For our upcoming fat-bike expedition, across the roof of Alaska, we will be using Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) duo-mid shelters. These are two-person, sil-nylon, floorless mid shelters, which weigh less than one-pound. I have used these shelters in the past in a variety of terrain and climates and am fully confident they will perform expertly on our expedition.
Floor-less shelters are quick to assemble, requiring four stakes or anchor points, which we often improvise in the field, and one center pole. Collapsible and lightweight center poles are commercially available but I typically improvise with something I am already carrying or find while underway. On this upcoming trip we will be using three-pieces of our four-piece packraft paddles. Nothing is lighter than nothing.
Many places in Alaska are famous for insects but the Arctic is especially famous for them. With that in mind, I decided to modify the shelters by adding an interior perimeter of bug netting.
Ron Bell, from MLD, sent me a 48cm wide roll of netting, which I sewed on. I began at one end of the door and left about one-foot of extra to overlap at both ends of the entrance. Once I began, I sewed continuous, from door to door. The idea is that the netting will fold under the erected shelter and ideally no insects will be able to find their way under, through or in.
My experience with mid-shelters, in buggy areas, in the past, has been hit-and-miss. I often try to burry the perimeter of the shelter but this only works in certain terrain. If the bugs are really bad, this technique only slows them down. By adding this skirt of netting, tucking it under the shelter then anchor it down by sleeping atop it and weighting the rest with gear, I believe we may win this particular arms race.
For more information about Mountain Laurel Designs visit: https://mountainlaureldesigns.com/