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Gatewood cape/mosquitos
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Locale: Pacific Northwet
Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/19/2006 09:00:21 MDT Print View

I'm wondering if anybody that has this cape can comment on if it's possible to use something like a bug net with the cape in shelter mode. I'm talking about the small kind you suspend from a guyline to form a pyramid shape, like the one that Gossamer Gear or Dancing light gear makes. These work good suspended from a tarp pole at the head end of a tarp ridge line.

On the Gatewood cape, however, I'm wondering about a suitable attachment point. Looking at pictures of the cape it appear like right above or close to where your head would be there is some kind of attachment sewn onto the fabric, which I believe might be for clipping up the sides of the cape when wearing it in cape mode. I'm wondering if it might be possible to attach a short guyline there from the inside to hang a small bug net. Obviously, this is not a strong connection, so maybe if there is too much weight pulling on the fabric maybe it can be staked out from the exterior.


Edited by DanG on 05/19/2006 09:01:35 MDT.

Stephen Eggleston
(happycamper) - F

Locale: South Bayish
Re: Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/19/2006 09:43:10 MDT Print View

There is an ABUNDANCE of attachment points at the peak of the gatewood in shelter mode. This might work if you used a larger size mosquito net.

As you mentioned the snap attachment points do have a tendency to sag especially with some weight on them. As you also mentioned this is remedied by attaching an exterior guyline(there is a exterior grosgrain loop opposite the interior snap.) An arrangement with netting attached from the inside and an exterior guyline to keep tension should work.

Edited by happycamper on 05/19/2006 09:45:07 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/20/2006 12:07:13 MDT Print View

>I'm wondering if anybody that has this cape can comment on if it's possible to use something like a bug net with the cape in shelter mode.

I have used a Gossamer Gear Bug Canopy (3.6 oz) in my Gatewood Cape. I snapped the canopy's red front/center web loop above my head, clipped a 16" line from one of the canopy's foot-end web loops to the cape's rear stake loop, and clipped an 8" line from the canopy's other foot-end web loop to the cape's vestibule stake loop on the side that can be rolled up (this allows the canopy to move out of the way without unclipping when opening the vestibule). I didn't do anything with the canopy's mid-side web loops, although they could be clipped to the same points as the foot-side web loops or out to the edges of the cape.

The GG Bug Canopy is so light that it only drops the cape about 1" when attached to the snap (I always guy the cape's pull-outs, which are located at the snaps). I put rocks in the canopy's front rock pockets to stretch out the mesh, and with the mesh arranged properly there was about 6-8" between my nose and the top of the canopy where it was snapped to the cape. There's not a lot of wiggle room, but it's enough to keep the bugs away from my head. I'm considering putting some lines on the front corners of the canopy and clipping them to the cape's side stake loops rather than using the rock pockets; that would keep the mesh from moving around during the night.

You could also use the cape vestibule's inside toggle to hold up the canopy instead of the snap, but that moved me too far down into the cape (I just fit in the cape without touching the fabric as it is).

A much larger bug net could easily be installed by clipping the center up to one of the cape's neck loops (poke the pole through the mesh) and clipping the edges out to the cape's six stake loops, allowing extra mesh to drape down to the ground. A bug net that size would weigh almost as much as the Gatewood Cape itself.

Edited by Otter on 05/20/2006 12:28:15 MDT.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/20/2006 13:22:42 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone for the comments concerning the cape with bugnet.

I've been trying to decide between a poncho/tarp with bivy combo or the gatewood cape with groundsheet/bug canopy.

The thing is, I already have a BPL Vapr bivy with bug insert. So I'm thinking of the following combinations:

Poncho Tarp 9 oz
Vapr Bivy with bug insert 7.5 oz

Total 16.5 oz


Gatewood cape 11.5 oz
GG polycro M groundcloth 1.5 oz
GG Bug Cape 3.5 oz

Total 16.5 oz

As you can see the weights for both systems would be similar. I'm a quilt user and the Bivy really complements the quilt well providing warmth and total bug protection.


jeff woods
(jeffwoods55) - F
poncho tarps on 05/23/2006 12:35:35 MDT Print View

i can't figure out why people use poncho tarps.

(a) they're hot and cumbersome. they snag on stuff.

(b) they make lousy shelters (the gatewood cape excepted)

(c) you can use a driduck raincoat and garbage bag chaps or something like that and a bigger tarp and you get better protection in the wind and rain at about the same weight.

will somebody please enlighten me on why poncho tarps get so much discussion?


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: poncho tarps on 05/23/2006 13:04:36 MDT Print View


I posted the original question in this thread. I and others are well aware that poncho tarps are not perfect, and are a tradeoff of convenience/protection vs weight.

I can see how your points (a) and (b) could have some validity, but I'm a bit confused by your point(c).

How does going to a bigger tarp and adding a raincoat achieve the same weight as using the smaller poncho/tarp without a raincoat? I'm assuming that in both scenarios you would use some kind of leg protection.


mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/23/2006 14:19:22 MDT Print View

I use the Dancing Light Gear Ultralight Sleepnet both with and without the Gatewood Cape. I either use it with a silk mummy liner in hot weather, or my 32 degree bag in cooler weather.

2.25 oz Sleep Net
11.50 oz Gatewood
1.50 oz Cut open Trashbag for Groundcloth

14.75 total

13.25 oz total

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Re: Gatewood cape/mosquitos on 05/23/2006 14:20:06 MDT Print View

I didnt' delete far enough down!


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: poncho tarps on 05/23/2006 14:29:42 MDT Print View

That's what we've been discussing!

I've found them cooler and drier than a sweaty raincoat.

As to snagging, they aren't much for bushwacking, but you should be able to get down a trail. A little cord around the middle helps a lot. A driduck raincoat sure won't make it through the brush. A poncho will allow you to wear gaiters and improve the ventilation on your upper legs and drop the weight further, and chaps or rain pants are still options.

IHMO, I don't think much of open tarps unless they are something like 8'x10' or larger and I can't see where a poncho tarp is more than emergency shelter. A floorless tent, like the Gatewood or the GoLite Hut1 provides enough protection that a bivy sack or other work-around is not needed. A shaped tarp, like the GoLite Cave is 14oz and $110 and I'll have my dinner water boiling before you get your shaped tarp pitched. I've had sailboats with fewer strings!

The whole reason I use the Gatewood is weight, volume, cost, and multiple use. The Cape is $110 and 11oz. A Marmot Precip raincoat lists for $100 and weighs 12oz. I'm not going to do a cost comparison with the driducks as I feel it isn't an "apples and apples" proposition. A Granite Gear Cloud pack cover is 3.9oz and $25 and I got rid of another Granite Gear cover that was more like 6oz. A comparable tarp/tent would be something like the GoLite Hut1, which is $130 and 15oz.

So, I can spend another $145 and end up with a sweaty rain jacket, a pack cover that lets water run down my back and soak into the back of the pack, and a shelter that weighs more, takes two poles and 3 more stakes to pitch. I would haul another 19.9oz. Now why would I want to do that? <grin>

And then we can start throwing things like resources into the fray--- a lot more fabric, hardware, zippers, etc, etc, etc.

Is there compromise? Yup, but it works for me.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: poncho tarps on 05/23/2006 16:36:17 MDT Print View

Why do poncho/tarps get so much discussion?

Because they are two or three of the great unappreciated pieces of gear (in a single item) and folks who figure that out tend to, shall we say, proselytize.

Me, I like to go even more minimal with a cape -- no hood or other opening in the canopy.

Edited by vickrhines on 05/23/2006 21:54:34 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: poncho tarps on 05/23/2006 19:39:26 MDT Print View

Why poncho/tarps talked about so much?

1) They are cheap compared to most other shelter / rain gear options.

2) Until a few years ago, you couldn't get the same functionality without carrying something that was significantly heavier and had more volume. [Modern materials have made this less true]

3) Some people find ponchos more comfortable that modern rain jackets.

4) People who are looking for minimalist / simple systems, a pocho/tarp is very attractive because you cover three needs: shelter, rain gear, pack cover with a single, simple item. It's very zen.

I have used a poncho on and off... but I am back to using a rain jacket. I found that in most conditions I am more comfortable in a rain jacket than when I am using a poncho. It seems like the poncho/rain jacket discussion is close to the frameless, internal, external frame discussion. People have very different experiences, and we should recognize there are a number of ways to approach the trail and let each other hiker their own hike.


jeff woods
(jeffwoods) - F
ponchos on 05/23/2006 20:26:16 MDT Print View

in my weight calculation, i was assuming you'd carry a wind shirt if you carry a poncho tarp. so if you use driducks and a tarp, say an 11 oz golite lair, then it weighs about the same as a poncho tarp and a wind shirt. i don't need a pack cover because i use compactor trash bags rather than stuff sacks. i guess it depends on whether you like a poncho as rain gear. my point is that unless you've been carrying some kind of heavy-ass rain coat, there is no real significant weight savings by switching to a poncho tarp

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: ponchos on 05/23/2006 21:00:01 MDT Print View

Is there a real significant weight saving to using a poncho/cape/tarp instead of raingear? Depends on what you mean by 'significant'.

Weight calculation:
Lair 1: 12 ounces; Driducks: 7 ounces = 19 ounces.

Poncho/cape/tarp: 9 ounces + W/P Breathable wind shirt (Sportshell), 3 ounces = 12 ounces.

Alternative, Driducks or Durafab rainsuit: 7-8 ounces (depending on size) + poncho/tarp: 9 ounces = 17 total.

The issue, then, is not weight - maybe 7 ounces at the most. The issue is comfort, safety, long-term practicality.

I always carry at least a Sportshell shirt - unless it is cold, I don't worry about my legs. Then I use Durafab - about the same weight and performance as Driducks.

Why carry both a poncho and rain gear? I found out on the AT in '03 when it rained constantly. Cold rain, too. A rain suit alone just didn't do the job. Rain got between me and the covered pack (causing condensation inn the rain gear). I was soaked a lot and it was a real hassel keeping everything dry. I got a cheapo vinyl poncho and was dry and happy. In the worst conditions a poncho keeps you and everything you carry dry to the knees and elbows. When it matters, a lightweight, W/B rain jacket keeps the fore arms dry and the pants keep the lower legs dry if you care. Again, a rain suit alone just doesn't do the job.

The issue then is, can you, personally, camp dry under a poncho/tarp. Depends on you, mostly. Here's how I do it in the worst conditions:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A messy camp under a poncho in a pyramid set-up. This rig will take serious wind... as long as the back is to the wind. Otherwise.... well, goodby tarp. But most of the time I use a hammock, and the cape is more than adequate as an A-frame cover.

Edited by vickrhines on 05/23/2006 21:07:23 MDT.

jeff woods
(jeffwoods55) - F
half-ounce heavier on 05/24/2006 06:44:11 MDT Print View

actually here's the weight that i'm talking about (as weighed on my scale):

driducks jacket 4 oz

chaps 1 oz

golite lair 11 oz

total: 16 oz

gatewood cape 11 oz

carbon fiber pole 1.5 oz (since i don't carry poles)

wind shirt 4 oz

total: 16.5 oz

so actually, the poncho tarp arrangement is heavier (by a whopping half-ounce!) and provides less protection (at least as far as i'm concerned) as both raingear and shelter. i actually do use a poncho tarp occasionally just for chuckles. i was in the dolly sods in west virginia over the weekend. the wind was howling and swirling around my campsite, coming from different directions. no way to set up the poncho properly so that i was out of the wind. i finally just did an a-frame but then the wind came under the sides. with the lair, i could have staked it to the ground.

for real weight savings and 360-degree protection, i'm considering the spinnshelter.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: half-ounce heavier on 05/24/2006 09:10:50 MDT Print View

As always everyone gets the last word on his gear preference. HYOH

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why ponchos don't fly on 05/24/2006 13:54:00 MDT Print View

Y'know, it struck me that one reason ponchos aren't as popular is that they aren't as pretty to market. Take a look at the photo of Our Publisher modelling the BMW poncho/tarp

Now he is a Rugged Individual, but he looks a little on the Hunchbacked Cave Man in a Garbage Sack side of things. Loose fabric, the cord around the middle, gaiters, the three day shadow, the hat... Nerd au Natural! The product works fine, but when you compare the photo of the poncho to a shot of a model in a tailored high-tech jacket in just-the-right light and background sliding down the slope and a spray of powder snow arcing just right, well.... the poor ol' poncho doesn't have a fighting chance. If you can get a date wearing a poncho, you ARE a silver-tounged devil!

This came to me when I first tried the Gatewood Cape on-- it kind of draped here and there and it didn't have clean, crisp lines like a fitted rain suit would. My point being, the issue is all perception and fashion.

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/24/2006 13:55:32 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Why ponchos don't fly on 05/24/2006 14:26:49 MDT Print View

Bravo. Good Post. Was that a cover pic for an issue of TQ (Trekker's Quarterly)?

Edited by pj on 05/24/2006 17:44:13 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Flying ponchos on 05/24/2006 14:38:19 MDT Print View

But they do fly---or flap, rather,in the wind, which is my only real issue w/ them.

I think they are beautifully conceived multi-purpose gear below timberline and on the trail. And what Vick said.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Flying ponchos on 05/24/2006 15:02:47 MDT Print View


What do you mean? I spent, like, 2 hours in that fashion photo shoot, trying to get...

...just the look that would launch the poncho-tarp revolution.


Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: half-ounce heavier on 05/24/2006 15:51:25 MDT Print View

Mark, wait a sec... If you need to carry a carbon fiber pole for the poncho tarp, wouldn't you also have to carry it for the Lair?? That would make the poncho tarp set up lighter. Plus, most people's windshirts weight 3 oz or less, so the poncho tarp set up is actually 2 oz less.