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10 oz shelter system
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Stephen Burgess

Locale: Pacific Northwest
10 oz shelter system on 01/30/2012 16:00:52 MST Print View

First let me say "hi" as I just joined. Up to this point I have only posted on, but there have been links here to my website and I've seen other quotes from my blog so I figured I'd better finally join up and take advantage of the content in this great site.

For background I sort of "specialize" in Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail, having hiked it about 25 times. Over the years I am constantly refining my system and have just blogged about the latest iteration of my "fastpacking" shelter. One of the tenets of creating a useful light system for me is multi use gear, and my shelter system consists of 3 items: my B4 (a half cuben/half noseeum netting 3/4 bivy bag), a custom 3/4 length bivy made by Joe at ZPacks out of cuben/breathable cuben, and a ZPacks poncho.inside the shelter using delrin rod
My so called "B4" is a piece of gear I created last year and has been tested and used, most of the time to mitigate bugs while lounging at rest or strolling during the evening. I made it large enough to come mid-thigh and eat inside. In the shelter system it is used prone to keep bugs out and snuggly critters at bay. I am a trail ambassador for Gossamer Gear and they are currently looking at the design for production.daughter lounging in B4 in Olympics
I am using the ZPacks groundsheet/poncho as part of the system. During the day it is used for rain protection and also covers my back and front packs, or as a ground sheet to sit on for backside protection. When sleeping I fold half under my upper body to act as a ground sheet and a place to put my pack and other items. During inclement weather the other half can be folded over and zipped (the ZPacks design incorporates side zippers). I use a Plastidipped delrin rod to create a mini-tent inside, providing plenty of headroom. the "stickiness" provided by the rubber like coating on the rod allows it to just be placed inside without slipping out of position, alleviating the need for any kind of staking.side view of poncho in rain mode
All this leaves my lower half exposed, but I didn't want to use a full length bivy as this seemed redundant. My solution was a custom 3/4 length bivy with dimensions flexible enough to accommodate a full length pad if need be along with a sleeping bag. The B4 weighs in at @2 ozs, the bivy at @3 ozs and the poncho is 5 ozs for a total weight of 10 ozs (excluding the delrin rod).
This system is designed for sleeping only with the flexibility to use in areas inappropriate for a tent, while providing shelter from bugs, critters and rain. This is a synopsis but if you'd like to view the blogs here are the links:
for the B4:
I hope to be able to add value to this forum; I've made lots of mistakes over the years and have developed systems and techniques accordingly.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: 10 oz shelter system on 01/30/2012 20:40:35 MST Print View

Thats amazing, rain gear, shelter, bug protection for 10 oz.

How bad of weather have you had it in? This looks like the perfect day hiking emergency for only a little more weight than a space blanket.

Do you get condensation in the top half that the poncho covers? And if that is an issue would making half the poncho out breathable cuban work better?

Edited by GregF on 01/30/2012 20:59:13 MST.

Stephen Burgess

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: shelter system on 01/30/2012 20:57:29 MST Print View

This total system is new for me, so I haven't field tested it in toto yet. I have spent many nights in bivy bags over the years and in other minimalist systems, so have a good idea of the pluses and limits of this system. On the minus side, there is not a lot of room to do anything except sleep and move a little; changing clothes is a very tight fit but doable. The tiny zips on the sides of the poncho are not easy to maneuver, especially if you have cold fingers. Getting in and out of the setup is not as easy as any tent and perhaps a little more fussy than a simple full sized bivy bag.
On the plus side, this isn't for "camping....." I'll probably only be in it for 3-6 hours of sleep at a time. I can set it up anywhere, even on inclined slopes or leaning against something for more upright sleep. In fair weather it will be a snap to set up and I can use the delrin rod inside the B4.two piece setup
However, before I charge off this summer I plan on putting it through it's paces with some winter hikes and overnights in the PNW during crappy weather. I'll update this thread when I have some more practical experience with it, and be assured that if something doesn't cut it I either change it or trash it.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: 10 oz shelter system on 02/01/2012 08:22:43 MST Print View

It has some similar functionality as the Dancing Light Gear (Brawny Gear) Ultralight Sleep Net, no longer made.

No weight given for delrin rod.

Edited by jshann on 02/01/2012 08:27:04 MST.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Re: 10 oz shelter system on 02/01/2012 10:30:38 MST Print View

Hey Stephen,

This is a REALLY interesting system that you've developed. I would love to see more photos of field use-- I'm pretty sure I understand how the poncho is deployed/ looks, but would be interested in more info!


Stephen Burgess

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: 10 oz shelter system on 02/01/2012 22:46:23 MST Print View

I'll be testing some new gear and philosophies this season and will probably do a Vidcast. I find video the easiest way to explain and show the viewer pertinent observations, and I'll probably record most of the video in the field.