About the Shelter
The Duomid by Virgina-based Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) is a single trekking pole pyramid (“mid”) shelter, that can accommodate up to two people (hence “duo”). This depends on configuration though – MLD offer a single person and double inner, and in addition solo inners from the smaller Solomid will also fit.
The Duomid is, however, usually used as a solo shelter, as this gives good comfort for one person with gear. It will also accommodate a dog. Of course, the shelter can also be used without an inner as just a tarp, and then it’s huge.
MLD also produce specifically solo shelters (the Solomid and Solomid XL), and larger multiple person shelters – the Supermid (4 person) and Mondomid (5 person), as well as an XL version of the Duomid itself.
MLD offer the Duomid in silnylon and DCF (formerly “cuben”). I’ve owned Duomids in both fabrics (2 silnylon and 1 DCF). The choice of fabric is largely down to (a) weight and (b) personal preference. As you would expect, the DCF version is considerably more expensive than the silnylon. It also comes in less funky colours.
MLD have recently revised their inners. The inner I got with my first Duomid was too small and didn’t make good use of the shelter’s height – I sold that on straightaway. The current solo inner (the one for the Solomid XL) is far better – it opens up either side of the pole in a rainbow configuration, which is a big improvement. I’d still prefer the versaility of a “t”-zip arrangement though. I do also wish that MLD offered a part-solid inner as an option instead of just all mesh.
The Duomid is also compatible with various third party inners, and I’ve used the cheap 3F Ultralight Gear inner and an Oookworks inner with my Duomids. It will also work well with a bivvy.
One thing I have noticed, though, is that whilst the Oooknest fitted my previous Duomids, the attachment points don’t line up as well in the new one. Also the old one had mitten hooks on the attachment points of the Duomid itself, but the new one has them on the inner instead, with just some very small loops on the Duomid. So a bit of tweaking needed to fit the Oooknest in. That could also be the case with other third party inners that used to match up well with the older version.
The mid structure gives a solid performance in bad weather and sheds wind well. But, like any shelter, whether you’d want to be kept awake by that wind is a different matter. Suffice to say that it will cope with all of the wind I’m prepared to put up with.
The (silnylon version) shelter comes unsealed, so you will need to seam seal it with McNett Silnet (or Seam Grip +Sil as it’s now called). The cuben (DCF) version does not need seam sealing.
At the time of writing the shelter dimensions are 110 inches x 68 inches (279cm x 172cm) with a peak height of 56 inches (142cm). Weights are 510g for silnylon and between 397-439g for DCF, depending on which grade of DCF you opt for. The dimensions of the Duomid have been creeping up over the years, and my 2015/16 model was noticeable smaller.
The current MLD Solomid XL inner is 94 inches long x 34 inches wide x 48 inches high (238cm x 86cm x 121cm) and weighs 297g.
All dimensions are based on imperial figures and metric equivalents have been rounded down. Dimensions and weights are taken from the manufacturer’s website.
Experience with the Shelter
As already stated, I’m on my 3rd Duomid.
My first was acquired in 2016 second hand but unused, and bought on a whim, partly because it was a lovely bright orange colour! This shelter came with me on 26 camps in all, including one TGO Challenge. It was great, although I did find it a little tricky to get pitched straight and taut.
I sold this on in a fit of pique after the TGO Challenge, having had a miserable time for about half of it due to illness. I didn’t especially enjoy the camps, and blamed the shelter. I regretted selling it almost immediately.
In 2019 I bought a very second hand DCF model that was of about 2015 vintage. It had done a good couple of hundred camps. I liked this but only ever saw it as a stop gap until I could get a new one to my own specifications. And then the Tramplite came along, and I had to sell the DCF Duomid to fund that purchase.
I finally bought that brand new Duomid in 2020, ordering direct from MLD (although there are now European distributors of some of MLD’s products), which meant I could have exactly what I wanted. I weighed it up and decided I’d actually be quite happy with silnylon, and didn’t feel the need for the additional spend on DCF. The extra 100 or so grammes for silnylon and much cheaper was fine for me. So I went with a grey one, ordering the new 2020 version of the Solomid XL inner.
This 3rd Duomid I loved immediately. It pitched beautifully, the inner was ok too, and I didn’t feel the immediate urge to put my Oooknest in. The space is good, and I don’t think I’ll be getting rid of this one as a knee-jerk reaction to a bad trip.
Issues and Longevity
I’ve not really had any issues with any of the Duomids I’ve had, but to be fair I’ve yet to get the use out of them that I’ve had out of the Scarp. Time will tell, but the Duomid is relatively simple in construction compared with something like the Scarp. There’s less to go wrong.
I will of course update here as and when any such problems manifest themselves.
Being a straightforward shelter, there’s limited scope, or indeed need, for modification. Aside from guying arrangements, and some ability to vary how and which points you attach the base of the inner to, there’s only really one modification that’s useful. See below for that.
For what it’s worth, I’ve used bungee cord to attach the four bottom corners of the inner to the pegs that secure the four corners of the fly. This involves some quite long lengths of bungee. Securing in this way is a trick I picked up from my old Hexpeak. It pulls the inner forward from the back of the tent better and gives it a better shape. Clearly shorter lengths staked inside the vestibule work too.
The latest Duomid has hooks on the inside of the fly’s corners for securing the inner to, although in practice they need lengths of bungee so as not to stress the connections.
That modification I mentioned is to add a length of cord from inside the peak of the shelter and run it out through the front vent to secure in front of the doors. This gives extra stability when the doors are open. It’s useful to attach a line lock to the cord so that it is adjustable too. For maximum versatility attach the cord to the peak mitten hook using a small carabiner so that it can be removed and instead attached to the outer loop on top of the peak. This enables the cord to be used as an additional anchor in any direction in particularly lively conditions. Clearly it could also be used to secure the shelter to hang from a tree too.
All specifications, dimensions, weights and options, as well as the products offered by MLD are as at May 2020. All MLD shelters I’ve owned have been bought by me.