|Dingy, dark corner … I’ve slept in far worse.|
I think, most of us have long since learnt that even the roughest of ‘roads to nowhere’, the ones that really do lead to long forgotten, dingy, dark corners, can still provide a perfectly serviceable overnight retreat … just as long as we’re armed with the right shelter.
Back in March, I introduced the Six Moon Designs Gatewood cape and promised I’d return once we’d spent some time getting to know each other. Well, we’ve become fairly well acquainted over the intervening months and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been getting along pretty well. If you’ve bothered to click on the link above, then you’ll be aware that the Gatewood Cape is a single skin pyramid shelter, that should you wish, can double up as a cape. As with many ultralight shelters, the Gatewood comes without pole or pegs and when placed on the ever so sophisticated Bear Bones digital scales, produces a readout of 347g. The Pole-A-Bear, 5 section carbon pole (other poles are available, although they might not be as good) adds 75g and 6 pegs of your choice will likely take the entire package to around 480g. That’s not a lot of weight for something that offers full coverage and enough room to not only sleep comfortably but also to store gear and dare I say cook as long as you’re careful.
|22cm long x 18cm high x 12cm deep but it’ll easily compress to half that.|
|Nearly idiot proof harness for your pole.|
|Simple pegging points. Do you need anything else?|
|A pocket, a pocket, ooh a pocket!|
Having spent quite a few years sleeping under what we might describe as conventional tarps, I’ve mainly spent my nights under the cape with the bottom door open … only one door has a tie-back and I have my feet at that end, hence ‘bottom’ door. Sleeping like this still provides plenty of coverage and importantly helps minimise any condensation issues. Used like this, I’ve not experienced any condensation at all. With both doors fully closed, a bit of a breeze and the apex vent wide open any condensation has been minimal, in fact the only time I ever had anything noticeable was on a wet night with the doors shut and the vent reduced to a tiny hole … which is exactly what you’d expect and no different from any other single skin shelter. There’s very few seams on the cape, the back and sides are one piece but what there are aren’t sealed. In my opinion sealing them isn’t necessary, it’s a horrible job and adds weight. I’ve not noticed any leaks even in heavy wind-blown rain, so I don’t think I’ll be troubling the Silnet anytime soon.
The only real criticism I have is the quality of some of the sewing. Don’t get me wrong, the thing’s not falling apart but there are a few loose threads and missing stitches. It’s more than likely a consequence of SMD switching production from the US to China, which also means that quality could be a bit of a lottery and it’s quite possible mine was put together by the tea lady in her lunch hour. Given how well the cape works, it’s more a niggle than a concern but having owned US made SMD products in the past and knowing how good the quality was, it’s a bit of a shame.
Stitching concerns aside, the Gatewood Cape is a good shelter. It’s a great introduction to ‘tarps’ for tent dwellers and adds a little luxury for those already using tarps. It’s stable, light, easy and quick to pitch and provides a haven in those long forgotten, dingy dark corners we sometimes call home.
Six Moon Design