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Thread: Gatewood cape

  1. #1

    Default Gatewood cape

    Gatewood cape... Anyone use them and how was your experience with them? Thinking of using one with a Borah bivy.

  2. #2


    Mixed. It's not great as a tent and not very good as a poncho. Having to add the bivy pushes it up to the weight and bulk of a real tent.

    I started out with the cape and serenity net on a hike from Harpers Ferry to NH and it didn't take long for me to send home for my real tent and rain jacket.

    If your short and skinny and hike mostly out west where it doesn't rain all that often, it's probably okay as an emergency shelter. For the rainy AT, not so good.
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  3. #3

    Default Gatewood cape

    Coming from a BA Fly Creek UL2, I LOVE the GW/Serenity/footprint combo. Lost half the: weight, bulk, set-up time; same total floorspace/sit-up height; gained lots of versatility, comfort, and convenience. Only thing I miss is free-standing(ish) of the FC on man made platforms.

    I only use the Serenity to sleep in, otherwise enjoy the full-sized floorless benefits with Tyvek or polycryo footprint while awake - don't need to remove shoes or zip through doors, and flying bugs tend not to enter, or not to bother, in Mids - (head hole/skylight is a particularly effective bug bailer). In contrast to the above post, I like it especially for the rain: set-up/take-down the inner tent dry under cover; dig a cat-hole in the back corner so I can drop the Serenity peak clip and pee right into it for midnight leaks; have a gigantic floorless indoor cooking area; set-up my low UL camp chair (Qwikback); and can even take my morning cathole #2 'inside' (wild camping, last step before moving on). You just need a DWR windshirt for the ~90 seconds it takes to set-up/take-down the fly. You can pitch it high for more room/ventilation or low for cold or wind. In direct sunlight, can even make a warm greenhouse shower stall for sit-down showers.

    The fly is a favorite EDC for my winter day excusions hiking, XC skiing, snowshoeing: I regularly use it as a bothy bag (head/hands inside for gloves-off task work like lunch/tea prep, head/hands outside to eat/drink/enjoy view); makes a perfect Palmer Furnace for luxury or survival; doubled-over I use it for a nap blanket; and even as a puffy jacket.

    Nothing to write home about as a rain poncho (typical poncho issues: flappy in wind, wet lower arms) but it works fine for me... I just tuck up the long sides into my belt a bit. I'd say good for up 6' tall folks. Came in #2 in the Section Hikers poll (edit: among floorless mid shelters which is the only thing I'll use/recommend from now on)
    Last edited by reppans; 03-11-2019 at 13:05.

  4. #4


    Well, maybe I'll give my cape another go when I do PA starting in mid April. I'll be a week ahead of the flip floppers so the trail won't be very busy so I can stay mostly in shelters and only use the cape if I really have to. I'll leave the serenity net home, bugs aren't an issue then either. Bringing the net doesn't save me much over using the SMD Trekker.
    I will bring a rain jacket this time though. Having to use the cape as a poncho for 2 weeks the last time I hiked PA in April wasn't fun.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Andrews, NC


    I have a Gatewood Cape and a MLD Pro Poncho. In the off-season warmer months, I tend to shelter hop when hiking down here on the southern end of the AT. These two items are perfect for me as back up shelters and warm weather rain gear. I work around any shortcomings they may have.

  6. #6


    I carried one when doing VA in 2013...400 miles+ in four weeks. One night I pitched it and we were hit by a storm with very heavy rain, high winds, and tornados. Lots of damage near Damascus. I survived OK although some muddy rain splatter was inside the tarp. Would I have preferred a tent that night? Yes. Sadly the nearby shelter was full of entitled thru hikers who ignored us (although we had hiked thousands of miles...FWIW).

    Sure, it was an uncommon occurrence, although if you are me you attract storms like that wherever you go, I could tell about 10 other stories from all over the world...

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