Mar 24, 2011 at 4:59 am #1271031
@davidpasseyLocale: New York City
I'm thinking about switching from my current solo set-up (a Spinntwin / BMW bivy) for one of the shelters listed in the subject line. My reason for switching is mostly for fun, but I have a few questions:
1. Which of these shelters can be used w/o a bivy to keep spindrift off? I currently use a WM highlite or a Arc AT, plus Montbell Alpine Light. I'm not thrilled about getting much moisture on either set-up. If I can get to 11 oz, I can knock a few oz off my current shelter shelter system.
2. Which of these shelters has the most interior room?
3. Which of these shelters is the most stable in the wind?
It's true that the cape could substitute for a rain jacket/pack cover, but I already use the silcoat cape, which is very light and serves both those purposes. I'm really looking at each just for the shelter aspects.
Thanks for the input.Mar 24, 2011 at 9:24 am #1713961
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I have no knowledge or experience with the other two shelters, but if you really don't want the Gatewood Cape as raingear — just shelter — I would look instead at the essentially-the-same SMD Wild Oasis, which offers bug protection.
I won't lay out the pros and cons of the G.C. as there are existing threads that do that quite well …Apr 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1867302
@dparkLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I too am going through the same debate. Anybody with some opinions comparing the three?Apr 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm #1867324
I can only speak for the experience I have, which is nothing but a positive one with the Gatewood/Serenity combo. Without the Serenity, the interior is huge, with it, it is more limited but still more than enough to sit up and move around. It also does really well in the wind.
Even if you don't use it as your sole rainwear, I think it's still worth it because it's always nice to have a spare or double rain protection. And as a shelter alone, it's as lightweight and durable as any other.Apr 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm #1867355
You might be interested in checking out my SUL/XUL Enclosed Shelter Comparison article and the spreadsheet associated with it.
To directly answer your questions:
1) All three will provide enough coverage. The Gatewood should provide the greatest amount of protection due to it having full sides rather than a short beak like the other two. That said, used properly the other two are fully capable of keeping your gear dry – you simply shift to the non-door side of the shelter when it is raining. The beak on the hexamid can pretty much solve the issue as well. You could also use a much stepper angle on the cricket beak/entrace to provide much greater rain protection. So, honestly, all three should perform their job properly. Oh, and lets not forget… there is a reason that hiking gear has DWR ;)
2) Trying to get us to do the leg work for you eh lol (gigle)? Visit their websites and the math yourself :-D
3) I have never had the Gatewood setup in strong wind… but I would put it in this order: hexamid, cricket, gatewood. Remember though, the hexamid can take up to 10 stakes, thereby adding additional weight for the additional guylines and stakes. Forsake not the terminology "Total Shelter Weight" – but at the same time, the Hexamid is the lightest enclosed shelter that is out there and worth buying I feel. You can have it fully setup at 354 grams (12.48 ounces / 0.78 pounds) and that is saying something!
Something to consider: you should included the "SMD Skyscape X" in your list. For an additional few ounces (ok, and a lot more money than the cricket/gatewood) you can have yourself a fully enclosed shelter. At 425 grams it is the definitive of a SUL solo shelter – and possibly the lightest fully enclosed on piece total shelter weight shelter in the world! I wrote an article on it that could be worth reading. A bit more money, a couple more ounces – but all three of your above questions would be nullified by going with it.
Hope some of this helps!
John B. Abela
HikeLighter.ComApr 15, 2012 at 8:33 am #1867426
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Spindrift = fine rain, snow, or sand blown about by the wind
Any shelter that does not extend all the way to the ground can potentially admit spindrift. Mesh will slow but not totally stop it. The more covered floor area you have, the further away from the edge of the canopy you can sleep, and the less likely it is that eventual spindrift will reach you. Small tarp? Use a bivy or other barrier. No bivy? Use a larger tarp. Staking the perimeter of a tarp all the way to the ground reduces not only spindrift access but also ventilation, headroom, and useable floor space.
I've owned and used the Gatewood Cape for years. It is my go-to shelter (with and without the Serenity Net Tent) for the PCT and CT. I've seen and examined the Hexamids and Skyskapes; no experience with the Cricket.
Unlike its twin, the Wild Oasis, the GC lacks any netting around the perimeter so unless you stake it to the ground, spindrift will get in. The latest version of the SNT adds a bathtub floor and so gives some protection. I've had the GC withstand winds in excess of 35 mph all night – when properly staked. A cuben fiber Wild Oasis would be the bomb and weigh about 11 ounces.
The Hexamids will give good coverage, but I'd say get the largest model you can as the perimeter and floor are all mesh, which slows but does not stop spindrift. Staking the canopy to the ground (storm mode) will help but cost you living space.
The Skyskape series has full netting and a bathtub floor and may be the best of both worlds, especially the X in cuben fiber but the cost is $450.Apr 15, 2012 at 9:42 am #1867443
I would vote for the Hexamid tent. I use the Hexamid Twin, but also have experience with my friend's Hex Solo tent and have to say I am a huge fan. Plenty of room and great coverage in a super light, all enclosed package.
Another option would be the new Bearpaw Diamond solo, seems similar to the style shelters you are comparing. Available in cuben for like 8 oz or something with full coverage but no netting.Apr 16, 2012 at 6:00 am #1867688
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
I used the Gatewood Cape for years as my primary shelter. Really liked it and have nothing but affection for it. I switched to the Hexamid with beak about six months ago to get superior non-stretchiness in rain (silnylon stretches, cuben does not) and wind resistance. No regrets on decision, but the Hexamid is way pricier. I use Joe's poncho groundsheet option for raingear in the same way I used the Gatewood (if expected condition are not really windy and I'm not bushwacking). This also gives me raingear I can wear in camp AFTER my shelter is set up.Apr 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm #1867873
John, fantastic post and spreadsheet.
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