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When it was introduced in Spring 2006, the Gatewood Cape generated a lot of interest among ultralight backpackers because it promised to provide the same advantages of a poncho/tarp while hiking, but be a much better shelter. At 11.65 ounces (with tieout cords and pole harness), the Gatewood Cape weighs about 7 ounces more than the most minimalist spinnaker poncho/tarp. However, many users routinely use a poncho/tarp in conjunction with a lightweight bivy sack or sleeping bag with a waterproof/breathable shell for extra protection from rain spray and spindrift. If the Gatewood Cape offers enough weather protection in the shelter mode that no added protection is required, the weights of the competing systems are comparable. Here, I report on the performance and weather worthiness of the Gatewood Cape based on five months of intensive testing under alpine conditions, including a lot of wet weather.


  • Introduction
  • What's Good
  • What's Not So Good
  • Specifications: Manufacturer, Year/Model, Style, What's Included, Fabric, Weight, Dimensions, Protected Area, Features, Options, MSRP
  • Performance
    • Performance in Rainwear Mode
    • Performance in Shelter Mode
    • Assessment
  • What's Unique
  • Recommendations for Improvement

# WORDS: 1990
# PHOTOS: 10

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