Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review

A seven-ounce mosquito-free haven which, when mated with the Gatewood Cape, becomes the inner half of an eighteen-ounce double walled tent system.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

The Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent pairs with the Gatewood Cape to create a unique shelter. No other shelter in the eighteen-ounce weight range has full mosquito protection, the option to save weight by leaving the bug net at home when it’s not needed, and utility as rain wear. The large netting door is a welcome feature, and the delicate netting is a worthy trade off for the overall light weight. The netting drapes on face and shoulders when the user is sitting up, but is well off the body when lying down.

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by Carol Crooker |

Introduction

The Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent is designed to integrate with their Gatewood Cape to form an eighteen-ounce weather and bug proof shelter. It can also be set up by itself in fine weather. The Serenity has a half pyramid shape with a silnylon bathtub floor and no-see-um netting upper with a double zipper side entry door. The peak clips to the Gatewood Cape harness or can be supported by a trekking pole for stand alone set up. Elastic tieouts on the four corners can be hooked to the same stakes used for the Gatewood or staked independently.

Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent Review - 1
The Serenity Net Tent set up near the CDT for bug protection with ventilation. The Gatewood Cape behind the Net Tent is ready to be pulled over the Serenity in case the threatening clouds begin to leak.

Specifications and Features

  Manufacturer:

Six Moon Designs

  Year/Model:

2008 Serenity Net Tent

  Occupancy:

Single person

  Materials::

Canopy – ultralight no-see-um netting; Floor – 30 denier silynylon; Zipper – number 3 YKK

  Dimensions:

Width – 31 in at head, 22 in at foot; Length – 84 in; Height – 42 in (79 x 56 x 213 x 107 cm)

  Floor Area:

15.5 ft2 (1.44 m2)

  Stakes required:

None when used with Gatewood Cape, five for stand alone

  Features:

Full zip entrance, peak clips to harness of Gatewood Cape with a mitten hook (older harnesses can be sent to Six Moon Designs to be retrofitted with a D-ring), pocket at the peak to hold a trekking pole tip for stand alone set up, elastic loops on end panels that align with Gatewood Cape inner snaps, elastic loops at the corners of the floor to attach to Gatewood Cape stakes

  Included:

Mesh stuff sack 0.1 oz (3 g)

  Weight:

measured weight Carol 7.5 oz (212 g), manufacturer specification 7 oz (198 g)

  MSRP:

$120USD

Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent Review - 2
The elastic tieout from the Net Tent stretched over the top of an Easton aluminum tent stake used to secure the Gatewood Cape.

Performance

The Serenity Net Tent is easy to set up, but it takes some experimentation to create the roomiest setup. After the Gatewood Cape is pitched, clip the glove hook on the Net Tent peak to the D-ring on the Cape harness (Six Moon Designs will retrofit older harnesses), then from outside the Gatewood, stretch the elastic tieouts at the Serenity floor corners over the stakes securing the Gatewood. Lastly, attach the two side loops on the Net Tent to the snaps on the inside of the Gatewood.

The Serenity can be set up by itself by staking out the four corners, fitting the tip of a trekking pole into a pocket at the peak and guying out the pole. Six Moon Designs recommends a trekking pole height of forty-three inches, but I found the Serenity very saggy at this height. The bug shelter had much more interior room with a forty-eight-inch long pole.

The instructions for the Gatewood Cape recommend a forty-two-inch trekking pole if the shelter is set up in a low pitch, or a forty-five-inch pole when extender loops are used to raise the edges of the shelter for increased ventilation. I sleep under the Gatewood a lot and typically use a 48.5 inch (123 cm) fixed length pole with it. Even with adjustable poles, I set them long, since the Gatewood is roomier with a taller pole. Will Rietveld also prefers a taller pitch. He describes his setup method in his Gatewood Cape Review, and in more detail in his review of the similarly shaped Wild Oasis Tent. I use a tall pole and lengthen the front guyline as Will describes, but I stake out the front entrance without using a second pole.

The Gatewood Cape is quite roomy for such a lightweight shelter when set up as described above. When the Serenity Net Tent is set up inside the Gatewood, interior space is significantly reduced. The rear triangle of storage space is lost as well as some of the height and length. There is plenty of length for me (5’10” tall) and the netting is well off my face when I am lying down, but it is difficult to prevent the Serenity from sagging and, unless you are quite short, the netting will drape on your shoulders when you sit up. (I soaked the Serenity in Permethrin to keep bugs from biting through the mesh.)

Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent Review - 3
The Gatewood Cape and Serenity Net Tent double wall tent. Note that the sides of the Gatewood are tied out to increase room inside the Serenity, and that the Serenity reduces space under the Gatewood Cape significantly.

To optimize interior space in the Serenity, use a higher pitch and a second trekking pole or a stick to pull out the head end of the Gatewood, where the elastic loop on the Serenity is snapped to it. Also, I found that staking at least one end of the Serenity independent of the Gatewood allowed me to fine tune the Serenity pitch to improve interior space. I’d like to see a method of pulling out the back of the Serenity to create more space. Either a tieout on the center back of the Serenity floor (which could be done without needing to retrofit older Gatewood Capes) or an elastic loop and corresponding snap on the Gatewood. Note: I’ve used the snaps on my Gatewood Cape only once or twice, but one snap refused to open during my trip. I ended up tying the elastic loop to the snap since this connection is crucial to creating space in the Serenity.

The lightweight no-see-um netting is delicate. The mesh squares were already elongated where the elastic loops are sewn on when I received the Serenity. After a five-day trip, there were several spots in other places in the netting where the mesh holes have become larger. Bug resistance won’t be affected at this point - especially with the Permethrin treatment.

I used the Serenity on a trip on the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado in July - the season for mosquitoes and thunder showers. The Gatewood can be stuffed back into its built-in pocket with the Serenity still attached, although it’s a tight fit. When rain threatens, the Gatewood can be set up quickly, then the Serenity can be put up (whether it is stored attached to the Gatewood or separately) under the cover of the Gatewood. The only tough part is attaching the corner tieouts to the stakes from inside the Gatewood. It is easier to stake the Serenity separately. I used Lazr Hi-Vis Titanium tent stakes (about 0.8 ounces for four) to stake the Serenity, but four Lazr Nano stakes would be adequate and weigh less than 0.2 ounces.

Six Moon Designs Serenity NetTent Review - 4
A glove hook attached to the peak of the Serenity Net Tent clips into a D-ring on the multi-colored Gatewood Cape harness (supported by a trekking pole).

Staking the Gatewood high using extension loops put the stakes too far away for the Serenity tieouts. I either staked the four tieouts separately or put two tieouts over Gatewood stakes and staked the other two independently.

The door on the Serenity is large. A two-way zipper goes to nearly the peak and one end of the tent. Rain was more present than biting bugs on my trip, so I often sat under the Gatewood with the door open while I was cooking or just lounging. The netting door was continually getting in my way until I took a fold and tucked it into the elastic loop on the Gatewood used to hold the door rolled back. I don’t use a chair inside a floored tent for fear the stays will press through lightweight fabric, but I found I can use a chair (the Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit) under cover with the Serenity/Gatewood combination by pushing the floor back far enough that the stays didn’t press into it.

I normally use a six-ounce Bozeman Mountain Works Vapr Quantum Bivy with the Gatewood. The Serenity was my bivy on my CDT trip. Even when bug pressure was low, the Serenity added a bit of warmth and splash protection.

The Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis is essentially a Gatewood Cape with the rainwear option removed and a perimeter of bug netting added. It weighs thirteen ounces. In October 2007, Will Rietveld posed this question in his review of the Wild Oasis: “Why not simply develop a detachable mesh skirt for the Gatewood Cape? Then one could have the Gatewood’s dual benefits of rainwear and shelter, plus bug protection when needed by adding the skirt. The challenge would be to devise a lightweight attachment system that is convenient and bug-proof. Velcro is not necessarily a good solution because it would add too much weight, and it snags badly on the mesh.” The Serenity Net Tent is almost certainly not what Will was envisioning, but it functions as he requested.

If you already own a Gatewood Cape, the Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent is a nice addition to one of my favorite shelters. It decreases the roominess of the Gatewood, but provides full bug protection.

What’s Unique

No other shelter in this weight range has full mosquito protection, modularity (netting and rain fly can be used separately), and a rainwear option. Even bypassing its use as rainwear, the Gatewood Cape/Serenity Net Tent is unique as a shelter with the option of full bug coverage with the door open, modularity, and to-the-ground shelter on three sides when conditions warrant. The Tarptent Sublite and Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis (13 ounces) have mosquito coverage only with the fabric door closed. The Gossamer Gear The One is not modular, so weight can’t be saved by leaving the netting at home in non-buggy conditions. The Mountain Laurel Designs Serenity Shelter and one of their tarps, such as the Patrol Shelter, have the most similar features but they can’t be pitched to the ground without reducing sitting height under the netting. Another difference is that the Mountain Laurel Designs shelter has an end entry, while the Six Moon Designs shelter has a center door.

What’s Good

  • Light weight
  • Modular - can be set up alone or left at home if it’s not buggy
  • Large door with double zipper
  • Netting is off face when sleeping

What’s Not So Good

  • Netting is delicate
  • Netting drapes on shoulders when sitting

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Add a center back tieout or loop to create more sitting space.


Citation

"Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review," by Carol Crooker. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/six_moon_designs_serenity.html, 2008-09-09 00:00:00-06.

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Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review on 09/09/2008 15:26:12 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review

Jim Yancey
(jimyancey) - F

Locale: Missouri
SMD Serenity on 09/09/2008 20:00:40 MDT Print View

I have been using the Serenity in combination with the Gatewood since about March '08. I agree that it is an elegant design and multi-optional. I have not sent my harness in for retro-fit of a D ring. I just seared a hole in the webbing "pocket" of the top strap. I push the end of my 45" aluminum pole (assembled from parts available from Quest Outfitters - I don't hike with poles) through the pocket, then through the grommet in the Gatewood harness. It seems to work well, although I should perhaps have the D ring installed. Another option might be to install a small grommet in the top strap that would serve the same purpose as my seared hole.

I don't really mind the somewhat confining nature of the Serenity, nor do I notice the netting on my shoulders when sitting up. The loss of interior space is a downside, but then, it IS an 18oz tent afterall! On very warm humid nights (typical summer weather in the Midwest) with no chance of rain, the Serenity is superb. Much less confining than a bivy, complete bug protection, decent ground protection (esp. with a polycryo or Tyvek ground sheet), complete ventilation, easy entry/exit and extremely light to boot. What more could one ask for? I have not noticed any stress or unusual fragility of the netting. I sewed my own stuff sacks for the Cape and the Serenity, and I use Ti stakes for a very lightweight package. Coupled with the Gatewood Cape, I think they comprise the ideal multi-use shelter/raingear. Thumbs-up all round by me.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: SMD Serenity on 09/09/2008 22:18:16 MDT Print View

I have also been using mine since March. Before that I used a Sea To Summit bug netting which was somewhat similiar to the Serenity but without the floor and zippered door. The netting does lie near my face a tad but that really does not bother me too much. Heck for 18 ounces or so, it is a great multi use item!!!!!!

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
pair it with a Hex? on 09/10/2008 01:05:39 MDT Print View

Seems like I could use it with my Hex III to make a palatial 1 man shelter with groundsheet and bug protection for just about 1.1kg, 38.8 ounces (not including walking poles).

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
Paired with a Hex 3 on 09/10/2008 02:46:41 MDT Print View

Hi,

I use my Serenity Net in my Shangrila 3, which is the latest incarnation of the Hex. It is excellent, palacial and fits perfectly using the centre pole, or the washing line tie loops under the vents for event more room.

Check out this tread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=13872

cheers,
fred

John Adams
(scsjohn) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
length on 09/10/2008 06:28:44 MDT Print View

I see that the length is 84 inches. Would this accomodate someone that is 6 ft 3 inches?

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent Review" on 09/10/2008 07:45:42 MDT Print View

The review begins by stating that no other shelter in this weight range (18 oz) provides full bug protection and allows for the bug protection to be left at home when not needed while also providing rain wear.

I would disagree. MLD, for some time, has offered the combination of a Grace Solo tarp (in spectralite @ 5.8 oz or spinntex xp @ 7.5 oz) and Bug Bivy @ 5.7 oz or Serenity Shelter @ 5.9 oz. Any combination of the MLD items above will provide equal bug protection along with the ability to leave the bug protection behind if conditions allow and at a considerably lower overall weight. One could opt for the MLD spectralite poncho tarp @ 3.9 oz for an apples to apples comparison or bring the poncho as rain wear along with the tarp and bug bivy and still be under the 18 oz weight. MLD Solo tarp @ 5.8 + bug bivy @ 5.7 + poncho @ 3.9 = 14 oz total.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Re: SMD Serenity - question for Ken on 09/10/2008 08:12:16 MDT Print View

Ken,

If I recall we are the same height (6'1"). I'm wondering about my feet touching the end (sometimes sleep uncovered here in Florida and wanted to avoid bugs biting thru).

My question: How thick is your sleeping pad (lifting you off the ground), and do you touch at the foot end?

Thanks, Todd

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
MLD on 09/10/2008 08:20:15 MDT Print View

Hi Thom,
You're right. The Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Poncho Tarp plus MLD Serenity Shelter easily beats 18 oz. When I wrote the rating I was trying to differentiate between the MLD offerings and the SMD offerings as concisely as possible. What I should have added to all the included qualifiers was that the SMD combo offers more complete weather coverage (three sides can be staked to the ground, which could be a useful option in very changeable weather - sometimes steamy and buggy, sometimes windy and rainy).

The MLD Patrol Shelter plus Serenity Shelter is another light bug shelter/rain shelter combo that looks to offer more coverage than a poncho tarp, without the rain wear option though.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Tall folks on 09/10/2008 08:29:10 MDT Print View

John and Todd,
I'm shorter than you two (only 5'10" :)
My feet did not touch the end and Todd's (6'1") shouldn't either, but it'll be close with John's feet at 6'3" since the netting drapes. (I slept on a 2.5" Big Agnes Clearview pad). I treated the netting with permithrin which will help keep bugs from biting even if the netting is draping on your body.

Patrick Baker
(WildMan) - F
SMDSerenity Net & Permethrin on 09/10/2008 08:50:34 MDT Print View

"I soaked the Serenity in Permethrin to keep bugs from biting through the mesh."

I always thought that Permethrin would kill the bugs within an hour or so of landing on the mesh, but not actually prevent (repel) them from biting ?

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Tall folks on 09/10/2008 11:29:01 MDT Print View

Carol,

Thanks for a great write-up & answering my questions.

Todd

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Tall folks on 09/10/2008 12:47:31 MDT Print View

Todd, I use a 78" pad that is 2.5" thick. I have had no problem with my feet touching at the other end. And yes I am 6'1. I have a buddy that has the same set up that I do and he is 6'3 and he barely touches the end, and he too, has a pad that is similar in size as mine. I have yet to use the Serenity as a stand alone on a clear night, due to many thunder storms in the Sierra's this yea. The Serenity is a great shelter/poncho

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: SMD Serenity on 09/10/2008 12:57:44 MDT Print View

Carol, thanks for this great review and all the set-up tips. I got my Cape/Serenity this spring and really put it through its paces...rain, snow, everything except bugs. Seems we didn't have any bugs this year in my favorite haunts in the Cascade 'cause winter stayed around so long (deep snow into August) and then I got snowed on during Labor Day weekend. I haven't used the end tie outs yet but will take your advice and have some guy lines at the ready for when I do use the Serenity.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: MLD on 09/10/2008 14:11:43 MDT Print View

I have been experimenting with the SMD Refuge-X plus MLD cuben poncho. This not only weighs slightly less than the SMD setup reviewed here, but also allows you to pitch the poncho over the door of the Refuge-X as an awning, or as an extra ground sheet in swampy conditions. The Refuge-X can also be staked down along all perimeters if needed, and is undeniably palatial for one (and not bad for two). Or leave the Refuge-X at home for less buggy trips and just use the poncho. The versatility of this sytem is mind-boggling for the weight! The SMD system does have the advantage when it comes to price compared the my combo...

Still, nice write-up Carol. Thanks.

John Adams
(scsjohn) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Thanks on 09/13/2008 18:06:48 MDT Print View

Thanks Carol for your response. Keep up the good work!!

JA