You asked for input, so this is all I have. I bought into the Gatewood idea, but the snow-piles along my driveway are over my head yet, so it'll be a couple months before I get to try it out. There are so many reviews on it already, that there really isn't anything I can add, except for my first out-of-the-box impressions.
When I received my Gatewood, naturally the first ting I did was put it on the scale. It tipped in at well over 12oz!!! Well over the quoted 11oz, or even the reported 11.6 oz. So I zipped open the pocket zipper, hoping to remove something that caused the extreme overweight reading. First thing that popped out was a sewn in tag that said "Made in China". Disappointing since i thought I was supporting a cottage company. All I found for added weight, was a slip of paper that was the instruction card, and it didn't weigh but a gram, if that.
I set it up in my living room, using freeweights as anchors. I like using them because they are easily slid around to get the perfect pitch, especially on something I've never pitched before. Well, it's impossible to get a taught pitch with the supplied beak cord. Other reviews say it's possible, but with what I had to work with there is no way. It just isn't long enough to stand the beak high enough off the ground to bring the front panels taut. So I added about three feet of cord and got a taut pitch.
It was actually much roomier than I thought it would be. I pitched it as low to the ground as I could, and had no problem with end room or sitting upright. Being a 5' 10", 160 lb male, I feel quite comfortable in it. I moved forward with the seam sealing, but was disappointed again with some of the single stitched construction. As one coming from an MLD Duomid, I found it very weakly made. Compared to something like a Duomid, the Gatewood feels like a made-in-china toy. Perhaps an apples to oranges comparison, but just noting my personal impressions. I'm still new to the homespun variety of gear, but compared to my MLD, ULA and GG purchases, I guess I had higher expectations from SMD.
I mixed up my silicone very thinly and painted it on carefully with an artists acrylic brush. I used as little as possible and it turned out well, at least to the eye, time will tell as to the thoroughness I achieved this time around. There isn't much to seal though, as the only seams to worry about, besides the hood itself and 2 side tieouts, are the 2 seams attaching the front panels. The back and sides are all cut from a single piece. I went ahead and sealed the bottom hem and all the tieouts for reinforcement to the single stitching. With the very minimal silicone I added, the total weight came to 12.4 ozs.
I was initially really tempted to return it, but the roominess and overall concept is so compelling, that I'm hoping now for a wet summer! :-)
Oh, and YMMV, HYOH, and all that jazz...