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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/24/2010 15:05:53 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/24/2010 16:26:50 MDT Print View

A whole plateful of cookies for you, Jerry! Nice looking tent!

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/24/2010 16:29:17 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Thanks Mary on 08/24/2010 18:22:01 MDT Print View

And thanks for mentioning it on portlandhikers.org - nice site for information about hiking trips around Portland Oregon.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/24/2010 18:58:51 MDT Print View

Nice design. Thanks for sharing with us.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/24/2010 19:16:50 MDT Print View

Looks nice. Thanks for sharing what you've learned from your work. I especially like your method for reinforcing the peak.

Thomas Gauperaa
(gauperaa) - F - M

Locale: Norway
Re: MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/25/2010 05:03:36 MDT Print View

Very nice, thanks for sharing! I will definitely make it this autumn/winter.

Chris Roane
(chrisroane) - MLife

Locale: North Rockies
Great Article! I have a few questions... on 08/25/2010 08:08:21 MDT Print View

Hi there!

This was a great article that got me interested in making my own gear! But I have a few questions:

1. For my first MYOG project, would this be too big of a project to take on?

2. The silnylon used in this article seems pretty heavy. I did find an option that was a little more expensive, but quite a bit lighter: 1.1 oz Ripstop: http://questoutfitters.com/coated.html . Would this be a good option to make this tent lighter?

3. If I wanted to make this a larger pyramid...say 9 feet x 9 feet, what dimensions would I use for each section? Or how would I figured this out?

Forgive me if these are stupid questions. I have no experience sowing, so this is going to be new for me.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
MYOG on 08/25/2010 08:52:51 MDT Print View

Chris, I'll try to answer question 1: in short, maybe.

I find that with big (literally) projects small mistakes or inaccuracies tend to get amplified, and thus can become big problems. With cat curves like this, cutting and then sewing evenly is key to keeping the seams strong. I find that tricky. Others, to whom precision comes more naturally, find it easier.

Good article Jerry.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 08/25/2010 09:23:24 MDT Print View

My best suggestion for someone to start sewing their own backpacking gear: Stuffsacks. When you've made enough stuff sacks for all of our gear, your friends and your family, then tackle something a bit bigger.

Silnylon is slippery and requires a lot more patience and diligence to work with than your standard fabrics like cotton (IMO).

Stuff sacks are perfect since they teach you the basics about the hems, the fabric handling and getting you used to your sewing machine. Plus, if you screw up, you only ruined a few square feet of fabric at most and you can usually cut it all out and use it to make a smaller project like a water bottle caddy.

Steve Nutting
(sjnutting) - F

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Trekking Poles & Additional Guy-out points on 08/25/2010 10:20:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for the write-up. I have a Black Diamond Megalight that looks very similar, although it is probably a bit heavier (2lbs including 16 stakes, no pole) due a peak vent and additional stake out points.

I set mine up using two trekking poles that are attached together. I use the pole link converter that was included with the tent and also available separately.

You can also just girth hitch the two wrist straps together and lash the poles together where they overlap with a couple short ladder lock or velcro straps.

I've used the Megalight for several years, and found it does well with everything but high winds. To help with this I've added guy out points to each of the corners and the middle of each side. I then girth hitch a long piece of 1.5mm cord to each point in the middle of the cord -- this allows me to attach the cords out to two stakes, with taught-line-hitches on each one. Not to worry -- I'm using small Ti stakes and attaching a center and corner guy line to each one. This helps significantly in the wind.
Black Diamond Megalight - with the guyout points I added.

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
back in vouge on 08/25/2010 16:40:32 MDT Print View

My 1983 Chouinard Pyramid is holding its value and function.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Megalight on 08/25/2010 18:10:55 MDT Print View

My tent is very similar to Megalight.

If I didn't want to make it myself, I'de get one of those.

16 stakes???? Seems unnecesary. Maybe if it was really windy and you wanted some guylines.

Edited by retiredjerry on 08/25/2010 18:12:22 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Trekking pole on 08/25/2010 18:13:34 MDT Print View

If I wanted to use a trekking pole, I'de set it to 55 inches and then design the tent for that height.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Three questions on 08/25/2010 18:21:59 MDT Print View

1. For my first MYOG project, would this be too big of a project to take on?

I agree with others - stuff sack would be good first project. When you try to do a tent, be meticulous laying it out and sewing it. Either use my technique of doing a few hand stitches, or use pins, to line up the long lengths because otherwise the top fabric will drag on the pressure foot so it won't be lined up by the time you get to the bottom.

2. The silnylon used in this article seems pretty heavy. I did find an option that was a little more expensive, but quite a bit lighter: 1.1 oz Ripstop: http://questoutfitters.com/coated.html . Would this be a good option to make this tent lighter?

I used "1.1 oz ripstop". Silnylon. It weighs 1.1 oz per square yard before being coated with silicone. About 1.4 oz per square yard after being coated.

I'de like to try this with Spinaker fabric. It weighs about 1 oz per square yard including the coating. Also, it's polyester so it doesn't stretch as much. Unfortunately, it's not very available. They have problems manufacturing it. Also it's expensive.

Seatle Fabric has polyester spinaker fabric, but it only has a DWR coating and they warn against using it for tents because it is loud in wind. Anyone every use this?

3. If I wanted to make this a larger pyramid...say 9 feet x 9 feet, what dimensions would I use for each section? Or how would I figured this out?

That's funny, my tent just happens to be 9 feet x 9 feet.

That seems large, but because it slopes to the ground, you can't really use the area right next to the edge. The usable area is more like 8 feet x 8 feet.

Edited by retiredjerry on 08/25/2010 18:25:12 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
my first post-retirement project? on 08/26/2010 17:02:04 MDT Print View

I may just have to try something like this (only I think I'd want to add a bug skirt and a top vent). I wonder what the effect would be on stability if I were to make it rectangular rather than square floor? It would be nice to have a slightly smaller footprint in terms of finding a good site where we hike in the Sierra.

Edited by dkramalc on 08/26/2010 17:03:59 MDT.

Anton S
(maelgwn) - F

Locale: Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Re: my first post-retirement project? on 08/26/2010 17:20:02 MDT Print View

Rectangular works fine also. Just means that its more stable in one direction than the other. Mountain Laurel Designs Duo Mid is rectangular and very popular, so it must work ok.

With a floor less shelter like this you don't actually need a flat site the size of the tent. You can easily pitch it over rocks or on lumpy ground ... as long as there is enough space for you to sleep!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
post retirement project on 08/26/2010 18:41:29 MDT Print View

I agree, rectangular would be fine

But, it's simpler if it's square, then all 8 pieces are identical

I also agree that you don't need a 9 foot square flat area. I usually find a place for my sleeping bag, then erect the tent over it. The rest of the area (where my sleeping bag isn't) can be rocky, unflat, bushy. If it's not close to flat, at least at the four corners, then the four ridges aren't equally taught.

I built a pyramid tent with a vent at the top. Actually, 4 vents each about 4 inches square. Didn't make much difference with condensation. I know that tent makers like to talk about their vents, but they're not very effective.

Two things to do for ventilation - have a several inch gap all the way around the outside at the bottom, and leave the door open (one very large vent). Even those aren't totally effective.

That's my experience, but other people may have other experiences :)

Steve Nutting
(sjnutting) - F

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Re: Megalight on 08/26/2010 20:08:20 MDT Print View

Jerry, yes 16 stakes seems excessive, but that lets me stake the four corners, the middle of each side, and the guylines. I use 4 normal size aluminum stakes at the corners and the rest are BPL Ti stakes, overall it weighs less than the original 8 that came with the tent.

After dealing with very high winds above treeline in the San Juan's and the Wind River's, it became obvious that the tent needed more guyline options, so that's why I added them and the extra stakes.

I got such a good deal on my Megalight at an REI garage sale that there wasn't any way I could make my own for that cheap. If I ever have to replace it I might make my own and I'll be referring back to your excellent article =)

John Davis
(Bukidnon) - F
MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 09/04/2010 01:58:51 MDT Print View

Great looking tent. The pegging points for the narrow doorway seem an excellent idea.

How important are the catenary curves? My experience with catenary curves for tent vestibules includes plenty of early morning exits preceded by groping for the bottom of the zip under a dew-sodden belly of silnylon.

Also, using guys properly, it should be possible to pitch a catenary curved pyramid neatly on uneven ground but people don't. I've seen some horribly skewed pitches and been responsible for a few thanks to the limited pegging scope of my old Tadpole. Tents and tarps without catenary curves don't seem to suffer as much, I suspect because the slack can be worked round to another part of the structure without being as obvious as it is with a distorted catenary.

I admit to being tempted to trying to learn to sew when I see inspirational projects like this. What would you recommend for a beginner as a follow on from stuff sacks? A Rayway tarp from a kit, perhaps.

Best wishes, John

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
MYOG: Silnylon Floorless 2-Person Tent on 09/09/2010 08:23:08 MDT Print View

Yes, stuff sack would make good first project.

Making a tent from 2nds silnylon is good, because if you screw it up you're not out so much money for the fabric. And I can't really find any defects of significance.

Catenary curves make the ridges taught. Otherwise there will be several folds that go vertically. Mostly this is cosmetic. It probably flaps less when it's windy if you have a catenary curve, which is quieter. Maybe it sheds rain better.

If the 4 corners aren't on a plane (like if one of the corners is higher) then all of the ridges won't be taught. You can compensate some by shortening one or some of the corner tent stake loops, but there isn't a lot of room. It helps to raise the pole a few inches by placing it on a rock or board.