HomeRunningMountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Evaluate – iRunFar

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Evaluate – iRunFar

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL ($275-$455) is the shelter we select when our fastpacking journeys name for reliability. It’s a lightweight, sturdy, stormworthy, and modular pyramid-style fastpacking shelter that accommodates each solo and partnered fastpacking journeys. The tarp alone is eighteen.2 ounces, and together with the SoloMid XL InnerNet, the shelter weighs 30.1 ounces.

Once we got down to analysis and take a look at fastpacking shelters, we determined to focus totally on single-occupant shelters that would work for 2 in a pinch. We examined each tarps and double-wall tents, weighing the professionals and cons of every.

Notably, the SoloMid XL stood out in a wide range of methods. When utilizing simply the pyramid fly, this shelter is a straightforward and light-weight tarp, and when utilizing it at the side of the SoloMid XL InnerNet, it’s a double-wall tent. In tarp mode, it may sleep both one or two, and as a tent, it’s a citadel for one.

This modularity is considered one of our favourite issues about this shelter. But it surely doesn’t simply do a whole lot of issues marginally effectively; it really excels in every metric. The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL capabilities admirably in each pitching configuration, weathering gusting winds, shedding snow, and customarily conserving us heat and dry on any fastpacking journey.

We now have loved this shelter a lot that we named it among the best ultralight tents in our finest ultralight tents and tarps information.

Store the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Tent - front view zipped

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL on a fastpacking journey in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. All images: iRunFar/Ben Kilbourne

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Pitching

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL requires just one working pole for pitching, however it’s tall, so a offered strut is critical to elongate most poles to the correct peak. It is usually potential to lash two trekking poles collectively utilizing a little bit of accent wire or two Voile Straps. When utilizing non-adjustable working poles, reminiscent of considered one of our favorites, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking/Operating Poles, we like to make use of two Voile Straps for pitching, as we’ve discovered the tactic to be efficient and durable.

Step one for establishing the SoloMid XL is to stake out the fly, guaranteeing that every one 4 corners are at proper angles, so the tarp lays throughout the bottom as a rectangle. This isn’t tough to do, however time ought to be spent on this step as a result of it can make the remainder of the method go far more easily and can forestall having to re-stake or regulate the shelter as soon as pitched.

As soon as the tarp has been staked out pretty tightly, merely insert the deal with finish of a working pole into the apex of the tarp, place the opposite finish of the pole on the bottom in order that the pole is vertical, and regulate its peak till the complete construction is taut. This course of could possibly be slightly completely different with fixed-length poles.

As a result of most fixed-length poles are within the 110- to 130-centimeter vary and this tent wants a 140-centimeter pole for pitching, it’s a good suggestion to have this strut in your equipment for those who use fixed-length poles. You may also strap each of your fixed-length poles along with a few Voile Straps to get them to 140 centimeters. We suggest the Voile Strap technique as a result of it can present extra adjustability to adapt to variable terrain.

This complete course of can take as little as 60 seconds when you get the hold of it. We respect this characteristic most when these summer time monsoons roll in and you want to get out of the deluge shortly. As soon as the fly is pitched, you possibly can dive inside — even for those who’re drenched — and kind out your gear, piling moist issues in a nook earlier than establishing the SoloMid XL InnerNet.

The InnerNet is made to replenish the rear 70% of the tarp, so the entrance 30% by the doorways capabilities as a vestibule. Merely clip the apex of the InnerNet to the apex of the tarp, and clip every nook to the mitten hooks sewn to the inside corners of the tarp to create your bug-proof sleeping space.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL - front zipped centered

A entrance view of the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Versatility and Modularity

As you possibly can see from the pitching directions, the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL is designed to be arrange tarp-first. We desire this setup fashion to the reverse the place you arrange the mesh tent physique first, which you’ll see on most devoted pole tents.

This tarp-first pitch additionally means you don’t have to make use of the SoloMid XL InnerNet if bug stress isn’t anticipated. We now have used this tent this fashion on many events, particularly within the canyon nation of the Colorado Plateau the place bugs are usually not often a difficulty. With guylines and stakes, this tarp-only pitch weighs solely about 24 ounces.

What’s extra, the SoloMid XL is definitely massive sufficient to suit two individuals on this configuration. There’s not a whole lot of room to spare, and there’s a pole in between the 2 pads, however it’s a superb possibility for these super-minimalist journeys when a whole double-wall tent could also be pointless.

With the InnerNet, the SoloMid XL turns into a completely enclosed, double-wall tent. On this configuration, the rear 70% of the tent is the sleeping space, and the entrance 30% is the vestibule. We now have discovered double-wall tents to be probably the most weather-resistant sorts of shelters we’ve examined as a result of they forestall sleeping bag loft degradation ensuing from dripping condensation.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL - peak

The height on the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Stormworthiness

In each tarp-only and double-wall tent mode, the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL is extraordinarily stormworthy. Initially, we are able to’t overstate the advantages of the tent’s rectangular base. This form tensions the complete perimeter, making a sturdy basis. When the shelter is absolutely erected, this basis ensures that the tent performs effectively in wind, regardless of the tall peak of the pyramid.

Secondly, the 4 major seams that run from the height to the corners have a slight catenary lower — which means a convex curve — so the pyramid pitches very taut and doesn’t flop round or deform in wind.

Every nook guyline is adjustable with a LineLock — slightly plastic piece that makes it simple to rigidity guylines — and every floor fringe of the tarp additionally has a guyline with a LineLock, so it’s potential to make use of a complete of eight perimeter stakes. Every of the 4 center panels additionally has a sewn-in shock wire, so 4 extra guylines will be added to forestall the partitions from caving in.

We often don’t use these, as we’ve discovered them to be pointless aside from stopping wall-collapse in snow. Lastly, there’s a loop of webbing on the peak of the pyramid. We like to connect a guyline right here and stake it out in entrance of the door. In our expertise, this stabilizes the complete construction tremendously.

And while you add the SoloMid XL InnerNet to the setup, it’s even higher. The InnerNet is actually a silnylon-bottomed pyramid-shaped mesh tent that clips into the rear half of the tarp. Its ground protects your pad from punctures and your sleeping bag from pooling water.

The mesh physique blocks condensation drips from touchdown in your sleeping bag, conserving your bag dry and increasing the loft and thus the lifetime of your bag on longer journeys. We use the SoloMid XL in double-wall mode for 75% of journeys for that reason.

All of those options add as much as a remarkably wind-resistant and secure pyramid tent within which we really feel secure and safe. We’ve slept soundly on this shelter throughout tree-bending windstorms within the mountains and thru all-night thunderstorms above treeline.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL - back view

A again view of the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Weight

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL we examined is constructed from a high-grade 20-denier silnylon and weighs about 16 ounces earlier than guylines or seam-sealing. After seam-sealing and the addition of pretty lengthy guylines, it is available in at 18.2 ounces. Once you add eight stakes to that setup — the minimal we’d suggest for many journeys — it will likely be proper round 22 ounces, relying in your stake of selection.

With the SoloMid XL InnerNet, the tent can be 30.1 ounces, and the entire package deal with eight stakes is about 34 ounces. In our opinion, that is very gentle contemplating the storm safety this shelter gives and the way a lot usable area there’s inside.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Packed Dimension

The silnylon Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL, which is the model we examined, packs all the way down to about 4 x 14 inches. For context, the SoloMid XL’s packed measurement is about half the dimensions of the Huge Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Resolution Dye tent, which we additionally examined. However silnylon is astonishingly compressible, and we discovered this shelter to smush down a lot smaller in our packs.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Pitched Dimension

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL is 110 inches lengthy, 54 inches broad, and 55 inches tall. It has an total space of 44 sq. toes. The SoloMid XL InnerNet is 90 inches lengthy, 32 inches broad, and 46 inches tall. This shelter’s pretty massive measurement gives ample protection so rain stays removed from the sleeping space. The tarp can be pitched all the best way to the bottom with out shedding a lot inside area.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL - inside

Wanting into the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL with the InnerNet connected.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Different Choices

The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL we examined is constructed from 20-denier silnylon. We selected this materials as a result of we imagine it affords a wonderful stability of low price, low weight, and good sturdiness. The SoloMid XL can be bought in 0.75 ounce/square-yard Dyneema Composite Material (DCF).

This materials is about an oz. lighter for the entire tent, absorbs water much less readily, and has the next tear power. However, as per the Mountain Laurel Designs web site, it doesn’t final fairly as lengthy. It additionally is way costlier — add $270 to the tarp alone in order for you DCF!

Mountain Laurel Designs additionally makes bigger pyramids for extra occupants: the DuoMid, DuoMid XL, and SuperMid. One among our testers has used a DuoMid as his main fastpacking shelter for over 5 years and likes it practically as a lot because the SoloMid XL, particularly for two-person journeys.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL Total Impressions

Mountain Laurel Designs’ pyramid tents have been a staple of the ultralight backpacking world for practically twenty years. They’re extensively thought to be adaptable, weather-resistant, and dependable. The Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL isn’t any exception, and in reality, we imagine its measurement reveals the very best software of the sort of shelter design the place the rear half of the pyramid is reserved for one individual sleeping, and the entrance half is reserved for vestibule area.

One among our testers has used the SoloMid XL as his main shelter for over 5 years and in all seasons. He has slept beneath simply the tarp in canyon nation the place bug presence is negligible and greater than 60 nights within the Uinta Mountains of northern Utah in double-wall tent mode the place situations ranged from wind to hail to rain to snow. He has even winter camped in SoloMid XL the place it shed reasonable snow masses successfully.

We like this tent a lot that we named it among the best tents in our finest ultralight tents and tarps information.

Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL - door

The door closure on the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL.

The SoloMid XL’s solely detractors are probably the most excessive gram counters — it weighs 18.2 ounces for the tarp and 30.1 ounces for the complete tent — however we don’t suppose that is all that heavy contemplating the storm safety, versatility, and reliability this shelter gives.

There are different shelters that cater to particular sorts of journeys the place the bottom potential weight can be best, or the place shelter use is unlikely, and we’ve many choices for these sorts of journeys and extra listed in our finest ultralight tents and tarps information. When you want a lighter shelter or one with a devoted pole set, for instance, it’s best to be capable of discover one in that information.

However the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL stands aside from the opposite shelters we examined as a result of it does all the pieces effectively. We are able to depend on it. It gives a way of safety that merely makes journeys extra satisfying. Once we know for sure that we are going to be secure, heat, dry, and cozy on the finish of the day, our consideration is freed as much as benefit from the landscapes by means of which we run.

Store the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL

Name for Feedback

  • Do you like pyramid shelters? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever used the Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid XL in winter?
  • Have you ever slept two individuals within the SoloMid XL?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]



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