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Patrol Shelter guy line length?
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John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Patrol Shelter guy line length? on 11/01/2011 23:10:27 MDT Print View

For those of you who own Patrol Shelters, actually anyone, I need your advice in what length to cut the lines-particularly the apex and beak lines.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Patrol Shelter guy line length? on 11/02/2011 08:13:53 MDT Print View

You might want to PM BPL member Matt Edwards. He used his patrol shelter on one of his long distance hikes. Probably has it pretty dialed in.

a b
Patrol Shelter guy line lengths on 11/02/2011 09:23:14 MDT Print View

My ears were burning.. LOL!
Here are the lengths I used for guy lines on my Patrol:
Front Apex Line(topmost)=70 inches
Beak line(furthest right in picture)=56 inches
Front corner pullouts= 20 inches
Side pullouts=16 inches
Rear corner pullouts=12 inches
Rear Apex Line=40 inches

The lengths above are the entire length of each guy line.
These lengths worked for me.
The reason for the different lengths of side pullout lines from front to rear reflects the way i used the shelter. I always had the foot end tight to the ground but varied the height of the beak end to suit my ventilation requirements. in the picture below i am in a fairly tight storm pitch mode cause it was hella raining. A lot of times in light rain i would pitch the front of the patrol several inches off the ground for more air and head room. The longer front lines accomodated this and allowed me to pitch the shelter wide or narrow depending on expected wind conditions as well.
Most of the time there was a lot of leftover slack after i set up the shelter, but having the extra length allowed me to stretch out the stake placements for those times when rocks or roots were in the way.
The Patrol has line tensioners built in to all the corners.
For the stake attachements i just tied loops into the end of each guy line using a square knot and hooked the loops over the stakes.
.Mountain Laurel Designs Patrol Shelter on the AT

Edited by Ice-axe on 11/02/2011 09:34:11 MDT.

a b
More MLD Patrol Shelter Beta on 11/02/2011 14:12:24 MDT Print View

I have today off (carpet cleaning requires Saturday work so we get a random weekday) so while out for my hike I snapped some pictures of my Mountain Laurel Designs Patrol Shelter and Bear Paw Wilderness Designs Minimalist 1 bivy in action.
Yea, I pretty much always carry all my gear with me everywhere now and this was a great excuse to throw down a camp under the ridiculously sunny California skies.
.Mountain Laurel Designs Patrol Shelter in green cuben Fiber.Sitting up inside with shelter pitched high.Climbing into the Bear Paw Mesh Bivy.Inside the Bear paw bivy as if sleeping.MLD Patrol Shelter.
As you can see the Patrol shelter/Bivy combo is a specialist solution. There is just enough room to shelter me and my gear.
In these photos I have it set up pretty high off the ground. Under stormy weather I would set it up nearly on the ground to reduce rain splatter from under the outside edges.
A trick i used a few times was to place a few dead branches just under the inside edges of the tarp to intercept reflected rain. Really this was only ever neccesary during tremendously heavy rainfall.
In these photos I have substituted some modified easton aluminum tent poles for the trekking pole supports i used on the AT.
The primary purpose is for sleeping and perhaps having a snack or reading maps propped up on your elbows.
For 100 days when i covered 2,180 miles, this shelter and bivy combo was perfect and even luxurious for me during some ridiculously wet and windy conditions.
I did get some spray from under the edges at times. This was never a real issue since the mesh bivy intercepted most of it and my Apex Climashield Quilt (MLD Spirit 30 Quilt) was unfazed by what little moisture did make it through the system.
The seemingly catenary cut of the ridgeline is purely the result of the way i pitched the shelter.
even in high winds that toppled trees around me on the AT, my Patrol was stout and reliable. I was never once let down by this system.
If I have my way I will be hiking another long distance trail soon (perhaps the ADT or a redux of the PCT) and the Patrol Shelter and Minimalist bivy will absolutely be my shelter system again.

Edited by Ice-axe on 11/02/2011 14:18:31 MDT.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
pics on 11/02/2011 16:32:32 MDT Print View

Great pics Matt, thanks a ton! I'm in the market for my first high-end cuben shelter, so some questions:

1) Did you find the relatively closed-end design of the patrol shelter reducing ventilation to any great degree? Do you think the shelter would be better off with a beak on both ends, instead of the closed-off end?

2) Did you find yourself wishing for more space?

3) Can you think of advantages that a more open beaked tarp would offer?

I'm curious because I assume the more closed design yields better splash protection, and if it doesn't hinder ventilation, why do we not see more of this approach?

a b
Ventilation with Tarps on 11/02/2011 17:29:29 MDT Print View

I actually made my own prototype patrol shelter using a beak at either end before my Appalachian trail thru hike with the Patrol shelter.
I tested my prototype at the BPL Henry Coe get together last February.
The pictures are NOT from the BPL event! It was hailing and colder than heck there! I think Tony has some pictures on here of my tarp at the event.
The results of my test convinced me to get the Patrol and in cuben fiber rather than the sil-nylon of my prototype.
Here is a picture of my Prototype "Ray Way" or patrol shelter tarp.Prototype Patrol.
Prototype two beak patrol.
I sewed this out of an 8'X10' MEC flat tarp.
I concluded that having a beak at both ends left too much exposure.
On my AT thru hike I found the patrol to have plenty of ventilation even when pitched close to the ground.
In fact i would sometimes use my GoLite chrome dome trekking umbrella under the beak of my patrol as a "door" to block excess wind or when the wind changed direction.
Usually i set up my Patrol with the closed foot end towards the prevailing wind.
Well back east they have horrendous weather.
You can be awakened anytime during the night by mic ro burst winds from humongous thunderstorms.
Maybe it's because i am a sissy west coast boy, but they really do seem to have unreal weather back there.
Having a "closed" end to my shaped tarp (Patrol shelter) meant i could always count on a defensible space.
My two beaked prototype was like a wind tunnel by comparison.
As for room inside, you must remember that my values for a long distance hike were: #1 weight, #2 ventilation/protection from elements, #3 ease of setup.
I was, and am, prepared to sacrifice volume inside my shelter becuase the shelter's primary use on a long distance hike is for sleeping.
My strategy is to hike, rain or shine, from sun up to sun down. When I am not hiking i am in my quilt, under the patrol sleeping.
This is entirely different from my strategy for a back country fishing trip or a winter snowshoe trip where i might be tent bound for longer periods.
I did find i had plenty of room to keep my pack and all extra gear well under the patrol with me each night. It's not like i could have done jumping jacks under there but for the hour or so before i drifted off to sleep i would munch tortillas and read guide book pages in relative comfort using my food bag as a pillow and propped up on my elbows.
I had enough room each morning to pack everything into my pack under the Patrol, eat breakfast and slip out into the rain putting the patrol away in the mesh pocket of my pack as i hiked away.
Being able to set up the Patrol in the driving rain, crawl underneath and unload my dry bivy and quilt and crawl in for the night was amazing.
One remarkable thing about the Patrol was how little condensation it accumulates.
Either the cuben fiber itself has some intrinsic property involved or the ventilation was superior to other shelters i have used.
Even under daily rain and high humidity, my Patrol never accumulated the same amount of moisture as other shelters i have used.
I have used a Choiunard Pyramid, Gossamer Gear One, Sierra Designs Divine Light, as well as a flat tarp/poncho for hikes before.
My two thru hikes previous to the AT I used the GG One.
I loved the GG One. However the only failures i suffered were from having the floor attached to the fly where either condesation or actual rain would pool in the bathtub floor and cause difficulty.
This is why i chose a system that had a seperate fly and floor for the AT.
As for the advantage of two beaks.. i suppose it gives you a second view.
I think separating the floor from the fly is a huge first step in the right direction (for me at least).

Edited by Ice-axe on 11/02/2011 17:50:01 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Guy lines on 11/02/2011 18:24:22 MDT Print View

Doug, thanks for the clarion to Matt; it worked.

Matt, can't tell you the degree of appreciation for your help. I have a brand new cuben shelter on the shelf waiting to be set up and sealed. As you know, the written expression of your enthusiasm for this tent along with your photos that are spread around, prodded me until I just had to have it. I am keeping my Sil prototype as well.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Patrol Shelter guy line lengths on 11/02/2011 19:19:55 MDT Print View

Fantastic writeup. Thank you for posting.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 11/02/2011 20:24:23 MDT Print View

Excellent insight Matt, thanks man.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
More on the Patrol Shelter on 10/02/2012 18:09:54 MDT Print View

An old post, but worth dredging up,

My most popular shelter had always been the now discontinued GG Spinnshelter and before that, the heavier Golite Hut(now the Shangri-la).

The Patrol Shelter is also of similar design to both of these, but has advantages.

I have used many other shelters for various reasons, but always fall back to this somewhat classic design because I consider it the best compromise when it comes to weight, flexibility and weather resistance.

I also use the BearPaw Minimalist 1 as my inner for warm weather, but tend to prefer the SMD Meteor for colder weather, but only because it's slightly warmer and offers more splash protection.
If I was to chose one for a thru-hike, it would be the Minimalist 1.
I am splitting hairs here.

If I was starting over or really needed the best cutting edge gear, I'd get me the cuben Patrol Shelter.

a b
Re: More on the Patrol Shelter on 10/02/2012 19:31:10 MDT Print View

I just used mine last week in the Sierra.
.MLD Patrol at Bear Valley Lake N. Yosemite Wilderness
I did not even bring the bivy as i expected and found not even a single mosquito.

What surprised me was just how much warmth the bug bivy contributes.. i missed it this last week as it was low 40's and windy up at 10,500.
The bug mesh of the minimalist stops most of the light breezes in the night.
Ended up just pointing my Go lite chrome dome into the downcanyon breeze and used the patrol a few nights and slept much warmer.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Warmth and the bug bivy on 10/03/2012 05:32:22 MDT Print View

Yes, a bug bivy really does contribute to the warmth. I originally brought mine along during late winter because mosquitoes seem to thrive when the snow melts around these parts.
It is also my ground cloth to help protect my blow-up mattress.

You really notice the temperature drop inside the bivy when you unzip it to take a pee on cold mornings.

Definitely worth the weight to carry one year round.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 10/03/2012 05:33:16 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: More on the Patrol Shelter on 10/03/2012 07:59:03 MDT Print View

I like the looks of this shelter. How does it do in the wind, broadside? I might look at the SoloMid in high wind, exposed situations.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Wind and the Patrol shelter on 10/03/2012 08:55:36 MDT Print View

Hi David,

I have never used the Patrol, but since it is a similar type design to the Spinnshelter and Golite Shangri-la, I suspect a similar wind performance.

A friend and I were stuck on an exposed high cleared area when a tropical storm came through. The wind was so loud that we could not talk to each other without screaming at the top of our lungs.
Standing up and walking upright was hard.

The wind lasted all night. Me in my Spinnshelter, him in the Shangri-la.

Both of us faired well. The walls flexed, but amazingly nowhere near as bad as the dome shelters that others used.

We still never slept well because of the constant whipping jet engine volume noise.
Many tent poles broke and flatten tents that night, but the two of us had no issues.

The only problem that could occur is if it is not attached well to the ground. These type of shelters can get a lot of stress at the tie points so solid anchoring is mandatory.

bernie tillson
Staking Minimalist on 10/03/2012 10:04:40 MDT Print View


Do you stake the Minimalist separately or do you run lines to the tent stakes?


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Stakes on 12/04/2012 15:58:27 MST Print View

Since Matt didn't see your request, I'll reply:

It looks like he didn't stake them down in the picture and just hung, using his sleeping pad to hold the bottom out.

With my similar Spinnshelter, I have done:

1) Hang, but not stake like in the picture.
2) Hang with 4-6" titanium shepherd hooks staked on each corner.
3) Hang and run a line from the four corners of the bivy to the 4 corner stakes on my shelter.

I think I usually prefer #2.
#1 is less stable and the mesh has more of a tendecy to sag against me, but the easiest.
#3 is more fidly, especially when I have to change my pitch in the middle of the night.
#2 Gives a more perfect pitch and is easier to setup than #3, but you have to carry four stakes or find something else to use.

I have used found sticks, but the shephard stakes pushed flush to the ground worked better because there was nothing sicking out of the ground to jab me.

You may be able to find something even lighter than the 6" titanium stakes I use, but I can't think of anything that would work as well.

bernie tillson
Stakes on 12/05/2012 07:02:13 MST Print View

Thanks for saving me trial and error time Steve. I think I'll go with #2.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
P.S. on 12/05/2012 07:10:57 MST Print View

P.S. I finally gave in and ordered a cuben Patrol Shelter. Why? because it's lighter, stronger and the color is more stealth.

I find I often have to camp in places where stealth is important and the Spinnshelter is too bright. I have tinted my Spinnshleter and it helped, but still kind of stands out and the tinting added more weight than I like.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Update on 01/15/2013 13:22:40 MST Print View

I have had my Patrol Shelter on a couple trips and wanted to mention that my lines ended up a bit longer than Ice-Axe's recommendation.

I went by the length that I have used with my Spinnshelter(similar to the Patrol) and found they were longer than Ice-Axe's recommendation.

I do think that his length was based on his many nights in his, so his advice is probably better choice for most than mine.

One of the reason why I liked the longer length is that when it's hot I tend to like the increased ventilation of a higher pitch than would be possible with the shorter lengths.

I also find the longer length adds flexibility when doing non standard anchoring in less than perfect sites.

These are the approximate lengths that I use:
Front Apex Line(topmost) 96"
Beak line 84"
Front corner pullouts 36"
Side pullouts 28"
Rear corner pullouts 16"
Rear Apex Line 60"

Of course the additional length adds weight. The amount of weight depends on the line you use.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

More info desired on 01/23/2013 16:44:15 MST Print View

Just got my cuben patrol shelter -- with the original MLD uncut guyline.

Based on my specs I'm looking for some input:

I'm 6'1" and always use LONG 6'6" sleeping bags -- either in a Large MLD Superlight Bivy or in a yet-to-be-decided-net-tent.

East Coast hiker so having longer guyline lengths appeals to me since it is sometimes hard to find the perfect stake placements.

QUESTION 1: Would you use another guyline instead of the MLD yellow stock line in the Linelocs ? Anything better / lighter / more holding power that I should consider ? (NOT cutting off the linelocs and using clam cleats with mini-line...I like the ease of use of the line-locs...)

QUESTION 2: Anyone else (I see Ice-Axe's listed set of cut lengths) have a set of guyline lengths that seems to be working for them (have actually had it out a number of nights to try it)?

My tent weighs in at 7.83 oz. in the stuff sack WITHOUT the guyline.