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MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape (how to pattern?)
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rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape (how to pattern?) on 02/21/2014 09:05:24 MST Print View

I'm on to planning the next project.

Thinking of a simple, very light, tarp shelter to pack when I don't expect rain, for day hikes etc. Thinking of something similar to the SMD Gatewood Cape out of Cuben.

How would I go about patterning that? Having never seen one in person. I would definitely make a cheap fabric version first, but sorta tough to even do that from nothing.

If that gets overly complicated, I may just make something similar to the MLD Monk tarp, but the poncho mode is sort of half the point. I could see using either one for gear coverage on longer canoe trips, quick setup for lunch breaks, camp coverage, etc.

Just buying the cape in Sil is ~$150 w tax/ship. BUT I don't think I could stomach an 11oz poncho when I'm carrying a more enclosed shelter anyway. The raw Cuben and tape will actually cost a bit less than that and I'm guessing in the 5-6oz range (less than my poncho now).

Those with experience with both, should I be thinking the .74 or the .51 cuben? This is a secondary piece of gear to me, but I would rather not see it in tatters at the end of one season/

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape (how to pattern?) on 02/21/2014 10:14:04 MST Print View

You might want to consider the new Deschutes Tarp by Six Moon Designs. It comes out soon. In Cuben, it's 7 ounces and larger than the Gatewood Cape.

"In the 1st Quarter 2014, we'll be releasing the New Deschutes Tarp. For a while we've been getting request for a tarp that was larger than the Wild Oasis and would work well with the Serenity NetTent. The Deschutes has the same canopy size as our Lunar Solo. It provides 42 square feet of coverage, which is 7 more than available with the Wild Oasis or Gatewood Cape.

The Deschutes will be available in both Sil-Nylon at 13 ounces and Cuben Fiber at 7 ounces. For people looking for a light shelter option with plenty of space and minimal weight, the Deschutes is a perfect fit!"

I'm hoping Ron brings one tomorrow to the ALDHA-West Winter Ruck in Cascade Locks, OR.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Deschutes on 02/21/2014 10:32:36 MST Print View

Oh, I've considered it! No issues with their products, love my Swift, but I'm looking to roll my own on this one.

Their one shelter in Cuben is several times out of my budget, and I expect the new one to be close to $400. If it were under 200 maybe, but I can get the materials for a similar sized tarp for roughly 1/4 (4 yards is slightly over $100).

I consider my time making gear worthwhile if I save $100 per 8-10hrs, since I like doing it and I'd be hard-pressed to find a side gig making $10-12/hr (that I enjoy) anyway. I'm salary so I can't just stay late a few nights. My quilt will shake out to "paying" me $15/hr vs buying a similar spec'd EE quilt (sorry Tim).

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Flyin' Brians poncho plans on 02/21/2014 18:03:08 MST Print View

Flyin' Brian has poncho plans here -

I dunno how this varies from a Gatewood Cape, but I'm sure you can make the body any size you care to, and I reckon having a pattern for the hood is the hard part!

I see Golite has a poncho / tarp for 60 bucks.
That's low enough that even I might consider simply buying one, depending upon what suitable material would cost you.

I'd definitely make one out of good 'ol coated nylon first before I started in on expensive material. The best source for cheap material that I have found is old used family tents at the local second hand shop. They often don't have any poles and sell for just a few bucks!
You get heavy floor material which I use for tool rolls and pouches, uncoated and coated nylon for various projects and bug mesh.

Ryan "Rudy" Oury

Locale: East Bay - CA
thrift store tents... brilliant! on 02/21/2014 18:27:41 MST Print View

Defintely off the thread topic, but I love the idea of buying old tents at thrift stores/sports resalers (Play-It-Again type) to get variety of material cheap.

Back ON topic, what's your comfort level w/ doing a small scale mockup out of paper or something to try and figure out dimensions? I haven't yet, but will be looking to do that for various myog projects I'm going to start doing. Just got a sewing machine a week ago.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Re: Flyin' Brians poncho plans on 02/21/2014 20:58:36 MST Print View


Thanks, that pattern is worth considering a startpoint. A little more poncho than shelter for my needs but its a start.

I'd considered the golite too, the price is right, but I think I'm set on making it out of Cuben. A gatewood-inspired out of cuben for ~$150 and some time would be ideal.

And the old tent is a great idea for materials. I'm a regular at thrift stores but they don't have a lot of tents in nyc! I can get cheap uncoated nylons walking distance though.


I'm very comfortable making a scale model, I'm an architect (in training) so drawings and scale models are sort of my thing. Might even prototype in 3D software to try a lot of versions quickly. I'm looking for a starting point on dimensions and things to consider, but would absolutely 'make it my own' first small, then fullsize template. The problem with scale is, materials don't behave the same way, easy to get a tabletop paper model to tight-pitch!

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
cape tarp poncho on 02/22/2014 06:49:42 MST Print View

Have you considered buying a single use polypro type poncho which you could cut up to work out a basic idea for a pattern?

i mean this sort of thing

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Re: cape tarp poncho on 02/22/2014 12:50:19 MST Print View

Ben, that's a great idea. I actually have one that was $1/1oz that I (theoretically) toss in when I don't bring other rain protection. Haven't had the weather forecast to test that theory yet. That, plus a garbage bag, is a 1 dollar pattern!

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Tarp 1st, poncho 2nd on 02/26/2014 19:48:09 MST Print View

I've been thinking and I want to start with a tarp design and adapt it to a poncho, not the other way 'round. If that makes any sense.

I bought some silnylon to work on a (ultimately usable) prototype. That way, I can make a usable item, test it out for a season or two, then refine it in lighter cuben.

Any additional sources of tarp patterns would be helpful!

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
"MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape" on 02/26/2014 21:18:08 MST Print View

My recollection is that several people have asked SMD to make the Gatewood Cape in cuben, but they never would for some reason. I'll be you could sell a few to BPL members if you decide to make one.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Re: "MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape" on 02/26/2014 21:39:00 MST Print View

I'm fine with being inspired by it (ripping it off...?) for my uses, but I doubt making extra to sell is in my future. It would have to be both significantly different and very good for me to even consider it.

I'd seen there was interest, which further urged my "hey, I could make one" -curious now why they decline. I can only assume, A a material limitation, or B it'd be a several hundred dollar poncho.

I think it's a great piece, but only if it's your only poncho and only tarp in the bag. 11oz is too much for me when I currently choose other rain gear and/or a more substantial shelter.

It'd be a 2lb saving off my current setup, so maybe I'm looking at it backwards. I'm sewing up my own sil version for $40 in materials so I'll have a chance to test that without much invested.

Jonathan Chin
(JonRC) - MLife

Locale: Northwoods
Cape update? on 03/24/2014 10:29:45 MDT Print View

Hi Rick,

Any update on the cuben cape project? Find/make a pattern yet?

I've also been thinking if making a cuben poncho shelter roughly modeled after my SMD Gatewood Cape and would be interested in sharing measurements & experiences.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
update on 03/24/2014 14:36:36 MDT Print View

Hey Jonathan. Ive made a plastic sheet mockup that needs work, and bought silnylon as material for a proof of concept, but warmer weather will likely slow this project. I was hoping to get it done before thaw.

I made up my interpretation of the shelter based off of various sources, mostly just studying the smd drawing and YouTube videos. I wouldn't share it because 1) it doesn't work yet and wasn't tough to get this far. It wasn't but a night of drawing and making paper models to get something that I could take to full scale. Painting dropcloths make great $3 mockups. 2) the concept isn't mine, and putting myself in SMD's shoes Id be at least nominally upset if people were trading drawings, even if its only loosely based. If it were my concept from scratch, plans and templates would be posted here already for critique and others' use.

I'll post my progress here anyway, hopefully can manage sewing the silnylon one for testing this summer. If it ends up distinct enough ill share what I can.

(K.Kading) - MLife

Locale: Carson Range
Re: update on 06/28/2014 23:01:39 MDT Print View

Any more updates?

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: MYOG Cuben Gatewood Cape (how to pattern?) on 06/29/2014 11:54:18 MDT Print View

Can send you dimensions that I took from a gatewood cape I bought and then re-sold ( wasn't my cup of tea) if you are still working on this.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Update: its summer on 07/01/2014 20:33:06 MDT Print View

Here's my update:

Its summer so the MYOG mindset is converted to Use-YOG til ~November.

I bought a gatewood and a CF floor net-tent (forget brand) which will hold me over. The cape is so well made I don't plan on adapting it to CF, its a one-and-done gear item. My friend saw it and immediately bought a new one, too.

Ron, if you're listening, lots of interest in a CF Gatewood! After holding the Gatewood I decided I would either wait for you to release it in CF, or never have one.