The project all began a day before we were due to compete in the Autumn Polaris mountain bike event. Our original plan was to test a sample tent we had recently got from a factory. The tent was heavier than we first thought and we had now caught the bug for minimal weight. Out of no where Nick suggested we make our own tent. Great idea Smiff, we leave in 7 hours and we've still got to get the orders out.
We have been thinking about tee-pee style tents for a while and after some quick sketches, bits of string, and a cunning solution for a pole we had made a octangle pyramid tent. The pole we came up with was made from the 2 lower sections from 2 trekking poles, one up turned and joined together with a short 20cm section cut from a handle. This gives the added height over using a single pole without the heath robinson style straps and pouches currently used to fasten 2 poles together.
The shelter itself was made from a single skin of siliconised polyester. Not the perfect fabric but all we had to hand at the time. In use we found there was a lot condensation collecting on the inside. However the fact the fabric was pull tight and straight with no high ridge line to drip from meant the condensation just ran down the fabric on to ground. Fortunately our ground sheet was set in from the sides of the tent. Because the pole was Carbon rather than metal we found very little moisture collected on it.
The overall weight of the skin and groundsheet was just over 550gms and the poles weighed 380gms (as we were biking this counted as extra weight) meaning we had just snuck under the magically kilo. The design was far from perfect but it did work. We had acres more space inside than the guys round us in their lightweight race tents. If the weather had of turned we could have happily cooked inside, sat up and generally we would have had a comfortable night. At a push we could have slept 4 inside but it was comfortable with 2 and kit.
I would love to hear from people who have used pyramid tents, how have you got on with them? As well as making a great overnight shelter people have commented that this design could also be carried as a mountain shelter giving a little more structure than the peapod styles.