Let me start with saying this is only my second post at ZS so if this is in the wrong area, admins feel free to close/move this thread.
I have been intrigued with the Kifaru tents, but just didn't want to shell out the coin to get one. I like the idea of a lightweight modular shelter that doesn't have a floor. In looking around I stumbled upon the design for a "piramiddle" tent. Basically it is a tarp that when folded correctly creates a shelter.
The idea came from this website: http://www.hufsoft.com/bsa51/page0003.html
If you navigate through the "Build Your Own" section he even has a calculator that allows you to figure out your tent dimensions based on the size of the tarp you use. It also details grommet location for you...
I ordered some ripstop nylon and tent parts and decided to have a go..
Aluminum tent stakes, grommet kit, and fiberglass pole kit (total cost $17)
Finished product, 10'x12' ripstop nylon tarp, tent poles and pegs (total weight, 3.5lbs)
The piramiddle tent setup.. height is approximately 6', length is 7.5' and width is about 5.5'. Setup was pretty easy it went up in about 3 minutes. Only gripe is the fiberglass pole I have flexes a bit and my not be strong enough for the job. I may consider replacing it with aluminum.
Back of tent
Interior of tent, plenty of room. Notice the "sod tabs" that get folded under when the tent is setup.
Outside of tent, I need to add another grommet to the tent flap and come up with a quick way of securing the flaps.. I also considered sewing a sleeve in one of the flaps that the pole could slide through. This would make the tent so it only had one flap, but may improve the structure of the tent....
The new army digital cammo is pretty cool.. this show was taken about 25ft away through some light folliage... (I know it is lame but I had to try it out)
Another distance shot.
Total the tarp tent cost me around $57. Total weight is 3.5lbs. Dimensions are approximately 5" x 18" when rolled up (including poles). I carried it in my day pack to take these photos and it was unbeliveably light to carry. I ordered the raw materials to make the tarp and had someone sew it for me, but you could very easily do the same thing with a simple 10x12 tarp and probably achieve the same results. The cost would probably be less too.. The nylon fabric was $40 out of the total $57. The nylon I used is a waterproof ripstop that is blacked out on one side (no light passes through).
I havn't stayed in the tent yet, but plan to use it on a backpacking trip this spring. The inside was roomy and could easily hold 2 plus gear.
Setup was easy and you could easily use a branch or stick to in place of the tent pole. I may try an aluminum pole instead of the fiberglass one, but that would definately add some weight and size.
The best part of this design is you still have a standard tarp. You could make a standard lean-to, or simply cover up with it in an emergency to keep dry.
The articles I have read state that this design is fairly wind resistant. When I put it up there was a good 20mph wind, but I found a sheltered area and that helped. Angling the back of the tent towards the wind would also help make it more aerodynamic. (I learned that you should be carefull when using a Gerber axe to hammer your tent stakes.. they are very sharp and when it is windy they can very easily slice the tarp material if it happens to blow over the axe..)
I am definatly going to add this item to my BOB.