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Archive for the ‘Gear reviews’ Category

Zpack Hexamid tent field review

Hexamid at dawn near Rams Head 2150m KNP (Great photo by Dave)

After owning my new Zpacks  Hexamid for nearly 10 months I finally got to go on a walk where I could to use it.

The trip was a three day, two night trip in the Kosciuszko National Park around Australia’s highest peak Mt Kosciuszko, the first night was spent on a ridge near Rams Head at an elevation of 2150m. The ridge was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever set up camp with exquisite views but being high and exposed it was quite windy.

I found the hexamid easy to setup and was just roomy enough for my Neoair sleeping mat, pack and some of my gear bags that I wanted easy access to. This night I used a Gossamer Gear ploycro ground sheet on top of the mesh netting floor. When changing head room was just adequate, I am 1.82cm tall. As the possibility of rain was forecast I brought the optional door along which I did not use. For a tent pole I used the pole from my Tarptent Contrail which is nearly the perfect length, to protect the tent fly from the narrow end of the tent pole I used a rubber tip from a walking pole, this worked very well.

I set the tent up with the backside to the then easterly wind. After retiring for the night I was woken up with the tent flapping in the strong winds, I readjusted the guy ropes and this stopped the flapping a lot, though I still had some noise but this did not stop me from going back to sleep, in the morning I was woken by another flapping noise and discovered it was the polycro ground sheet near the front side, the wind had shifted during the night and was now coming from the west, when the ground sheet was re adjusted the tent was reasonably quiet for the brisk winds that we where having.

In the morning there was some condensation inside the hexamid, with the brisk winds I was a bit surprised, but when I thought about it rain was forecast and there was probably a bit of moisture in the air, after a quick shake, the tent packed away easily, the CF stuff sack has ample room for the tent and door, I used a tent pole from my Contrail tent which I packed away in my Tenkara Hane fishing rod sleeve.

That day we walked 33k up and over 11 of Australia’s highest peaks, at the end of the day we where absolutely exhausted, we ended up camping beside the Snowy River near Charlottes Pass, the mosquitoes where very bad so after a nice meal we retired early, I had no problems sleeping and was not aware of the Hexamid flapping at all during the night, this time I set the ground sheet up under the fly screen floor. It was a warm night and we where camped near a river, in the morning there was a lot of condensation inside the tent, in those conditions any tent would have had a lot of condensation inside.

Do I like the Zpacks Hexamid tent after first use, Yes and I look forward to using it on my next trip.

Likes

Easy to setup

Easy to packup

Reasonably quiet in windy conditions (when setup properly)

Very light

Dislikes

No Top vent (Could do with a top vent to improve ventilation but this adds weight.)

Closeup at dawn, Neo air sleeping mat, WM Summerlite sleeping bag.

Some more photos

Contrail and Hexamid on the Snowy River near Charlottes pass

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My new multi use sleep system arrived yesterday, it consists of a Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag, a Western Mountaineering Down Hooded Flash Jacket and a pair of Western mountaineering Flash Down Pants. The bag and clothes appear to manufactured to a high quality.

The idea of the down jacket and pants is to use the down clothing around camp and then on cold nights be able to wear the clothing inside the sleeping bag to increase the rating of the sleeping bag.

Western Mountaineering Sleeping bag

The Sleeping bag in storage bag weighs in at 600.9g, without the storage bag 574.4g, the manufacturers average weight for the 180cm Summerlite is stated at 525g. this sleeping bag is rated at 0ºC and is filled with 275g of 850+ rated loft down, the bag is made in the US.

Down Jacket Western Mountaineering Down Hooded Flash Jacket

The Down Hooded Flash Jacket weighs in at 310.2g, there was no storage bag and the manufacturers average weight is stated at 311.8g, the jacket is filled with 85g of 850+ rated loft down, the jacket is made in Canada.

Down Pants Western Mountaineering Flash Down pants

The Western Mountaineering Flash Down pants weigh in at 214.5g, the also was no storage bag, the manufacturers average is stated at 180g, the pants are filled 57g of 850 +loft  down and the pants are made in Canada

Total weight 1125.6 g

The manufacturers average stated weights add up to 1016.8g which is 108.8g lighter than actually measured, as a lightweight gear freak I am a bit disappointed by the amount (10%) of the difference.

I am planning to use the sleeping bag and down clothing on a trip up Hannels Spur to the Main Range in Australian Alps at the end of November.

I would like to add that I purchased my Western Mountaineering gear from Backcountry gear The service that I recieved form this company was first class and I thought it was worth a metion.

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My Zpacks Hexamid tent

I finally found time to put my new Zpacks Hexamid Tent up, the Hexamid is made from super light 0.6 oz/ sq yard Cuben Fiber, with the tent I also ordered the optional door and a peg bag, the Hexamid came with comprehensive instructions but before I could put the tent up I had to cut to length and tie the guy ropes from the 10 meters of supplied spectra cord. The tent needs to be seam sealed and it came with a tube of Sil-net seam sealant which I still have to do.

I also had to decide on what I wanted to do about a tent pole, the Hexamid is designed to be used with a adjustable walking pole. The pole has to be 117- 119cm long, as I do not always walk with a pole I have been looking for a lighter alternative, fortunately the tent pole from my Tarptent Contrail was 117cm long, I am considering making a pole from carbon fibre, but this will take some more investigation.

Weights

Minimum configuration
Tent in storage bag 227.3g
8 Tent pegs in Cuben Fibre bag 74g
Total 301.3g

Full configuration
Tent in storage bag 227.3g
8 Tent pegs in Cuben Fibre bag 74g
Door 47g
Pole, Easton Aluminium 54.6g
Ground sheet, Polycro 47.3g
Total 450.2

After attaching the guy ropes I laid the tent out on the ground, I went inside to watch the setup video on the Zpacks site, in perfect conditions, it took about 3-4 minutes to fully put the tent up, for a first time it was surprisingly easy and the tent setup quite well and taunt. The door was also very easy and quick to put on.

I then placed my Thermarest Prolite 4 in side the tent to give some idea of its size, my impression is that the tent is quite roomy with enough room for all of my gear, I could comfortably sit up inside.

The Hexamid was also very easy to take down and pack away, much easier than my other tents.

I am unsure when I will be able to get away to field test the hexamid, I am hoping to do this before winter.

Hexamid packed

Hexamid layed out on ground

rear view

Closeup with door open

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