Hi all. My wife, two kids, and I have settled on at least two weeks of family backpacking this spring and summer here in California. One glaring hole in our gear is a good tent for the four of us that is lightweight and well ventilated. Kids are 8 and 6 so they aren't quite ready to be sent off on their own.
I am considering a single wall pyramid that would use coupled trekking poles as support. After sewing an overly fancy double wall pyramid tent 25 years ago I have some definite ideas- my existing tent and fly each use 8 guylines! Plus with only a tunnel entrance backed by a mesh door it is a sweatbox when the sun hits it. It weighs 5 pounds even, not including stakes or pole.
My basic idea was a tall pyramid just shy of 10' square with the peak 6' off the ground when pitched low. Ideally the tent will pitch tight with only the four corners staked out, though I would expect to use additional guys under most circumstances.
Design requirements are:
-7'x 7'+ usable space. (Due to sloping roof, overall size will be bigger)
-Complete protection from mosquitos and flies.
-Well ventilated to not overheat when used as bug refuge in afternoon sun.
-Dry in a rainstorm.
-Able to withstand frequent breezes and occasional winds.
-Flexible anchor placement to ease use in rocky areas.
-Setup requiring as few as 4 stakes in calm conditions.
-Durable enough for family use in rocky areas.
Additional, desirable features:
-Flexible pitch height. Tight to ground in stormy conditions and higher for maximum space and ventilation.
-Total weight well under 5 pounds. (Packed weight of my existing tent)
-"mud room" area inside.
-Dark enough to mostly block bright sun and full moon.
-Resist crawling insects.
-Cheap materials would be nice.
With that in mind, I came up with the following ideas:
Nominal size: 10' square minus seam allowances.
6' peak height pitched tight to ground, roughly 7' when hiked up for better ventilation.
Side panels will have a vertical seam to attach two pieces of roughly 60" fabric.
Catenary cut (1/2" per foot?) on corner seams, straight cut on side panel seams.
Fabric will be 1.1 basis weight silnylon with 4 ounce cloth for corner, peak, and guyline reinforcement.
Color will be dark green, medium brown, or something similar. Considering making one side out of the aluminized nylon that Seattle Fabrics sells as 1.3 ounce solar/heat reflective.
Floorless, but hopefully a combination of sodcloths treated with permethrin and a separate groundsheet would keep the creepie crawlies out of my wife's sleeping bag. With a 10'x10' size I think that we shouldn't need a vestibule. For entry and exit in rainy weather we can pull back the groundsheet.
I know a sketch would explain this better, but I plan to provide ventilation/insect protection in the following manner:
Door ventilation- Outer silnylon door with inner netting door, both zippered. Netting door would have lower portion of 1.9 silnylon to keep it from grabbing twigs and sticks.Use water resistant zipper for outer door.
Perimeter ventilation- On bottom edge of non-door sides attach 6" netting strip and 12" sodcloth (1.9 silnylon) strip to that. In foul weather with the tent pitched low to the ground there would be ties going from the join between netting and sodcloth to tie points 6" up the inner sidewalls.
Peak ventilation- The top 18" of the tent will be mesh (mosquito netting possibly doubled with a strong nylon "rawhide" type mesh). Over this would be a rain cap that overlaps a good 6". In fair California weather the rain cap would be left off, for rain it would be attached either by corner straps or possibly zippers to keep wind from blowing rain up under it. In wet, calm weather a prop rod would space the rain cap out from the tent body on the lee side.
26 ounces for basic pyramid with one 72" door zipper. (Per Oware's and MLD's similar items)
2 ounces for seam sealing.
2 ounces for extra guy-out reinforcement.
6 ounces for peak ventilation, cap, and zippers.
9 ounces for 3 sides perimeter mesh/sodcloth.
8 ounces for screen door & zipper.
= 53 oz Tent Subtotal
2 ounces for guylines
5 ounces for 12 stakes (8 strong at corners and midpoints, 4 light to peg down sodcloth/groundsheet.)
12 ounces for groundhseet 9x9 1.35 silnylon.
= 19 oz Accessories Subtotal
= 72 oz Total (4 lb, 8 ounces)
Although these are only estimates, the "creeping featuritis" really adds to the weight. My existing 7x7 double wall pyramid is less than a pound heavier than this estimate.
After adding up the weight estimate I think that I will make changes before building this tent.
Possible areas to save weight are:
Smaller overall size;
Single large window/vent instead of the removable peak cap;
Sewn-in groundsheet instead of the separate sodcloth;
Mesh door covering half instead of all one side.
Please comment as you see fit.