Chris Townsend reviews an XL version of MLD’s popular Duomid pyramid shelter
The Duomid is an excellent floorless single-skin pyramid tent which I reviewed a few years ago. It’s great for one and ok for two if you’re not very tall. This XL version is 30% bigger. It’s still very light but also roomy enough for two tall people. Designed to be pitched with trekking poles it comes with two options for doing this – a pole extender and a cord for tying two poles together. A mesh inner is available and I suggest getting this for use in midge season. Otherwise a groundsheet or bivi bag is needed. No pegs are supplied. Twelve are needed – I used 23cm and 16cm nail pegs and 15.5cm titanium pins. With four spares my pegs with stuffsack weigh 197 grams.
The Duomid XL is asymmetrical in shape with the door on one of the longer sides and the pole towards the front so that 70% of the space lies behind it. This is where the Innernet fits. Pitching the XL and Innernet can be done very quickly once you’ve attached and adjusted the guylines and bungee loops. Doing this can take some time so it’s best not left for a rainy day. The height of the XL and the angle of the walls can be varied depending on the weather and the nature of the terrain – flat ground isn’t required. This means that sometimes the Innernet can be easily attached to the corners of the XL while at others pegging it out separately is best.
The XL is roomier than most heavier two-person backpacking tents and lighter than some solo ones. For one it’s palatial. I’ve used it on a number of solo winter camps when having so much room on long nights was very welcome. The pyramid design is very stable in strong winds too and the steep sides quickly shed rain and snow. Mountain Laurel Designs recommend sealing the seams and a tube of sealer is provided. I haven’t done this and haven’t had any leakage yet. Air flow round the edges and through a vent at the apex helps reduce condensation build-up but it does occur in still humid conditions. The space means I haven’t brushed against it however. The Innernet does give some protection against drips but I haven’t found these a problem when just using a groundsheet.
The Duomid can only be bought from Mountain Laurel Designs in the USA and there can be a waiting list. I tested the silnylon version. If you really want to save weight there’s a cuben fibre one that weighs just 454 grams. It costs $690 (about £517) though.