The Golite Shangri-la 3 (Use to be called the Golite Hex) is a great tent but it is not for everybody. It is a floorless tent unless you want to spend the extra on cash and weight on the nest or the floor, which depending on your weather and location may urge you to do. I have already been told I am getting the nest for Christmas (so I dont buy it for myself) which means in a few months I will write a review for it and if I remember I will update this review as well. Back to the tent, this is a shell only. Its very similar to a teepee except for its smaller, lighter, and depending on your setup preference has only one pole. I like floorless tents, however they can take some getting use to but the benefits out weight the cons in my books.
The pros, you do not need to remove your boots before going in, just unzip and walk in. You do not have to worry about a hole forming in the floor. You do not need to police your camp site for sticks, stones, or the like prior to setup, just worry about other critter entrances before setting up. They are LIGHT weight, take little pack room and typically have no poles to worry about breaking, really a bombproof little shelter.
The cons, depending on weather you may setup on wet ground that will stay wet even after your setup, tey if you have the floor your fine. The stability and all the strength comes from a solid ground staking, IE this is not freestanding. I do not like the stakes at all, they seem to just disappear if you put one down, I like to use Ti sheepherder stakes or MSR Al stakes similar to the ones that came with the shelter since they are bright red and the hole and cord makes it easier to retrieve due to how I like to set it up, see the setup instructions below. You may also share your sleep space with little bugs, if you have the nest your fine OR dont worry about it (me). Some people, my girlfriend included, do not like this whole floorless tent idea, but honestly its hard to beat it after you have tried it.
A few shortcomings of the Golite Shangri-la 3 are that the vents cannot close. As mentioned earlier you can stuff them with other camp items, like your poncho or what not. Some do not like that they do not have a gear loft of hooks to hang lights, Ill talk about this more later. It takes some getting use to on setting up to get a good taunt pitch, which is required if you receive high winds otherwise the wind bearing side of the shelter will turn into a sail and may un anchor itself which will end with the tent flying. Again this style of tent requires a solid staking.
Both my Golites are green. I chose this color to better blend with the surroundings and to date my only bright yellow tent is a Eureka Alpenlite 2XT, which I have also written a review for. A few additions I made to my setup is with 2 pieces of 24 long 550 cord. I can tie the ends of each together with a square knot then using prusik knots I secure them to the center pole the bottom one I secure the bag that bundles the tent and use it for a gear loft. The top one I attach my Glotoob light from to illumination. I have started carrying one of the Golites in my car in the GHB (get home bag) for shelter since I liked it so much due to its versatility and light weight.
A few tricks about the golite and the hex. Setting up can be a pain more so if you have never done it before and you are already in the back country. To resolve this, you should ALWAYS setup or check all gear at home prior to heading out, but even doing this you will learn that there is a trick to it and that the half page of instructions are not adequate at all. To resolve this I am writing what I do to set it up. It may seem like a lot but it is easy to remember and after doing it a few times you can get it done quickly, I could probably have mine set up within 5 minutes from doffing the pack. The shelter is constructed with lightweight silicon impregnated nylon that is durable yet light, the pole, which is similar to your dome tent poles, in that is has 4 sections of approx 1 metal tubing that is held together by and elastic band ran thru the pole with the last section which is adjustable in approx 1 increments, but even if the elastic band were to break the tent could still go up fine. They also sell an adapter that will allow you to use a hiking pole for and the adapter for the center pole to save weight, just be sure you boot up the end of the trekking pole to preserve the top of the shelter.
As everyone learned in geometry class a perfect hexagon is 6 equilateral triangles, or a triangle with all 3 sides that are the same length, that come together so that each triangle has one corner at the center point. So to build this, first take 1 of the 6 pegs and lightly peg where you want the middle of your shelter to be, then remove and assemble the pole, and extended the pole adjustment 2 more holes (should be in the 3rd hole). Lay the pole on the ground with 1 side touching the center stake and stake the 2nd stake at the end of the pole. Then turn 180* (straight across) from the center stake and place the 3rd stake. This is your center line. Now return to the center stake again and come off of it at approx 60 degrees. Then hold the stake where the pole ends and turn the pole to the nearest outside stake you place on step 2 or 3. If you are good the pole should be able to pivot off of the stake you are trying to set and you should be able to touch both the end and center pole, thus creating the equilateral triangle mentioned above. If not adjust the stake accordingly. The move over towards the other end stake on your centerline and do the same. Move to the other side of the center line and do the 1st triangle just as you did before. Now you are out of stakes and still need one to finish the hexagon. Take the pole and place it at 60* to the center stake and pull the stake, then do like you did before but instead of pivoting to touch center and end stake of the centerline, pivot it approx 120* to touch the end stake of the centerline and the last stake you just set.
Once the staking is done you are almost complete. Determine where you want the door and find the adjustment strap at the bottom of the door and run loop on the adjustment strap from the tent body around the stake, then walk around the stakes attaching the remaining anchors to the stakes, then push/ pound the stakes in, then open the door and crawl in, insert the pole to the cup at the center of the teepee and push up. The shelter will take its form almost immediately. Once up, go around the outside and tighten the adjustment straps and adjust the center pole as required for a taunt shelter.
Please note that if using the nest or floor you can skip the one anchor of the nest or floor at the door and push this area up into the tent, the nest will work just fine but it gives you a little room for boot storage outside of the main tent area, but also outside of the elements. I also like to pound my stakes in below the ground surface so that there is no gap at all between the shelter body and the ground, if REALLY bad weather is coming I can wakl around the outside of the tent and kick leafs dirt, snow, or whatever around this seal to really weatherproof the bottom, and I carry a small piece of Tyvek a little bigger than the sleeping pad (Ors exped 9s are GREAT in the snow) to place under the pad when wet ground could be expected. Your results will vary. Here is a video that I found the demonstrates this test setup really well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d98heYvoXBg
All in all its a great lightweight minimalist shelter that can be rigged with a rope via a little loop if needed for more room or what not, however if using the nest you need to use the pole.