Sep 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm #1293781
A Gatewood Cape weighs ~11 ounces, and it's Serenity Bug Tent weighs ~8 ounces.
Roughly 19 oz. total.
What other systems can perform competitively with this system of almost full coverage shelter, double-wall inner net tent with full sil-nylon floor, and rainwear and pack cover, in terms of weight, bulk, and lower cost?
In the southeast where I live, I need rainwear because it rains a lot, and it rains hard. I need pretty good coverage because the rain gets blown hard at times, and doesn't always come straight down here. And I need good flooring because the rain can cause very wet ground with running water moving across the surface of the ground. And we have heavy bugs for about 3 seasons. And the humidity causes single-wall shelters to be condensation-prone. It's a tough environment. Swampy and woody and hilly. I'm on the west foothills of the Smokies where all the rain gets dumped before the clouds go over the divide.
I'm impressed with what I have read the Gatewood Cape can do, and I'd be interested to hear advocates of competing systems which I might consider before I make an expenditure on this.Sep 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm #1909737
What is your price range? I personally prefer tarp and bug bivy. I live in the south as well and find that if I head out west the tarp and pertex bivy works well (just swap out the bug bivy, keep the tarp). This makes the system versatile and the money well spent.
You can get the MLD Patrol with a bug bivy for around 11 oz., but double the price of your shelter and bivy..
$425 for patrol and bug bivy ay 11.8 oz. versus $255 for gatewood and serenity at 19 oz.Sep 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm #1909741
I know exactly what you are looking for and feel that I was looking for the same thing a while back. This is what I went with. I use a Golite (or similar) poncho tarp for my rain gear and pack cover combo. The new ones weigh about 7 oz. I have a SMD Wild Oasis that I shipped off to Bear Paw Wilderness Designs and had a Silnylon floor sewn into it. Check out the link below. He charged me about $70 and did an excellent job. The total weight is around 18 oz for a fully enclosed tarp. If its really raining hard, I set up the poncho tarp over the WO for extra coverage. You can also use the poncho tarp to keep you dry while setting up the WO. Total weight is around 25 oz. I had a Gatewood Cape and really liked it as a tarp, but didn't care much for it as rain gear. Just my 2 cents.Sep 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm #1909750
I didn't know about the Golite poncho tarp. It seems to be nice, but it's "not in stock" or may be discontinued. Nobody has it, not even Golite.
It's about the same size as my current tarp, which is the ID Siltarp 5×8.
I like the Siltarp all right, but it's a bit exposed when the wind shifts, and when I add the weight of my poncho to it, it's a heavy combo. The Golite Poncho Tarp would be a good replacement for my Siltarp and do double-duty as the poncho, so that's a very good suggestion. I'll keep an eye out for that item to come back into inventory at Golite.
I could add a bug bivy to this Golite tarp arrangement, if I was satisfied to have the one open side of the small tarp. And I still may consider that with the Golite. I normally set up my Siltarp in half-mid config, and I like that, except that the rain blows in on me with our shifty winds around here. I do like the idea that the Gatewood Cape has that more enclosed coverage. I can live with getting wet sometimes, but I'd rather be dry.
I recognize that the Gatewood Cape has its drawbacks as not being "ideal" raingear, and that it's not universally liked for that use.
Thanks for the suggestions so far, guys!Sep 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm #1909835
@nlsscottLocale: So. Calif.
PM me if interested in buying a gatewood cape. I have a unused one that I will sell. (I got carried away and bought it when I shouldn't have…) -SOLD- ScottSep 30, 2012 at 6:11 am #1916813
@russmayLocale: Central California
PM sentSep 30, 2012 at 7:32 am #1916824
After comparing the Gatewood setup to other options, I'm probably going to get a Golite Poncho Tarp and a 6-7 oz bivy. It provides bug protection only when inside the bivy, which is a little less desirable, but it looks like it'll save 5-6 oz and be more convenient in other ways.
Advantages of Poncho-tarp/bivy combo:
–You can cook inside a Poncho tarp, but not enclosed in the bug netting of a gatewood cape/net setup.
–You can keep your pack easily under the poncho tarp and not
–If it's not going to rain, you don't need the tarp (with the gatewood cape, you'd probably want to set it up for bug protection and dew).
–A little more warmth (about 5 F)
–poncho tarps make for much more comfortable raingear than the gatewood cape (so I hear)
–Sets up in a variety of ways
–5-6 ounces less to carry
–Gatewood cape may have issues for tall people (6'2" and greater). It's easy to get an extra long bivy, impossible to get an extra long Gatewood.
–Condensation will be more of an issue
–Some people despise bivvies. I've never tried one.
–Some people despise poncho tarps. I like them.
–No bug protection while hanging out/not sleeping
–Bivy is one more piece of wet gear to deal with.
–Both take care of raingear
–Both can get away with just one trekking pole
–Both take care of rain spatter very effectively
–Neither one needs a ground sheetSep 30, 2012 at 9:18 am #1916842
I previously used a 5×8 flat tarp, which is the size of the Golite poncho tarp.
Using that size tarp was the reason that I moved to the Gatewood. After a few nights in the heavy rainy season under that 5×8, I felt that a few more ounces was well worth it for the added coverage.
As for the advantages list, the Serenity Net only covers the sleeping area, so there is still plenty of room under the vestibule and around the open door area for cooking if you want to. No problem cooking under the Gatewood.
Regarding the bivy, if it's a covered-top bivy, it's going to be hot in the summer when you are using it for bug protection. Breezes won't penetrate well.
If it's a mesh bug-bivy, you'll get wet under that 5×8 tarp with the mesh top bivy.
I'm not real sheepish about getting wet, but it gets tiresome after a while, and the few more ounces seem like a real good compromise to me.Sep 30, 2012 at 9:25 am #1916844
@russmayLocale: Central California
Does any one have a spare, they night want to part with?Sep 30, 2012 at 9:30 am #1916845
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I have a Borah bivy I no longer need, its the cuben one, used two nights, $185 new.Oct 15, 2012 at 10:07 am #1921437
@page0018Locale: Southeastern USA
I hike in the Southeast and find the Gatewood Cape with Serenity Net Tent to be excellent. There is space outside the Net Tent, but still under the Cape to cook if need be, and store gear. The ventilation through the partially opened hood at top is good, and adjustable from inside. I find the rain and bug protection excellent. It's good multi use rain gear and pack cover, especially if the long corners on one side are run behind the back and attached to the snap on the opposite side. This gives a pretty tight drape that keeps out driving rain on the torso and pack. I use rain pants with.
However, the tradeoff is that the space inside is small. In a prolonged heavy rain there is no room to move about, so it's really best just for sleeping. And your rain gear is all tied up now as a shelter. Once set up, you can't wear it to go outside. A tarp is more pleasant to hang out under. And you can answer natures call easily from the side of a tarp, not so with the Cape. I've considered sitting on top of the collapsed Net Tent until sleep time, for more space under the Tarp, but I'm not willing to risk damaging the netting – foolproof insect protection is too critical.
That said, it is still so light I sometimes carry a tarp and/or wind shirt with the Cape/Net Tent just to address these problems. The Net Tent excels in super hot humid weather when maximum ventilation and bug protection are essential.Oct 15, 2012 at 10:48 am #1921448
I'm looking at MLDs pro-poncho, mainly because I'm too tall for a GC but also for the versatility and venting.Oct 15, 2012 at 11:01 am #1921452
Thanks for your input.
The "tied-up raingear" has been a criticism of the GC for a while now, and that has probably reduced its popularity here some.
I have to say that it doesn't impede me at all to have the rain gear tied-up, because if it is pitched for night-time, then I don't need any rain gear to go walking around in the rain with. I'm staying in. If I have to go out to answer the call, I can get a few raindrops on my windshirt for the minute or two that I'm out there.
Regarding the small space inside the net tent, yes it is relatively small, but it's no smaller than the use-able area under a 5×8 Siltarp, and at least you don't get wet. And the overall dry area is pretty big under the GC.
I know that different folks have different preferences about stuff like this.
But it suits me perfectly.Oct 15, 2012 at 11:29 am #1921461
Nature's call should not be an issue, at least for us men, irregardless of shelter types. Defecate before you settle for the night. Use your pee bottle for night-time urination. No need to leave your sleeping bag until sunrise. Yes, I am touting the male's one really significant anatomical advantage over the female.
I love my Gatewood Cape, but carry a separate UL rain jacket. Purely personal preference there.Oct 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm #1921476
I have done a bunch of overnighters with both the Gatewood Serenity Net combination and with a 5×9 flat tarp, Meteor bivy combination.
The 5×9 flat tarp is similar size to the Golite and other cape/shelters.
I was able to keep my pack inside the vestibule part of the Gatewood and my almost 6' height was comfortable in the combination over several days of rain.
I didn't hang out at all, just slept. I didn't cook under it in the rain as the space was bit to tight to do that safely, but it wouldn't be an issue when opened up more when not raining.
Although the flat tarp/Meteor bivy combination also worked well. It would be more cramped than the Gatewood when pitched low for blowing rain.
I never used it in blowing rain so I never had to pitch it that low.
I think I would prefer the Gatewood/Sernety if I knew I was going to encounter much blowing rain. The smallish rectangular tarps require a cramped pitch and you may find yourself having to re-pitch more often than the Gatewood.
I found that I could pitch the Gatewood with the front wide open for hot nights and then just close the front when the rain kicked in during the middle of the night.Oct 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm #1921508
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I have the Gatewood + nettent combo, but find that I rarely use the net tent. Times when bugs are likely to be bad, I generally am willing to carry a somewhat heavier combo of tent plus separate raingear. Ditto times when I expect significant rain on a trip, as I don't find the Gatewood to be the best rainwear either.
Where it shines for me is shoulder season trips or even winter trip (few or no bugs) where extended weather forecast looks good — I just came back from one of those and the Gatewood (no net tent) was a great thing to carry as both never-used raingear and shaped tarp.
I also like carrying it (again, the Gatewood alone without the net tent) on day hikes where I don't expect significant rain — and where I'm on established, brushed out trail without likely a ton of blowdowns (the cape in rainwear mode is far from ideal when the trail isn't reasonably clear). It's a great choice as combination raingear and emergency shelter — again, when I'm not expecting to have to use it that way for an extended period.Oct 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm #1922373
"I love my Gatewood Cape, but carry a separate UL rain jacket. Purely personal preference"
Wouldn't that negate the benefit of using the cape? Strange.Oct 18, 2012 at 7:55 am #1922473
Yes, but it is a personal choice. I use the Gatewood Cape as a shelter because I like the coverage and weight. I rarely carry the net tent; my headnet does the job when the skeeters get bad, and they can't bite through my sleping bag (or wind shirt).
As pointed out above, the cape does not work well in brush or high winds, although an improvised belt will help somewhat. A cape also tends to block your view of the trail tread, which can be dangerous on narrowm rocky trails like the Sierra and North Cascades. I much prefer a separate rain jacket for those reasons.Oct 18, 2012 at 8:22 am #1922482
Thanks – I see that the cape is your dedicated shelter only. I was wondering why you just didn't carry the Wild Oasis but then you mentioned owning a net tent.Oct 19, 2012 at 5:16 am #1922777
I also use the Gatewood as a shelter only.
It has good coverage for it's size and weight, better than other poncho shelters.
Combined with the SMD Serenity net tent can be better ventilated for summer use than most of the all in one tarptent style shelters.
I only half pitch it for cowboy camping when there is a chance of rain.
I get great ventilation, but if rain comes up and I need to, I pull it over the net tent and stake the front down.
It is also a great emergency poncho for fair weather day hikes and can also be a full coverage emergency shelter when needed.
I had to loan mine to a friend who didn't think she needed to carry a rain jacket because of the weather forecast.Oct 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm #1923309
I hesitate to ask, but being the morbidly courious type, I will.
Why do you need a "pee bottle?" Can't you just use your "anatomical advantage" to launch the pee well outside your shelter? or is that only possible with a certain threshold level of "really significant?" :)Oct 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm #1923312
I used a MLD Patrol and a Bear Paw Bivy for the AT.
When i had to pee I simply un zipped the side and "let 'er fly".
Occasionally i hit the edge of the tarp and almost always wet my leg a bit.
That is okay.
Pee is sterile.
The overwhelming advantage is conserved warmth and simplicity.
Actually it is quite liberating.. "pee-ing in the wind" and retreating to composure at will.
The "tarp/bivy" thing is surreal.
Someone should write a poem about it…Oct 21, 2012 at 8:44 am #1923352
1) because I can
2) because when it's cold and/or wet and/or very windy outside, all I need do is unzip my sleeping bag enough to tuck part of the bottom edge under me – I don't want a wet, smelly sleeping bag -, adjust my clothing, position the bottle, and "fire away". The rest of me stays warm and dry.
If the weather is warm and/or dry, I MAY get up and go find the little boys' tree, especially if its a clear, starry night and I'm awake enough to not trip over a guyline or other obstacle in the darkness.Oct 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm #1923487
I know at least one women who carry a two quart milk carton folded up.
Unfold it at night and fully open all seams on the top for use as a pee bottle inside your shelter.
There are some very wide mouth screw lid plastic bottles used for nuts, cookies and such that also work well, but take up a lot of space in the pack.
Talk about a subject change:-)Oct 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm #1923498
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
There is nothing hygenic about carrying a pee bottle around, not to mention its unneccesary.
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