ZPacks Hexamid Solo Tarp & Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent

As far as shelters go, I’m a big fan of a simple tarp and bivy setup. A modular system such as this has its advantages. If you are using a flat tarp, there are numerous ways in which it can be pitched, depending on environmental needs. A simple Google search will bring up a large variety of pitching options, utilizing trekking poles, sticks, trees, etc. If you like to sleep out under the stars and the forecast is clear, you can throw down a bivy just about anywhere and feel a bit more connected with nature. Some people may find a bivy too confining or a tarp too exposed, but for me, I enjoy the simplicity and ease of use, as well as finding it more comforting and offering a more integrated experience with the environment.

But . . .

I made the move to a ZPacks Hexamid Solo tarp some months back because I like the extra coverage it provides as well as requiring only a single trekking pole to set up (although only offering a single fixed pitch option). I used the Hexamid with a bivy and was more than happy with that setup. I was intrigued however with the Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent. My bivy weighs 7.1oz and the Serenity is advertised at 8oz. For very little weight gain, I could get a NetTent which would fit under the Hexamid, giving me a double wall shelter and I could have enough room to sit up, change my clothes, etc. And still keeping with the modular philosophy, I could use the NetTent on its own for those warm clear nights when all I need is simple bug protection.

As always, I did my research looking for any info on using the Serenity under a Hexamid Solo and could find very little if any info online. It was mentioned briefly in a thread at BPL, but not really much more than that. Looking at the specs for both the Hexamid Solo and Serenity NetTent, it looked as though they would work very well together. So even though I was perfectly content with my bivy, I decided to give the Serenity a try.

Hexamid Solo TarpZPacks Hexamid Solo Tarp: w/extended beak, seam taped, z-line guylines w/six micro linelocs = 166 grams (5.8oz)

Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTentSix Moon Designs Serenity NetTent = 236 grams (8.3oz)

One nice thing about ordering the Serenity was that Six Moon Designs had it in stock and ready to ship. The NetTent was shipped the same day I placed my order and arrived at my doorstep two days later. First thing I did was ditch the stuff sack it came in and then weighed the NetTent. On my scale it came in at 236 grams (8.3oz). Not bad at all, just 1.2oz more than my bivy. Construction looked pretty solid and no glaring defects in craftmanship jumped out at me.

Tarp and NetTent

Total Weight for Tarp and NetTent = 402g or 14.1oz (weight does not include stakes or trekking pole)

corner2

30D Silnylon Floor

corner1

20D No-See-Um Netting

Clipping the Serenity NetTent into the Hexamid solo is very simple. All attachment points match up perfectly using simple elastic and mitten hook attachments.

Door Open

Roomy Side Zippered (#3YKK) Entrance

Beak Extended

Beak Extended

Zpacks has a great video on YouTube detailing how to set up the Hexamid Solo. While they recommend using fixed length guylines, I choose to use micro linelocs on the six main tie-outs. I find this allows me to squeeze the Hexamid in a smaller area in which the full footprint would not fit and also saves me the hassle of pulling and resetting a stake if required. The two back mid panel tieouts are not as crucial the majority of the time so I use fixed length lines on those and simply wrap them around a stick (as opposed to staking) and stabilize with rocks if I am experiencing some high winds. Otherwise, I typically won’t even bother with them. And as always, I use six of my trusty MSR Groundhog stakes. These things can really take a beating and work great in the types of soil I frequent.

Side View

Side View With Beak Rolled Up

Back View

Back View

Trekking Pole Sleeve

Trekking Pole Sleeve

NetTent Side View

NetTent Side View

Setup of the NetTent is fairly simple.
Stake out the four corners
Slip the trekking pole tip into the sleeve at the peak
Stake out the front guy
Stake out the back center
Slip the tab at center front between the trekking pole and ground

(Recommended pole height is 43″)

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As of writing this, I have only had the opportunity to use this shelter setup a handful of nights on trail but am really liking it so far. For me, the NetTent is very roomy, considering I am use to sleeping in a bivy, this thing is like a palace for me. Set up is quick and easy and the weight is low. ZPacks is well known for their quality workmanship and innovative use of cuben fiber. Six Moon Designs is also highly regarded in the backpacking community and have been around for a number of years, providing unique and innovative gear. So the marrying of products from these two well established cottage industries makes sense and works. I would recommend taking some time to check out the offerings from both companies ZPacks & Six Moon Designs.

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9 responses to “ZPacks Hexamid Solo Tarp & Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent

  1. Thanks for the excellent write-up with detailed photos. After reviewing the recent thread about this topic on BPL and your review, I asked Santa (my wife) for this combo for X-mas. Lucky me, she ordered them and they are both on their way. Any tips for set-up I should keep in mind? This is my first Hexamid. Can’t wait to try them out!

    • Great, thanks for stopping by and I am glad my write up was of some use to you. It’s a great lightweight setup and I am liking it more and more. As far as tips for set up, don’t really have any. I find the Hexamid quite simple to set up and I’m sure once you set it up a couple times, you will love it. As I said in the write up though, I do prefer the micro linelocs to fixed lines, but that is just my preference and what works for me. Have fun with your new shelter and let me know what you think of it.

  2. It looks like a great tent, that allows plenty of ventilation. My only problem would be that it is easy to trip in so many guy-out lines, especially if they reach so far from the tent.

  3. Can you use another trekking pole to hold the front of the tarp out instead of using the line that sticks way out?

    • I’m having a difficult time visualizing what you are asking but I’m going to say no. That front guy is providing the majority of the tension on the shelter. You can use a shorter guyline, the one I’m using in the photos is quite a bit longer than what zpacks recommends.

  4. I have a question:
    In your photos, I notice when you pitch the Hexamid either alone or together with the Net Tent, the handle-end of your trekking pole is positioned in the Hexamid’s pocket and the pole tip points toward the ground, and through the Net’s center-front tab when the Net is used. However, in your photos of the Net Tent being used alone, I notice your trekking pole is reversed (“upside down”) – the handle is on the ground and the pole tip is positioned in the sleeve. When you’re using the Net Tent with the Hexamid, could you please describe how the top-sleeve end of the Net Tent is attached to the handle of your trekking pole? I don’t see how this happens in your photos. Thank you in advance.

    • Good question, I didn’t think to explain that. In addition to the trekking pole tip sleeve, the nettent also has a mitten hook attached, directly behind the pole sleeve. This allows you to bypass the pole sleeve when attaching the nettent under the Hexamid and simply clip in with the mitten hook. Note that the nettent in this review is an older model than what SMD is selling now, so if you are thinking about purchasing one, I would double check with them on specifics. Thanks for reading.

  5. Hi!
    Nice Review. I am using a SMD Deschutes CF and thinking about getting an additional Serenity Nettent for it. My only concern is the lenght/height of myself. I am slightly over 6.1 feet. Using a TAR Neoair and a sleeping bag/quilt I fear hitting the nettent all the time. How tall are you if I am allowed to ask?

    • I’m only around 5’8″ so quite a bit shorter than you. You might want to email SMD and ask them what they think. I bet they get asked that quite often.

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