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Skyscape w/out trekking poles?
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David Affleck
Skyscape w/out trekking poles? on 10/04/2012 08:42:14 MDT Print View

I'm starting to look for a new solo or solo plus tent. The SMD Skyscape Trekker is where I currently think I might like to end up (the X is just too $ for me).

Only problem is, after giving them an honest try this summer, I've decided I definitely prefer to hike without trekking poles.

So, if I go with the Skyscape, I'd be buying the SMD supplied poles to go with it. Probably the CF ones. My question then, is if anyone has experience using the Skyscape with the SMD supplied or similar poles? Any quirks or concerns as compared to using the undoubtedly much stronger trekking poles?

All thoughts/opinions welcomed!

- Dave

Marty Cochran
(mcochran77) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Zpack Carbon Fiber Tent Poles on 10/04/2012 09:52:23 MDT Print View


I don't have any experience with the Skyscape, but Zpack has 48" Carbon Fiber Tent Poles that you could cut down. They are cheaper and lighter (and maybe weaker?).

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Use a stick on 10/04/2012 10:12:05 MDT Print View

It's free, strong, and doesn't weigh anything when you don't need it. The secret is out...

David Affleck
I'll just say no to sticks... on 10/04/2012 10:44:27 MDT Print View

In some desert locations finding suitable sticks would be a minor PITA at best, with being more of a major PITA not improbable. I want a tent that sets up predictably quick and easy and no fussing around about it. Even in the Uintas, I simply don't want to mess around with looking for just the right sticks to prop up my tent every night. Not for the sake of 5 oz.

- Dave

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Wild Oasis on 10/04/2012 14:57:30 MDT Print View

Get a SMD Wild Oasis and ship it off to John at Bear Paw Wilderness Designs to add a floor. Total weight is about 15 oz. and it only takes one pole to set it up. I've had the SMD Scout and the Wild Oasis is a much better shetler. I feel that it is roomier also. Its very tentlike and fully enclosed. A very under rated shelter in my book.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Skyscape w/out trekking poles? on 10/04/2012 18:47:44 MDT Print View

Hey David,

Same situation that you are in. Love the SMX Skyscape (I have the X) and spent all of the 2012 and end of 2011 hiking season without using hiking poles.

I acquired a pair of custom-sized poles from ZPacks and have had success using them.

There is some concern with them however. They are 0.292 carbon fiber and they bend a great deal more than what SMD offers. The max wind that the ones from zpacks will handle is in the 25-35 mph range. Much anything above that and they bend and slip from the base. At around the 30mph mark one pole was bending so far that they were almost touching each other. When it got even more windy they simply failed to continue to perform.

So my recommendation is that if you are going to be in locations and conditions where you will not encounter a high wind storm, the custom sized ones from zpacks will work out just fine (I used mine for hundreds of miles) but just be aware of this issue.

Oddly, for 2013 I have decided to go back to using hiking poles.


John Klinepeter
(johnzotk) - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies, USA
Skyscape w/out trekking poles? on 10/04/2012 18:58:17 MDT Print View

I have the Trekker with the optional carbon fiber poles. Unfortunately I have zero backpacking nights using this shelter but I do have about 10 car camping nights, all under very mild weather conditions.
A set of two poles weighs 3.5 ounces on both my digital scales. The poles are set up against the interior walls. The upper pole tips are captured in a spreader bar while the lower tips rest on reinforced areas of the floor.

(I was going to insert two photos at this point but was unsuccessful. Yup, tried restarting, logging off/on, Firefox, Chrome, 200 k and 75 k sizes).

So far there is no wear on the interior floor from the rounded pole tip ends. One could imagine that there would be less wear and tear on the floor when using the much larger surface trekking pole handles; on the other hand I tend to worry too much!
FWIW I also have a set of Zpacks poles, custom length for a different shelter. They come with rubber tips on both ends and fit nicely into the spreader bar. The Zpacks pole diameter is about 0.75cm. The SMD is about 0.88 cm. The SMD poles have a two stage butt connector, i.e., there is a plastic insert within the metal (aluminum?) insert. The Zpacks connectors appear to be carbon.
I hope this information provides some help.

Slightly off topic. I had to seam seal the apex twice. I *think* water was entering through the grosgrain/nylon loop attached to the interior. A dab of sealer at the base of the grosgrain (interior) would not hurt.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
SMD CF poles work well on 10/04/2012 20:04:05 MDT Print View

For me anyway. I have the carbon fiber poles from Sixmoon designs and they have held up in 35 mile-per-hour winds with no issues. My shelter stay Scott from nine till morning with only brief tensioning required a few minutes after set up. I highly recommend them. It's a great shelter and the carbon fiber poles work well.

Edited by bcutlerj on 10/04/2012 20:06:25 MDT.

David Affleck
Thank you! on 10/05/2012 07:47:57 MDT Print View

Thank you for the insights gentlemen - very helpful! Sounds like I ought to be just fine with the SMD CF poles.

And, who knows, I may eventually give the hiking poles another try. I "wanted" to like them, thought I did, in fact. But after using them most of the summer, and thinking I liked them, halfway through a 60 mile hike, one of my companions developed a very sore knee and so I let him use my poles for the second half of the hike. I then discovered that I was actually quite happy and relieved to have my hands free and not using the poles. Haven't used them since and the only times I miss them are on steep descents.

Anyway... Thanks much for the input, it helps!

- Dave

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
SMD supplied poles on 10/05/2012 11:53:32 MDT Print View

I have a SMD Lunar Duo and purchased the carbon fiber poles. I've had no problems with the poles, quiet strong, survived some rather strong New Mexico winds this summer that flatted a few of our groups poorly staked tents.
Only down side of the cf poles is you nolonger have the ability to vary the pitch height as easily as you would with adjustable trek poles.... not a deal breaker, but just a note.