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Tent idea- Smaller Shangri La 6
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Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Tent idea- Smaller Shangri La 6 on 01/11/2009 08:59:49 MST Print View

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.

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.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
One end similar to Oware's Alphamid on 01/11/2009 13:27:47 MST Print View

Doing a little searching for similar ideas I found Oware's Alphamid and Pyramid models:

My idea is basically a pyramid with a second pole and an end like the Alphamid. I think the one vertical endwall will make the tent much more user friendly in hot weather due to the ventilation and rainy weather because opening the door won't let as much rain in.

For wind it should fare almost as well as a pyramid as long as one of the slanted corners faces the wind.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Another thought on 4 person pyramid on 01/11/2009 16:01:26 MST Print View

Seen in another thread was the One Planet Australia "Polar Pyramid Vestibule" model.

A lightweight version of this basic geometry with a ~6' tall center pole from two linked trekking poles and a front A-frame from two separate trekking poles might be good. It gives me a roomy Pyramid with my desired vertical front door opening.

Of course it requires at least one kid or the wife to use trekking poles.

For what it's worth, my goals are:
-4 person bug/rain resistant shelter for 3 season use in California's Sierra.
-Easy setup with minimum number of stakes or guys. Ideally stakes are flexible in location (short-ish adjustable guys instead of fixed location pegs at tent corners) Extra guy-outs for severe weather OK.
-Use 2 or possibly more trekking poles.
-Weight under 4 pounds (or so).
-Decent ventilation; need venting near or at high point.
-Easy, inexpensive construction preferred.
-Two person doorway preferred. Meaning I can get in or out while a kid is sitting there putting her shoes on!

Again, ideas and comments sought.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
pyramids on 01/11/2009 17:50:22 MST Print View

Go Lite
Mountain Laurel Design
Black Diamond
Mountain Hardwear

all offer pyramid tents.

I like the Megamid and megalight myself.

The Kiva is heavy and burly

Have no experience with other brands but alot of reviews and users of both on this site.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
MYOG! on 01/11/2009 19:56:16 MST Print View


Thanks for the references. I think I've looked at all those offerings but I'll look again.

One point is that I would like to make it myself. Also nothing I've seen commercially so far addresses all my wants- except possibly a semi-custom Oware.


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Tent on 01/11/2009 20:29:36 MST Print View

So a Shangri-La 4 won't work? I read about a guy who put a Shangri-La 4 nest in a Shangri-La 6, looked pretty neat. Gave a nice vestibule.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tent idea- Smaller Shangri La 6 on 01/11/2009 20:50:56 MST Print View

Hi James
That Polar Tent is known as the Scott tent. Note the red sleeves that house the four poles (there is no center pole).
Of course for non Arctic weather you don't need 8oz canvas nor four poles so your version should be doable.
In fact my mate Michael at Luxe has designed a simpler version, the Nashhorn and even posted enough details to make it easy (for some...) to replicate.
and video clip here

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Modified Pyramid- on 01/11/2009 21:42:39 MST Print View


Thanks for that link. He has a lot of good ideas but the construction looks a lot more complicated than I was hoping for. He does give a hint of how the fabric would be cut.

I especially like his top vent- concept sort of like the American Indian Tipi smokehole. My double wall pyramid becomes a sauna in the sun- great in the winter but not on a typical summer day in the Sierra Nevada. My wife and kids want a place to escape mosquitoes without being roast alive.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Tent idea- Smaller Shangri La 6 on 01/11/2009 23:10:26 MST Print View

That protected entry was inspired by the Scott tent, hence my link to the Nashorn.

To take full advantage of your air flow idea, mesh around the floor area ( floating floor in Tarptent jargon) you need an apex vent. Not a new concept but somehow ignored often enough.
( to be fair, not very easy to do , or more to the point relatively expensive, with some designs)

For max heat protection I would guess that the 1443R Tyvek (white and breathable material) is hard to beat at the moment. Not to be confused with HomeWrap or other types of Tyvek. However it is not as weather/water resistant as silnylon (?) .

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Good ideas on 01/12/2009 07:33:33 MST Print View


It sounds like you have some pretty good ideas there, especially for the primary pyramid. I don't know anyone who makes a catenary cut mid, with a secondary curve on the lower seam, but if you make a pattern, I'd love to see/copy it! I REALLY like your idea for a tougher skirt on the bottom edge, but I wonder how it would work as the sil stretches at night. Would heavier sil work?

A couple of thoughts I've had.

Watch the condensation from the roof onto the mesh walls. You don't want this funneled into the floor. I have an idea about how to handle this, which I'm happy to share, but would really like to get some other ideas bounced around.

Consider Linelocs or Theraband tensioners to take up the slack as the sil stretches. This was something I hadn't considered when I changed from a Megamid to a Megalight.

I think the more open mesh (which I used) is heavier than no-see-um

My avatar shows my solution for the 4 of us. A Megalight with a home-made (heavy) nest and a 7x11 sil tarp. Lots of versatility and options, but I think the reasonable limit is closer to 5 pounds than 4.

GOOD ventilation with the front doors open under a tarp, great rain resistance, and no need to collect or treat water!

Edited by Rod_Lawlor on 01/12/2009 07:36:17 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Tent idea- Pyramid with flat endwall. on 01/12/2009 12:26:23 MST Print View

Rod - I've read your posts with interest since you're housing a family as well. In the Sierra we don't really have much rain (most of the time) so I probably don't need quite as much in the way of awnings, etc. We do have bears that like to nuzzle around where food has been spilled so I try to avoid cooking and eating next to the tent- especially with kids who enjoy spilling!

I hadn't seen the term "floating floor" but it seems appropriate. My floor will

be held down well enough by gear. I will make the sidewalls high enough to

allow some pitching flexibility- say from 6" to 15". To control condensation

drip I was thinking the mesh would attach well down on the outside of Tyvek

sidewalls; the sidewall upper edges would be clipped up to the tent body at

corners and midpoint of each wall.

Soft Tyvek (1443R apparently?) is my thought for floor and the front door. From what I've read I don't think it would be my ideal for the roof. For at least part of the roof I'm considering Seattle Fabrics heat/solar reflective nylon. They claim 1.3 oz/square yard. I sent an email to find out if that's total or before coating. The fabric is advertised as "1.3 oz. per sq. yard. A tightly constructed ripstop weave with a metalized urethane/silicone coating on each side. Very light weight plus heat and solar reflective".

I haven't worked with silnylon before. I've read several mentions of stretching. Is it more stretchy than uncoated nylon? My existing pyramid tent allows adjustment of the guylines from inside, but obviously that only applies to the tent body and not the separate fly, so my normal procedure has been to extend the pole to combat sag. I was planning to have this single wall tent adjustable from inside as well. (Quite simple, the guys simply go through grommets and have a loop with a taughtline hitch on the inside.

The idea for a catenary cut at the lower fly edges comes from trying to get a

taught pitch on simple tarps (and failing) then seeing a Moss brand commercial pavilion with nice deep arcs. I definitely wouldn't want to use a much stiffer fabric for the lower edges as that would make the shape harder to manage.

Regarding venting from the peak- my original idea of having two equal length poles, with one at the tent edge, was to have the door top pretty much at the tent apex.