Thoughts on pop up tents?

I think that pop up tents are next to useless, they see the wind and then collapse into a heap, scared.

Tarps and bothy bags are a better solution. I’ve used my bothy bag lots over the years, I have a 2 person bag. In use, I sit at one end and use my rucksack to fill out the other end, you can eliminate a lot of the flapping that way.

There’s quite a lot of info on tarps on this reflector and elsewhere, noted users include G4ISJ and wG0AT. I’ve also been known to use a tarp on occasions.

When it comes to a longer stay on a summit, a small trekking tent with alloy poles <3kg can be quite useful. My Vango Banshee is very stable.



Ha,ha, I own the sewing machine in our house!!:grinning: Matthew!!

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I’m starting to think something like this might make more sense.

Our winters, especially Scotland can be quite fierce, cold, windy and snowy too!

I, like Andy, do not see the point in activating if the WX is rubbish! The hills will be there for another day!

However, in my bag I always carry this

I peg one corner down first, then get a walking pole and prop up the opposite end, then simply peg the perpendicular corners down

John MW0XOT gave me the idea

73 all

Matt G8XYJ


I guess I was thinking about operating in these sort of conditions - Scottish winter mountains on my annual northern climbing/walking/skiing (now sota) expedition to the far north.


I guess I may be just too hopeful about much of a shelter other than making something out of snow blocks like on the link!


This would mean I could avoid having to do this:-

Which was my last winter activation:-

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Exactly what I had in mind: cheap and versatile.

Sorry, didn’t mean it to sound quite so patronising, but it’s a fact that I asked my mum how to bring the thread up when I first got mine.

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Matt Your reply wasn’t at all patronising - the fact that I own the sewing machine in our house is a bit of a family joke - although in fairness my wife does probably use it more than me now.
However you may have given me an idea of making something small, simply and robust enough to sit in.

During my SOTA trip to FL/VO, I used a cheap Decathlon popup shelter several times:

Link to the popup shelter:

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Frank PC7C and me used several times on wet days this one:

Simple, light weight and cheap (we are Dutch) :grinning:

Thank you gentlemen for your thoughts. I’ll let you know but a couple of interesting options. Especially surprised about the durability of tarps as summit shelters but they look rather interesting as origami tents. I’ll have to play with mine on the lawn !!

Has anyone ordered from summitgear (a/k/a JDS Components) recently?

I placed an order online last week but have received no acknowledgement of my order or shipping info. I emailed the company via its Contact web page but have received no reply. I called today and heard a very generic sounding recorded message for voice mail. The charge against my credit card went through, but nothing more - seems odd.

73 Paula k9ir

I’ve been hunting round recently trying to find an inner tent for my pyramid shelter. It seems there are a lot of cheap options popping up on AliExpress:

The Trailstar here is a copy of the Trailstar from Mountain Laurel Designs:

What with intellectual property theft becoming more of an issue, I don’t really want to recommend buying the copy, but the design itself is very strong and a good choice for UK conditions. There are, however, plenty of original designs on offer (or so old that no one can lay claim to them), that also have good reviews:

Whilst construction quality overall seems OK (there are a few rough edges), some of the tie outs may benefit from modification. Just one bar tack is not really sufficient for UK 3 season use. If you own a sewing machine and the XYL is happy for you to use it, then replacing some of the tie out points is relatively simple. The advice here is of course ‘buyer beware’! But I ordered an inner tent for my Locus Gear Khufu shelter, as inner tents are not so critical as flysheets.

If you don’t want to risk AliExpress, there is always backpacking light in the UK which has a good range of well constructed tarps and shelters:

A bit more expensive, but reviews seem to be good in general, so there is peace of mind at least. The specs for the waterproof materials on AliExpress are complete BS, but it is a fact that quite a low hydrostatic head is often sufficient for camping. When it comes to hydrostatic head, it is often a case of ‘what the customer doesn’t know won’t hurt them’.

          73 de OE6FEG / M0FEU

i have one of their 2 man bothy bags, haven’t used it much. You warm up great inside it. I haven’t quite got to grips with how to sit in it properly, sit comfortably in it, hold it down so it doesn’t blow away, get my kit inside and find a way of operating all at the same time. me and my son managed to fit into it once on a windy hill top. I worked USA and then couldn’t get more responses. I looked outside, my antenna had fallen down, so I may have got USA with the antenna lieing on the ground lol.


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Thanks for your input ladies and gentlemen. I tried one of those tarps - found one in my camping/canoeing kit. size is around 3 or 4 sq m… For those that don’t know you do a bit of ‘origami’ and use a pole as a support. There are plenty of videos on-line I used the simplest system I found. Much easier than I thought. I used it for the 1st time on the s2s Transatlantic QSO party a few weeks ago in very, strong winds (40 -50 mph). Much to my surprise it went up easily and more suprisingly it stayed up and certainly provided adequate windproofing!! And of course its quicker than any tent I’ve used and hardly any weight or sizes to carry.

I wasn’t expecting it to work - but it did much better than I expected and this was only my second attempt to erect one. My 1st attempt was the day before on a sheltered garden lawn!!

Hi Anthony

I have found the 2 man Bothy to be good for one person activations and the 4 man Bothy for 2 persons when the XYL is with me…must keep her comfortable :grinning:

Majority of my activations are without anything as shown below…

Mount Leinster EI/IE-004 last week…in a convenient hole…rain and strong wind…pole at 5m and gyrating.
The KX2 was buried deep in a dry bag…I don’t mind getting wet but it hurts when the radio gets it.

See my blog… All of my EI/IE summits are up…thanks to all the Chasers

I use this method as well…

Brolley works well except when it’s really windy :grinning:

Then the Bothy bag

Sitting in the Bothy bag for protection against the wind…4 man Bothy shown with XYL already seated

Waun Rydd GW/SW-004 Jan 2017…Pen y Fan in the mist

I always carry a 2 man Bothy bag for extra safety as mentioned previously, maybe not for us but for someone else…

I’ve used a tarp as well…good for a long stay on a summit…don’t do that these days unless it’s warm :grinning:

It all depends on the circumstances and your own preference. Whatever protects you from the elements is fine.

73 de Allan GW4VPX


Surely this is the ideal tent, especially for HF…
The Snugpak Ionosphere!!

Bothy bags appear popular. For those who have one or know, how do you stop them from flapping and flailing around in the wind? Is there a trick? Or is it simply pull the things as tight as possible around your body?

I’ve used a group shelter - think big enough for ten people. Northern Cairngorms in a winter storm. Easy to keep it tight - everyone sit in a circle and spread out. But you can’t do that on your own - can you?

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just a matter of keeping it tight with your feet, posterior and rucksack i found. Although only used it a couple of times.

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What Anthony said and I use headphones very often to pick out those weak signals and to block unwanted external noise…I use hook earphones…the ones that hook on to your ear. Never really been bothered with flapping noise and if it was really bad I don’t think I’d be playing radio anyway?

Enjoy your experimenting and hope to catch you s2s one day.

73 Allan GW4VPX

Heads up for chasers…hopefully activating quite a few G/DC and others over the next 7 days…will alert.

Absolutely. ten thousand Mountain Goats can’t be wrong!
Just remember the five Ps. Preparation prevents piss poor performance.

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