First Look @ the MLD Duomid & Solo Inner Net Tent

image1For the last few years I have really wanted the Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) Duomid and the Solo Inner Net tent. And let’s be real, while my BPW does vary from trip to trip, overall I would classify myself as an “Ultralight” weight backpacker. For this reason, as well as others (discussed later), I wanted these pieces in cuben fiber was opposed to silnylon. But, due to the large price tag, I put off actually buying this set-up for quite some time… Then earlier this year I decided that this would be the year, and I finally hit “submit”… 

Then I waited… 6 weeks and 6 days to be exact from the date of order to the arrival on my doorstep! That was last Wednesday, and today is Saturday…

Since the package arrived I have now set it up 5 times, and today, while setting it up for the 5th time, I went ahead and made a first look video to share some of my thoughts before and after the purchase, as well as how to set it up.

So, why did I want this particular set-up?

  1. It’s a modular set-up. I can carry/use either the inner or the outer. This gives me all sorts of options in itself. Clear, pretty night but buggy: set up the inner only. Less than perfect conditions, but no bugs: leave the inner behind and just use the tarp, saves weight. Bad weather and bugs: carry and set up both. It’s called OPTIONS!
  2. It’s double wall (which is another way of saying it’s modular). While I don’t have anything against a single wall shelter, I tend to prefer a double wall set-up simply because it is a bit of a buffer which keeps me away from condensation thick walls.
  3. ALL THAT ROOM! Honestly, this is the #1 reason I wanted this particular set-up. It is technically a 2 person set-up, however, it is a fairly common practice for folks to use it as a lightweight, 1+ set-up, and this is how I plan to use it. Combined with the solo inner net tent, I can set up my sleeping quarters in the back-half, and then use the protected space in front half to store my backpack, shoes or other gear in. And as a bonus, I can also cook in the front half without any fear of being to close to anything else that may catch on fire or be affected from the heat of the stove.**
  4. It’s lightweight for what it is. Being that I am still tinkering with this set-up, I do not have a finalized weight for it, however, including everything to set this shelter up and use, it looks like it will be in about the 29-ish oz range, or around 1 & 3/4 lbs. Now, this is not light for a minimalist, cuben fiber solo shelter, but keep in mind that this set-up is not the most minimalist, nor is it a solo shelter. This is a proven 4 season shelter that offers a solo user enough protected space to actually live in should one need to do so.

Following are a few photos showing the MLD Duomid with the solo inner net tent:

image2 image4 image3The first time I attempted to set up the Duomid went as smooth as butter. As per the directions on the MLD website, I staked out the back 2 corners first, making the bottom edge of the back wall “medium-tight.” Next, I staked out one of the front corners, making sure to create a 90* angle at the back corner. (This stake will make, or break, the set-up, so be sure to create a 90* angle.) Then I pulled the other front corner out and made sure that 90* angles were made at all 4 corners. Once I got the 4 corners staked down, I unzipped the front doors and inserted the trekking pole. At this point, the shelter is live-able/useable, and would be more than good enough to rush under to get out of bad weather. However, if the weather is not bad, I would go ahead and stake out the middle loops on the 2 sides and middle loop on the back side, as well as the doors on the front. This will help by lifting the edges off the ground and allowing some air to move into the shelter, which will help with condensation too…

Once the Duomid was pitched, I crawled inside the shelter and began tinkering with the solo inner net tent. At this point, I tied 4 loops made from 3/32″ shock cord and attached them to the mitten hooks at the 4 bottom corners of the solo inner net tent. I also attached 2 longer pieces of 3/32″ shock cord with a mini cord lock to the front loops mid way up the mesh wall on the solo inner net tent. Lastly, I attached another piece of 3/32″ shock cord with a mitten hook to one of the mitten hooks installed in the apex of the Duomid.

To set up the solo inner net tent, (again, at this point in time) I first attach the back bottom corners of the solo inner net tent to the mitten hooks in the lower corners of the Duomid using the shock cord loops I installed on the corners of the inner net tent. I then use a stake to stake down the front 2 bottom corners of the solo inner net tent. Next, I hook the mitten hook on the apex of the solo inner net tent to the piece of shock cord I installed in the apex of the Duomid, and then use the cord lock to adjust the amount of tension on the inner net tent. Lastly, I attach the 2 longer pieces of shock cord I installed on the front loops on the mesh wall on the solo inner net tent to 2 grosgrain loops sewn midway up the corners inside the Duomid and tension as needed using the cord locks on the shock cord.

Now, the shelter is completely set up and can be seen in the photo’s above and below:

image5I will say that I am already quite familiar with this type of set-up because it is very similar to the set up of  my ZPacks Hexamid tarp and Hexanet. As well, I do have a bit of experience with setting up/handling cuben shelters, so I don’t find the set-up to be difficult at all, and actually rather quick. However, it is a different shelter, and just as with my ZPacks set-up, it will take me some time to get this shelter dialed in perfectly.

At this point, I have only practiced setting up the Duomid using a single pole set-up, although, later when I have more time, I do plan to try a 2 pole set-up. As well, I am currently using my mod’ed Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking pole (which happens to be about 1.5″ shorter now due to the mod) in conjunction with the supplied 6″ pole jack from MLD. Being that the tip of the trekking pole fits all the way into the pole jack, the pole jack really only offers about 3 – 4 extra inches of height. For this reason, I would like to get a pole jack that is 8″ in length (just in case) to use with these poles, despite the extra weight. At the moment, I am also using the cord supplied from MLD for the lower perimeter stake out points, however, I did order some of the 3mm Glowire from Lawson Kline and will use it instead once it arrives. I have also added lengths of the 2mm Glowire from Lawson on the upper guy out points on the Duomid.

Initially, I find the solo inner net tent to be adequate in size for me (5’10” & 180 lbs), although, I can see how some would feel they would need more room. However, I have enough room to lay down, or even to sit up to change clothes. When lying on thicker pads (such as the Exped SynMat UL7) and using thicker sleeping bags (such as my 15 F Marmot Helium) yes, the head and the foot of my bag will rub against the mesh walls of the inner net, but, there is still several inches from each end of the mesh wall to the walls of the Duomid, so I see no issue with this, nor has it ever proven to be an issue in other similar set-ups. So, I personally am happy with the size of the solo inner net for my needs.

Here are a few photos showing the size of the floor on the solo inner net tent. For a point of reference, the pad in the photos is a large (77″ x 25″) NeoAir XLite:

image6 image7Concerning weight, as I mentioned above, it is not the lightest of the light, however, it is not supposed to be. In terms of single person shelter, it is still lighter than any other fully featured big name tent (ok, maybe something from Big Sky?), and of course a bit lighter than the traditional 2 man tents. And while my 1+ person ZPacks set-up comes out to be about 9 oz lighter, it also doesn’t offer as much protection, or space, as the Duomid set-up does. So, for me, considering what the Duomid & the solo inner net tent offers, I am happy with the weight, nor is weight the main goal of this set-up. I have decided to go all out with this set-up: keeping the 3mm guy line on the lower tie outs rather than 2mm guy line; keeping the Lineloc 3’s attached rather than using knots; using 3/32″ shock cord rather than 1/16″ shock cord, and keeping the silnylon stuff sacks rather than dishing out more $$ for cuben stuff sacks (but to be honest here, I am not sure why the Duomid or the solo inner net tent came with silnylon stuff sacks as opposed to cuben stuff sacks after dropping $680 on it for the set-up… maybe it’s a durability/weight/price thing…?)

Anyway, as I mentioned above, currently, the total weight is looking to be around 29 oz. Here is the breakdown so far, and of course these numbers may change in time:

  • Duomid with stuff sack & all guylines: 16.1 oz
  • Solo Inner Net Tent with stuff sack & all guylines: 8.1 oz
  • Polycro cut to size, inside ziplock bag: 1.1 oz
  • 6″ pole jack & 12 stakes in stake sack: 4.4 oz

(The stakes consists of 4 Easton 8″ Nanolite stakes & 8 ti shepherd hook stakes from Lawson Kine. I am using a cut down large tent pole bag from ZPacks to store the stakes and pole jack in, although, this is temporary…)

Now, something to note, and that I have never had any concern with before, but now due to the size of the Duomid I do, is pack size.

IMG_1389In case the words in the above photo are too small to read, the backpack on the bottom is my 60L ZPacks Arc Blast backpack. Then from L to R, the pieces above it are the MLD Solo Inner Net Tent, the MLD (cuben fiber) Duomid, the ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus tarp w/ beak, and the ZPacks Hexanet (which is actually stuffed really loose on purpose).

When packing, I prefer to keep the tarp in an outside pocket for quick access, then the inner net tent (and usually the polycro ground sheet to) go inside my pack. (I can do this with these set-ups because I can throw the tarp up first, then retreat under the tarp and finish setting things up.) The ZPacks tarp above packs very easily in the side pockets on my backpacks, but the Duomid will require a bit more room, at least in height. In the pack pictured above, it fits ok, but in my smaller ZPacks Zero backpack with side pockets, it is a bit more of a challenge. In the end, I don’t think it will be a problem, however, it is the first time that the size of a packaged tent has made me think… so I thought it was worth noting.

Anyway, at this point, I am super excited with this set-up! No, it will not take the place of my ZPacks tarp & hexanet set-up all of the time, but it will now be another option. It is not uncommon for my hikes to be quite rainy, and on those hikes, it will be good to know that I can now take a more closed up, spacious set-up. This will make the time inside the set-up a bit more relaxing, and as I mentioned above, will even offer me a more spacious place to actually cook in should I need to.

To be fair, I can already tell that it is not a perfect shelter, just as none of my others are, nor have been, but I can say this, it is AWESOME, and it will be a nice addition to my gear closet, or better yet, on the trail! I am definitely looking forward to using this set-up…. but until then, thanks for stopping by… I hope this post helps answer questions others may have about this set-up, and if not, feel free to comment below and if I can help, I will be happy to do so.

Thanks again, and happy trails!

~Stick~

Disclaimers & Notes:

I paid the full price for the MLD Duomid & the solo inner net tent. I am not affiliated with Mountain Laurel Designs in any way, nor am I being compensated in any way for presenting this post. These statements above are my own thoughts, which I have formed in the last few days after personally handling these pieces myself.

**Cooking inside shelters is not recommended, for several reasons. While I may choose to do so on occasion, know that I am not suggesting that anyone else should do so, nor do I accept any responsibility should someone else attempt to do so. Cook at your own risk!

Also, because both price and weight of the Duomid’s can change, I should note that I placed my order in February of 2015, and these pieces were built in April of 2015.

And no, I am not selling my ZPacks Hexamid Tarp & Hexanet set-up. LOL… 🙂

 

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.
This entry was posted in Gear, Gear Reviews, Mountain Laurel Designs, Tarp, Tarps, Tent, ZPacks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to First Look @ the MLD Duomid & Solo Inner Net Tent

  1. Teddy says:

    Do you still have the doumid never seen you use it.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Teddy,

      I used it on a single hike shortly after getting it. My son and I shared the tarp only one night. It just so happened to rain that night, and that is when I learned that this shelter was not a good option for 2 people, especially in the rain. The person in the back must climb over the person in the front, and if the door is opened while it is wet, or it’s raining, the person in the front, or their gear will get wet as it is completely exposed. It would have been a great solo shelter, but I needed it to pull both solo and shared use… I ended up selling it shortly after. It’s a great shelter, but just not for what I wanted it for.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. This detailed explanation certainly helps in my purchase decision for a tent. Thank you Stick.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD), Duomid Review | Camping Stoves and Other Gear Reviews

  4. Brad says:

    I have a Solomid XL in cuben and really wish they would make a Duomid with the extra 4″ length of the Solomid XL. I was hoping that’s what the Duomid XL would be but that isn’t the direction Ron went.

    For reference my Solomid XL was 11.6oz with attached guylines (11.5oz spec) and my Silnylon Solomid XL Innernet is 12.5oz (12oz spec).

    Like

  5. Chris says:

    Stick, you list the weight of the Duomid at 16.1. The listed weight on MLD is 12.5. Is the difference the guy lines and stuff sack?

    I am trying to decide on a duomid/Khufu vs Duplex buy.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      I feel certain that I weighed these items when I first got them sans guylines & stuff sacks, but I am lost as to where I may have written them down… So, saying that, without taking all the guy lines off of the Duomid and reweighing it, I can say that the weight of the Duomid without the stuff sack, but with my guy lines it is 15.2 oz. As for the guy line, I have about 17 foot of Lawson Kline’s 2mm GloWire and 6 feet of his 3mm GloWire. I also have about an 8 inch piece of 1/16″ shock cord. (This also includes the LineLoc 3’s that come installed, but does not include a pole jack.)

      With this in mind, a 50′ hank of the 2mm Glowire weighs 1.75 oz, or 0.035 oz/ft. So, at 17 feet, that is a total of 0.595 oz. The 3mm Glowire is 3.75 oz per 50 foot, or 0.075 oz/ft. So, at 6 foot, this is a total of 0.45 oz. The 1/16″ shock cord weighs 0.48 oz per yard, or 0.16 oz/ft. So, at 8 inches (or 0.66 ft) this is 0.106 oz.

      With these figures, the extra weight of the guylines and the small piece of shock cord comes in at 1.151 oz. That would mean that my Duomid is around the 14.049 oz figure sans guylines and stuff sacks. However, I am also using a piece of the supplied 3/32″ shock cord looped at each mid panel tie out. These loops are probably made from about 8 inches of shock cord each, so with 4 of these loops, that would also add another 0.12 oz, so this would put the weight of the Duomid only at 13.929 oz…

      Now, to be perfectly fair, I can’t say this is exact since these are all figures, however, I can say that I seem to remember that mine was more than the listed 12.5 oz by a fair bit, and this would back that number up…. One day I will take it all back off and reweigh it I guess, but not tonight… Until then, I hope this helps.

      BUT, I will say, the 15.2 oz is a pretty solid total weight (still minus the stuff sack) considering you will need guylines on the tent. Of course, I could cut off the LineLoc3’s and use smaller/thinner guy line, but the point of the Duomid for me is to actually be a little robust, so they are staying. As for the guylines, I am using 18″ sections of the 3mm Glowire at each of the corners (to work the best with the LineLoc3’s) and just a couple inches over 4 feet of the 2mm Glowire on each mid panel pull out. These are attached at the mid panel to the looped 3/32″ shock cord and then the free end is threaded through the LineLoc3 on the bottom center edge. (This allows me to easily guy out both of these guys at once, and make necessary adjustments – keeping in mind that these are not load bearing buyout points.)

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Stick!

      I didn’t mean for you to have to go through all that calculation but it does help me and I am very grateful that you took the time to explain where the extra weight seems to be. It gives me a great idea of what the final on trail weight actually is.

      The Duomid is definitely one of the more “stronger” shelters for snow/wind. I am considering it for my solo trips and occasional trips with my son.

      But there is also the Duplex. Decisions decisions.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      It’s no problem… I really should get a true weight on just the Duomid… I just don’t want to take all the guy lines back off right now… Lol…

      Anyway, I can also say that for 2, I don’t think I will be using the Duomid much. Even without an inner, for me and my son it was tight. Plus I don’t like that the person in the back has to crawl over the person in front… Not to mention if it’s raining the crawling would be worse, and if the door is opened the person in front would get wet for sure.

      Right now I really want a duplex for 2 people, however, I just can’t afford it….

      Good luck with your decision!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. cenazwalker says:

    Did you happen to get a weight on the inner without added lines or stuff sack?

    Like

  7. Scott Christensen says:

    Thanks for all the posts/videos “Stick,” just wondering, you seem pretty sold on Cuben at this point, did you consider the Duomid in silnylon or a tent like the Stratospire 1 which also can be pitched with or without the inner net? I’m guessing the weight savings of Cuben is just too much for you to pass on, but I’m a bit nervous when i hear it (Cuben fiber) described as being as fragile as butterfly wings. Thanks again

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Scott,

      Yes, I did consider the Duomid in sil… in fact, on more than one occasion I almost ordered the sil version… but that was because it was in my price range several times while the cuben version was a little out of my price range… But, deep within me, I knew that I would not be happy with the sil version… it was the cuben version I wanted… 🙂

      BUT, it is not just the weight thing that draws me to cuben… it is the fact that it won’t stretch when wet or cold, so no need to re-tension the lines/tent every so often. Also, it is easier to shake water from cuben than it is sil. I also love that it is somewhat opaque so I can lie in my tent at night and look up and see the stars and moon… sorta… it’s a little blurry, but that is neat too… Then, there is the weight thing too… IMHO, I think that cuben fiber is the best option for the canopy for sure…

      As for the fragility of cuben, check out this video:

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. MarkPacking says:

    Chad, there’s a good chance I’m not seeing it, but what’s that ground cover under the pad? Is that the Polycro that’s sewed at the corners to create the walls?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Mark,

      That is the floor of the MLD solo inner net tent. They make it in sil but I ordered the cuben version.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • MarkPacking says:

      Thanks. We’re currently hammock campers but looking for lightweight tents to take on trips where hammocks may not be the best choice, or trees just aren’t accessible.

      Like

  9. Pingback: AT Section Hike: Iron Mtn Gap to Erwin, TN | Stick's Blog

  10. Hidey Ho says:

    For a 2 trekking pole setup, just get a piece of Pex or PVC and bend it to an angle. Stick the trekking pole tips in sorta like you would for a Light Heart tent.
    If you leave maybe 6 inches on each side it works well. Not sure if it could work with the inner net, but it makes for a much more stable set up.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I actually went and bought some Pex tubing to give a try (I have used it a few years ago to make a center strut for other tents) and found that it is not sturdy enough to work well enough to my liking. I cut 2 pieces about 12″ each, and they flex way too much, of course, Pex is more flexible than PVC, and PVC is going to be even heavier… but the Pex tubing flexed way too much and didn’t allow a sturdy set-up. I will eventually get some pieces of carbon fiber and join them with something flexible to form the apex…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  11. Ron says:

    Good vid and writeup. Instead of a trekking pole I ordered one of the larger diameter carbon fiber tarp poles from Ruta Locura and had them shockcord it in five sections plus a soft tip on one end for the peak in the Duo. Folds up smaller than any trek pole, very light weight and strong.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ron,

      I have debated doing that same thing… For now though, I am ok using my trekking pole, but I am not throwing that idea out just yet…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  12. hpb42 says:

    Chad:
    I wondering why you did not choose the Zpacks Duplex tent instead of the MLD tent. Did you feel you had issues with the Zpacks tent you now own?

    Thanks,

    Hank

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stick says:

      Hank,

      Nope, as I mentioned, there are no issues with my ZPacks set-up. As well, I would love to have a Duplex tent, and have recommended them to several others. However, as I pointed out above, I prefer a modular set-up, and the Duplex is not modular, it is a single wall shelter. And while I don’t have issues with a single wall shelter, (at the moment, and for my intentions) I just prefer a double wall shelter like the Duomid & inner net tent or my ZPacks Hexamid tarp & Hexanet.

      However, if I were doing a long hike, the Duplex would be at the top of my list. It is lighter than the Duomid & Inner net, easy to set-up, lots of protected room, and the edges of the canopy extend pretty close to the ground on all 4 sides.

      Saying all of that, there is still no perfect tent… Some are definitely better for certain situations though. And if I could afford it, and/or justify it, I would also have a Duplex too… 🙂

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  13. Mark Rulli says:

    No need for payment, just glad you can use it. I will send it out when I get your email.

    Like

  14. Mark Rulli says:

    Hey Stick

    Nice video, looked at that tent for awhile. If want to lighten up a little, I have a Ruta Locura 8″ carbon fiber pole jack you can have, no need for it anymore. I t weighs 1/2 ounce and it looks more appropriate with that trekking pole :). If you want it let me know and I will send it out.

    Mark

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Mark,

      If you are not using it I will be happy to take it off your hands. I could send you some $$ via PayPal too if you would like. I will send you an email with my shipping address. Thanks man!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. milligan308 says:

    Great first look write up Chad, I will be looking forward to seeing more and your thoughts after you have sheltered in it a few times.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Donny! I am really on the fence about taking it out next weekend though… it is looking like rain the entire time, and I am not sure about using it for 2 in the rain at this point… I may default to my BA Copper Spur UL2 for this hike… I’ll see though…

      ~Stick~

      Liked by 1 person

    • milligan308 says:

      I see what you mean, opening the mid door in the rain is sure to let some in but if you pull everything back away from the door before opening the door (late nite latrine visit) and deploying gear after you return should be acceptable.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Yeah, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth, at least for the second person when I am scrunching all my stuff against/on top of him/her…. I think for 2, the new Locus Gear Hapi with the door on the short end would be a better idea. I dunno though… Sometime I will tinker with using a 2 pole set-up and it may be a better option for 2 folks.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  16. Paul Bates says:

    Hey Chad,

    I’ve had my Duomid for several years now and love it. A nice trick I did was instead of the pole jack, I bought another trekking pole lower shaft (I use the same poles as you), and trimmed off the tip which leaves just the pipe. Then I remove both lower shafts, add that 6 inch or less piece and it connects both poles to make a super long one while saving a good amount of weight.

    My wife has TiGoat poles that connect together but since both ends have a tip, I just use a Black Diamond tip protector on hers so it doesn’t poke through the fabric. I then just set those up in an inverted V.

    Anyways, thought you might like those ideas. Love the Duomid for sure!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Paul,

      I have thought about that same thing with using another insert, and I actually have a large section of shaft from a GG LT4 pole that broke a while back that will work as you describe… I will look for it and give that a try, thanks!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  17. Nice write-up and video chad.

    Liked by 1 person

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