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SMD Gatewood Cape: It’s hard to go lighter

When I was young, “ultralight backpacking” was more or less a specialists topic. Still then, I wanted to reduce the weight of my backpack. So I used the outer tent of my former A-frame tent, a Swedish “Häglöfs Biwak” as a rain poncho, too. In early 2014 I returned to that principle, this time coming from the rain poncho and 4 pounds lighter, too.

The Gatewood Cape in poncho modeDas Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape is a slightly oversized rain poncho, that – with the help of a trekking pole and an optional mesh nest – can be pitched as 1-person-tent.

It’s worth it to read the background story about the product name: Grandma Gatewood.

The whole package incl. the nest and 6 titanium tent pegs weighs just below 24 ounces (not including the required trekking pole).

Pitched as tent the Gatewood Cape is in size and shape pretty much similar to the ultralight Mountain Laurel Designs Solomid (next to which I pitched my Gatewood Cape for several nights on the trail).

Hence, weight savings compared to an 1-man-shelter of the same weight will result from what you leave at home: a separate rain poncho and/or rain jacket and potentially a rain cover for your backpack (overall this will save about 11 to 18 ounces).

   Gatewood Cape pitched at Wanda Lake (11,400     feet),CaliforniaCompared from the technical point of view there are three differences to an ultralight 1-person-tent or half pyramid:

  • Head- and foot of the Gatewood Cape can be tied up to a connector on the inner side. This takes the additional fabric out of the way while using the fly as rain poncho.

  • The Gatewood Cape utilizes two self sealing arm wholes in the front seams. While wearing it as rain poncho you can keep your arms under the poncho or put hem through the wholes.

  • Instead of a conventional top vent there is a hood on the top. That is where my little but helpful modification comes in.

Top venting is the most effective form to get airflow in a tent by utilizing the thermal effect of warm air to transport the moisture through the vent and out of the tent.

So I added an empty cable sheath into the drawcord. By that, I can leave the hood wide open even in wind (or close it down) to maintain an increased airflow.

An industrial cable tie in the drawcord would have served the same purpose as the cable sheath, but the cable sheath can be used as emergency straw, too – first of all it was just what I had at hand. :-)

At the end of perfect pitch video I demonstrate to alternative pitching methods for the hood and the front guy rope, to save the hood under windy conditions, preventing it from turning upside.

Is the Gatewood Cape well sized for me?

I am 6 ft tall and feel comfortable inside the Serenity NetTent. Well, Keep in mind that I pitch the Cape slightly higher than recommended by the manufacturer. By that, the bathtubfloor of the NetTent is perfectly pitched, improving the overall roominess. A dimensional drawing can be found here (manufactures website).

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Copyright 2020 Gygago/Peter Reinhardt 32182×   2018-03-09 13:20

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