has the same beak setup as the solo). Love your information, keep it coming!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Pat,

      We must think alike…

      I was thinking about adding a piece of bungee, but I really don’t feel the need. In the video I showed how little tension was in the line simply to say that unlike silnylon, cuben does not need to be super tight. And even with this little bit of give in the line, it is still all I need to keep the shelter properly pitched. This is my first cuben shelter, and I have got to say that I love the cuben over silnylon in this application.

      As well, I was thinking about adding a Prussik this morning instead of the shock cord, and yes, I got this idea from my Lunar Duo…

      Thanks for watching and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. Gizmo Joe says:

    Another awesome review…….thanks for all the pointers I will make sure to seam seal all the corners to prevent the water dripping issue, and the idea about marking the guyline is freaking genius haha. Its little stuff like this that can make life on the trail a lot more peaceful……….I should be getting my tent in about a week or so.

    Gizmo

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Joe,

      Like I said, if I were to do it again I would tape it rather than seam sealing it. I only suggest this because I feel like taping would be easier, more reliable and less weight. I really hate the fact that I am now going to have to spend more money and time on sealing the tent, even though I love the tent so much… Of course you may be better than seam sealing than I am…so, however you choose to do so, good luck with it!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Jim Henegar says:

    Chad, great review my friend, instead of using the regular seam seal, I used that windshield stuff on mine and it work great. you can buy it at any auto parts store and it is not expensive, just a thought.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jim,

      I don’t think that I will be buying or using any more seam seal. I am just not happy with it. But thanks for the tip. Sometime I will by the tape and a yard of the cuben and just tape the whole thing, at least that way I can be sure of it. I just wish I had done this at the beginning…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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