>>> Clever. What knots do you use to tie it off, and where (or how) do you tie off the top knot? <<<
My Gatewood Cape (which I just sold last week) had a tie out point already there so I just girth hitched it with cord, ran the cord out to my pole, wrapped it a couple of times around the pole handle, then staked it...
>>> Also, I notice that some of you take the instructions' suggestion to add an extra cord at the front stakedown points to add a bit of extra ventilation. How long do you make them? (Is the length critical to get a good pitch?)<<<
IIRC I added 6" guylines all the way around. I think this was in the instructions I received. Edit: so what I meant to convey was that I never tried pitching without the added guylines so can't fully answer your question...
BTW I loved the Cape. I only sold it because I moved to a cuben fiber tarp (3.5 ounces), DIAD jacked (8.5 ounces), and cuben rain skirt (0.8 ounces) which weighs only slightly more than the Cape and works better for the rough terrain I travel in most often.
But the Cape is an awesome lightweight solution that works for tons of people, and compare the cost of the Cape to my current set up and dollar-for-dollar and ounce-for-ounce it's an excellent piece of gear imo.