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SMD Skyscape X
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Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
SMD Skyscape X on 07/23/2012 15:49:59 MDT Print View

I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new SMD Skyscape X and it finally got here this morning.

At 14.5 ozs it weighs less than advertised, which is nice. 14.8 ozs w/ the stuff sack.

Setup was easier than any of the other SMD shelters I have used (Gatewood & Haven).

The quilt in the photos is 78" long, 56" tapering to 40" at the foot end. With a Klymit Inertia torso pad and a 1/8" GG ccf pad there is more than enough room between my feet/head and the top of the tent. I could see it getting a little tight with a thicker Neo-Air.




I am 6'0" & 195 lbs and there is plenty of elbow/shoulder room. I've read that it would probably be cramped for people over 6'4".


With a 1/8" ccf pad there's plenty of room between my feet and the tent (size 11.5).


There was a post recently about some difficulty finding the pocket for the bar inside at the top. Here's a look from inside.


My first impression is that this thing is amazing. It appears to have good quality of construction with attention to detail. There are little design tricks that I already appreciate, like the double attachment for the inner net door which can hold the net door open even when the outer vestibule is closed.

There is a pxt of a pile of these on the SMD FB page that shipped out last Friday. Has anyone else received one yet?

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Skyscape X vs. Cuben Haven on 07/23/2012 17:15:55 MDT Print View


Thanks for posting the photos. Very interesting. Since you also have experience with the Gatewood Cape and the Cuben Haven, I wonder whether you can elaborate a little on the differences and advantages between the three. As you recently got the Cuben Haven with the Haven NetTent, I'm especially interested to hear about your thoughts about the Skyscape X vs. the Cuben Haven.



Edited by Orienteering on 07/23/2012 17:16:40 MDT.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: SMD Skyscape X on 07/23/2012 20:00:03 MDT Print View

Oh yeah!!

So very very awesome to see guys getting their SMDSX!!!

I freaking love that 4th photograph!

- Abela

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Skyscape X vs. Cuben Haven on 07/23/2012 20:27:15 MDT Print View


Thanks for your earlier post about the Cuben Haven & Net Tent.

There are a few differences between the Skyscape X and the Cuben Haven that stand out.

With the Skyscape I was able to get a good pitch on a windy day the first try. Only 3 stakes are needed to set it up in 'net tent' mode and installing the poles on the inside was relatively easy. I like the way the side guy lines are attached directly to the tarp with the zipper offset toward the rear about 2". This makes it easy to get the sides tight.

It took me a a few times to get a decent pitch w/ the Haven. The way the side guy lines are located behind the tarp with the sides of the tarp attached to the guy lines made setup more involved at first.

The Haven seems to be less stable in the wind since the side guy lines end up being staked out closer to the apex of the tarp. I've read a post here where someone recommended attaching additional longer side guy lines through the vents to make it more stable.

The Skyscape also appears more stable due to the way the trekking poles are in an inverted V shape right along the sides, similar to a Solomid.

Both are multi-use. I like that the Skyscape is a stand alone multi-use item. It's easy to change from a net tent to a partially enclosed shelter to a fully enclosed 80 % double wall tent.

On the plus side for the Haven is its ability to be a four in one modular multi-use item. I like that we can just use the net tent on clear nights or as a double wall shelter or as just a tarp for two. I really like the additional use as a one person tarp on solo trips when I might want 360 degree weather protection (but no bugs). At just under 10 ozs the tarp is lighter than a cuben Solomid, probably just as stable with the additional side guy lines and palatial for one.

My first impression is that I like the Skyscape better than the Haven w/ Net Tent, the Gatewood w/ Serenity Net Tent or even my old Hexamid solo tent. It's easier to setup, appears to be more stable, comes with a built-in semi-bathtub floor, has two 'vestibules' (although it is correctly described as having only one in the review by John Abela) and can be used as a net tent w/out having to bring a second item.

I will probably use lighter shelter options when trying to save weight, but the Skyscape seems to cover all the bases.

I have only been on one trip with the Haven & net tent and it was rough due to bad late night site selection. I'm looking forward to using both this summer.

Have you been able to take it out on any trips yet? How do you and your wife like it?

'Nuff said. Either way it's win/win.

Thanx, Andy.

Edited by bluewater on 07/23/2012 20:39:45 MDT.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: SMD Skyscape X on 07/23/2012 20:37:56 MDT Print View

Thanks John! Your shelter comparison spreadsheet and SMDSX review helped me decide to get one. It will be interesting to see how you modify your second one (possible cuben bathtub floor?).


John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: SMD Skyscape X on 07/23/2012 20:59:22 MDT Print View

That is awesome to hear Andy!!

As for what I might do to the second one I just ordered.... hmmmm...

Well, the very first thing I am going to do is slap some single side cf tape onto the bathtub floor corners. As Ron noted they need to be sealed up some way, and this just seems the best way to go about it.

As for modifying it to have a higher bathtub floor, uggh, that could be really hard. The more I look at mine and try to figure out how to go about adding another two or three inches of cf along the top of the floor, the more I think it could be a bit hard to do. Seems like it would be much easier on the manufacturing end, but with the bug netting already attacked pretty much all the way around it, it could be a nightmare for whoever I would hand off that task too. Still though, as I mentioned in my review of the SMDSX, I would love to see another two or three inches. It should be totally unnecessary for rainspray, but for setting it down in a really wet grass lands, or muddy area, it could save us having to take a secondary ground cover.

I am also going to look at having a short zipper attached to the non-door-side netting, probably around 8 - 10 inches long, so I can at least make that side of the "vestibule" actually usable. It would add around 3.4 grams (0.119 ounces) and to me that is justifiable weight.

Whoever I get to do that zipper mode, I will probably have them do the "Loops on the outside of the bathtub side-wall where your head is at." option I mention in my review. Thinking of just using some 3/16" flat cord to make one loop on each side. Should add around 1 gram, maybe 1.5 grams of weight for them. Going to probably make them large enough to hold some wood sticks I can pick up off the ground. This is such a minor problem that it is not worth a bunch of weight and extra stakes.

Anyway, really awesome to hear you found my articles useful!!

I am hoping my second one will be here in time for a trip to Mount Lassen that I got invited to go on next week, so I can break it in all nice and proper!!

- Abela

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Skyscape X vs. Cuben Haven on 07/23/2012 21:25:28 MDT Print View


Thanks for your response to my question. Interesting comparison. Yers, my wife and I took the Cuben Haven for a weekend to the local redwoods. Very comfortable and no issues.
Soon we will leave on a three week trip on the JMT with our two youngest daughters. That should give us plenty of opportunity to test the Cuben Haven under different conditions. After your comments about setting it up in the wind, I will specifically watch out for that. After all I'm considering to take it with me on the SHR in September (instead of the Gatewood Cape, as the Cuben Haven weighs less and is roomier). It seems like the Skyscape X might be a better choice for a solo trip.


Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
SMD Skyscape X on 07/23/2012 21:36:52 MDT Print View


Rather than just adding the 18 inch zipper to the second vestibule, why not just add another door, thus making both vesibules fully functional while allowing entry and egress from either side of the shelter?

Then you could store your pack in one vestibule while cooking and entering from the other?

Can't add much more weight than the 18 inch zipper.

Just an idea.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Skyscape X vs. Cuben Haven on 07/23/2012 22:37:30 MDT Print View

> test the Cuben Haven under different conditions. After your comments about setting it up in the wind

Hi Manfred,

I've had my Cuben Haven is a couple big storms now. You might have read about them killing a couple people in the Smokies. After those experiences I made the following couple modifications to my Cuben Haven and now it sets up faster and more taunt in the wind. I removed the ribbon adjuster and spectra thread and replaced it with a #3 cord adjuster (see picture)like the silnylon Haven uses.

Cuben Haven Storm modification

By running the cords out the vents rather than under the tarp I can now get a wide footprint for stormy weather or I can still use a narrow footprint for tight campsites.
The second mod was to stake the vestibule guyout separate from the cord. This allows me to get a tauter pitch on the doors especially on uneven ground.

Cuben Haven with wide strom stance

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: SMD Skyscape X on 07/24/2012 21:32:10 MDT Print View

Rather than just adding the 18 inch zipper to the second vestibule, why not just add another door, thus making both vesibules fully functional while allowing entry and egress from either side of the shelter? Then you could store your pack in one vestibule while cooking and entering from the other? Can't add much more weight than the 18 inch zipper.

Hey Bob,

I agree that doing that would be a great modification!

18 inches of a #3 zipper is .24 ounces (6.8 grams) plus thread weight. That would take the weight up to around 432 grams (15.23 ounces) which is still amazingly crazy light weight for a solo one-piece fully enclosed shelter, eh!

I cannot remember the last time my backpack did not end up inside of my shelter (as a pillow) so I (personally) am not sure what need I would have for a secondary door - other than the ability to enter/exit on either side, which could be rather nice if you have to pitch the shelter in a tight spot, or there is blowing rain coming at one of the doors.

Seems like that quarter ounce could be rather beneficial from a few different perspectives, eh!

- Abela

Christopher Kuzak
SMD Skyscape X--A Couple Questions on 07/17/2013 22:28:16 MDT Print View

Reviving another ancient thread here, but I (very happily) received my new Skyscape X in the mail today. I'll be using it this weekend in Disneyland (Desolation) Wilderness. A few pics, just for fun, are attached below:

Out of the box

First time up

It's definitely bulkier than my silnylon tent and that leads me to my first question: is there a good way to fold it up? I should have looked more carefully at how it was folded up when I unpackaged it but didn't. Any tips out there?

Also, getting it setup wasn't difficult, but does anyone have any suggestions on good ways to get the fly a bit more taught? I shifted the stakes around a bit, but am probably going to have to experiment with adjusting my poles, etc., to get it right.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
SMD Skyscape X on 07/17/2013 23:22:08 MDT Print View


Many disagree but rolling is the most efficient way, then folding and last stuffing.
This is not based on any religious or other belief, it is just is the way it works...
So stretch it out flat , fold it in to the width of the stuff sack ( I would assume that is the same as the spreader bar), then roll it up around the bar.
Make sure you roll up towards an open end not the center.

(Just for fun,(you can do this in your head) unroll a full roll of toilet paper then scrunch it up. See what happens.
Next get another and fold it a few sheets one over the other. You will not match the stored size of the original roll.)

Brian Phillips
(Fleab) - MLife

Locale: The Flat Lands
Rolling on 07/18/2013 08:34:33 MDT Print View

+1 on the rolling. One of the reasons I went with this shelter is the ease of deployment/take down. When ready to pack out I remove my trekking poles as well as the foot end stakes leaving the single stake at the head end in the ground. I then fold the foot end so that it is the same width as the spreader bar and begin to roll towards the head end. Because the head end is still staked to the ground I am able to get an extremely tight roll and the tent, polycro ground sheet and a stake bag fit in the provided stuff sack with room to spare.

Christopher Kuzak
Rolling it up on 07/18/2013 08:44:27 MDT Print View

Brian (and Franco), excellent tip. I'm going to give rolling it while staked in at the top a try today when I get home. As for the other issue, taughtness of the fly, any tips on that?

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Stuff on 07/18/2013 12:25:17 MDT Print View

I just stuff my X into the sack, no ill effects and at least for me, easier.


Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
SMD Skyscape X vs. ? on 07/18/2013 17:35:00 MDT Print View

So how do these Cuben tents stack up with the LHG Cubens? Anybody know?

Brian Phillips
(Fleab) - MLife

Locale: The Flat Lands
SMD vs LHG on 07/18/2013 22:53:02 MDT Print View

I had both at one point. I found LHG Solo to be bigger but not necessarily roomier. The LHG is pretty much symmetrical. Although it has a a large amount of square footage I found the foot space to be difficult to access and therefore not worth the extra weight. The Skyscape actually has the peak offset which provided me with more shoulder room. Even thought by the numbers the LHG is bigger, the offset makes the SMD feel roomier. I also was able to set up the Skyscape a little quicker with a more taut pitch although this is probably due to the fact that I had more practice with the SMD. I will say that the LHG has a higher and more of a true bathtub floor which some may find a valuable feature however for my style it was not necessary and simply added up to more weight. On a quality note, the workmanship on both shelters is top notch and both vendors are excellent to deal with.