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.
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.
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..
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.