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Modular shelters for summer and winter?
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Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Modular shelters for summer and winter? on 05/07/2013 14:55:12 MDT Print View

A lot of people seem to have separate summer and winter shelters, e.g. a Gatewood Cape and a Duomid. Recently, on another forum, I stumbled across a guy who'd specced and modded his TarpTent Notch for rough Scottish weather. It seemed to deflect about a tenth as much as the stock Notch, and the optionla semi-solid inner cut the windchill. It made me wonder about modular, configurable all year shelters: do they work, and if so what do they get you?

You could save some money. Some extra line/pegs and a solid inner (or windproof bivy) are probably cheaper than a whole winter tent. I find something satisfying about the concept too – “my shelter can do it all, I won”.

There do seem to be several options to look at:
- TarpTent Scarp is basically a winter tent that can be “summerized” with a mesh inner.
- MLD mids/Trailstar seem pretty winter tough. They can use an inner net (or nothing) for summer, and a windproof bivy or third party solid inner for winter.
- Many tents with a choice of mesh and fabric inners, and an effective way to use extra guys, should take extra wind. Whether they can handle a lot of snow, though...
- Probably a load more.

Well, that's the idle musing. I wonder does anybody have thoughts or experience to add to this? Is it an idea worth pursuing?

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Modular on 05/07/2013 15:02:51 MDT Print View

This is a very modular shelter capable of both summer and winter, single person up to 6.

scree ride
Poles on 05/07/2013 15:05:00 MDT Print View

I look at my SMD Duo and think, I could just add a pole set and a tarp over the top and it would still be light for a winter tent.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Modular shelters for summer and winter? on 05/07/2013 15:35:25 MDT Print View

It depends on how much time you have, I'd guess.

I tried modding an old TNF June Bug for winter use many years ago, and ended up causing more long term harm than good to the tent. Of course I sure wish this Backpackinglight existed (or the internet, for that matter) for I didn't really educate myself on how to mod it properly at the time.

One thing to consider is that some tents are simply "MORE DURABLE", and can handle a wider range of weather. Of course these tents/shelters are typically heavier. It does seem me that the more a person tries to create something which does a variety of different things, tradeoffs occur along the way and it may end up being a compromise in every season.

And the summer months can be just as risky as the winter months, depending on where you go. The mid-atlantic thunderstorms here in the States are just as menacing as a wet snow, and must be seriously contemplated during the summer. Tie downs are worthless if the fabric is yanked out from the stitching.

(I still feel grateful bringing a "four" season tent to Burning Man many moons ago. Although it was the summer and quite hot during the days, a freakish wind storm came tearing thru the playa one evening, and we watched the top of a VW camper take off, and many tents get torn up. Our tent barely moved.)

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
hammocks on 05/07/2013 15:42:46 MDT Print View

Hammocks can be plenty modular, but at a certain point you run into diminishing returns with the fiddle factor. Small tarp, big tarp, hammock, and bug net are all anyone should need. Skip the small tarp if you're willing to carry some extra ounces in summer.

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Modular shelters for summer and winter? on 05/07/2013 16:18:08 MDT Print View

It really depends on what you mean by "winter". I'm an Ohio native, and Ohio winters are pretty mild compared to a lot of places--I've never needed more than a 3-season type shelter, and I spent many a happy winter night under a poncho/tarp. However, different activities and locals will require significantly different setups--for instance, winter mountaineering above treeline.

I'm a big fan of the Golite SL3 for summer to moderate winter conditions. With all the main and mid-height points pegged out (something like 12+ stakes and lines) it can withstand gusty winds (I've personally been in 50-60 mph gusts) and snow loading quite well, though there is a learning curve associated with it and some people find it too fiddly.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Scarp2 & "Winterization" on 05/07/2013 16:32:16 MDT Print View

Search for my winterized Scarp 2 thread W/photos.

I made several mods for winter:

1. heavier main pole (greater diameter & wall thickness)
2. crossing poles shortened and moved inside (more complete canopy support)
3. 4 grossgrain loops on fly hem (more stakeout points)
5. pre-made Triptease guy lines (2 for main pole, 2 for ends, with Line-Loc sliders)
6. SMC snow stakes as well as any necessary dead men for the guy lines

With these mods I think it can take a lot of wind (up to 60 mph) and heavy, wet snow.

original main pole & (usually) no Xing poles
MSR Groundhog stakes (6)

P.S. I have the ripstop inner. If it proves too warm in summer I'll get the mesh inner.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/07/2013 16:36:23 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Modular shelters for summer and winter? on 05/07/2013 17:46:46 MDT Print View

Yes it depends on your winters but this is my Notch using the same 6 stake configuration as the standard as delivered TT version (4 plus the 2 guylines) under a foot or so of wet snow.
Mine has a mesh inner , the "solid" one would be better with spindrift, still mine worked as it is
Notch on snow

Edited by Franco on 05/07/2013 17:47:31 MDT.