Before I start this review it’s important to know, I wasn’t given this tarp, I wasn’t bribed or paid to say anything about this. (Though I gladly except brides) In fact Mountain laurel design has no idea I even exist here in the little corner of my world in Stockholm. I had heard about MLD through really following links for other tents and so on and in particular the MLD Trailstar which has been a favourite of many ultralight hikers since it’s inception. So much so that the once popular Duomid has taken a backseat to the Trailstar.

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The tent on the left is the MSR Elixir: Smaller, heavier and a bitch to setup. Notice how awesome the Duomid looks in comparison. Simplicity perfected. 

I started my Mountain laurel designs tent life with the Trailstar, which I no doubt liked, but wasn’t 100% happy with it. In any case it took me a while to circle back to MLD and this time with the Supermid which I fell in love with instantly. And so begun my love affair with MLD and their excellent tents.

The Supermid I used on several winter hikes and loved the simpleness of the tent, being able to carve out the bottom (floorless shelter), and the overall sturdiness of the design. However I felt the tent was a bit much for a single person and I didn’t really care for having to strap two trekking poles onto each other in order to set it up. In any case after a brief stint with the solomid which I found was too small for me (they now make a bigger version of the solomid called the solomid XL which was then renamed to Solomid 2016.. this could be something for me later)

I soon bought the MLD Duomid with the perimeter bug netting as I hate the idea of having to bring an inner tent with my tarp. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a single wall tarp doesn’t it? After about a year of use I am ready to write my review on this tent.

What is the Duomid

The duomid is a single wall silnylon or cuben fiber tarp in pyramid form. This tarp takes a single trekking pole with an add on trekking pole extender. You can set it up with as few as four tent pegs, but if you want real sturdiness than it’s probably a good idea to use all 8 guy lines, and in real heavy wind 12.

This is a two person tent, or a really big person tent. I fit in the latter part as I am 6’3″ 215lbs of pure bone, muscle, fat, water and tissue. (this could be a four-to five person tent if your under 6′ perhaps?) 😉 I have slept in this tent with my wife and toddler as well and found it to be on the edge of too small for us three.

However as a really big single person tent the Duomid reigns supreme among two person tents.

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Weight

The Duomid with guy lines, bug netting, seam sealed, complete in it’s stuff sack weighs 740 grams / 26 ounces on my scale. This is the Sil-nylon version and I did the seam sealing myself so I’m sure incompetence added at least 50 grams. There is also a Cuben fiber version that I can only imagine is the beez kneez..

Usage

Setup is easily done with a single tent pole and extender, I usually move the pole far off to one side in order to give me a lot more room. Setup normally doesn’t take more than 2-3 minutes and teardown just as fast. You can watch the video below of a quick teardown. Notice how quickly teardown is? Notice how I just stuff it in it’s stuff sack? Folding is for weenies.

I love the fact that this tarp is floorless. Feels like I’m sleeping in the vestibule and it’s fantastic. I use this in combination with a Zpacks rainponcho/groundsheet, so I save weight on both rain gear and tent weight.

Also, if I wish to have that sleeping under the stars feeling without having to worry about the “Swedish” summer (rain); I can open up both flaps on the tarp and the entry way becomes a massive panorama view.

Here is a quick timelapse of me setting up the Duomid

Size

I find this to be a palace for the weight. I have tried many, many tents and none of the two person tents even come close to the Duomid in size and comfort, regardless of weight. I can sit up, stretch out, move around and even do slight gymnastics in it without ever touching the sidewalls. Proof is in the video below:

Remember, I’m a pretty big person and there is plenty of room for me in this bad boy.

Bugs

As I stated before I can’t stand inner tents, they add weight and take away head- and gymnastics room. However living in Sweden I find that without some kind of bug protection my nights become slightly horrific in the summer and fall months as my head and skin becomes a breeding ground for all kinds of weird shit bugs. I was a bit sceptical with regards to the perimeter bug netting and it’s actual effectiveness but was pleasantly surprised by it.

I used the Duomid during a one week hike along Kingstrail above the artic circle this last August and found the bug protection to be satisfactory. One trick I found out was not to setup the Duomid on top of a mosquito, ant or gnat home. (it’s floorless after all) The first night I killed so many mosquitos in my tent that I actually started feeling sorry for them; the blood and guts painted the top of my Duomid red.

Then I noticed something that I should have been able to see earlier; Not a single bug was trying to eat me. The truth is once the little bastards got in they just wanted out. So I opened a little hole on the peak vent netting and viola – after five minutes no more bugs. This little trick held up the entire trip.

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Wind, rain and shit weather shelter

There is a lot of scepticism with regards to the mids wind shedding capabilities. I find this to be un-proven in my experience as the mid has held up well against some pretty damn heavy winds and rain. The Duomid just seems to shed the wind without too much thought, so much so, that very little wind blows underneath and I stay fairly warm and toasty. This is however a tarp and it can never compete with a double wall tent for complete wind protection. At times up in along Kingstrail the wind and rain was so bad that we all decided to stay in our shelters and just wait it out.

To get an idea of how heavy the wind was there was one tent in the camp whose tent poles had broke. On these nights I setup the tent with all 12 guy lines using rocks to hold down the four mid guys, and even rocks around several of the 8 floor guys. To say the least I have all confidence in the world in the Duomid and it’s ability to hold up in even the wickedness of storms (though I would try and avoid hurricanes). Also, try to avoid putting the long side of the tarp against the wind. Choosing a good campsite with proper protection is always the smartest choice.

Winter shelter

I have used the Duomid on several winter hikes and just like the Supermid I am extremely happy with it’s performance even in the winter. I wasn’t stuck in any real heavy snow fall so I can’t say how it stacks up there, I can say however that no inner tent was sagging on my face. (read my Akto review) and setup though a little tougher is actually pretty easy even in the winter.

Condensation

In my own experience I find condensation affects the double wall tents much more than the tarps and single wall tarptents. Pretty obvious why of course, much more wind and air flow in the tarps. I find this to be true even with the Duomid which I rarely have any major problems with condensation. Not to say there isn’t condensation, and especially in the winter, just that the Duomid handles it pretty well.

The bad

Honestly I can’t find too much that is bad about this tent.

One complaint might be the weight. I could of course but the cuben fiber version which is a few hundred grams lighter but also a tad bit more expensive. Almost an exact correlation gram vs. $

If ordering from the MLDs website it could take up to 5-6 weeks before receiving as these items are made on demand. This however can be shortened greatly by ordering in offseason months.

Silnylon while being sturdy and relatively cheap, does stretch and something you have to get used to. It’s usually just a matter of tightening up the guy lines, however when the weather is piss, just extending the center pole works wonders as well.

Conclusion

Buy this tent, thank me later. It’s lighter, bigger, cheaper, easier than any other comparable tent on the market. It really is that simple. Granted if your smaller than me than a Solomid would probably be more than enough.

Posted by Kenneth Shaw

Blogger, photographer and backpacker. If you like my writing or my site don't be afraid to follow me, like or share my posts here on the site. Thanks and enjoy!

30 Comments

  1. Nice and detailed review. Love your blog, allways fun to find a fellow lightweight hiker in Sweden 🙂
    Considering a one man mid myself but I’m looking at Locus Gears mids. Think they are comparable to MLDs, most a matter of taste. And a small price difference.

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  2. Nice and informative review! Love your blog, and funto see a fellow lightweight hiker in Sweden 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Nice to meet you as well! thanks for the complements! There are a few of us lightweight hikers here in Fenix country 😉

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  3. I am surprised that you fit in it, to be frank. Well at least length wise. The SoloMid, which is the same length is too short for me and I am only 6’1″. On a 2″ pad, the top of my feet touch the canopy with my head almost touching the other end. I wonder if the DuoMid is better because it is pitched taller…?

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    1. I had the exact same problem with the solomid. Could be the duomid is larger or I sleep at diagonal? Also I usually tie out the mid guy lines to create more head space

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  4. Nice to find a kindred spirit focussing on the sweet spot between Ultralight and Comfort!
    I’m a big fan of the Duomid but have paired mine with an Oooknest instead of the MLD offering.
    At 6’4″ I find the space roomy for sitting up while cooking etc which is a great feature.

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    1. Nice to see you found my humble little blog 🙂

      I haven’t tried any of ookworks stuff. I hear they are good though. I Don’t like having an inner-tent for different reason. I find the perimeter bug netting works excellent for me.

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  5. Me to consider myself a lightweight hiker, and live in Sweden, AND have a Duomid. 🙂
    I think we have actually met at C2C 2014.

    I totally understand what you mean with the inner. I have a DYO-inner at 260g but it’s very frustrating looking at all the space and not be able to use it.
    One drawback using perimeter netting would be that you can not sleep with the door open, and the total air flow would be less. If this is a big problem – I don’t know.

    At my last hike I uses two mods courtesy of blogpackinglight, may be something you want to try.
    https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/duomid-tweaking/
    https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/duomid-mods/

    Another tip is the Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking poles from Black Diamond. By removing the tip part of one pole it is possible to insert the other (tip side). That means you get a steady pole that can extend well beyond 2 meters if needed. Works great for Duomid.

    Keep it up.

    / Tomas

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    1. Hi Tomas, I remember – you had the DYI hammock with you? Great trip and nice company 🙂

      I tried different variations of an inner, then just lost hope in it as I was giving up too much space and costing too much in weight. The idea is of course good, just I couldn’t see the point in it. Also I don’t generally mind bug too much so it’s not a problem for me to leave the tarp open on warm days. Thanks for the tips for the duomid, I will have to check those out!

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  6. Hi!
    Nice to see another DuoMid user in the Stockholm area!
    And!
    Thanks for a very good and rather funny rewiev.

    Do you always set it upp with two trekkingpoles in the A-frame mode??

    I probably met you and your friend durng the Fjällräven winter classic when you were setting up the supermid at Tärnättvattnet och the first night (but i didn´t know it was you)

    Lots of nice reading on your blog witch i will follow.
    Might be seing you out there inte the woods around Stockholm.
    Look for a yellow Dou Mid!

    Johan Lundh , Haninge

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    1. Hi Johan!
      Thanks for the compliments! I remember meeting you up there.. How did you like the trip?
      I normally just use one tent pole with extender on the duomid, but I recently made an a frame with pvc piping and find the extra support and room quite nice.

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      1. The trip was great but i would have liked some more snow and a little colder tempratures to get the real winter feeling.
        Could you send me a picture of the PVC frame?
        I have tried the A-frame since i would like more room but I haven´t made it work very well so far.

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      2. Hi,
        Just remembered I have a video of the pvc frame here in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk1CoOr7Lko You can see how it looks in there

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  7. […] Johan Lundh on Gear Review: Mountain Laurel D… […]

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  8. […] Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid  This ultralight one- to two-person shelter sets up with a single trekking pole. The rectangular footprint measures 104 x 60 inches, with a variable peak height of around 56 inches. The standard silnylon version ($260) weighs in at a scant 20 ounces, not including stakes or guylines, the cuben fiberversion a featherweight 12.5 ounces ($460). For more, check out this entertaining and thorough review. […]

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  9. THanks for the excellent review! I’m 6′ and 175, and I’m trying to decide between the Solomid 2016 and the Duomid (to use with my bivy). Only a 3oz and $5 difference. Seems like the Duomid would be a better deal really. MLD notes that Skurka used the Duomid in Alaska. I thought it was the solo, so that’s a good endorsement too.

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    1. Yes I think I would go with the duomid. Don’t get me wrong the Solomid is large and big enough for one person. I just like the extra room in the duomid and above all else when it rains my gear doesn’t get wet when I open up the duomid as compared to the Solomid.

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  10. Hanz.blatt@gmail.com June 8, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Hi
    A fellow hiker and I are going to Denali backcountry and we would like to take a doumid. Already love mld bags. We are doing a six day back country loop and we spoke with the Rangers who told us they prefer for us to bring a freestanding tent due to the bear population in their curiosity with tarp shelters and bivvys. Given your personal experience I was wondering if you had any issues with wildlife tripping g-lines or getting curious with doumid when you were in Alaska with it? Do you recommend the doumid in the bear country? And, we are 6’3″ and I am 5’10” so will we fit with obligatory inner bugnet given the season?

    On a side note, my fellow hiker is a poster child for light weight trailrunners and he will be doing so in Denali back country this trip. I’d like to try trail runners for the trip, but I’ve never gone more than a day in trail runners and never off trail in them previously. I understand it’s very wet in Denali. Right now i bring a pair of 9oz aleader quick dry enclosed aqua shoes for forging streams during moslty on trail adventures, but given this trip is off trail, and potential to be boggy, i was wondering your opinion of either sticking with my Solomon boots and water crossing shoes versus switching to a Trailrunne + neoprene sock, or if that’s something to do on a longer on-trail trip first?

    In total, by switching to doumid and trail runners i can shave 600 grams on shelter + 260 grams river shoes, bringing my baseweight to 4920 to 4060. So your input is greatly appreciated!

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    1. Hi Hanz,
      Good luck on your trip! I would have no problem at all bringing my duomid to Alaska, with regards to bears I don’t imagine there are too many tents that can keep you safe if I bear decides they want to eat you. I would see it more as a comfort that I can easily get in and out in a rush if I need to 🙂
      I have never had problems with wildlife around guylines and so on. I don’t bring an inner tent so I have had the occasional mouse and small creatures say hi in the middle of the night.

      With regards to boots vs. shoes I would almost always choose the running shoes, but that is really based on my own lightweight gear. My total packing is around 5kilos excluding food – so I don’t want or need boots. But if I were to carry more weight than I would probably go with boots. Boots have some advantages, just not enough that work in my favour. In real boggy wet conditions I prefer running shoes with high water gaiters (pull overs) or I suppose neoprene socks would work but I’ve yet to use a pair that hold up for more than a few days.

      I have met a few ultralight hikers who use boots and really prefer them, and in several hiking trips I’ve made when the trail has been drenched in ankel high water, I have trully wished I had boots. But all other times when the water is instead above ankel height or below I use running shoes.

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  11. […] I was doing and needing. After going through different tents over the years I have landed with the MLD Duomid with sewn in perimeter netting, because it is massive for one person, extremely light, cheap (I have the silnylon version), stabil […]

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  12. Hi,
    I’m booked in for the fjallraven classic in August this year. I have a sil duomid with perimeter netting on order now from MLD, basically identical to yours. I wondered if I can ask I’m also considering buying the single Sea to Summit nano mosquito net to put inside, at only 89g it seems nice but I’m wondering if it’s overkill taking such a thing in addition to the perimeter netting?
    What do you think? Worth taking on the classic or is the perimeter netting effective enough to make this inner net a pointless weight and space taking item?
    Thanks

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    1. Hi,
      Fjallraven classic is a great trail.. the duomid is more than enough tent for that trail. With regards to bringing a bug net, that is really a personal preference. I found that if I simply opened the top netting the bugs in the tent just wanted out.. they never bothered me once they got in the tent. But I guess it depends on how comfy you are with bugs flying in the tent 😉

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      1. Guess I’ll test the duomid a couple of times between now and the classic so I won’t get the bug net straight away. It’s kind of the Scandinavian way to go with floorless shelters I guess, I live in Norway and we have one of the 7 man tentipi tents as our family tent, in that you can lap the snow skirt inside and then the inner floor (sold separately) overlaps this and creates a pretty good seal. I was thinking to do it in a similar way for the duomid, lap the perimeter bug netting inwards then overlap this with a tyvek ground sheet.
        I’ll see how it goes

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      2. Hello again,
        So the DuoMid arrived and it was swiftly ‘pitched’ in the lounge with 4 heavy books holding out the corners!
        I wanted to ask some advice regarding the guy lines, and what you might consider necessary for the classic. I’m assuming all 8 perimeter tie-outs as a must but to what extent are the mid-panel & ridge tie-outs required or rather how much wind can these things tolerate before you decide to attach these upper guy lines?
        I see in your photos above you don’t have these upper lines attached but did you have them with you in the bottom of your pack?
        cheers, Chris

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi Chris,
        Awesome that your got your shiny new Duomid 🙂 I’m sure you will be happy. Just a tip here, I built a “a-frame” for my trekking poles which gives me a lot more room in the duomid by opening up the middle. It also has the added benefit of giving more stability in heavy wind by using two poles instead of one.

        Also, in the swedish mountains or anywhere above treeline I highly recommend the mid- tieouts as well. Mine are almost always attached to the tent these days. I usually just tie them out on big rocks and so on if they are available.

        The wind can get brutal at times and it’s nice to have that mid tie out to avoid the text blowing on your face all night.

        /ken

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  13. Thanks 🙂

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