I’ve been using trekking poles less and less in the last year, which creates something of an issue as they’ve become the cornerstone of most UL shelters, including the Shangri La 2 we often use.  A paddle works for larger mids, but having it in the middle can be a bit of bummer for couples camping insofar as it makes cuddling rather peculiar.  M also requested more useable headroom than the narrow SL2.  I’ve become a big fan of the flexibility of floorless shelters, so when the Marmot Haven started coming up on sale we thought about it for a while, then snagged one.

It’s a strange critter: an elongated octagon supported by at least six stakes and one long arching center pole.  There’s a single zip door along the pole at one end, two big zippered vents in the ceiling, and a clip-in full sized floor.  The Haven is really big, 3 meters long and 260 cm wide.  Though marketed as a two person shelter, it would sleep three with no problem.  For two the space is excellent, with the sloping walls making the sides not good for humans but excellent for stowing lots of gear.

The canopy and floor are made of 30D ripstop, with a heavy PU coating on the inside and silicone coating on the outside.  The burly coatings make the fabric seem heavier than standard 30D, a fact reflected in the weight.  Stock the canopy was 37 oz.  I cut off the excessive adjusters on each corner (compare below to above), leaving a mere webbing loop and length of dyneema cord for staking.  Given how awkward the sloping sides would have made adjustment from inside, this really isn’t a functional impairment.  All the seams are factory taped save the ones right above the door and vents (too tight for the machine I guess) so I sealed those, as well as adding dabs for reinforcement to all the tieouts, guy points, and pole clips.  Most significantly, I added two guy points along the center side seam (visible above).  This isn’t meant to be a serious storm shelter, and around here I worry more about wind than snow loading.  With the pole parallel to the wind I think it will remain quite slippery, but wanted to guard against shifting winds and side panel deflection.  All these mods knocked off a bunch of weight and added a fair bit back on, with the final product at 33 oz exactly.

The long pole itself is 8.2 oz.  The stock floor is 18.6.  Stock it comes with various stuff sacks, a pole split, and 10 generic aluminum needle stakes.  Functional in hard soils, but I prefer MSR groundhogs most of the time.  After last weekends slug attack and the promise of a bad mosquito season, building an inner tent with full mesh and a bathtub floor is next on the project cue.  The final product, with pole fly and inner, will be over four pounds.  Hefty by recent standards, but modular, spacious, and very easy to set up.

This isn’t any sort of final answer to making a ‘mid without the mid, of having a floorless and modular light shelter with good storm resistance and no center pole, but might be a good step in that development.  Ongoing reports once we get this in more serious weather will be linked back here.