Your shelter is one of 'The Three Heavies' in your pack and so getting the right shelter system for your trip can make a very big difference to the weight that you carry. The most common shelter people use in the outdoors is a double skin tent which generally has an inner and outer layer, metal poles and a thick groundsheet.

If you have been used to a large comfortable tent (3kg+), we are not going to suggest an immediate drastic change to a micro tarp. It would be too much of a comfort shock. However, let's look at the system you use and ask some questions.

For a solo hiker there are now 2 skin tents available weighing between 1kg and 1.5kg. However anything sub 2kg is ideal. With your tent, do you normally take a pile of extra pegs (just in case), a ground sheet protector, all of the guy lines and the original bag it was supplied in? Why not weigh those separate items and see what they add up to (1kg+)? Then consider exchanging them for lighter alternatives, such as Titanium Pegs, Dyneema Cord, Mini Line Locks and an Ultralite Bag. Do you really also need that ground sheet protector?

If you go to the next stage and consider a tarp supported by walking poles, a whole new world opens up to you at minimum weight. All of a sudden you can have a large shelter system for under a kilo. (Without a groundsheet or bug netting). In fact the 2010 Shangri-La 3 tent will provide you with an enclosed space for 3 people at only 800g (excluding groundsheet). Doesn’t that old tent suddenly start to sound heavy by comparison? (Saving 3kg+).

 Can you give me some ideas? 

  • Under a tarp or tarp tent, we would use a small one person shaped ground sheet or nothing at all, relying instead on the waterproof base of the Bivvy Bag.
  • The Storm Bivvy Bag (490g) would then have inside it a cut down foam mat or Termarest NeoAir Short (260g). We also keep a piece of small foam mat cut down to 35cm x 30cm slid into the back of our sack, to sit on during rest stops. This is also used to kneel on, when getting in and out of the tent, and placed under our feet for insulation, should we decide to use the rucksack as a pillow.
  • Depending on how much protection we need, a Micro Tarp (149g) or Large Tarp (600g) will add shelter. It may be that during the better months we just don’t bother and place our equipment in a large storage sack, should it rain.