View Full Version : Sil shelter geometry
For those of you who have used an ID sil shelter, what is the effective length? I've seen the numbers on the ID website, but they only give overall length, not effective length. By effective length, I mean something like the distance from the pole to the end of the shelter. Better yet, from the pole to the point where a sleeping bag would touch against the fabric. The length, of course, is going to be partly determined by how high the shelter is set up and how low to the ground the edges are staked. I really like the idea of Henry Shire's tents, but at 93" they don't improve on what I have already. I've looked into a couple of catenary cut tarps that seem long enough, but am not entirely satisified with those either.
I've been using a sil shelter exclusively for nearly 4 years and have put over 2000 miles on it (including over 1400 on the AT). If you are really concerned with the exact length, I could set it up for you, but if its just an assurance you're after, I can assure you that it's big enough (it's huge, for pete's sake!). I set it up slightly different than what all the pictures show. After using it for so long, this is the best config that I can find.
It actually looks very much like Henry's Squall with an extended beak if you were to replace the curved rear pole and substitute a trekking pole. Here goes--
A trekking pole at the apex (like normal) and another collapsed (~12-18in) at the rear create a sloping "A" frame. The rear corners are staked to the ground. The front corners have about 24-30" of cord tied to them and are staked out from the tarp. This lifts the corners off of the ground about 8-10" and gives tons of more room and ventilation.
I have everything setup so that when I need to close the doors, they match up properly. I can and have slept two easily in any type of weather you can name under one of these pups. Last year, I made a netting enclosure that hangs beneath the sil shelter for buggy weather.
I really like my sil shelter and I've used it all over the country (east coast, west coast, gulf coast, in the middle, appalachians, rockies, cascades, olympics, etc), but I'll be replacing it soon with one of Henry's Squalls. For what it's worth, I got to see true catenary performance in action during the 2002 PCT ADZPCTKO at Lake Morena, CA. It rained all weekend (I know, I go to the desert and the rain gods follow...). As to my knowledge, he didn't have to reset the guylines all weekend and they stayed quite taught. Excellent design from a brilliant designer. I just can't compete with that. To save a little weight, I'm planning on replacing the rear pole with a custom made carbon-fibre one.
Like I said, if you really want the actual measurement(s), I'll give them to you.
Thanks for the info on the sil shelter. I may be making a trip to Canada soon and am thinking about picking up one of these while I'm there. Even though the US dollar isn't as strong in Canada as it used to be, outdoor equipment is alot cheaper there.
I'm 6' 4", so tarp length is important to me. The tarp I currently use (DL Tacoma) measures 9 ft. in length, but its effective length is perhaps 7.25 ft. That makes things a little tight in bad weather. I also don't use trekking poles, and have been using a carbon fiber tarp pole from fibraplex as support. There are a couple of catenary cut tarps from Oware and Bozeman Mountain Works, but I'd have to get a second pole to really use these. Or, rely upon finding suitable sticks to use. The BMW tarp is made of some ultra-super light fabric and I worry about using it above treeline in an exposed area. Sometimes my desire for an aesthetic campsite overrides my desire for a sheltered one. My current tarp has endured some punishing storms, but I'm looking for something with a little more bad weather coverage.
I have used an ID silshelter for about 2yrs now. I don't use a pole anymore...I use the loops on top of the shelter and tie it to a tree. That pole in the center of the tarp always got on my nerves...
I've used the SilShelter for a year and a half. Pitched in standard ID form, the length may be questionable for 6'4". I'm 6'0" and my shoulder needs to be at the front pole to keep my feet back from the end (I can;t slide any higher than that because there's not enough width). I have the later model with the second pole cup, but I don't push that higher than 18" usually--I collapse a trekking pole and angle it from the cup to the ground so my legs are in the middle of the shelter. There is plenty more length to the tarp below that 2nd cup, but it's not effective for my footbox of my down bag to stay off the material. Instead, I push my pack down there to keep it dry and help keep the foot end of the tarp elevated so my bag doesn't risk picking up any condensation that may be under the material. It takes some practice pitching to figure out what height to put the front cup to keep the "door" pieces overlapping at the cup to adequately close the hole there. I throw my pack cover over the gap anyway in case my pitch leaves a thin gap.
I like the sound of Howie's config. It seems that would allow more width than standard pitching, which would allow even the space above the front cup to be used by your upper body, and not just your head. I'll be trying it out.