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ID SilShelter

in Shelters - Tarps & Floorless

Average Rating
4.00 / 5 (4 reviews)

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john seward
( seward )
ID SilShelter on 12/13/2006 00:39:40 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've owned and used this tent for 30 nights in past 18 months and can compare it with several other tarp shelters I also use. At one pound it's less than half the weight of my next-heaviest shelter so, you can't argue with that.

It's much larger than my miserable one-person bivvy tent but essentially too small for two people.

I like the simplicity of SilShelter but ultimately I think a zippered door would be better and must recommend a look at Golight puptent-style tarp shelters that are thus equipped and competitive in weight and price.

Given onset of colder weather, I've started to feel that I need a bigger space even though mainly camp alone. Most of the time these days my camping doesn't really require hyper attention to weight. I purchased the 3-pound Hex tent. I think SilShelter is a pretty nice product though.

It takes some slight practice to get optimal set-up for SilShelter and I found putting it up as a sunscreen well above ground at beach especially challenging.

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Glenn Roberts
( garkjr )

Southwestern Ohio
ID Silshelter on 12/24/2007 06:05:36 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I've used this off and on for several years, in combination with both the Integral Designs Bug Liner and a bivy sack (most often the ID Salathe.) I've found it to be a versatile, simple shelter.

It's light (about a pound, including stakes.) There are no guy lines to tangle, assuming a ground-level pitch using hiking poles inside; the tangle has always been a real turn-off about tarps for me. It pitches easily: stake out the floor in a rectangle, insert your hiking pole in the front, then add supplemental stakes and a second hiking pole inside toward the rear as desired. You can leave the front completely open, partially open, or closed. The overlapping closure, as opposed to a zipper, has never been any significant problem for me. This may be because I use a bivy rather than a groundsheet. I can see a potential for leakage to occur at the peak of the overlap, which could be an issue with a groundsheet; I've never had any problem with leakage, though.

I've found it a very roomy one person shelter, easy to enter and exit. The vestibule area has been adequate to hold wet gear, and it's nice to have some room beside the bivy for sorting gear or putting my boots on. Headroom is adequate. I question how comfortable it would be with two persons, however.

Although it can also be pitched different ways, like a regular tarp, I've never found it necessary; the basic design has always met my needs.

I've not been impressed with the Bug Liner that is designed for the Silshelter. It essentially creates a double-walled tent, at about the same weight and price. However, it doesn't function well in this mode; you're better off with something like a Seedhouse SL1 if you want that kind of shelter.

I've since moved on (some might say back) to an MSR Hubba, which I find more convenient and comfortable. But, for a single wall, floorless tent, the SilShelter can't be beat. Combined with a bivy, the shelter offers great versatility: I can use the bivy alone, to sleep under the stars; I can use the Silshelter alone for a quick lunchtime shelter in the rain; or I can use both for really great storm protection. (Of course, I can do all of this with my Hubba more simply.)

Edited by garkjr on 04/13/2008 08:31:06 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Integral Designs Silshelter priced at: $119.98
MSR Hubba priced at: $246.95 - $329.99
Shop Hubba products at GearBuyer
Steve Martell
( Steve )

Eastern Washington
ID Sil Shelter on 12/28/2007 08:12:49 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Owned one of these before my current favorite--Gatewood Cape (5/5).

Pros: Very small stuff sack when stored, plenty of room for one+gear+small dog. Nice and light.

Cons: Single purpose use, takes more stakes (vs Gatewood) to get it taught, door closure can allow wind blown rain,etc to enter.

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Michael Reagan
( MichaelReagan )

Southern California
Good for two (close) friends on 12/28/2007 11:43:16 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The SilShelter is the tarp of choice when my wife and I backpack together. It is just large enough for the two of us (Me: 6'3", 200#; She: 5'5", 120#) and provides better protection than the average flat tarp. She also likes that it provides an enclosed tent "feel" which helps her sleep better at night.

I used to take the SilShelter on solo trips as well until I bought the Gatewood Cape last year. Now that is my preferred one-man tarp, with the SilShelter being reserved for 2-person trips or trips that might actually see severe weather. In heavy rain or snow, the SilShelter makes a much better shelter for the solo hiker than the smaller Gatewood, IMHO.


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