Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
4 person backpacking shelter
Display Avatars Sort By:
Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
4 person backpacking shelter on 09/27/2010 21:04:03 MDT Print View

I am looking for a 4 person family shelter for backpacking. I was looking at the golite shangri-la 5 anybody use this shelter. Wife really wants something with a floor and netting and this looked pretty big for the weight 2lbs 14oz. I know when you go that big you can't get that light so any suggestions are welcome.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/27/2010 21:21:28 MDT Print View

I have the smaller Shangri-La 3. For the SL5, The 2lbs 14oz is without the nest (floor and netting). The nest is an additional 2lbs 11oz.

Unless you need a shelter for high winds and snow, consider the 4 lb Tarptent Hogback. I just did a 2 night wilderness trip with my family of 6 in a Hogback and Scarp 2.

Edited by AndyF on 09/28/2010 11:19:18 MDT.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/27/2010 22:18:06 MDT Print View

I might be the broken record here, but my vote is once again for an Oware Mid, probably a 10x10 instead of the 9x9 shown below. You can get a net and floor for the Oware. It sets up easy and is light even with the net, which I don't have, but have seen. We use it in the fall and winter here in Southeast Alaska, the rest of the year we use flat tarps.

Tarp Camp

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
4 person backpacking shelter on 09/27/2010 22:24:03 MDT Print View

Why not a Tarptent Hogback?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/28/2010 10:16:56 MDT Print View

also the BD megalight/megabug. I think the Oware/BD type mid is superior to the GL 5... the floor plan on the 5 is bizarre. The standard mids make all floor space pretty usable. Lightest weight way to get a ton of room. Hogback has potential, too...

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/28/2010 10:27:49 MDT Print View

It's worth noting that the GoLite Shangri-La 5 really isn't just 2 lb 14 oz if you need to include the floor and bug netting your wife wants. You'll either need the SL-5 nest or a setup with the footprint and some noseeum sewn in or something draped/rigged by yourself.

Weights for the current SL-5:

- main body: 29 oz
- pole weight: 13 oz
- stake weight: 4 oz
- nest: 43 oz
- floor: 31 oz

SL-5 w/ nest: 89 oz (5 lb 9 oz)
SL-5 w/ floor: 77 oz (4 lb 13 oz)

Don't get me wrong, those weights are pretty good as far as I'm concerned- beats lugging around a 15-20 lb "backpacking" tent. I saw some 20 lb 4-6 person family tents at REI that had carrying cases which were packs unto themselves, which got a chuckle out of me.

I'm also looking at a 4-5 person backpacking shelter- the only two candidates I've found so far are the GoLite Shangri-la 5 and the Tarptent Hogback. The now discontinued Golite SL-4 and 6 would also work. Leaning away from the Hogback, mostly based on square footage.

Hadn't seen the bigger Oware pyramid tarps before- looks like I need to take a closer look.

The SL-5 was especially appealing as we should be able to use it for both backpacking and car camping- probably skip the neset when backpacking, but use it (and external rigging or poles) for car camping.

For a family tent like this, I'm personally a lot less picky than most folks around here- I'd be happy with anything 10 lbs or under that provided at least 75 square feet. Seems to me that a tipi/pyramid would be the way to go.

I'd love to know of other options- next summer it'll (hopefully!) be a little one, our (then) 3 year old, and mom and dad, and splitting into multiple 1-2 person tents isn't much of an option for us at this point.

(edit: my apologies- don't mean to hijack the thread!)

Edited by areichow on 09/28/2010 10:36:00 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
not ul on 09/28/2010 12:53:16 MDT Print View

sierra designs lightning xp 6lbs 13oz. Not ul, but roomy. Maybe you could spread the weight around or something.You said all suggestions were welcome. If you had 4 people going, you could distribute the weight around.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 09/28/2010 12:54:55 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/28/2010 15:01:32 MDT Print View

I forgot:

Check out the MLD SuperMid with InnerNet. It's 3 pounds total, fly and inner. Use trekking poles for the center; if you don't like that idea, add a pound (?) for a center pole. But seriously, 3#s for a true 4P backpacking tent...! Spread THAT weight around!

Larry Schwartz
(snakeeater) - F
Shangri-La 5 on 09/28/2010 15:38:26 MDT Print View

I bought a SL-5 this Spring and really like it. The weights shown above are correct so it is over 5 pounds with the shelter plus either the nest or floor. The shelter itself (outer layer) is a four sided pyramid that is suspended from a single pole in the middle. Ventilation so far has been good and no problems with the zippers.

The floor is a four sided bucket floor that attaches to the shelter and is made of heavier material than the shelter for durability.

The strange floorplan mentioned above is found on the nest. The nest is also a four sided bucket footprint but it cuts off one corner by the door so it looks like a lopsided pentagon. They do th is to leave you a triangle of space where you can leave your packs or wet/dirty gear. I didn't like the design when I first saw it but in practice I kind of like it.

There was plenty of space inside the nest for myself (5'10"), my 19-year old son (6'0"), and both of our full size packs. We even had space along the middle to set out lights, water bottles, etc. The floor does not have the corner cut off of it.

The Oware pyramid tent looks a lot like the SL-5 so compare prices, fabrics, and weight to see which you prefer. If I had seen it when I was doing my research I might have gotten it instead.

Also, I am assuming that you know that a 5 person tent only has room for 5 sleeping bags and not 5 * (sleeping bags + packs + personal room). You could fit three adults in the SL-5 with sleeping bags and packs.

Another reason I like the SL-5 is that at 55 I prefer to stand up to get dressed than to wrestle my clothes on from a sitting position. Minor to some but a real comfort item for me.


Edited by snakeeater on 09/28/2010 15:45:01 MDT.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
thanks on 09/28/2010 19:54:37 MDT Print View

wow some good ideas here. I will look into the other tents posted. Weight is a bit of a factor but like some of the others said I plan to spread the weight between the family.I was hoping big agnes would have a 4 person copper spur but it isn't happening. Looking at the priamid it just has a design that intriques me. I called Golite today and talked to a rep about the GSL5. She told me its one of there most popular tents and there shipment in Sept sold out in weeks. They are back ordered till Mid Oct and there are no design changes for the next year. I asked why amazon has the green more at 350 and the yellow at 280?I wondered if it was due to popularity to get rid of the yellow and she didn't know why. Yellow she stated was the hottest seller.
Thanks for the ideas guys off to do more research.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest on 09/28/2010 20:32:24 MDT Print View


This looks just like the golite for the general design. I like the idea of the bigger 11x11 that is huge. The bug net is just at the bottom sown on for 90$ extra I just don't see a nest with built in floor. These all look floorless, true?

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: on 09/28/2010 20:50:54 MDT Print View

Even if Oware doesn't make a nest or floored net tent for their pyramid tarp, you could still get something to work. No reason you couldn't use a GoLite Shangri-la 3, 4, or 5 Nest in it, as long as the Oware tarp is big enough to accommodate it. I've seen setups like this, or the opposite- a GoLite SL-5 with an SMD pyramid net tent.

You could also ask a cottage shop like Bear Paw Tents to make you a floored net tent that would fit, or sew in a bathtub floor and nooseeum bug netting along the bottom. From what I've read, their rates are reasonable. Certainly be lighter than taking the SL-5 nest along inside the Oware tarp.

Matt DeWitt
(tritan) - F

Locale: Midwest
sounds good to me on 09/28/2010 22:41:40 MDT Print View

who is SMD? I was hoping to find a nest included so still leaning toward the golite.Showed the wife the pic and she isn't going for it without nest/critter control.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Hogback on 09/28/2010 22:47:17 MDT Print View

Matt - I mentioned it before and I will again, why not the Hogback?

Bet your wife would love it:

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
4 person backpacking shelter on 09/28/2010 23:17:27 MDT Print View

"Leaning away from the Hogback, mostly based on square footage. "
Don't compare floor areas in a tent but usable space.
The Hogback floor is 86" long and 86" wide, however the edge of that is usable unlike with pyramid tents.
This is the floor area of the Hogback.
HB floor plan
To get to the same minimum height of the HB on a pyramid tent starting from a pole height of 6' you would need about an extra 15" all around,
HB min height
so that would take you from a floor area of 51' to over 80' square .

What you see there are 2 x 6" mats and two 5'6" ones.
The two packs outside the red area are in the "vestibule" the one inside is at the bottom of one 6' mat.
The gap at the bottom of the shorter mats is by one of the doors.
Thanks Andy. Forgot about that HS drawing ..
Usable floor space

BTW, not saying that it is the tent for you, I am just (again) trying to encourage folk here to make a mock up of the shelter because all too often unusable space is not taken into consideration. On the other hand if you get the opportunity to lay down on one, do it on top of the mat you will use and possibly inside the bag that you intend to use too.

Edited by Franco on 09/29/2010 23:34:52 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
4 person backpacking shelter on 09/29/2010 08:56:06 MDT Print View

Wow. Thanks Franco - the point well taken about the walls. All of the space in a Pyramid is not usable - quite inefficient, actually.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: 4 person backpacking shelter on 09/29/2010 11:40:07 MDT Print View

This older thread has some great info, photos, and diagrams by Henry Shires:

One thing to consider is that the Golite fabric is 15 denier silnylon compared to 30 on the Hogback. The Golite silnylon is coated on one side with polyurethane, which increases resistance to misting and fire, but decreases strength. It would be a more fragile family tent with kids around who might poke it with sticks, walk on it, or fall onto it while pitched.

Despite all of this and already owning a Hogback, the SL5 still appeals to me some. I can never decide if I want to take my SL3 or Scarp 2 on trips. The SL3 _seems_ to have more room, but that's partially because it's not double wall like the Scarp.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite on 09/29/2010 11:41:06 MDT Print View

If the Golite is silnylon, is it because of the coating that they can tape the seams?

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Golite on 09/29/2010 12:25:18 MDT Print View

> If the Golite is silnylon, is it because of the coating that they can tape the seams?

Yes. The seams are taped on the inside where the PU coating is.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
tents on 09/29/2010 12:38:26 MDT Print View

I have been looking for a replacement for my old large heavy tent. A difference I see between the Hogback and a 9x9 pyrimad is entry when raining looks to be much better with the Hogback when all the space is required inside the tent. I still have not decided what to get but leaning towards a 3 person RainShadow. If I did go with a pyrimad I would probably spend $$$ making a light sectioned carbon fiber center pole hopefully at 8oz. You might be able to make a bathtub floor with some rope piping around the top and simple hook attachments to the pyrimad in conjunction with a bug net skirt for the lightest weight. Still I am not sure about rain entry. Actually for backpacking these may be to big for some sites.

Edited by carlbecker on 09/29/2010 12:41:18 MDT.