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Any shelter design suggestions?
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 16:00:09 MDT Print View

I own shelters that weigh less than one pound, and for summertime weather in the Sierra Nevada, I generally don't need to plan for weeks of continuous rain. A brief rain shower is common, so I always sleep in some kind of tarp-shelter. My current favorite ready-made shelter is a Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter. With netting mods, mine runs around 10-11 ounces for the soft pieces, plus poles and stakes. I value the way that it can be storm pitched down to the ground, as necessary. I spent two weeks in the rain in Alaska with it, so I know how that works.

However, I am interested in sewing my own shelter now. My goal is a shelter that weighs a bit less than what I have now. I have some yardage ordered up, something of a similar weight as spinnaker fabric. I recognize that it may not have 100% waterproofness, but it may be close. Not quite cuben fiber.

I've surveyed the general design choices, and what I try to cook up now may be a blend of several designs. I've seen the Jay Ham SUL tarp design. I like the SpinnShelter, although it is much longer than what I need. Flying Wedge. SMD Night Wing. Oware Cattarp. GoLite Lair. If I had no other input, I would attempt to make something like the SpinnShelter, except a lot shorter and a bit narrower. It will likely be like a flat tarp, only more shaped.

Any suggestions out there?


Edited by --B.G.-- on 03/28/2011 16:15:43 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 17:15:00 MDT Print View

Bob, are you suggesting that Cuben is waterproof?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 18:31:15 MDT Print View

I think that there is a growing number of manufacturers that would have us believe that.

Personally, I see the usefulness of cuben fiber, but it seems terribly overpriced. I have an allergy to that $25-$30 per yard stuff. Since I am not an expert equipment designer, there seems to be lots of cut fabric scraps, and that just drives the overall price upward. I mean, a guy can make only so many stuff sacks.

I see good utility in spinnaker fabric, Momentum, Epic, Pertex, sil-nylon, and similar fabrics. None of them is exactly perfect.


Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 18:59:04 MDT Print View

Are you considering pyramids or half-mids? They seem easy to make and while i like my brawnylite, I am considering making something that can be fully enclosed to deal with more inclement weather...

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
shelter idea? on 03/28/2011 19:01:32 MDT Print View


I personally like the shape of the 'One-pole' tarp that Jerry Adams references in his recent article about 3 mil Plastic Tarps. It is not SUPER storm-worthy, but as a 'just in case/ fair-weather tarp it seems to get the job done and will probably be my next tarp design... whenever that comes around =/


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: shelter idea? on 03/28/2011 19:14:35 MDT Print View

The "one-pole" tarp is definitely not unique by the way. I'm sure you can find similiar ones out there, like the BPL Cuben tarp.

I just had that on the Deschutes River where it had maybe 20 MPH winds.

Really flapped around a lot.

It helped when I tied the bottom corners of the tarp directly to the ground, rather than suspended on guylines.

Definitely, not SUPER storm-worthy.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 19:22:59 MDT Print View

"Are you considering pyramids or half-mids?"

Frankly, no.

To me, a pyramid is an effective design for a rather large tent. I have no experience with a half-mid, but they seem to be heavier than my goal.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: shelter idea? on 03/28/2011 19:28:36 MDT Print View

"I personally like the shape of the 'One-pole' tarp that Jerry Adams references"

Yes, that is my thinking. The only problem is that it might be a tiny bit too heavy for my goal. I'm used to something that will pitch down to the ground for a storm. Now, the bottom 4-6" of it might be only mosquito net, but even that will keep out some splash.



Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 20:40:21 MDT Print View

How about something like the kifaru paratarp?

click on the SPECS tab to get pictorial dimensions of the tarp.

11 oz in silnylon but it's a fairly good size. Maybe you can dimension it a little bit smaller. Seems nice since you can use it as a flattish tarp or more shaped for good down to the ground storm protection, at least on 3 sides.

Edited by DanG on 03/28/2011 20:42:11 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 20:55:07 MDT Print View

"kifaru paratarp"

I had never seen that one. I tend to ignore the ones modeled with hunters, since hunters typically carry all kinds of heavy stuff. Kifaru is appealing to a different customer base. However, 11 ounces is not bad. This one is nice in the ability to open up widely. However, it is not that much different in size and shape from my SpinnShelter. Yes, it is the right general idea, but I have to scale it down to be just adequate for one person. Plus, I am a side sleeper and tend to curl up a bit, so I could get by with a covered interior that is only 7 feet long.


Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 22:28:52 MDT Print View


What if you pared down an ID SilShelter design to accomodate one person? It shares some of the design features of the SpinnShelter. If you trim the dimensions down and use lighter fabric I think you can get where you want to be.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/28/2011 23:32:17 MDT Print View

I reacted instinctively when I read this, because I have an ID SilShelter. At first, I thought you were suggesting that I cut down the physical shelter. But, you meant to cut down the design dimensions of it. Maybe this is simplistic, but it seems like a larger version of the SpinnShelter.

My materials should be arriving tomorrow, so it is Put Up Or Shut Up time.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/29/2011 05:20:00 MDT Print View

Hard to say, exactly. You have a bit of experience in the terrain of your choice. It would be difficult to suggest anything. A more general suggestion might do you pretty well. I avoid brand names and models. They get confusing over 40 years, so, I don't bother memorizing them.

I would suggest a simple Whelen tarp, though.
Center piece: 5' wide, 6' long the two wings and overhang will supply good coverage, nearly 4 sided coverage
Whelan Tarp
My thoughts only . . .

Edited by jamesdmarco on 03/29/2011 05:21:05 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Any shelter design suggestions? on 03/29/2011 13:41:31 MDT Print View

James, I haven't given this one much thought since one side is completely open. All of the designs that I have been considering are capable of being pitched down to the ground, virtually all the way around, with maybe just a skirt of mosquito net.

My target area of operation goes from 7000 feet up to 12,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada. The top elevation is pretty exposed, with no trees, and there aren't even good boulders to tie to except in a few spots.


John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Shelter on 03/29/2011 22:58:08 MDT Print View

Bob, you are looking for almost the exact same thing as I am.
For solo use and just general backpacking, I plan on using a 5X9 tarp I made. I've already tested it on a few overnights and love it, in combination with an SMD Meteor bivy.
But I have friends and family that live in Wyoming, and so I backpack the Wind River range quite a bit, and they didnt give it that name for nothing. I'm planning on building a shelter that has coverage from wind on all 4 sides for when I get up over 8-9,000 feet.
Let me know if you figure something out, Im definitely interested in this.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
easy on 03/30/2011 15:05:29 MDT Print View

A 55 gallon garbage bag, a zip-tie and a snorkel. Have your hiking buddy zip-tie the top of the bag around the snorkel while you are in it. I bet the whole setup would be like 5oz for $3.