I've been trying to work out a good tent setup for family trips. There are four of us- Dad, Mom, big 8 year old, skinny 6 year old.
My only big enough tent is a 7' square pyramid that I made (from a pattern) about 25 years ago. Unfortunately it's 7.5 pounds.
I like the pyramid concept, but not the excessive number of stakes and guylines that mine requires. Different ideas have been going through my head that would be much lighter, have fewer guys, bigger doors, and could use 55" trekking poles as supports.
A smaller, modified version of the two pole Go Lite Shangri La 6 seems promising. http://www.golite.com/product/proddetail.aspx?p=SH6131&s=1
One end would be cut off at the pole to allow mesh plus solid doors on one end to improve ventilation in the single wall tent. Perhaps a width of 8' to the fly edge and length of about the same. One pole would be centered and the other right at the end, with a big eyebrow area to provide foul weather ventilation. The fly edge would be about 6" off the ground. There would be narrow (3-4") sewn in netting "walls" attached a few inches back from the drip edge and a sewn-in bathtub floor to accommodate my wife's aversion to wood ants in her sleeping bag. My thought with the narrow netting strips is that they would provide decent flow-through ventilation with the door open, but with it closed the tent wouldn't be excessively drafty. Also rain shouldn't get to them being attached a few inches from the drip edge. The end would have both mesh and solid doors.
In terms of cut, ideally it would pitch taught with four corner stakes and a single guy from the end pole. That may not be realistic for an 8' pyramid so midpoint guys would be installed. (my current pyramid has 8 long guys for each tent and fly)
Fly material would most likely be 1.1+ coating silnylon. Floor either the same or possibly Tyvek. End door Tyvek also to allow better breatheability and an eyebrow vent at the top. The netting would all be large mesh "mosquito" netting, not tight mesh.
I will definitely prototype it before building a full scale version. Dimensions might be shrunk a bit to allow use of unseamed 60" or 64" silnylon panels for each roof plane.
My plan for a prototype is to make it 1/2 size from cheap fabric. I would start out by seaming full dimension triangles and rectangles together, then pin, clip, and sew increasing arcs in the roof ridge and hip lines until I get a smooth, taught pitch.
The drip edges might need to be curved as well especially if I want to avoid midpoint guys. Possibly I could do a seam where the wall netting joins and use a stronger fabric for the last few inches? That would let me get a bit more width and use the common 60" silnylon.
What think you all? I've also considered making two, two person tarptents from Henry Shires' instructions. The problem with that is if just three of us go along.