Forum Index » SuperUltraLight (SUL) Backpacking Discussion » Approaching 4lb barrier....need feedback on modded MLD Poncho Tarp Specifically


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Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Approaching 4lb barrier....need feedback on modded MLD Poncho Tarp Specifically on 07/26/2011 11:38:42 MDT Print View

As I approach the 4lb pack weight barrier for Summer and light shoulder season, I'm thinking about my shelter and a modded MLD Poncho/Tarp specifically w/ a beak. I live in the NE and have been through some nasty rain storms, and don't want to get caught out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0YsRC4L4VU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaX0WMBH0JI

For the record I'm 5-9 and 195 lbs, athletic build.

I currently own a .51CF Bear Paw Wilderness Cub Den 1.5:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=47924

It gives great coverage and comes in around 10.26oz w/ bug netting, and no guy lines.

Positives about this setup:

- Great rain coverage
- Bug netting is for entire living space, not just my head, or my body, or apart of bivy.
- Separate rain coverage for hiking vs. in camp (DriDucks jacket)
- Separate jacket allows me full rain coverage for JRB quilt while being warn as insulating layer in camp.
- Any splash that might come into the shelter, I can protect foot end of quilt by wear trash compactor bag

Anyway, I originally considered an MLD Cuben Fiber Poncho/Tarp:
http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=32&products_id=56

It would be a multi-use gear item, acting as shelter and rain jacket.

I had a few problems with this shelter:
- Would it provide enough coverage? My GoLite poncho/tarp is bigger than the MLD offering, and I felt pretty vulnerable during bad rain storms in A-frame configuration.
- With the smaller MLD Poncho/Tarp, I'd most likely have to carry a bivy, this would negate weight savings in the overall equation vs. the Bear Paw Cub Den 1.5 and dedicated Driducks jacket.
- When wearing the JRB quilt as an insulating layer plus the poncho, the down could get wet via the sides of the poncho (I considered a custon cuben Epiphany quilt w/ slit for my head, to ditch the bivy, but didn't want the clamminess).

Well....after thinking some more about getting down to 4lb base weight (for the heck of it), I wanted to revisit the MLD Poncho Tarp. I'd have to deal with a head net for bug shelter, but other than that I think I can shed some decent weight by using the Poncho/Tarp as multi-use item and getting rid of the dedicated Bear Paw Cub Den 1.5 shelter and DriDucks rain jacket.

So here's the idea.... I think the Poncho/Tarp in half-pyramid mode would give great coverage on three sides, but leaves the last side wide open:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=21233

If you don't guess where the rain is going to come from, you're screwed, especially without a bivy. I'm glad to see the user in the thread above is 6-3 so I know I'd physically fit, but it's all about the exposed side. So.... I'd like to buy an MLD Poncho tarp (or have another manufacturer willing to do custom work do the same) and have them add a beak to the Poncho that would be rolled up when wearing the item in poncho mode. Kinda like the beak on current Hexamid shelters:
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv352/djmamayek/IMG_0407.jpg

This would afford me a few things:
- Beak is less weight than a bivy, while potentially giving me the better rain protection I want.
- CF beaks are so light, I prob wouldn't notice much lopsidedness while wearing it in poncho mode
- I no long need to carry dedicated shelter and dedicated rain jacket.

Questions:
- Of course, would this be enough coverage?
- I think the bigger the beak, the better, but making sure it wasn't too big (weight) or too small (not enough coverage and would prevent pitching in A-frame) would need some additional though and prototyping.
- Still have the issue of getting the JRB down quilt wet through the sides of the poncho, but then again, I can't recall the last time I actually hiked while wearing down.
- Might I get cold in the rain, the closer to the shoulder seasons I get with wet arms while wearing the poncho? Then I'd prob have to add a wind shirt a give back more if the initial weight savings.

Thoughts?

Thanks for brainstorming with me! Super psyched we have a sub forum! :)

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Gatewood Cape on 07/26/2011 14:10:08 MDT Print View

What about the Gatewood Cape? 11 oz and no bivy needed and its your rain gear. Its about 0.5 oz heavier than your cub den, but since you can drop the rain gear, it might save weight in the long run.

Edited by ianders on 07/26/2011 14:11:56 MDT.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Gatewood Cape on 07/26/2011 14:45:33 MDT Print View

I guess I've been on the CF kick lately and hadn't considered the Gatewood cape.

According to my calculations the Cape weighs:
11.6oz w/ guy lines & I don't carry stakes (says no stakes inc in the 11oz weight, I assume no guy lines either)

I'd still need a bug bivy head net (3oz?).

That puts me to 14.6 for that shelter setup & rain gear vs:

Bear Pawk Wilderness Cub Den 1.5 @ 10.8 w/ guy lines + 5.36 modified Driduck Jacket=
16.6 oz

So I guess you're correct, I'd save ~2oz but would lose the nicety of having dedicated rain jacket and shelter w/ full bug enclosure and I thought I heard the gatewood leads to internal condensation? Any truth to that?

Would have to weigh whether the cost of the Cape would be worth the weight savings and pros vs. cons.

Now if someone would make a gatewood cape out of cuben already! :p

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Murmur on 07/26/2011 14:52:44 MDT Print View

Also, looks at the pics of the Cape being worn with a pack... I'm rocking a GG Murmur these days, I wonder if the back of the cape would be too long for my height. No clue how tall the model is on their website, but the pack he is wearing seems to be bigger than my Murmur.

Edited by bster13 on 10/02/2011 17:33:19 MDT.

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Cuben Gatewood Cape on 07/26/2011 15:00:03 MDT Print View

Now if someone would make a gatewood cape out of cuben already! :p

No freaking kidding! I continue to be amazed that no one has stepped in to fill this very obvious hole in the dam. I ask our favorite gear makers quarterly or so if they have plans to do this but no one is stepping up.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Cuben or not... on 07/26/2011 15:01:53 MDT Print View

....Seems like there are some things I'd need to live with if I went with a Cape for that extra coverage over a poncho/tarp:

http://forum.tgomagazine.co.uk/forum/thread/gatewood-cape

- Condensation when u wake up in the morning in the shelter and that turns into wet underside when u wear it in cape mode

- Better rain protection than a poncho, but more trapping of moisture inside.

All things to weigh/consider. :)

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
1/2 Lightload Towel on 07/26/2011 16:30:45 MDT Print View

Weighs a few measly grams and it wouldn't take more than a few minutes in the morning to soak up and wring out the condensation from a night's sleep. I use mine stuffed in my kitchen kit to prevent things from clanking around and making me crazy.

EDIT: Mine weighs 15.7 grams and I haven't cut it in half yet. At 12"x22" even half is probably overkill for mopping condensation.

Edited by ChemE on 07/26/2011 16:39:09 MDT.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
headnet on 07/26/2011 16:36:21 MDT Print View

I just wanted to correct something, my bug headnet (Coghlan's cheap-o) is .69 ounces on my scale, listed at .5ounces here (http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/coghlans_no-see-um_headnet.html).

So that's a big difference between the 3 ounces you are thinking it will be, unless this item doesn't work for your needs (which I doubt trying for sub 4lb).


11.6oz (gatewood) + .69 (mesh headnet) = 12.29

vs.

Bear Pawk Wilderness Cub Den 1.5 @ 10.8 w/ guy lines + 5.36 modified Driduck Jacket=
16.6 oz

or you mean you want a bug bivy?

Edited by Trout on 07/26/2011 16:52:11 MDT.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: 1/2 Lightload Towel on 07/26/2011 17:14:53 MDT Print View

I always have a bandana on me (love it for so many things), so I could use that.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: headnet on 07/26/2011 17:19:12 MDT Print View

I guess I meant a bug bivy, sorry. Either full body or half body (not sure how well these work). Going from a fully enclosed shelter to a headnet would be rough.

I realize by going from dedicated rain jacket to poncho and from full bug enclosure to bug bivy of sorts there will be some compromise and discomfort, but I guess I'm not willing to go fully "hardcore" yet? I still am carrying a Neoair Short afterall, haha.

So I guess my grand idea of a MLD Poncho/Tarp w/ beak isn't so grand afterall? *Sniff, sniff* :p

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
The Gatewood on 07/26/2011 17:49:48 MDT Print View

I have used my Gatewood in wet situations and yes there is condensation, but not an issue at all. I never had dripping water as it pitches in a pyramid so most moisture runs to the ground.

The Gatewood is well ventilated so it suffers no more condensation than any other shelter. Lets face it, when it rains, every hard surface is wet, including the underside of a well ventilated shelter.

It does protect well from wind blown rain, but a rectangular tarp can be pitched for good rain protection as well. It is hard to get in and out of a rect poncho tarp when pitched this way though.
The Gatewood on the other hand is easier to get in and out of as you end up with a real zippered door and you can actually sit up in a Gatewood, something that is hard to do in a rect poncho pitched tight and low. You pay for this because the Gatewood is bigger and heavier.

If you are worried about putting it on while it is wet in the rain, yes, you will get wet, but no more wet than you soon would be from condensation in any rain gear anyway, so that isn't really an issue.

I gave up on the fight to stay dry in the rain and moved towards being reasonably warm and comfortable when damp. Accepting the dampness makes hiking in the rain enjoyable. In fact, that was a damp, but enjoyable hike we did last month.

And Bryce, you've seen how high I pitch my Monk tarp(5X9) in an a-frame in fair weather, but I also am prepared to re-pitch it and drop 3 sides to the ground should the wind-blown rain be an issue. Having the extra tie points on the Monk make for some tight bombproof protection. It's not roomy, but it's the price I pay to keep the weight down. Besides, is roominess important when you sleep?

Anyway, if I expect a wet trip, I'd vote for the Gatewood, or even better, your Cub Den and stay with the rect poncho tarp if the forecast is only a little chance of rain.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Approaching 4lb barrier....need feedback on modded MLD Poncho Tarp Specifically on 07/26/2011 19:26:14 MDT Print View

MLD Cuben Poncho 4.40oz
Suluk46 CR Bivy 2.9oz

There's 7.3oz for a complete shelter. add a half ounce bug net and compete protection for 8oz.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: Approaching 4lb barrier....need feedback on modded MLD Poncho Tarp Specifically on 07/26/2011 20:06:03 MDT Print View

"If you are worried about putting it on while it is wet in the rain, yes, you will get wet, but no more wet than you soon would be from condensation in any rain gear anyway, so that isn't really an issue."

I am wondering if this is true. I was very, very happy with the breathability of my DriDucks while hiking in the rain. I was only slightly damp underneath. With non-breathable silnylon it would be much worse I'd think unless there was a lot of daylight to vent (regular poncho), and if not, a lot of condensation (Gatewood cape?).

@Robert, I thought of Steve's Bivy and even his .33 CF Tarp, but knowing how light my .51CF shelter is, I'd be awful p_ssed if I spent all that $ and then beat up/tore the bivy. Plus, I'm trying to maintain as much usable space vs. my current Cube Den 1.5 as possible. A bivy protects my quilt, but doesn't help me cook out of the rain or give me rain-free livable space. Heck, I'd already be giving up the wonderful perimeter bug netting of the Cub Den 1.5. Tough to give up the shelter from the rain, but such may be life if going to 4lbs.

I was thinking if I made the beak large enough it would give me great rain coverage (approaching the gatewood?) and be lighter than a poncho/tarp plus bivy (say Tigoat bivy that is a little more durable).

Still thinking, keep it coming. :)

john chong
(johnch) - F
Golite Poncho Tarp and Half pyramid on 07/27/2011 18:08:33 MDT Print View

I set up my golite poncho tarp in the rain in my backyard, and experienced very little dampness on my bag. A little damp in my feet area where it touched the wall of the tarp. I wasn't using a bivy. But my head and feet were touching the walls of the tarp.

When I did the same set up on a rainy day in the Redwoods, my bag got super wet on the feet and head, but I was using it in poncho mode, so it seemed to have gone past its "waterproofness". I was also using my bivy. I wonder if being in contact with the walls of silnylon will eventually wet out whatever is touching it. I wonder if cuben does the same.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Golite Poncho Tarp and Half pyramid on 07/27/2011 18:53:12 MDT Print View

It probably wasn't a wetting out issue as much as condensation that formed on the inside of the tarp.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Re: Golite Poncho Tarp and Half pyramid on 07/28/2011 08:54:31 MDT Print View

It sounds like the sleeping bag got wet from condensation inside the bivy sack, not the sil poncho tarp. Usually, I keep my bivy as open as possible under my poncho tarp. After several years, I've to have a problem with the GoLite Poncho wetting out.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Yes, Condensation on 07/28/2011 09:17:39 MDT Print View

I often hear about the problems that others I've camped with have with water leaking.
My inspection found that it was always condensation.

When I told one person that it was just condensation, she said "call it what you want, but my tent shouldn't be leaking like that" and asked if waterproofing spray would fix it:-(

Regarding wetness in a bivy, I always try to suspend the top of my bivy a little above my sleeping bag/quilt. This, in theory anyway, should reduce condensation significantly.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Yes, Condensation on 07/28/2011 09:32:57 MDT Print View

"I often hear about the problems that others I've camped with have with water leaking. My inspection found that it was always condensation. "

Steven - Yes, that's been my experience when friends and other campers have asked me about leaks. Some other favorites:

Q: This stove doesn't work. It wouldn't boil water.
Me: Did you use a lid?

Q: My 0 degree sleeping bag didn't keep me warm in 60 degree weather.
Me: Did you use a sleeping pad??


That said, I did buy a 4-season tent once that was not properly coated. It was very easy to demonstrate.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: gatewood, condensation, ponchos, etc on 07/28/2011 10:08:20 MDT Print View

The Gatewood can be pitched high or low to suit the conditions. I have propped the hood up like a chimney and it helps. It uses 6 stakes and the guy line is built in. For the "high" pitch you need 6" or so loops. Larks head to the tie-outs and close the loop with a taut line hitch for adjusting.

Any enclosed shelter is going to get condensation at times. Ventilation helps. I have this theory that ground moisture adds to it, so a larger ground cloth may reduce that, particularly when pitched on grass (the shelter, not the hiker). And yeah, you have to keep your sleeping gear off the walls. +1 on a sponge, bandana, or synthetic towel for mopping up.

If you are wearing a poncho or cape, the backpack helps keep it off your upper body, improving ventilation too. A cord belt helps in wind. With the Gatewood, you can unzip the front for more ventilation. Your backpack stays dry, including the straps and back pad, so you don't have a cold wet thing to wear the next morning. Windshirts and ponchos go together well. Ponchos aren't very pretty -- not smooth and tailored like a welded seam ArcTeryx shell. You're not going to be in the catalog or on the cover of Backpacker mag, so get over it :)

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: gatewood, condensation, ponchos, etc on 07/28/2011 10:20:29 MDT Print View

"I have this theory that ground moisture adds to it, so a larger ground cloth may reduce that, particularly when pitched on grass (the shelter, not the hiker)."

Dale, I think that's true, especially with more vegetation/grass under the groundcloth. The moisture directly under the groundcloth condenses on the underside of the groundcloth but any grass next to it still must be producing moisture that has to go somewhere.