EDIT: IR: Integral Designs SilDome Tent - Mike Curry
- Hi Mike,
Good report. I only found one minor edit for you. When it's
corrected feel free to upload. Remember to delete your test html file.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your reports!
The SilDome arrived in it's stuff sack...
- Some slight textual revisions. URL remains the same:
INTEGRAL DESIGNS SILDOME TARP SHELTER
TEST SERIES BY EDWARD RIPLEY-DUGGAN
August 3, 2008
NAME: Edward Ripley-Duggan
LOCATION: Catskills, New York State
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 215 lb (97.50 kg)
I enjoy walking in all its forms, from a simple stroll in the woods to
multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an extreme
ultra-light enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is to carry
a pack weight (before food and water) of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more or less.
In recent years, I've rapidly moved to a philosophy of "lighter is
better," within the constraints of budget and common sense.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Integral Designs
Year of manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.integraldesigns.com
Shelter color: Grey (Olive green and yellow are also offered)
Shelter fabric: 1.1 oz silicone impregnated nylon ("silnylon")
Listed weight: 1 lb 10 oz (740 g); this "excludes 2.2 mil cord + 4
stakes (4 oz)" (quoted from website)
Measured weight, all components (including tube of silicone sealant)
in main stuff sack: 1 lb 10 oz (740 g)
Measured weight in main stuff sack, excluding sealant, cords, stakes:
1 lb 7 oz (650 g)
N.B. This is 3 oz (85 g) lighter than the website measurement
Measured weight of stakes and cords in small sack: 3 oz (85 g)
Measured weight of pole: 6 oz (170 g)
Measured weight of shelter body: 17 oz (480 g)
Manufacturer's stated interior length and width*: 8 x 5 ft (2.4 x 1.5 m)
Packed size (stated and measured): 3 x 3 x 20 in (8 x 8 x 51 cm)
Length of pole, folded, measured: 20 in (51 cm)
Type of pole: Easton aluminum (black) .340
Number and type of stakes: 4, Easton aluminum nail-type stakes with
cord loop through head
Number of cords supplied: 4
*As the dimensions of the shelter vary according to how it is pitched,
and apparently exceed the stated measurements, no attempt has been
made to provide confirmatory measurements.
Bits and pieces
All parts of the shelter, as supplied
The SilDome arrived in good condition, housed in a silnylon stuff sack
with cord lock (below the tarp body in the image above). The contents
and appearance were much as I expected from the website. The only
literature is a card describing the shelter and its features. I quote
a portion of the text here, as it succinctly states what the SilDome
is intended to be. "The SilDome is a minimalist tarp shelter that
utilizes a single 12 ft shock-corded Easton .340 pole to provide its
parabolic shape and allow the catenary cut 1.1. oz Silicone
impregnated nylon to be tightly set up in a variety of configurations.
It can be set up as an elevated dome day shelter, a ground level
two-person sleep shelter with side ventilation or rolled back into an
open-fronted awning wind shelter."
No warranty is stated on the card, but the website states "All
Integral products are warrantied to the original owner against defects
and workmanship. If a product fails due to manufacturing defect,
Integral will repair or replace it at its option. Repairs due to
accident, improper use, or wear and tear will be charged on a time and
Design and materials
The SilDome is quite unusual among true tarps in that it uses a
folding tent pole housed in a sleeve for its main structural element,
in conjunction with a webbing strap system, designed to maintain
tension in the pole (described further on). This adds some weight
compared to a pole-less tarp, but creates a structure that is closer
to a minimalist tarptent. Since part of the tension in the tarp is
provided by the pole/webbing system, this should make for quicker
setup than a standard tarp. From preliminary pitching attempts, this
conjecture seems accurate. I was able to erect the structure within a
couple of minutes, both as a closed shelter and as an awning.
The silnylon body is carefully sewn and constructed. All of the edges
of the tarp are sheathed in nylon. This should not only prevent any
damage to the silnylon, but the heavier nylon will likely allow
greater tension to be applied if all the edges of the tarp are pegged
out. Though only four pegs are supplied, there are nine nylon loops
along the ground edge of the tarp for pegging out (this includes two
loops at the foot of the door, so it can be pegged open).
Additionally, there are three tie-out loops (made of a reflective
fabric, which is handy) around the radius of the pole sleeve,
presumably so that the supplied guy-lines can be used in high wind
conditions. Given all this, it's rather surprising that only four pegs
should be supplied. My preliminary pitches of the tarp show that this
suffices to hold the structure erect and moderately taut, but allows a
good deal of flap at the midpoints of the sides, where these auxiliary
loops are situated. Until I am confident that the shelter will work
well under windy conditions with only the supplied pegs, I will be
carrying a minimum of four additional pegs for further staking. There
is plenty of room in the peg bag for these.
The erected SilDome, showing water resistant access zipper
Erected in the shelter configuration (as opposed to an awning), with
each end pegged out (see image above), the footprint is a
parallelogram. A surprising amount of the space within seems usable.
Although I will probably be testing this (except perhaps in awning
mode) as a solo shelter, there is more than enough space for two,
though for use in this manner I suspect 8 staking points would be a
minimum to ensure a dry interior if rain was even remotely a
possibility. The height at the midpoint of the tent is determined by
the tension in the webbing that connects the pole ends at ground
level, but I was able to achieve 3.5 ft (1 m, approx.) without overly
aggressive cinching of the buckle that controls the tension, and I
found this height very comfortable. Access to the erected tarp is via
a water resistant three-quarters height zipper. There is no drip-guard
on the interior below this, but the outer surface has two flaps of
urethanized fabric (integral to the zip) that meet snugly over the
zipper teeth. I hope this is sufficient, as I have mixed experiences
with such zips. This is one aspect I will be testing especially
The pole is secured by means of an internal sleeve made from the same
silnylon fabric as the tent body. Each end of the pole has a
projecting peg that fits into a grommet on the webbing strap, which is
attached to the sides of the structure directly below the axis of the
pole sleeve. As already noted, this maintains the pole tension. There
are six grommets, three on either end of the strap, to allow a variety
of pole positions relative to the wall of the tarp. A buckle can be
used to fine tune the strap tension. On all four corners of the tarp,
the silnylon is sewn to double-thickness, for additional strength.
As noted in the product specifications, a tube of silicone sealant is
provided. Initially I will not seal the tent, as I like to be able to
determine where the worst leaks (if, indeed, the tarp does leak)
occur, and to pay especial attention to those areas. I will report on
this in the field or long-term reports. None of the four supplied
cords is pre-knotted. Depending on preference, they could be used with
cord-tensioners, or (as I generally do), secured to the loop on the
body of the tarp with a bowline, and tensioned at the peg end with a
quick-release tautline hitch or a zee-line tied off with a couple of
half-hitches. In brief, while massive knot-tying expertise is not
required to use the shelter, to use it to maximum advantage, some
knowledge of a few basic knots is necessary.
The SilDome as a wind awning
Above is a photograph of the SilDome erected as a wind awning. To this
end, on the interior there are three nylon cord locks on nylon cords.
These fit through the external guy-out loops (the bright glares in the
image, due to their reflective coating), much in the manner of a
button through a buttonhole. The tensioners are then slid along the
cords to tauten the loop that's now wrapped around the half-awning.
Once completed, the fabric is pretty much out of the way. Some swags
hang down slightly, but I wasn't being terribly fussy when I did the
setup in the photo, and I think that with more care a better result
can be achieved, not that this is in any way crucial. I tied one of
the supplied cords to the top guy-out loop to support the front of the
SilDome. This arrangement handled some light morning breezes with
aplomb, and I can foresee, come the cooler months ahead, first setting
up my shelter in this manner while I relax, and perhaps eat. The
SilDome does carry a warning not to cook inside, or pitch near a
flame, so I probably won't want to use it as a kitchen shelter
(besides, there will still be bears around over the test period, and I
keep my cooking area away from my shelter for that reason).
So far, I find this tarp shelter very appealing. Despite being
somewhat heavier than a simple pole-less tarp, the ease with which it
can be erected, and the ability to use it in several modes, show great
potential. My testing will evaluate durability, various other methods
of use, how weatherproof the interior is, and any other issues that
arise. It is 3 oz (85 g) lighter than the website would indicate,
which is a pleasant surprise. My field report will be due two months
from this initial report, and a final long-term report will be posted
after four months. My thanks to Integral Designs and BackpackGearTest
for the opportunity to test the SilDome tarp shelter.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer
Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
- Hi Ted,
Great report. I couldn't find any edits, so feel free to upload at
any time. Also be sure to delete your html from the test folder. Thanks!
- Thanks, Andy. Uploaded yesterday PM.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "a_henrichs"
> Hi Ted,
> Great report. I couldn't find any edits, so feel free to upload at
> any time. Also be sure to delete your html from the test folder.