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If you hadn’t already twigged, Hexamid is short for Hexangonal Pyramid. It’s not an uncommon shape for a shelter (the BPWD Lair has been mentioned on numerous occasions here) but this offering from ZPacks must one of the lightest available.

Plenty of room for Billy no mates.

There’s a few different models of Hexamid, this is a Hexamid plus … the ‘plus’ means that it’s a little bit bigger and has 4 additional guy points attached to the main body, 2 at the back and 1 on each side which help maximise space inside and obviously keep it stable when the wind gets up. Fixed length lines come pre-attached, there’s no adjusters or tensioning devices, just peg each one out until they’re tight. A minimum of 6 pegs and 1 pole is required to erect the tarp but an additional 4 pegs for the extra lines are well worth any weight penalty incurred.

Set-up is amazingly quick, even in the dark or under bad conditions there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to go from stuff-sack to shelter in under 2 minutes! My preferred method is – peg both rear corners, insert pole and peg front line out (it’s now up). Next peg the front corners then the rear mid line … job done.

Additional ties … obviously not pegged out here.

As far as I’m concerned the Hexamid is very much a 1 person shelter. I suppose in reasonable weather there’d be nothing to stop 2 people sleeping under it with their upper bodies inside but their legs out in the open but if full coverage is needed, then you’ll be under it alone. There’s more than enough room to sleep, sit up and store your gear in there and you should also find that cooking under shelter isn’t an issue either due to the ‘beak’ over the door.

The Hexamid does offer a good degree of protection but obviously anything with an open front isn’t foolproof. Pitch it with the ‘door’ into the prevailing weather and chances are you’ll get a bit damp. If you use a little common sense and pitch back to the wind with the edges set low then you’ll remain dry and reasonably draught free.

Although open fronted there’s plenty of protection.

ZPacks use Cuben for their shelters, the Hexamid is made from 15gsm Cuben which helps explain why it weighs so little. All the guy points are reinforced as is the apex to prevent the pole from damaging the Cuben. Something worth noting is that all the seams are taped, which means they’re not only strong but they’re also waterproof without the need to seam seal them … not something that’s true of every shelter and in particular shelters made from Silnylon.

Pole reinforcement and inner hanging loop.

Floors and inner nets are available for the Hexamid. The inside of the shelter has attachment loops already in place, so adding a Cuben bathtub floor for example, is just a simple matter of clipping it in place.

Tie-out reinforecement patch.

It’s unlikely you’re going to buy a shelter like this if you’re not concerned about weight. The Hexamid really is aimed at those who want to travel ‘fast and light’ and it doesn’t come much lighter. On the Bear Bones scales of truth the shelter with lines and stuff-sack comes in at a very impressive 151g … that’s correct, 151g! Obviously pegs and a pole need to be factored in but no matter how you look at it this must be one of the lightest shelters available anywhere.

Cuben doesn’t compress as well as some materials, so while it still packs up small, it might not be quite as small as the weight would indicate. It’s not an issue but it is something to bear in mind.

750ml bottle v Home for the night.

So, if you’re looking to minimise the weight you’re carrying but still need a reliable, weatherproof shelter, the ZPacks Hexamid (in one guise or another) really should be something you give serious consideration to.

Prices start at $195 and the Hexamid is available in olive, blue or white direct from ZPacks in the US.


Next Week … MLD Trailstar


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