Been a bit busy of late hence the delay in getting this report on the Luxe Hex Peak to print
over the Easter holiday I undertook a 4 day trip through part of The Southern Uplands as part of my final preparations for the West Highland Way and later the Southern Uplands way.
Having purchased two new shelters to update and lighten my kit for the coming year my choices were the MLD Trailstar and The New Luxe Hex Peak however over the winter period my choice of shelter was mainly the MLD Trailstar. The Hex Peaks first outing is documented here on a previous blog Extreme Hex.
Weather conditions for most of the 4 days were very favourable brilliant sunshine all day and cold crisp clear nights. The trip report shall follow this blog when I can make time.
Back to the Hex my initial findings on this shelter as a whole were very hopeful however the one drawback was the inner it was of poor quality and design the stress points at the corners of the tub were poorly manufactured and started to tear after a couple of overnight camps this could be down to poor quality control a rogue inner that’s slipped the net.
I also found the design could have been more user friendly it cannot be pitched as one with the outer fly and having to peg the inner to attain a taught pitch is a bit of a pain I would imagine after a long days hike in the pouring rain and then having to go through this exercise could become a little tiresome. The inner would also have been more accessible with a full length zip running across the bottom of the nest.
I had contacted bob @ backpackinglight .co.uk regarding the flaws on the inner however as I was going to do some mods of my own I decided not to post it back as requested. Firstly I strengthened the corners and replaced the mini tub poles with something more substantial the reflective guy lines were changed with a slightly thicker 2.5mm line left over from the Trailstar this gave me a more secure bite on the locks without fear of slipping, or having to tie off with a half hitch. I also found that the inner was better staked on two corners inside the fly as opposed to using the outer stakes. Another point here is the height of pitch for the fly which inevitably gives the inner the taught side walls you require.
Gladly the quality of the inner is not reflected on the outer fly all guy points and seam stitching are of high quality it maybe the inner was manufactured at another factory or some wee wify makes them by hand at home!
This is all consequential on my part as I prefer to use a bivvy and leave the inner at home, to use the Ti Goat Kestrel Bivvy to its full potential I attached 5 loops to the interior seams to elevate the head area of the bivvy keeping it away from the face and head. I feel this is less restrictive and gives you more options on sleeping positions my only luxury here is a groundsheet. I am currently working on a customised lightweight groundsheet that can be pitched and packed along with the fly.
Using the Hex with fly only has the advantage of a very quick pitch I can have the shelter pitched and my sleep system ready in just over 5 minutes the bivvy and bag pack as one therefore no need to be faffing about with an inner.
The big plus point for me on this one is the large door I would only close this if driving rain was compromising the interior otherwise it remains open day and night for the excellent views it gives. My only gripe here is the storm flap that covers the zip if the door is left open and the slightest wind blows across this small flap it reverberates sounding like a manic drone the solution was a small piece of velcro to fasten the storm flap around the zip. The other is the door tie it’s rather small for big hands or gloves resolved again with velcro.
I stand at 5ft 9 ins and have bags of room no pun intended both for comfortable sleeping and changing clothes. Even with a 50 litre pack stored inside there is plenty of room to cook safely and sit and watch the world go by.
This trip did not grace me with high winds as before but after my first experience with the Hex in high winds I resorted to using my older Leki poles which are far more stable than the ultra lightweight poles I normally use. In extreme conditions you could of course double pole and use the mid guy lines staked out for added security.
The only extremes that befell me were a couple of nights of frost I had spent a number of hours in the Hex during the trip and had no issues whatsoever with condensation.
I must admit I have become rather fond of this shelter very lightweight– spacious- packable quick pitch- stands firm in high winds- sheds snow with ease. A few minor adjustments to the inner and in my opinion this could be a top shelter. Its total weight comes in at 1.25kg and a mere 620g fly only. You will have to seam seal it with the tube of sealer supplied I have found the best and quickest way to do this is to squeeze a small amount of sealer into an aerosol lid and slightly dilute with white spirit then apply using a small artists brush Luxe suggest you do this on the inside however I applied the sealer on the outside without any problems.
Bearing in mind the cost £159.00 from @backpackinglight .co.uk you just cannot go wrong with the Hex.
I honestly thought the Trailstar would be my first go to shelter but my recent trip and experience with the Hex has left me in two minds for both walks the Trailstar or the Hex?
LUXE REPLY to the issues of the aforementioned.
I kindly received an email from Michael at Luxe he started of by apologising for his English however he translated his thoughts on some of my points quite clearly. Firstly he was kind enough to thank me for the issues raised in the blog and that it would help in the development of 2015 model. He states that he immediately went into the sample room to look at these problems first hand and spent two weeks renewing the technical specifications for the 2015 model.
Michael goes on to mention that he had a previous meeting with Bob @bpl_uk with the prototype Hex.
As for the inner he agrees that the quality has to be looked at and the inner could become tiresome setting up after long days on the trail. So the user friendly aspect is being dealt with.
The reason for the inner being as complicated he says was, that he had many requests from people wishing for a professional adjustment system he now acknowledges that it could be better designed.
For 2015 he is producing a two man version of the Hex with a rectangular inner set in the middle supported by two trekking poles and dispensing the need of a centre pole. This will also be slightly longer to accommodate the taller person
A big thank you has to go out to Michael and the staff at Luxe for their consideration in responding in detail despite the language barrier.
All pictures were taken on a four day hike over Coulter Fell and surrounding hills.