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Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp Review

A super lightweight single-wall tarp with a vestibule for the absolute minimalist hiker
Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp
Credit: Zpacks
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Price:  $350 List
Pros:  Incredibly lightweight, adaptable
Cons:  Expensive, small interior, difficult instructions
Manufacturer:   Zpacks
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 17, 2022
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 15
  • Livability - 30% 5.0
  • Weight - 25% 10.0
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 5.0
  • Adaptability - 10% 6.0
  • Ease of Set-Up - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp lives up to its name. Made from Dyneema material, it is the lightest tarp we have ever tested. For those hikers who want an absolutely minimalist experience, this is as little shelter as you can carry short of carrying nothing at all. It pitches with a single trekking pole, and its dual-flap door makes it possible to peel back the opening to take in the entire view. Though we did find that it was fairly challenging to pitch the first few times around, for those who really want to be able to fit their tarp in their pocket, this one is worth a look.

Editor's Note: We added the Hexamid Pocket Tarp to our fleet on August 17, 2022.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $350 List$220 List$270 List
$269.95 at Backcountry
$220 List
$220.00 at Amazon
$180 List
$179.95 at REI
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Pros Incredibly lightweight, adaptableAffordable, durable materials, removable inner, double doorsSpacious, protective bug netting skirt, high peak heightDual doors and vestibules, simple setup, spaciousAffordable, easy to set-up, simple, packable, comes with stakes
Cons Expensive, small interior, difficult instructionsHeavy for ultralight, guy lines can be difficult to tightenPoles in middle, large footprint not for small sitesStakes not included, sags in heavy rainNot encompassing protection all around
Bottom Line A super lightweight single-wall tarp with a vestibule for the absolute minimalist hikerAn ultralight, durable, highly adaptable, and fully featured shelter that won't weigh on your walletA double-wide pyramid shelter with a huge interior that offers solid protection from the elementsA simple, floorless, single-wall tarp with enough space for two at an affordable priceThis is a high value tarp that acts as a great shelter
Rating Categories Zpacks Hexamid Pock... Durston X-Mid 1P Black Diamond Beta... Six Moon Designs Ha... Kammok Kuhli UL
Livability (30%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
3.0
Weight (25%)
10.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Adaptability (10%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
10.0
Ease of Set-Up (10%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Zpacks Hexamid Pock... Durston X-Mid 1P Black Diamond Beta... Six Moon Designs Ha... Kammok Kuhli UL
Type Shaped tarp Twin pole structure w/ removable bug netting Double wall pole tent Shaped tarp Flat tarp
Weight With All Components 0.38 lbs 1.90 lbs 1.72 lbs 1.19 lbs 0.84 lbs
Measured Weight of All Included Shelter Parts Total: 6.0 oz, tarp: 5.9 oz, stuff sack: 0.1 oz Total: 1 lb, 14.5 oz, fly: 18 oz, inner: 9.5 oz, stakes: 2.5 oz, stuff sack: 0.5 oz, stake sack: 0.2 oz Total: 1 lb , 11.5 oz, tarp: 1 lb, 7.5 oz, stakes: 2.6 oz, stuff sack: .6 oz, stake sack: 0.1 oz, extra guy cord: .7 oz Total: 1 lb , 3.0 oz, fly: 1 lb, 2.0 oz, stuff sack: .6 oz, extra guy cord: .4 oz Total: 13.45 oz, tarp: 11.65 oz, stakes: 1.40 oz, sack: 0.4 oz
Stakes Included? No Yes Yes No Yes
Poles Needed for Set-up? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes or Tree
Capacity 1 person 1 person 2 person 2 person 2 person
Max Floor Dimensions 107 x 30 in 87 x 28 in 115 x 79 in 88 x 44 in 132 x 88 in
Peak Height 47 in 46 in 47 in 45 in Depends on configuration
Fabric Dyneema Composite Fabric 20 denier 420 thread-count 100-percent polyester 30D Polyester 20D Silicone Coated Nylon Patagium 15D diamond ripstop
Packed Size 2.5 x 4 x 5.5 in 12 x 5 in 11 x 16 in 12 x 4.5 in 3.7 x 7 in
Floor Area Not specified 17 sq ft 54 sq ft Not specified 80.7 sq ft
Doors 2 2 2 2 0
Number of Poles 1 2 2 2 0
One person version? Yes Yes No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This single-person shelter is made from Dyneema composite fabric, making it one of the lightest we have ever tested. Its most differentiating features are what it doesn't have: no zippers, no storage pockets, no poles; there is nothing extra. This shelter is about keeping you warm and dry enough so you can get back to moving down the trail fast.

Performance Comparison


Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - the zpacks hexamid pocket tarp is just about as light as tarps get.
The Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp is just about as light as tarps get.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Livability


The Hexamid Pocket Tarp has solid dimensions for one person. At 107 inches, it has an ample floor length for tall sleepers. The max peak height of 47 inches is also solid, but that height is only at the single point where the trekking pole holds up the tarp, so it's not the most spacious interior.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - there is enough interior space to lie down, but the door opening is...
There is enough interior space to lie down, but the door opening is low, even with the vestibule rolled back.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The trekking pole is also offset toward the front as much as possible, but it is still in the middle of the usable space, so it creates somewhat of an obstacle to watch out for. On the plus side, the tarp pitches with the pole tip down on the ground, so it digs in and is more stable than models that flip the pole orientation. There are two door flaps that can be secured up for added airflow; however, they don't go up very high, so getting in and out of the tarp requires a roll or a hunched shuffle.

Weight


This tarp is designed to minimize weight at every corner. The Dyneema fabric weighs in at 0.38 pounds. Stakes are not included, but if you want to stick to a minimalist approach, an ultralight set of eight will add a couple of extra ounces.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - the pocket tarp packs down in a stuff sack about the same height as...
The Pocket Tarp packs down in a stuff sack about the same height as a typical bag of stakes.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

In addition to its low weight, this shelter packs down small and could easily fit into a water bottle pocket.

Weather Resistance


The Dyneema material does its job. It is thoroughly waterproof and doesn't stretch in heavy rain. Having said that, the single-pole design does leave it somewhat susceptible to strong wind.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - despite the fact that it is see-through and paper thin, the dyneema...
Despite the fact that it is see-through and paper thin, the Dyneema fabric is waterproof.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

If the trekking pole is set to the recommended height, the tarp perimeter sits about 6-8 inches off of the ground. This is great for airflow, but also leaves the structure susceptible to gusts of wind and precipitation seeping underneath. Having said that, the setup can be adjusted to mitigate this if you know that bad weather is rolling in.

Adaptability


The Hexamid has average adaptability. Despite its single-person width, the guy lines significantly expand the site size required to pitch it. It has a single configuration; that configuration has a little bit of leeway in terms of whether it is pitched high or low.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - the door doesn't have a zipper but is held closed by looking rings...
The door doesn't have a zipper but is held closed by looking rings onto a hook attached to a guyline.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

The two door flaps can be rolled back to open up the front side if you find yourself on uneven ground.

Ease of Set-Up


We struggled with this tarp the first time around. The instructions really leave something to be desired. In fact, we wish we had just ditched them from the get-go and used our knowledge and the tarp geometry to figure it out.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - there's a lot of cord to make sense of with this tarp and the...
There's a lot of cord to make sense of with this tarp and the asymmetry makes it a little confusing to understand.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

We found it was easiest to stake out the four main corners leaving a lot of slack, then set the trekking pole inside, then stake out the remainder of the guy lines and adjust the tension appropriately. Having said that, the material itself adds another layer of challenge to the task. When Dyneema is packed up tightly, as is the case when carrying this tarp on a trip, it crinkles and creases, making it difficult to spread out and orient correctly.

Should You Buy the Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp?


The Pocket Tarp is made for the ultralight fast packer who isn't concerned with creature comforts. For one person, it has sufficient space. It's not a shelter to hang out in, but it will get the job done if you just need something over your head at night. We don't think it's the best choice for the average backpacker — in many cases, it'd be worth carrying a little extra weight to have additional features. However, if reducing weight is a top priority above comfort, this one takes the cake.

What Other Ultralight Tents Should You Consider?


If saving ounces is the most important consideration, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Square Flat Tarp is another one of our favorites that offers way more adaptability and more space. For a one person shelter that's durable, adaptable, and offers more protection, the Durston X-Mid is a fantastic and less expensive (though much heavier) option.

Zpacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp ultralight tent - it's as minimalist as it gets, but this tarp does get the job done.
It's as minimalist as it gets, but this tarp does get the job done.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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