One-man Shelter

hjcruger

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For the last couple seasons, I've been running a flat tarp that served as my first sewing project. It's served me incredibly well as the pictures below show, but I've been wanting something that suits my hunting style a bit better.
IMG_0777.JPGIMG_1500.JPGIMG_1432.JPGIMG_1658.JPG

I like to hunt until dark with camp on my back, kick out a flat spot, and go to sleep without much fuss setting a shelter up. This hunting styles puts me on windy spur ridges fairly frequently, and I wanted something completely enclosed to give me shelter from the elements. I also wanted something that doesn't take up much more space than my body and gear, as finding large flat spots can be tricky. Finally, I wanted something that would set up very quickly. I came up with this:

IMG_1875.JPGIMG_1880.JPGIMG_1883.JPGIMG_1882.JPG

Seam sealed and with the compression sack, it comes in right at one pound. All seams are triple-stitched flat felled, and all edges are roll hemmed. It has plenty of space for gear, can be pitched tight in about a minute, and should be able to handle wind and snow loads with its ballistic nylon circular reinforcements. I'm looking forward to testing it out in the field soon.IMG_1876.JPG
 
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GunsAreFun

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Apr 18, 2019
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That is awesome. Really make me want to make something but I’ve never sewn in my life.

Curious, what size is that flat tarp?
 

chadallan

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Mar 11, 2020
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Nice work! Do you use this early season when the bugs are bad? I cant handle the bugs crawling down my back in aug and sept.
 

tam9492

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Mar 21, 2016
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Nice work! Pull inspiration from the Mountainsmith Mountain shelter?
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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That is awesome. Really make me want to make something but I’ve never sewn in my life.

Curious, what size is that flat tarp?
Something like 9.5' x 9.5'. The fabric is usually 58"-60" wide, and I made a square out of two pieces of fabric. You lose some to the seams and hemmed edges.

As far as getting into sewing goes, youtube is your friend. I had never sewed until the fall of 2018. As a graduate student, I don't have much money to throw at backpack hunting gear, so I decided to start stitching my own equipment. Your first few projects may not be pretty, but you get better with each project. When you look at the first quilt I sewed compared to the last two (pictured below) and this shelter compared to my tarp, the difference in quality is immense.
IMG_1423.JPG
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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Nice work! Do you use this early season when the bugs are bad? I cant handle the bugs crawling down my back in aug and sept.
I do use it during the early season, but the places I hunt are pretty cold that time of year so bugs aren't much of an issue. The picture below is from the last week in September last fall.

IMG_1406.JPG
That being said, I lived out of a tarp in Grand Teton National Park for three weeks this summer while doing my research, and the bugs still didn't bother me. Staying covered by my quilt kept the insects away, and I didn't have issues with them crawling around on me.
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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Nice work! Pull inspiration from the Mountainsmith Mountain shelter?
I had no idea that existed until your comment prompted me to look it up. Nearly identical design and specs (aside from weight, with mine being a fair bit lighter). I was actually trying to make something that was akin to a paratarp with an annex, but all one piece.
 

tam9492

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I had no idea that existed until your comment prompted me to look it up. Nearly identical design and specs (aside from weight, with mine being a fair bit lighter). I was actually trying to make something that was akin to a paratarp with an annex, but all one piece.
Too funny! Yours definitely takes the cake for weight.
 

GunsAreFun

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Something like 9.5' x 9.5'. The fabric is usually 58"-60" wide, and I made a square out of two pieces of fabric. You lose some to the seams and hemmed edges.

As far as getting into sewing goes, youtube is your friend. I had never sewed until the fall of 2018. As a graduate student, I don't have much money to throw at backpack hunting gear, so I decided to start stitching my own equipment. Your first few projects may not be pretty, but you get better with each project. When you look at the first quilt I sewed compared to the last two (pictured below) and this shelter compared to my tarp, the difference in quality is immense.
View attachment 165438
The reason I ask about tarp size is that you seem to be using fully or 3/4 enclosed pitches. I’ve been playing with my 3x3m tarp, and so far, just haven’t found the fully enclosed pitches gave me enough room to not have concerns about my quilt or head touch the side and picking up moisture.

I may have to dabble in the diy game. Do you just use a regular sewing machine? I have some cheap sil nylon tarps that I wouldn’t mind using as test pieces.
 

Beendare

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Thats a nice shelter design OP. Its similar to my Tarptent. What fabric did you use?

I've been going back and forth on this.....build a shelter similar to your design....or a bigger one I can almost stand up in...a modified tipi shape?

Basically, is it worth an extra 1.5 pounds to go Bigger and Badder?

_______
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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The reason I ask about tarp size is that you seem to be using fully or 3/4 enclosed pitches. I’ve been playing with my 3x3m tarp, and so far, just haven’t found the fully enclosed pitches gave me enough room to not have concerns about my quilt or head touch the side and picking up moisture.

I may have to dabble in the diy game. Do you just use a regular sewing machine? I have some cheap sil nylon tarps that I wouldn’t mind using as test pieces.
I definitely had problems with my feet and/or head touching with most of the pitches I've tried. In the top photo of my flat tarp with the pyramid pitch, I had to curl my sleeping pad and body around my trekking pole to fit inside the shelter. An a-frame pitch resolves that problem, but it leaves at least one end open. I sewed some "doors" for my tarp that I can clip into the ends when I pitch it as an a-frame (check out this video to see what I'm talking about), but even that doesn't provide full coverage. I've spent 30+ nights under that tarp now, sometimes in some pretty nasty weather, and it gets the job done but isn't ideal. I think everyone should spend some time in the mountains with a flat tarp because it forces you to learn a lot and get creative, but if you want a fully enclosed shelter (as I did), I'd go with something designed for that purpose.

I picked up this sewing machine for about $100 on sale, and that's all I use. I don't think there's a sewing machine around that won't handle silnylon projects once you learn how to sew difficult material like that. An even feed foot like this makes a world of difference. To get the hang of sewing slick materials like nylon, I'd suggest making some roll top compression sacks. They're relatively easy to sew and design, and are incredibly useful.
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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Thats a nice shelter design OP. Its similar to my Tarptent. What fabric did you use?

I've been going back and forth on this.....build a shelter similar to your design....or a bigger one I can almost stand up in...a modified tipi shape?

Basically, is it worth an extra 1.5 pounds to go Bigger and Badder?

_______
This is the fabric I used. It's supposed to be quite a bit stronger than Plain Jane silnylon, and it has a higher waterproof rating than most non-poly coated fabrics.

As far as shelter size goes, I think that depends on your hunting style and whether you prioritize mobility over comfort. I don't like having to hike back to a base camp, and I like to camp near where I'm glassing. That dictates that I use a shelter with a small footprint so I can pop it up almost anywhere. There are definitely downsides like the difficulty of trying to get clothes on in the morning in such a small space while laying down, but for me that's a small price to pay for the mobility and ease of setup small shelters provide me. If you're hunting with other folks, a larger shelter will facilitate socializing which really adds to a hunt, and it will certainly make things more comfortable. If you like hunting out of a base camp, the extra weight of a larger shelter won't be a weight penalty for most of the trip, as it will be set up rather than in your pack. I think matching your shelter with your hunting style should generally take precedence over shelter weight.
 

Beendare

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Yeah good commentary. I've got some of that Mtn sil nylon from RSBTR when they sold it in neutral colors.

I'm trying to run an analysis on fabric weight between 2 shelters. The smaller of the 2 is only a few ounces different 80 sqft. of fabric vs a little over 100 sqft.
 

Acpinn

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Mar 29, 2020
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49
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WI
For the last couple seasons, I've been running a flat tarp that served as my first sewing project. It's served me incredibly well as the pictures below show, but I've been wanting something that suits my hunting style a bit better.
View attachment 165117View attachment 165118View attachment 165119View attachment 165120

I like to hunt until dark with camp on my back, kick out a flat spot, and go to sleep without much fuss setting a shelter up. This hunting styles puts me on windy spur ridges fairly frequently, and I wanted something completely enclosed to give me shelter from the elements. I also wanted something that doesn't take up much more space than my body and gear, as finding large flat spots can be tricky. Finally, I wanted something that would set up very quickly. I came up with this:

View attachment 165122View attachment 165124View attachment 165126View attachment 165127

Seam sealed and with the compression sack, it comes in right at one pound. All seams are triple-stitched flat felled, and all edges are roll hemmed. It has plenty of space for gear, can be pitched tight in about a minute, and should be able to handle wind and snow loads with its ballistic nylon circular reinforcements. I'm looking forward to testing it out in the field soon.View attachment 165121
Looks like a spitting image of a paratarp/supertarp. Crazy good work! Ever think about adding 2 or three exterior tabs to create some vertical wall space to?
 
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hjcruger

hjcruger

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Looks like a spitting image of a paratarp/supertarp. Crazy good work! Ever think about adding 2 or three exterior tabs to create some vertical wall space to?
Yes, I am considering that. There's plenty of room inside without guy lines coming off the walls so I may not pursue that modification, but it would be relatively easy to do. If I do add those tabs, it will look the same as the corner tieouts with a circular ballistic nylon patch sewed into the wall and a loop of 1/2" tubular webbing tacked onto that.
 

Trumpkin The Dwarf

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Feb 18, 2013
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Montana
That is a killer setup! Paratarp with annex was on my short list of shelters a year ago.

I love that you integrated the two, so you can really lock down the shelter for foul weather. Do you get condensation issues?
 
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