Forum Index » GEAR » Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters.


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spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: grey on 02/19/2013 07:45:08 MST Print View

Its not dreary. Lighter inside.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Brighter yes, but the quality of the light is exactly like a gray rainy sky, imo.

For stealth in forests or moors Id prefer the 'forage' green like Hilleberg and Terra Nova use( And SMD on the gatewood).

I do like that color despite the lower light transmission. Hilleberg pairs it with the a yellow inner which probably brightens it up a bit.


Yellow sucks if insects are an issue. Horticultural sticky traps are yellow as it's the best for attracting flies....

I'm aware of this issue but haven't experienced it myself. A bummer since the sunshine yellow MLD uses attracts me as well...

kevin timm
(ktimm) - M

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Colors on 02/19/2013 07:47:33 MST Print View

We have experimented with a lot of different colors before settling on forest green and grizzly brown.

Brighter colors such as yellow will attract a lot more bugs. This was apparent on a trip in which I had a combo colored tent.

Brown is actually very pleasant inside as is forest green. Brown actually feels a lot lighter inside than it looks from the outside

Gray or Silver is not bad but not great.

I really like Tan myself but it has not been a great seller.

Purple and Dark Blue are pretty good as well.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
gray/grey on 02/19/2013 07:50:50 MST Print View

remember for proper usage:

gray (A if you are in america)
grey (E if you are in Englad)

i personally like gray. i'm not a huge fan of the color green or brown. my 3 hammocks and the 4 quilts i own are black or black and gray. tarp = dark gray cuben. i don't konw what people are doing that they are complaining of dreariness inside. i wake up, make coffee, sit in my hammock and have my coffee, then pack up and hike.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Gray on 02/19/2013 07:55:13 MST Print View

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Why gray(grey)? on 02/19/2013 07:59:31 MST Print View

A few people have told me that gray is not very stealth.
I live in the North East US. The rocks hear are basically different shades of grey.

I also have other colors of shelters.

I can pitch a gray shelter any time of year and it will blend in with the gray rocks.
My green shelter stands out in the winter, my white shelter stands out in the summer.

Yellow and red stands out in all seasons except certain parts of the fall or during a sunset.

A black shelter is pretty stealth when the sun is low on the horizon, it looks like a shadow, but gets very hot when the sun shines on it.

Blue is always visible. It looks like a hobo tarp which always attracts attention.

Stealth is the game where I live. Too many places where either camping is illegal or you just don't know if it's legal, or maybe you don't want to attract the attention of the locals.

Camping is legal in the Catskills as long as a ranger can't see your camp. This is becoming more true in other places as well.


There are rocks in Rocksylvania too, but the majority of camping areas are forested. Green is good in the summer. Brown is probably better for all-season use. The shade of green affects the stealth factor, too. Darker is better. My hammock tarp is too bright a green to be stealthy, but it's at least less conspicuous than my bright purple hammock. For more northerly parts of the northeast, I think your argument for gray is sound.

Edited by spelt on 02/19/2013 08:02:05 MST.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Colors on 02/19/2013 08:10:58 MST Print View

Brighter colors such as yellow will attract a lot more bugs. This was apparent on a trip in which I had a combo colored tent.

Speaking of bright combos, I was just looking and found some of the colors Warmlite offers for their tents. Wild.





Brown is actually very pleasant inside as is forest green. Brown actually feels a lot lighter inside than it looks from the outside

I have a stock tarp from Henessey in their usual brown and I agree. It's not a bad quality light and is pretty stealthy from the outside.

Edited by spelt on 02/19/2013 08:36:54 MST.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: gray/grey on 02/19/2013 08:16:00 MST Print View

i don't konw what people are doing that they are complaining of dreariness inside. i wake up, make coffee, sit in my hammock and have my coffee, then pack up and hike.

It's not the quantity of time spent under a tarp, but the quality. ;)

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Grǽg tarp shenanigans on 02/19/2013 08:32:43 MST Print View

My vote is for Dirty Girl Gaiters to transition into the tarp business so I can buy a Lime Gaiter-Ade Hurl tarp from them.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 02/19/2013 08:33:47 MST.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Less condensation problems. on 02/19/2013 10:08:01 MST Print View

Light color will likely experience fewer condensation problems than a dark color.

Condensation occurs when the temperature of the tarp drops lower than the dew point.
This happens very often when the tarp is pitched in an open area without any tree/leaf cover, as we know. One of the reasons for this is that the leaf cover blocks the direct route for IR radiation emission to dissipate into the blackness of space.
Most know that pitching in the open is to be avoided if we want to help avoid condensation.

Lighter colors generally have lower IR emissivity than dark colors, and the same could be said for IR absorption, and most know that a black color absorbs heat quickly and cools off quickly. The same is true for other dark colors, in general.
A light colored tarp with lower IR emissivity will have less problems with condensation at night than a dark colored tarp, for these reasons.
But it will not be a cure for condensation. It may give a reduction, or may prevent it in some instances where it was borderline, and the reduced IR emissivity made enough difference to keep it over the dew point.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 02/19/2013 10:24:51 MST Print View

"Or just pick one from these two colour charts :"

I like Band of Gold. Mostly so I can sing the old tune of the same name while ensconced under my Band of Gold-colored shelter. And I'd sing it loud, too. Late at night.

All that's left is this band of gold, all that's left of the dreams I hold, is a band of gold, and the memories of what love could be,
if you are still here with me...... Ah, they don't write 'em like that anymore.....

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 02/19/2013 10:32:48 MST Print View

Personally, I like to be hidden. Camo in the meadow.


meadow

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 02/19/2013 14:26:50 MST Print View

Grey is defined as a neutral or achromatic "colour".
Achromatic means "without colour" so many will refer to it as a shade not a colour.
In photography the neutrality of grey is emphasised by a series of filters called Neutral Density.
Their use is to cut the intensity of light without changing the colour.
So for example an ND2 will cut one stop or half of the light entering the lens.
This means that the closer a shelter is to a standard grey ,the lesser the change in the hue transmitted from outside to inside.
In other words all shelters that have a colour (not black,white or grey) do in fact alter the type of light passing through it.
This is an ND2 filter:
ND 2 filter

This is an 18% grey card designed to measure the intensity of light as well as for colour calibration :
18% grey card

Just for fun, here is a better version of that stolen from the net image :
grey card 2

not the best but the black/white and grey cards helped me getting there"

BTW, in the English speaking world , not just England, the word is grey, only in the US the usage of gray is the more accepted one.

Edited by Franco on 02/19/2013 15:47:49 MST.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Why gray? on 02/19/2013 15:19:39 MST Print View

Yeah, the ho-hum grey silnylon in my Copper Spur isn't "bad", but it's the one part of the tent I had to get most used-to when I had to hunker down in a daylight storm. From the inside, I'm used to the pleasing texture of the ToddTex yellow lining of my former tent, and I admit to much preferring the green outer color of the Bibler to the gray demeanor of the Big Agnes. The silnylon transmits more light, but it does cast a dreary tone, even though BA puts some warmth into the color tone of the fly.

If I were to buck-up for one of them there fancy tarp-tents or a backpack made with uber-fibers, I'd certainly also opt for better colours than grae (hey, look a third spelling!).

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
shades of Gray/Grey on 02/19/2013 15:23:22 MST Print View

"Remember for proper usage:

gray (A if you are in america)
grey (E if you are in England)"



I'll remember that next time I see a Greyhound bus. ;-)

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 02/19/2013 16:22:38 MST Print View

I think the gray is fine for 3-season use but what I wish for is a Stratospire 2 with yellow/gold fly so I could use the fly for spring snow camping. Grey is not visible enough for me in a blizzard if I want to leave the tent for an excursion and find my way back to it readily.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Gray (grey)? on 02/19/2013 18:29:30 MST Print View

It's about money.

Because the quality of silnylon is all over the walk, and due to US environmental restrictions on silcoating, the most waterproof stuff comes from Asia (although the nylon is usually DuPont - where are their factories?-no idea). Check this out in Richard Nisley's water resistance tests on this and the MYOG forums.

A large minimum order of silnylon in '28 different flavors' from Asia would put any cottage manufacturer quickly out of business. And the larger mfgrs. who outsource to Asia don't choose to offer much choice to customers, either. They're about money also.

And as you can see from this thread, people are all over the walk also about color preferences, for a mutitude of both aesthetic and (supposed) practical reasons.

So a medium gray(grey) runs into the least resistance from customers, and therefore has to be the color choice, or at least one of a few choices, for smaller mfgrs. to stay in business.

Personally, I like light emerald greens; but choosing between building a much better quality shelter or getting my color choice as a MYOGer is a no-brainer. So I'll take anything that doesn't make the shelter into a dark and dreary cave or a bright and garish eyesore. A medium grey/gray seems to be what sells the most for the mfgrs. They ought to know.

But I'll never understand the appeal of the darker shades, be they in grey/gray, green or brown, for shelters. And probably there are many out there who will never understand the appeal of the light emerald to me. For more discussion on this perplexing issue, you can look at a MYOG thread begun by yours truly at: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=73002

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 02/20/2013 17:49:03 MST Print View

Since I touched on this at another forum ,I might as well mention it here too.
Most UL manufacturers produce tarps or single wall tents.
The light coming through will reflect that colour (or not if achromatic ,white to black)
When a particular colour becomes prominent , our brain counteracts that by introducing the complimentary colour so that we think we see neutral colours (neutral as in how they look to us on a sunny day (around 5500 kelvin if you like)
So what happens is that if the light coming through is red (red fly) the brain introduces green (its complimentary colour) so when you go outside for a while you will see everything with a green cast.
The same applies to any colour except for the achromatic ones (white ,grey and black)
Colour wheel

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Why gray? A completely superfluous question about silnylon shelters. on 01/13/2014 13:54:00 MST Print View

A couple of recent posts made me feel like resurrecting this thread.
One is about this comment :
Grey shelters are terrible and I will never purchase one. I would become depressed by the end of a thru-hike. A yellow or green place to "live" will literally make my day.
the person that made this comment (in this thread...) later purchased this tent :
BA Fly Creek 1UL

The other one is about "green" and stealth.
Always ignored as a comment but the wrong green stands out just like any other colour against green but of course as this photo well illustrate not everything is "green" anyway :

Martin's SL3
if you can't see it , the shelter is on the bottom right side of that photo...
(there are plenty of non blanding green tents photos but I like that shot from M
artin a lot, so that is why I use it)

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - F

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Dark colors dry quickly in sun on 01/13/2014 15:23:53 MST Print View

Grey Autos are the most often struck in collisions. My own silver grey honda has been rear ended 3 times.

Blaze orange in hunting season or when returning to camp from a climb in the fog or snowstorm can be a lifesaver or at least a gear saver.

NOLS used navy as their blend in color for their Thelma Flys.

Dark colors absorb more sunlight, so as long as you pitch them far over head (3 ft min) they will produce cooler shade.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: why gray? on 01/13/2014 15:42:07 MST Print View

I would just chalk it up to the "safe buy" for manufacturers.

Gray is neutral, doesn't clash with the surroundings or other gear and doesn't create the complimentary color persistence issues that strong colors can. Climb out of an orange tent and the whole world will look cyan~blue for a bit, etc.

I've always thought that a clever manufacturer could build product identification with a distinctive color. If you see X color tent, you would know it was X brand. Apple has pretty much done it with white and stainless. There could be dangerous choices in the wrong cultures.

Did you know that pink was once considered a boy's color in Western European culture? It was considered to be a variant of red and red was a dominant men's color.