Please accept my application to test the Integral Designs Sildome tarp
shelter. I have read Chapter 5 of the BackpackGearTest Survival Guide
version 0609, and will follow all instructions and fulfill all
requirements. As a non-US based tester I am also accepting the need to
pay for freight.
This will be an ideal item for me to test as I am in the process of
investigating many different shelters for purchase to fulfill my light
Although the test call states newbie limit applies I feel that I have
submitted and are working on sufficient reports to satisfy the
requirements. I will also have some of my tests completed before this
one is due for completion, so that will change my tester status to
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5' 9")
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking
consisting of day walks averaging 16 22 km (10 14 mi) and
short overnight trips where possible.
I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of
13 kg (29 lbs).
My preference is for hot dinners, breakfasts of cereals with fresh
fruit, and lunches usually of bars and sandwiches.
I intend to test the Sildome on a few planned hiking trips. The hiking
trips will include single over night and multi day/night in the Hills
area of Perth Western Australia and the Southern regions of the state.
Average temperatures that can be expected this time of the year range
from a mean maximum temperature of 25.5 C (77 F) to mean minimum
temperature of 8 C(46 F), with an average elevation of 30 Meters (115
ft), however I will be attempting to camp at 580 Meters (1903 ft).
Average rainfall expected during the initial few months of testing is
134mm or 5.28 in. (May to June).
The first weeks of testing I plan to camp over night at some of the
northern end campsites along the Bibbulumn track
> >. These campsites all host a three sided
hut, water tanks, bush style toilet and a cleared space for tents
(although quite small).
My other testing area will be the Coastal Plains Walk Trail which runs
for approximately 55 kms or 34.16 miles. This area of track is
relatively new to me as I have only stayed at one of the four huts.
From checking out the manufacturer's website the Integral Designs
Sildome is a minimalist tarp shelter which uses only a single shock
corded Easton nanolite pole. The tarp shelter is made from a 1.1 oz
Silicone impregnated nylon and can be setup in a variety of
configurations to house two people.
The Sildome has a total weight of 740g or 1 lb 10 oz, excluding stakes,
which will compliment my attempts at becoming an ultralite hiker. My
current tent is a Henry Shires Double Rainbow which I am still working
on an OR for. I purchased this tent so that I would be able to take my
son out with when he is a little older, the Sildome will make a great
shelter for my solo or other non-children hikes.
I plan to weigh all the items including the tarp, nanolite pole and pegs
(Easton nano stakes) to form a packed weight.
Some of the areas I will focus my testing on are;
The Sildome tarp shelter uses a single pole to form the main arch. From
looking at the diagrams on the manufacturer's website it appears as
though the shock corded Easton pole slides through the tarp material and
is secured at each end by an eyelet system. There would appear to be a
webbing strap setup between the two ends of the pole, running across the
ground that provides the support so that there is not too much pressure
on the silicone material. There are also some adjustments that can be
made with the webbing strap to alter the height of the tarp.
How long will it take for me to assemble?
Will the poles stay in the eyelet grommets when setting up the shelter
or will they pop out?
How do the poles lock into the eyelet grommets, is there a mechanism on
the end of the pole, and how easy is the pole to insert and remove from
Does the pole have sufficient strength and flexibility not to cause any
breaks when erecting, is this going to cause a few tense moments?
When inserting the pole through the tarp material will any of the joins
catch on the material causing tears or holes? This will also go for when
the tarp is being dismantled.
Will I be able to erect the tarp by myself or will help be needed, this
is important for solo hiking and fast setup when needing to get out of
What is the minimum number of stakes needed to setup the tarp, by
looking at the image on the manufacturers website it would appear as
though there are eight tie-outs, however this is only for the
configuration displayed, perhaps less are needed for other setups. The
manufacturer lists that four Easton nano stakes are supplied.
Are the stakes supplied strong enough so as they do not bend when pushed
into the ground? The places I plan to test this tarp generally have a
very hard surface, however I will try as many different areas with
varying soils as I can.
Will there always be a need to use stakes, can I use tie outs onto rocks
or trees when needed?
Are any tie outs supplied?
Are there instructions on how to erect the tarp? If so are they easy to
Under Tarp Space:
As I want to use this tarp as a single person tarp I will test to see
how much available space there is once I have my pack, shoes and
sleeping gear in there.
The tarp is measured at 8ft long by 5ft wide so there should be plenty
of room for one person.
With the angle of the tarp will my sleeping bag touch the roof when
lying down and how close will my face also be to the roof?
Can I sit up comfortably? There is no mention on the pitch height. I
will record this.
Is there enough room to change clothes? If so, is it easy or difficult?
I am unable to work out from the website if there are two doors or one,
I will assume two at this stage until I have seen the tarp. Are these
zippered doors easy to open, will the material get caught in the zipper?
Is the door wide enough for an easy entry and exit?
Basically how easy is it to pull down; is this a one person job?
Are there instructions on how to dismantle the tarp? If so are they easy
Once dismantled how easy is it to pack the tarp up for stowage into its
There is actually no mention of a stuff sack or bag so is one included?
Does the tarp, stakes and pole all fit in the one bag?
Is the packed size that is listed on the website an easily achievable
one? Integral Designs list 3 x 3 x 20 inches.
How long will it take for me to pack down?
Will this fit on the outside of my pack? Currently I am using a ULA
Some materials used for tents and tarps can be damaged with prolonged
exposure to the sun, is this the case with the Silicone impregnated
nylon? I will not leave this setup with the intention for it to be
damaged. I will simply do some further research on the fabric and its UV
I will examine the overall stability against wind side forces by
the attachments of the tarp.
We have been experiencing some rather strong winds so I will be able to
put it to the test.
Does the Silicone nylon sag and/or stretch when wet, causing the shelter
to become unstable?
Will I need to seam seal the Sildome or will be done from the factory?
How well will I be protected from the rain when inside the Sildome? As
we are experiencing high volumes of precipitation at the moment this is
an ideal testing time.
Being a single wall tarp will there be sufficient ventilation as to
assist with preventing condensation buildup?
Will I be able to open the side ventilation and sleep with it open at
nighttime to help with airflow?
Will I feel confined within the tarp with it fully closed as there
appears to be no other form of ventilation besides the side door?
As there is no floor with this tarp, will my Tyvex ground sheet be a
good match with this tarp?
Cleaning the Tarp:
There is no mention of cleaning on the manufactures website so I will do
some further research on this to see how it best performed. If I am
unable to find anything I will treat it much like my other tent and that
is to wash it in the bath tub with warm water then hang outside under
the shade to dry.
I feel this is a good item for me to be testing and will note all of the
above and anything else that appears relevant during the duration of the
Previously Written Reports
My reports and reviews can be found at;
I am currently testing the following;
DeFeet Cloud 9 socks
Adventure Medical Kits
FLEJ Solo Cup
Carhartt Work Dry T-Shirt
Thank you for your consideration Kenny B,
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