Staff picks: Floorless shelters
July is here and that means that scouting and gear season is in full swing! This is the time of the year when we solidify our hunting plans, purchase new gear and begin to daydream. Every year, with the coming of hunting season, we love going through our packs and looking for gear that could be upgraded. Sometimes things are upgraded out of necessity, other times it's out of boredom, but it’s always fun to experiment.
With backpacking gear — and in particular shelters — there are loads of options when it comes to gear and finding the right one for you can take some time and thought. A general favorite around the office is floorless shelters. Floorless shelters come in a wide array of shapes; however, they generally provide exceptional coverage for the weight and are very versatile. Below we look at some of the office favorites.
STAFF PICKS: FLOORLESS SHELTERS
Floorless shelters are amazing! I’ve pretty much transitioned to only using floorless shelters on all of my hunts. They are so versatile and pitching them is very easy. My all-time favorite floorless shelter is the Seek Outside Cimarron. It’s perfect for two people plus a stove and allows you to keep all your gear inside the shelter when the weather is against you. Having a shelter with a stove (hot tent) is a game-changer on late-season hunts in October and November. When combined with a stove, you are set up to hunt anything the mountain will throw at you! Another benefit I have found with floorless shelters is that you can pitch them easier on uneven terrain.
- Shelter: Seek Outside Cimarron
- Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz.
- Livable floor space: 94 square feet
- Max inside width: 9’6”
- Cost: $465
When it comes to backcountry hunts that require a mobile camp, floorless shelters are my go-to option. They are lightweight, packable, and easy to set up. Floorless shelters allow me to go further and stay closer to the animals I'm hunting, maximizing my time in the field. Over the last few years, I've been using the Stone Glacier SkyAir ULT Tarp paired with the SkyAir ULT Vestibule. What I like most about the SkyAir ULT Tarp is that it is ultralightweight and very sturdy with the two trekking pole pitch to buck any storm. Plus, I'm able to fit all my gear and myself under the tarp making it the perfect one-man floorless shelter.
- Shelter: SkyAir ULT Tarp and SkyAir ULT Vestibule
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Length: 90”
- Width at Head: 60”-72” (dependent on pitch)
- Width at foot: 36”
- Cost: $214
I’ve used floorless shelters for several years now, originally in tipis, but recently I have been moving more towards tarps. With a good tarp, I have a lot of pitching options and a lot of versatility. Most of the time, I am hunting alone and a tarp provides me with a ton of space for very little weight; however, when hunting with a buddy, I still have enough room for them as well. For the past few seasons, I have been using the Seek Outside DST Tarp and have fallen in love! The DST is quick to deploy and has a ton of room for me or a buddy. I like to pitch mine in an A-frame orientation with a closed-in end. This provides me with great rigidity, good use of space and plenty of room to move around.
- Shelter: Seek Outside DST Tarp
- Weight: 1lb 3.5oz with stuff sack
- Size: 9’4’’ x 9’10’’
- Cost: $139
For early season hunts when you are covering a lot of country or late season cold weather hunts that require the heat of a stove, a floorless shelter is tough to beat. On early archery elk hunts my preference is a tarp paired with a bivy. I don’t pitch the tarp unless inclement weather is looming, but when required, a good 10’x12’ tarp pitched in a closed A frame fashion provides ample coverage for one man and your gear or two men with packs stored outside under rain/pack covers. My preference has been the Rab Siltarp 2 and Siltarp 3 and I have also used the Seek Outside Eolus with great results. Late season elk and deer hunts have been much more productive and tolerable when pairing a floorless shelter and a stove. My preference is a Seek Outside Redcliff with a Seek Outside titanium large stove. It’s great for drying out wet gear and provides warmth at night. A stove makes a cold early morning start to your day much more tolerable. The Redcliff is a palace for two to four men, a stove, and all their gear.
- Shelter: Rab Siltarp 3
- Weight: 1lb 5oz
- Size: 10’ x 12’
- Cost: $185
- Shelter: Seek Outside Redcliff
- Weight: 4lb 14oz
- Size: 10’ 11”W X 15’L X 6’10”H
- Cost: $819
- Shelter: Seek Outside Eolus
- Weight: 1lb 12.5oz
- Size: 8’ x 12’
- Cost: $219