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setting up Golite poncho tarp
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James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Hood Pattern on 09/21/2012 21:33:28 MDT Print View


I like this hood plan
I have used it on 2 rain jackets and 2 wind-shirts and it works nicely.
I first made it out of tyvek to make sure the size was right... and it was.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
New on 09/21/2012 23:02:10 MDT Print View

The newer golite poncho is made of 15d sil nylon which weighs less by the way. 7ish ounces.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Get one from Golite on 09/22/2012 01:42:19 MDT Print View

Honestly, between Golite's new direct-to-consumer business model and that 7d coated fabric is hard to get and expensive (relatively speaking) when you can, when you add in the effort of sewing, I really think just buying Golite's poncho is the way to go. I bought one before they went direct and still think it was a great buy. I did go to the effort of making a Lytw8 bivy to complement the poncho tarp, and have a windshirt cut waiting to be sewn together as well.


Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
half-pyramid on 09/22/2012 07:20:03 MDT Print View

I have a similar-sized flat tarp that I pitch in half-pyramid, and I like that the best.
It offers good protection on 3 sides, and is easy to pitch, and offers side-entry.
I like side-entry MUCH better than crawling in/out the end of an A-frame.

Edited by towaly on 09/22/2012 07:21:49 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Adding a beak. on 09/22/2012 07:27:39 MDT Print View

It would be fairly easy and light to add a permanent/ Velcro/ or zippered beak to the half pyramid. Hmm.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re: Adding a beak. on 09/22/2012 08:26:11 MDT Print View

Many of the modern popular shaped-tarp shelters today are simply variations of the half-pyramid, with beaks added.

I have a SMD Gatewood Cape that I think is awesome for its dual-purpose roles, and for its coverage. Plus, SMD makes a matching bug inner tent for it.

The use of a poncho tarp got real popular around here a few years ago, but then seemed to fall out of favor with some who thought they'd rather have separate pieces so they could walk around camp in the rain outside while their shelter was up.
But I think this format will gain popularity again. And I think the Gatewood Cape is the best implementation of the format.

After using a 5x8 flat tarp, which is basically what most of these poncho tarps are, I found the Gatewood Cape to be roomy and tent-like inside, with great protection from weather, and only 3 ounces heavier than my 5x8 ID Siltarp. It is WELL worth those extra 3 ounces when the weather turns bad. And I saved weight with the Gatewood Cape anyway because it doubles as my raingear.
The GC with bug inner-tent weighs 18-19 ounces as a combo, and it's also raingear and the net tent has a floor. It has a working front door that ties-back if you want, and it can vent out the hood at the top, and has a floor in the net tent, and it stuffs into its own pocket so you don't even need a stuff sack.

Let's look at the popular ZPacks Hexamid. The bug net version weighs around 10-11 ounces, depending on how it's outfitted. And it's cuben fiber and expensive.
But it has no waterproof floor, and if you add even a groundsheet, you add 2 ounces or more. Otherwise, on wet ground you will get wet.
And if you add raingear, it will be hard to find raingear that's less than 5-6 ounces total. And if you do find it, it will be expensive.
And the Hexamid, nice as it is, is not a double-wall shelter, and the Gatewood cape with inner net tent IS a true double-wall shelter.

So, the GC is pretty competitive because of this dual function capability it has, and the cost is generally less than cuben fiber alternatives that might be able to match it for weight vs function.
I personally think it is a very good package that Ron at SMD designed.

Edited by towaly on 09/22/2012 08:44:53 MDT.

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Tall users with Gatewood Cape? on 09/22/2012 09:49:32 MDT Print View

Hey, I'm 6'2" and I've mentioned before that I'm considering getting a Gatewood cape but am worried about being too tall and sticking out the end of the shelter.

I've used my cheapo 13 oz Sea to Summit tarp-poncho in the half pyramid in fair weather a few times and I keep waking up with my feet sticking six inches or more out of the end of a shelter--this was no problem in fair weather with a synthetic fill sleeping bag, but becomes much more of an issue now that I've got a down bag and am likely to find myself in poor weather at some point.

The safer option that I'm thinking about is a bivy with the Golite poncho tarp -- it would probably end up being a little more expensive and a few ounces heavier, but better protection. The only worry I have with this is condensation. I haven't used it enough to say whether this is a prevailing issue, but the ripstop nylon of the poncho-tarp I have now has been getting me rather wet with condensation.

My preference is to either carry only one hiking pole or none at all--I don't mind the second pole, but I add that in to the weight efficiency of any shelter.

Any recommendations? Any tall users that have tried out the Gatewood?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Bivy + on 09/22/2012 10:10:01 MDT Print View

Hey I am actually going this route. What I did was find a used (like new) bivy and im going to use it as splash and bug protection with the golite tarp.

The bivy I got is a Borah Cuben with M50 top it weighs 4.7 ounces with a bungee cord system I added.

4.7 + 8.5 ounces (stakes and guylines with the golite)

=13.2 ounces for something that costs me $170 isn't bad.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re: Tall users with Gatewood Cape? on 09/22/2012 10:13:31 MDT Print View

The first user review on the SMD site for the GC says that he's 6'3" and almost touches his head and feet to the ends, but he fits.
The inner net tent is 7 feet long, but it's the angle of the shelter leading to the ends that can affect toes and head.

I think the solution to this is to pitch the cape about 6" off the ground, with a 48"-49" pole, and it fits better. I use a 48.5" pole, and I have read other users like the longer pole too.

I'm almost 5'11" tall, and I had enough room that I didn't notice any feeling of being confined or touching anything.
I don't use trekking poles either, but they offer a 1.8 ounce 49" 3-piece Easton CF pole for $30.
The Gatewood Cape's frontal coverage which is a very extended beak that has a zippered door is really a welcome addition in bad weather. There is just no substitute for that coverage in a rain storm with swirly winds. The GC is miles better than my ID Siltarp 5x8 in terms of keeping me out of the weather. I think there is no comparison at all.

I predict that if you pitch the GC a little bit higher(6" off the ground, with 48-49" pole), like a lot of us GC users do, you'll fit in it and you'll love it.
You'll eliminate the condensation problems that come with bivvies by having the SMD Serenity net-tent inside the GC as a true double-wall shelter, have bug protection, and not be confined like a normal bivy bag is.

I know I sound excited, but I have been using this GC lately, and it is really a good design. It works.

Edited by towaly on 09/22/2012 10:26:18 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
5x8 Half Pyramid is constraining in Rain on 09/22/2012 11:18:46 MDT Print View

I was fortunate to have had some experience with my GoLite poncho tarp in rain last year and quickly came to the conclusion that it doesn't work well when raining when pitched in a half pyramid. It leaves zero room to maneuver, sit up, cook/eat etc.. while it's raining.

I ended up getting the GG SpinnTwinn when I expect conditions to actually require shelter from rain. Bottom line is that a 5x8 or similar small tarps make little sense to me. If it's not going to rain then you don't even need to setup a tarp. If it is going to rain you will very much appreciate having some room.

The only time I will take a small tarp as my only shelter would be on a short trip where I am reasonably certain that I won't encounter rain. At that point it is an emergency shelter.

Edited by randalmartin on 09/22/2012 11:22:01 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
fast and light on 09/22/2012 12:09:10 MDT Print View

I agree with not having a lot of wiggle room.

But thats not what having a 5 x 8 is for.

It's basically for fast and light trips where you will not be screwed if it starts to rain.

One of the lightest rain jackets i've found is the Marmot Essence, its 6-7 ounces and costs $150.

The golite can be bought for 58.99 shipped, and doubles as an emergency shelter, plus a pack and leg cover.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Tall Gatewood Cape Users on 09/23/2012 08:31:06 MDT Print View

I'm 6 feet tall and fit comfortably under the Gatewood Cape, but with a few caveats:
- I'm a side sleeper with legs bent
- I pitch the GC as high as possible given the expected conditions
- I use the additional tie-out above my head with my trekking pole for more space
- The bottom foot of my MLD quilt is eVent in case it does get splashed

You can often find Gatewood Capes for sale on Gear Swap - you could probably buy one and sell it for the same price if you find you don't like it.

One other thought...If you have a breathable rain jacket you could zip it up and put the foot end of your sleeping bag/quilt in it if you're worried about it getting wet. I did that one dark and stormy night with a different quilt.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
SHORT Gatewood Cape users, on 09/23/2012 19:27:37 MDT Print View

I loved the concept, design, everything about it but I found that it doesn't work very well for short people. To keep it long enough in shelter mode for 'regular' sized campers, it is longer than practical for us vertically-challenged folks. I am 5'4" and sold mine as it didn't work at all for me as a cape.
A great product, just not great for short folk, I guess.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Short Gatewood Cape Users on 09/24/2012 06:57:41 MDT Print View


Between reading your Subject and your post I wondered how the GC wouldn't work for someone short..."What - is there too much space inside?". It never occurred to me that the cape would be too long to hike in when it was raining. Thanks for the post.

What really struck me as odd is that I should have known that. I've got a friend who's 5'6" and he borrowed the GC for a trip while it was raining. He was only comfortable hiking in it after we put a belt around his waist and bloused the cape over it about 3 inches to shorten it by half a foot.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re: Short Gatewood Cape Users on 09/24/2012 07:04:02 MDT Print View

It also depends on how big and high your pack is. If you carry a very large pack with a tall top, it might be short in the back for some tall people.
Or, if you have a short and small pack, it could be too long in the back for some people.

I think the elastic belt idea works well for when it's too long. It can be gathered up in the elastic belt cord.
Also, an elastic belt can keep most any poncho under better control during windy conditions.
These are things each user can tailor for their own particular needs, as any "one size fits all" product often needs.