Chenault on Shelters

A pretty good post by Dave over at Bedrock & Paradox. An incomplete treatise on ‘mid selection.

A few things stand out in the first paragraph, in my mind, about Dave’s comments:

“A pyramid shelter is the most versatile shelter for outdoor adventure.”


“That a tent is fully enclosed inherently brings with it the expectation that you’ll be consistently insulated from the outside world.”


“98% of user objections to non-fully enclosed shelters are mental problems only, and those folks owe it themselves to get over them.”

On most of my trips I use a plain tarp or a “mid.” My first pyramid was a Chouinard Pyramid, the precursor to Dave’s Megalight. Both are very spacious and secure in poor weather. Although one needs to get used to the pole in the middle. I still use this one occasionally and it is almost 30 years old.

There is no one perfect shelter.

But if I was limited to a single shelter, it would probably be the Chouinard Pyramid or the current Megalight by Black Diamond for simplicity and weather worthiness, even though I don’t use mine much these days.

But keep in mind that I rarely am in serious snow conditions, and I usually use a more conventional tent, the Tarptent Scarp 1, which matches the conditions I am in.

One thing that Dave stresses is you need good tent stakes and enough of them. I often notice that backpackers look at stakes from only a weight stand point, and not the proper length or construction type. It is important to bring the proper stakes!

I posted some pictures below, with almost no comments. If you want good information, go read Dave’s article and the comments from readers below it.


 Chouinard pryamid 2 chouinard pryamid

I have two other mid style shelters that Dave does not discuss — a Six Moons Wild Oasis and a zPacks Hexamid. Both do not provide the type of space one would need in bad weather for extended periods of time, but are great shelters. One thing folks might like about the Wild Oasis is the net at the bottom to keep insects out. But the net can become a mess in wet ugly ground and becomes problematic in snow. Over the past couple of years, the Hexamid has been my go to shelter on most trips. Neither of these shelters would be a great choice in nasty weather.


Hexamid 1 hexamid 2


wild oasis 1 wild oasis 2


The last mid I have is a Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar. I only use this when I know there will be serious weather, especially wind. It is much more difficult to set-up than the other Mids, but with practice isn’t a big deal to me.

DSC00440 DSC00368

However, most of the time I sleep without a shelter. This is the best way to enjoy the wilderness.

cowboy camping

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