Six Moon Designs' Gatewood Cape and Tarp Shelter is a great shelter, which is rare for this type of product, but they have really made it work by really paying attention to detail on both set ups. It's now even lighter and more compact than before - bonus!
Six Moon Designs says:
Gatewood Cape now 15% lighter. With a new lighter canopy material we have cut the weight by 2 ounces. The pack volume has also been reduced by 40%.
Since its introduction in 2006, the Gatewood Cape has been carried over 100's of thousands of trail miles. It's been used to provide shelter from everything including high mountain snow-choked ridges to lush forest trails. It's the ONLY Tarp / Rain Gear that provides complete 360-degree protection.
The Gatewood Cape's unique 360-Degree Protection provides full coverage either when worn as a cape or used as a shelter. Unlike ponchos, capes don't have long slits along the sides. While the poncho may allow for more ventilation, it does little to keep out windblown rain. Dual zipper pulls on the front of the Gatewood Cape allow you to regulate ventilation while still providing full protection. Plus, the open skirted design allows fresh air to enter the bottom.
As a shelter, the Gatewood Cape provides significantly enhanced protection when compared to your typical poncho/tarp. Its sturdy pyramid design easily sheds rain or snow and wind simply flows around it. Any sudden change in wind direction in the middle of the night won't leave you scrambling to re-orient your shelter or force you deeper into your bivy. Unlike a traditional tarp, the Gatewood Cape is shaped to eliminate all exposed sides -- leaving you safe and secure.
With 35 square feet of coverage under the shelter's canopy, you've got plenty of room for you and your gear. Depending upon conditions, you can even adjust the vestibule to different heights to increase ventilation. A long zipper on the vestibule makes opening and closing the shelter a snap.
For added bug protection, the Gatewood Cape mates with the Serenity NetTent. Together they keep both the rain and bugs at bay. Providing you with secure and comfortable space.
For the adventuresome day hiker, the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape & Tarp Shelter would make the perfect addition to your 10 essentials survival kit. It packs down incredibly small and provides peace of mind knowing you've got excellent protection close at hand.
This new version is made of 15D Silicone Nylon instead of 30D which means the weight of the shelter has dropped by around 50 grams, also reducing the pack volume by 40%. Because of the adjustments, they have added additional reinforcement to areas to compensate for the thinner material. A good idea as my initial thought would be that it wouldn't stand up to the same amount of use as before with thinner fabric.
What we really like about the Gatewood Cape & Tarp Shelter is that it has clearly been designed as a shelter first and a cape second - which is the right way to do it - since a shelter is more complicated and perhaps needs to be more reliable. So, where some Tarp/Cape combinations appear to be a cape that can be pitched 'a bit like a tarp' the Gatewood provides a real shelter option.
You need a trekking pole to give it support of course - but if you're using these anyway its not a bother.
Capes can offer good rain protection and although the fabric isn't breathable the fact that the lower sections are open to airflow help you maintain comfort inside. They tend to get problematical when its windy and they can be difficult to control!
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
Six Moon Designs currently only offer non-seam sealed tents and tarps to their dealers. Due to the volume of seam sealing for their own direct orders this service is also not currently available for special orders either. SMD are hoping to be able to start offering this service to dealers again in the future.
If you want to seam seal your SMD tent, the product to use is Gear Aid Seam Grip Sil (also known as McNett Silnet but recently rebranded).