Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New toy: Black Diamond BetaLight pyramid shelter

My BD Beta Light came in the mail today. It is, as my seller described it, a circus tent. The blue and gray alternating panels don't help that effect. The 30d silnylon is a lighter hand then the 70d SilLite GoLite uses in its pre-2010 Shangri-La shelters Poncho/Tarp, too). The total weight is 20.11 oz, with a stuff sack that is 0.46 oz (I removed some elastic straps and swapped out the cord for some Kelty Triptease). [edit: GoLite is now using 15d silnylon in their 2010 Shangri-La shelters and Poncho/Tarp]

I'm going to MYOG the corner anchors a little bit. At current, there is a short webbing loop on the corners and a longer cord wrapped around that. Although this creates a long anchor, it cannot be tightened once the deadman anchors are in the ground (or snow).

I plan to remove the longer cord and cut one half of the webbing loop. I'll then attach a ladder-lock buckle, and re-sew the webbing loop back on. Finally, I'll create a webbing loop that goes through the ladder lock. The purpose is to be able tighten the strap to tension the anchor, giving the tent better stability. This set-up is what GoLite uses on their Shangri-La shelters, and it is effective for a tight pitch.

The BetaLight has an elongated hexagonal floor plan that is interrupted only by its central pole supports. I have used a similar floor plan in winter camp in some mid-90's Marmot Haven mountaineering tents. The tents had a similar floor plan (wider, al beit), but because it's elongated hexagonal floor plan, it was a real three-person tent - and a palace for two. Contrast that with, say, a pure hexagonal shape, and you have a three-person shelter that only sleeps two. In practice, it is really a long rectangle with short and wide triangles on the sides.

The first run with the shelter is going to be in two weeks at scout camp. After that, it's going with me north to where ever my backpack takes me.

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