This shelter will work for only a few people, but with a little creativity it makes a tent of unbeatable value.
|The Bug Hut 2 with a tarp. Bracing for high winds |
off the Loch, this is what I call 'foul weather' set-up.
The REI Bug Hut 2 fits an odd niche. It's essentially a tent without a rain fly. It has a single wide door, a bathtub floor and self-supporting structure. Why would anyone buy such a thing? Well I got the idea from a customer when I worked at REI. Previously I had been using a tarp with my trekking poles to set up an A-frame shelter. All I had to do was put the Bug Hut under the tarp and I had a fully functional tent. I've used this Bug Hut/Tarp Combo since 2008. I used it for a 2 1/2 month hiking tour in the UK and I've used it for week long backpacking trips in Arkansas's Ozarks and Wyoming's Winds in addition to the dozens of shorter backpacking trips, weekenders, and overnights in the Tetons and Gros Ventres among other places.
It's a strong design and I've only had one pole section break after this heavy usage. The poles are a smaller gauge than standard tent poles and as a result are probably the weakest link but they've taken some abuse and served me well. The two poles are inserted into sleeves and make a double cross pattern, thus returning to the corner of the same side, rather than the far opposite corner. Compared to the standard cross-over pattern, this pole design gives more head room and additional strength without much additional weight. The zipper is holding up well. One point: I like to use groundcloths to protect my tent floor. REI doesn't make a ground cloth for the Bug Hut so I had to use one from a different tent. It doesn't fit perfectly, but it works.
|When there's no wind, I love the airy 'fair weather' set-up.|
When coupled with a sil-nylon tarp it is about the same weight as the lightest tents available. With my tarp, groundcloth, and stakes it weighs in at 4.25 lbs. This doesn't include the trekking poles, but I don't include those in the shelter weight, since I carry them in my hands for their own virtues. That makes for a lightweight shelter and considering its flexibility and strength, it makes a terrific shelter for the weight. My only complaint on the grounds of efficiency is its ease of set-up. I don't deny it is no pop-up shelter. It takes some work to set up, especially when I'm by myself and putting it up in a storm. I've done that and it's no picnic. I have to 'tweak' a lot of the stakes and on a long trip (like when I was in England and Wales for 5 weeks by myself) it gets very tedious.
It is about as roomy as REI's Half Dome. It's real dimensions are 85 x 45 (though its 5 inches wider at the ends). These dimensions shouldn't be compared to tent specs, because they are never accurate. I'm 6'1" and have around 10 inches of extra room on the ends. Overall it's been a great addition to my gear. I love being able to set it up in what I call "fair weather" style, open and airy, most of the time, even if it's raining; and if it's blustery and stormy I set it up in "foul weather" style. Which is far and away the strongest structure I've ever slept in, stronger than my high end mountaineering tent.
It's sold for $90 and since I already had the trekking poles and the tarp, it made for an incredibly cost effective shelter. It's a solid design and doesn't costs much so I couldn't be happier with my purchase. This is the sort of product that works great if you like being creative with your gear as I do.