Mar 20, 2006 at 11:20 pm #1218095
Tale of Two Alphamid’s ~ MYOG ~ U-L & SUL
I am calling this MYOG Project “Tale of Two Alphamid’s – Ultra-Light / Super Ultra Light because I am making two Alphamid’s(TM).
The first or Ultra-Light Alphmid(TM) will be made out of 1.1 oz per sq yard (true weight as high as 1.3 oz per sq yard) Silnylon 2nds sold by Quest Outfitters or anyone of the other fabric suppliers at $5 to $6 a yard. I want to make this one for several reasons.
1. to see/show that a basic Silnylon Alphamid(TM) can be made to weigh less than 7.5 oz.
2. to see/show that it can be a MYOG project for a cost of $50 or less.
The second or SUL Alphamid’s(TM) will be made out of my lightest Cuben Material. This one will be made to be as light as possible. The cost for this one should be $125 or less.
The size of my two Alphamids(TM) will be a little smaller than the BMW version to reduce the sq yardage and bring the weight under 7.5oz for the silnylon version and bring the weight of the Cuben version to under 3 oz. I believe the total weight of the Cuben version will be a big surprise to most when it is finished.
The first useable prototype will be 36″ x 90″ and 48″ high. I will make this one out of some $3 a yard .5 oz spinnaker (kite store) material I have. The true weight of this stuff is about 1.14 oz a sq yard and to heavy for me to use now that I can get Cuben Fiber. This prototype will give me something to set-up in my backyard and sleep in a few nights testing it for size, etc. After testing I will make any adjustments and make the final two Alphamids(TM).
– How small is to small?
– Will it work as a solo shelter for a winter SOBO – AT Hike?
– Will it work as a solo shelter for a spring NOBO – AT Hike ?
Others questions as they come up.
“Acknowledgment: Alphamid (TM) word used with permission by
Owearusa.comMar 21, 2006 at 6:04 am #1353000
Bill, I really like how you introduce your projects. And this project sounds like fun to me. First a question, then a comment or two.
As far as I know, BMW doesn’t make an alphamid. Did you mean one similar to the Oware Alphamid we tested?
Oware’s silnylon alphamid is 19 oz without stakes, poles, or guylines; with dimensions of 60″w x 120″l x 60″h. It’s really not much larger than your proposed alphamid. Your goal weight of under 8 oz seems remarkable. How will you do it??
I often travel with my two daughters (10 and 7) and we always take our 4-person pyramid tent (homemade with perimeter bug netting and floor, 2.5lbs), so I have some experience with living in this shape. The only concern I would have in regards to size, is head room at the edges. As the apex gets lower and the sides narrower, your headroom is going to shrink dramatically. Barring a bit of claustifobia, you need to worry about a condensation laden canopy coming in contact with your sleeping bag. We usually stick the kids on the edges. :)
IMO, You should definately add a top vent to thwart condensation. Body heat is going to rise and take your condensation with it. If you don’t give it a way out, it will collect on the inside surface of the alphamid. The alphamid tarp we reviewed had some problems with condensation. None of the top vented pyramids I’ve used have this problem. You could add a small hood to the zipper side, where the pole inserts, and cut off the very top of the door fabric above the zipper leaving a triangular hole.
MYOGMar 21, 2006 at 7:40 am #1353014
Like Jay I too have some pyramid tarp experience. The usable floor space is more circular than one would think on first glance.
Fornshell Concept 36" x. 90" x 48" high
BMW . . . . . . . 44" x. 90" x 49"
Alphamid (small). 54" x 108" x 65"
half a Megalight. 52" x 104" x 66" pole
Why don’t you layout your idea with string defining the edges of the panels in your backyard? It will help you visualize the idea in full scale.
One of the unexpected pleasures of a pyramid is you can transition from laying to sitting without having to crawl to the high end of the tarp for clearance.
RobertMar 21, 2006 at 1:18 pm #1353035
Robert and Jay, Thanks for the comments.
This is a winter tent design I was working on in the Summer of 2004. I even made a full size prototype and then changed the design to one that was more like a very small wall tent. This gave me more head and foot room. The Hunter Orange 1.1 Silnylon was going to be used for the new version of the tent. Making the tent was put on a medical hold.
The Alphamid(TM) design has sparked new interest in a small winter tent/tarp. With the Cuben Fiber now available a really SUL Alphamid(TM) is possible. I have made several paper models and have laid out the footprint of these on my floor. I am going with the 36″ x 90″ and 48″ high for the first prototype. The small tent from 2004 had a 36″ x 84″ footprint so the 36″ width is one I know can live with. The extra 6″ length will give me a little more head and foot room. Once I get the SUL Alphamid(TM) like I want it I will work on some accessories for it.
I am about to start cutting material.
“Acknowledgment: Alphamid (TM) used with permission by
Owearusa.comMar 21, 2006 at 2:11 pm #1353041
Awesome project my UL hats off to you im very eager to “see” how this turns out for you Please post pics and instructional tutoral when complete.
Thanks in Advance
RobMar 22, 2006 at 9:35 pm #1353207
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
I am glad the Alphamid is getting some press. I haven’t sold very many, save to a few mavens and a couple of outdoor schools, but the response has
been good from them. I am using Alphamid as a
trademark for this shape of shelter.
The initial idea for this shelter was for a lighter
floorless shelter, quick to set up, that could be
set up next to a tree or rock face, to take advantage of an overhead tie out to eliminate the pole, to work in thicker forest than a standard pyramid,
and to be a little cheaper than a standard mid.
The height of the Alphamid is
70″(as are the pyramids I make). The advantage to a taller shelter becomes evident in heavy snow.
The folks in the shorter shelters have to do a lot
more shoveling to keep them up. Also in shelters with steeper sidewalls condensation
tends to run down the side to the ground rather
than drip . In the shelters I have added vents to, folks have told me
it made no noticable difference in condensation,
but that pulling up the center tie outs did help. This
experience is limited however to the
Sierra Nevada in winter. More humid places may or
may not be different.Mar 26, 2006 at 4:36 pm #1353493
I have finished my first Alphamid (TM) prototype. It is the smallest size I had made a paper model of (36″ x 90″ x 48″) and needs 5.58 yards of material. This amount does not count seam allowance etc. I wasn’t sure the small size would work so I made this one out of some $1 a yard stuff from Wal Mart.
As you can see from the pictures I don’t have a lot of room. Enough but not much to spare. Could I use something this small on say an AT Thru-Hike, yes. If I ran into really bad weather I could always “bail” to a shelter. I would probably do that even with a bigger tarp. With a Hyper-Light to SUL gear list moving quick when necessary should be easy.
Next will be a Cuben version of this prototype. I expect it to weigh under 3 oz. I will try and do some trail testing with this one toward the end of summer or early fall. Some add-ons will be some kind of bug netting and maybe a floor that I can put in and take out as necessary (bug necessary).
“Acknowledgment: Alphamid (TM) used with permission by
Owearusa.comMar 26, 2006 at 7:45 pm #1353507
Man, I thought the weight limit of what could be reached in a shelter/system was reached a couple of years ago. Full protection for less than 4 oz.?!? Serves me right for being out of the loop! Bill, your ingenuity continues to amaze me. I need to start reading-up on that cuben material.
Bill, I can’t tell from the photos whether you have any sort of overhang or beak at the top of the opening. If not, are you worried about any precip getting in through that spot?Mar 26, 2006 at 11:02 pm #1353515
Great looking Alphamid O’ great Hephaestus (ok, more appropriate for your stoves, but you get the idea, i’m sure). You never cease to amaze me.
I used to have a “period” photo hanging by my desk at work depicting the multi-faceted genious Leonardo Da Vinci in his workshop/laboratory with what purported to be a quote from his writings, viz. “It takes a rare individual who can create a design and take it to fruition.”
I don’t know that had Da Vinci applied himself to SUL/XUL gear that he would do any better than your creativiity. Maybe he’s lucky you two weren’t contemporaries in either century!!
This type of shelter has always caught my eye since seeing it in a review by BPL 18+mos ago I believe was the timeframe. Wind stability from the rear was always a question in my mind though? But then, what do I know?!! But it sure will fit in a small footprint – perfect for my neck of the woods.
You’re right, you don’t have much room – even less if you were in a 20-32deg sleeping bag with 5″ or 4″ of total loft (respectively – std loft for such bags). I’m thinking your toes and head might pick up some condensation. I live in the Northern AT area and we can get mighty humid (e.g. yesterday = 40’s F during the day and 82% RH and only a few short periods of a little light precip; many days all year round over 70% RH and up to 120 days and/or nights with some precip – I hear Southern AT can be as bad or worse).
If you make one out of Cuben and it’s a workable design, but it’s too small for you, let me know. If you can’t reuse the fabric and it’s a loss. I’m probably 10″-12″ shorter than you and it might be perfect for me. Let me know – i can take it off your hands and make it quite worth your while.
Many thanks for sharing your ingenuity and creations with us.
Note: Alphamid is a tradname (registered? non-registered???) of Oware or David Olsen – I think?Mar 26, 2006 at 11:59 pm #1353521
Paul, Thanks for the nice comment.
It is small but for warmer weather and the lightest load possible I will make the trade off for a bigger size. I have the advantage of being a side sleeper so that gives me a little more room.
I am starting to think about a bigger version for winter / snow and my “for planning” size will be 48″ x 90″ and 66″ tall. This might change and I have a lot of time to work on the final size.
As far as the name Alphamid (TM) you may have seen in the first post for this thread that I do reference that and do have permission to reference the name connection to Owareusa. I called Dave and asked, I also told him I could call it something else if he wanted me to. He said it was OK. I am not selling anything and I have no interest in selling these.
I like this tarp idea and for those folks that also like it and don’t want to make your own call Dave or check out the one from BMW went it comes out.
Paul said “Note: Alphamid is a tradname (registered? non-registered???) of Oware or David Olsen – I think?” Yes it is.
“Acknowledgment: Alphamid (TM) used with permission by
Owearusa.comMar 27, 2006 at 12:18 am #1353523
Bill, I missed (or forgot – an increasing problem these days) you mentioning this. However, I knew that you were aware of the origination of the TM – wasn’t sure if any “newbies” who might be reading the Thread would know this. . Wasn’t trying to correct you in any fashion there – just to be clear.
Also, I see…I had forgotten about infringing on Mr. Olsen with a sale of an unusable Cuben Alphamid (TM). But, you can probably reuse the fabric or give it to some kid as a gift if it turns out that you can’t use it.
Bill, do you think it’s ‘ok’ if others just put the (TM) after Alphamid? Mr. Olsen, if you read this, what’s your preference in this matter?
If Oware had an Alphamid with mesh door and perimeter bug netting, I would have already purchased one ~18mos ago when they first came to my attention. I’m anxiously looking forward to the Oware-made (???) BMW shelter of similar design – when the mesh enhanced model becomes available. I’ll probably stick with the SMD Lunar Solo ‘e’ for most buggy and/or rainy treks and I’m still trying to decide on the SMD G-w cape for other times – should know by the end of spring or mid-summer how it performs in the rain in warmer weather, but for the 1 or 2 sub-5lb weekend treks I’ll do each summer, I would like a lighter weight shelter if I can’t just use as shelter my custom MLD Epic/Soul Bivy due to persistent rain.
(BTW, according to our Corporation legal dept, if I understood them correctly, TM is for non-registered tradenames and the impossible to type and I don’t know the unicode character for it, little ‘c’ in a circle, is for registered tradenames) Anyone have any insight on this? Did I get the two “marks” correct?
Note: Alphamid is a tradename of OwareUSA.Mar 27, 2006 at 1:06 am #1353524
Da Vinci Code?
“I don’t know that had Da Vinci applied himself to SUL/XUL gear that he would do any better than your creativity. Maybe he’s lucky you two weren’t contemporaries in either century!!”
Pj time to open a window and ease up on the seam sealer…Mar 27, 2006 at 11:16 am #1353545
Douglas FrickBPL Member
> (BTW, according to our Corporation legal dept, if I understood them correctly, TM is for non-registered tradenames and the impossible to type and I don’t know the unicode character for it, little ‘c’ in a circle, is for registered tradenames) Anyone have any insight on this? Did I get the two “marks” correct?
[I’m not a trademark lawyer.] The “TM” is for non-registered trademarks. Oware evidently hasn’t registered their trademark for Alphamid(TM), but they can certainly claim that trademark absent litigation. Others who refer to Alphamid should use the (TM) out of respect for that trademark, and to clarify that they aren’t claiming it as their own. However, few people do this informally, as in forums. (I’ve used “TM” a few times in the BPL forums in reference to Ray-Way trademarked quilt features, but not consistently.) Bill’s use of it is appropriate (and getting permission is commendable), especially since he is referring to a creation of his own in a similar style. Clarity is good.
The “(R)” in a circle is for a registered trademark. You have to apply to the PTO (Patent and Trademark Office), and if you think somebody else is going to try to appropriate your name it’s a good thing for a business to do. I’ve never done it for my business’s trademarks; there just isn’t that much value in our trademark names since we’re so small.
The “(c)” (c in a circle) is for copyright, which simply represents that the ‘work’ is your own and cannot be reproduced without your permission. Pretty much anything you create (forum post, doodle, stack of mudballs you scraped off your shoes) is copyrighted without having to be explicitly so marked, but people who make their living producing intellectual property usually take the time to specify “Copyright (c) 2006 (entity) All rights Reserved.” on significant works or products to make it clear that it shouldn’t be copied or plagiarized. If you’re going to litigate, however, you do need to have sent a copy of your work to the Library of Congress to claim the copyright officially. Again, more of a pain than most (except authors) are willing to go through. I’ve never done it, myself.
There are two other marks you don’t see as often: service marks “SM” and “(S)”. These are similar to “TM” and “(R)” except they apply to services rather than products. An example might be “Joe’s Shoeshines(SM)”.
I hope this helps a bit.
Note: Alphamid is a tradename of OwareUSA.Mar 27, 2006 at 11:19 am #1353546
Sorry Roger, I’m missing your point. Can you be a little clearer please? I think it’s some kind of joke, but I’m not sure exactly how it precisely relates to my post. Let me in on your chuckle please.Mar 27, 2006 at 1:01 pm #1353550
@waterloggedwelliesLocale: United Kingdom
Paul, I agree with your question. Rogers comments are confusing. I agree it appears to be some type of joke but I took it to be at your expense, i.e. the mention of opening the window and seam sealer implying that maybe you were a bit “High” or had “Lost it” by posting nonsense (Which you hadn’t). Rogers comments appear to be out of context, so I’d be interested too in hearing if there was an alternative explanation for them.
Maybe Roger had had a bad day.Mar 27, 2006 at 3:49 pm #1353558
Scott, thanks for posting. Do you think so? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but it sure would speak volumes if you were right and that was the intent. I just don’t know. I was only trying to be pleasant and compliment a friend’s excellent handiwork and creativity. Nah…I admit it; I’m an easy target – and don’t mind a good laugh at my expense; he must have been poking fun at me and not being ornery – I mean the post and compliment wasn’t even addressed to him…so, why?…I just must be missing the connection b/t the seamsealer/high and my compliments. But you’ve given me something to ponder, the idea that someone would have taken it to be “nonsense” never occurred to me. If so, I probably wasn’t clear enough in my writing – I know that my posts can be confusing at times, especially when I’m having trouble concentrating. I’ll have to try to write more clearly.
Oh well, thanks again, I’ll just forget about it until we hear back from Roger and get in on the laugh – time to get back to learning from other posters on these Forums.Mar 27, 2006 at 4:11 pm #1353560
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Bill- Thanks for calling, and the name mention.
A couple of things that can make your shelter a bit
roomier and more wind worthy is to put tie outs
on the panels just at the points where you need
more room-where you feet and head might hit
the fabric and on the back center seam for example.
They are more of a forest shelter and
wouldn’t be good in high winds that change
direction but since the back is the same design
as my pyramid tarps, a wind from the back shouldn’t be a problem as long as you use very
strong anchors. I have used pyramids in eastern
oregon winds that tore and broke poles on a
North Face expedition tent.
I have made pyramids with netting around the base,
and should be able to do so with alphamids (Trade Mark), (now if I could just get some more
contract sewers). Anyone out there like production
sewing?Mar 27, 2006 at 4:37 pm #1353564
What would you estimate the weight to be of an Oware Alphamid with a bug netting perimeter and a full front bug netting inner front entrance behind the usual two stake-out front door panels?Mar 27, 2006 at 5:13 pm #1353569
Hi David, Thanks for the nice comment and suggestions.
From your web site pictures I thought about the tie-outs. I will add a few to the prototype and when I get it like I want it I will sew them into the sean line where I can on the next one.
Getting the material layed out took me a long time. I did the old measure three times before cutting trick. This first one took a lot more time than I had expected. The next one should go a lot quicker. It isn’t as much as being hard as dealing with a lot of material. I hope to start on the Cuben version by the end of the week.
I expect to use my home-made Alphamid (TM) mostly along the AT. That can mean expect any kind of weather, wind, rain, snow etc. The good part is I can pick my camp site most of the time or use a shelter.
“Acknowledgment: Alphamid (TM) used with permission by
Owareusa.comMar 28, 2006 at 5:29 am #1353610
Nice work on the prototype. My only concern is condensation coming in contact with the foot and hood of your sleeping bag. Sure you fit in it on your side, but if you move around at night, roll over or whatever, your bound to push your sleeping bag into the condensation laden tent. I used to live in Franklin, NC, 10 minutes drive from the AT. That’s some humid country down there. I like David’s tie out idea to squeeze a bit more room at the head and foot.
MYOGMar 30, 2006 at 11:56 am #1353836
Not that I’m defending Roger, and I agree Bill does very great work (Thank you for all the posting, please continue! :)), but I think Roger was joking about the comparisons to Leonardo Da Vinci– that PJ was “high” on seam sealer to make this comparison. I don’t know his intentions (don’t know the guy), but I don’t think it was meant to be malicious, just trying to be funny. My 0.02.Mar 30, 2006 at 12:44 pm #1353837
Dane, Many thanks for the clarification on Roger’s behalf. I agree that he was making a joke, but I couln’t quite make it out. What you say makes sense as to the meaning of his joke – many times I’m a bit slow on the uptake; I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Actually, if others could have seen the period pic I referred to in my first post on this matter, i.e. the one of Da Vinci in workshop/laboratory inspecting a scale model of one of his “helicopter” designs, others too might conclude that there is a resemblence, not only of the handiwork, but the actor representing Da Vinci in the pic bore a resemblence to Mr. Fornshell. Wish I could find the pic so that I could send it to Bill – bet he’d get a kick out of it.Mar 30, 2006 at 12:56 pm #1353839
@kdesignLocale: Mythical State of Jefferson
just got back from a ski trip. did I miss something— Oware has a new promotional coupon code? Bill has gone into business selling his stove hacks? Mary Magdalene was into SUL burden carrying– the holy grail was actually a condensation free single wall shelter weighing under a lb.?
Miss a few days and ya get completely out of the loop.
:-P>Mar 31, 2006 at 12:56 pm #1353913
OK. Now THAT post confused me… :)Mar 31, 2006 at 1:08 pm #1353914
Bill’s post got me to thinking– I have seen lots of people making flat or cat cut tarps, but not to many making pyramids or Hex shapes. Has anyone tried making a version of the GoLite Hex 3? Seems do-able (although the geometry seems like it is a little more complicated), but have searched archives here, yahoo, etc, but no posts– anyone? Anyone made a Hex tarp?
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