Six Moon Designs Skyscape

Six Moon Designs is known for their already famous Lunar Duo, and the Lunar Solo tents among others, but now Ron brings something else that looks to be just as promising to the table…the Skyscape.

The Skyscape is a hybrid double wall solo tent. What this means is that “over 80% of the canopy is separated from you by a mesh wall” which means that only a tiny sliver directly above you is only actually a single layer. This is very promising, especially so for people in humid areas such as the Southeast US, or even the Pacific NW (from what I hear…I have never been there).

A great feature of this tent is that both the sides will roll up and attach at the top so that both sides are completely opened up. This way, on nice days I can still sit inside the tent, away from the bugs, and still enjoy a view nearly all the way around me. Or for that matter, I can still star gaze at night if I choose to do so…

And, oh no, don’t think that it will be cramped inside… Ron has stayed true to his shelter designs, which is basically, palatial… According to the specs listed on the SMD site, the Skyscape’s inner tent dimensions are 103″ (262 cm) long by 48″ (122 cm) wide at its widest point. As well, the highest point is 45″ (114 cm) so there should be plenty of room to sit up in and be comfortable. And when the tent needs to be battened down due to ill weather, the dimensions are 120″ (305 cm) long by 76″ (193 cm) wide. This should allow enough room outside the tent, but under its roof to store boots or packs or whatever else you don’t want to drag inside the tent with you.

Both sides of the canopy does feature a zippered opening, but the actual tent only zips open on one side. This saves weight as well as creates simplicity in the design. There is an optional porch that can be purchased for an extra $30. This is simply a wedge that attaches to the canopy when unzipped. By using this wedge and two additional poles, the porch is able to be erected. “The porch can be configured to match weather conditions. It’s perfect for watching the rain, cooking a meal, invite a friend over or to snag some shade in open country.”

Of course as with many other light-weight and “UL” tents being released now, the Skyscape can be used with your trekking poles to be set-up. Or if you don’t carry poles, then SMD offers poles in which can be purchased to use in their place. Also worth noting, the tent does not come with stakes, so naturally, these are not included in the total weight. According to the site, this tent requires 5 stakes to set-up. (And if it is like the Lunar Duo, there are still 4 more upper guy outs to consider.)

So let’s talk about weights, cause I am sure that this is what every backpacker in their right mind is wondering… This is where this tent, yet again, shines… bright. Ron offers this tent in 3 different weights/models. The tent’s dimensions are the same in each different model. The only thing that differs is the weight, which is due to the materials used. And of course, the lighter the tent, the more $$$ it cost’s. So, here are the 3 different models:

  1. Sykscape Scout: This is the heaviest of the 3, but also the least expensive. “The canopy and floor of the Scout are constructed with 190T Polyester. Since this fabric is used in literally millions of tents, it is very cost effective. Incorporating Polyester fabric into the Scout makes it the most affordable ultralight tent on the market today.” The Scout model weighs in at 34 oz minus the tent stakes and of course the poles. So, what is the price you ask? Well, I will tell you… If you order the Scout model before May 31st, you can score this jewel for a mere $90! However, if you decided to wait till after this timeline, the price is still a very fair $125.
  2. Skyscape Trekker: This is the middle-of-the-road Skyscape. A fair balance of price and weight. “The canopy and floor of the Trekker are constructed with silicone nylon. This fabric has been the work horse of fabrics used to build ultralight tents for the last decade. It’s main properties  is its strength, light weight and that it’s impervious to mold or mildew.” The Trekker model weighs in at 24 sweet oz, here again, minus stakes and poles. And the price? Well, the same goes for this model, pick it up before May 31st and only pay $175! (Score!) Of course, wait till after may 31st, the price goes to a still quite tempting $225. Not bad at all…
  3. Skyscape X: This is the Mac-Daddy of the Skyscapes. The lightest of them all, but of course there is a catch… it costs a little more… “The canopy and floor of the X are constructed from state of the art Cuben Fiber. The main properties of Cuben Fiber is its remarkable strength to weight. Developed for use on million dollar racing yachts, Cuben Fiber takes us into a whole new world of light. With the X’s double taped seams, there are No Sacrifices to your comfort or safety.” That’s right, you didn’t read it wrong… Cuben Fiber. The new gold in “UL” backpacking. Weight? 16 oz ~ and remember, this shelter (for the most part) sports 2 skins rather than just 1. Again though, this does not include the stakes or the poles. So, now that your head is racing, how about the price? Try on 450 big ones! But don’t fear, if you cannot get your order in before May 31st, the price will still remain the same. However, the longer you wait, the longer you will probably wait to get it due to waiting times.

So, it looks like Ron has another winner here with the Skyscape. Right now at only $90, it is almost to inexpensive not to get. If not for yourself, this would even make some backpacker a very nice gift…

Right now I really like the Trekker, and if I had the $$$ my order would already be placed. So, this gives me a timeline I guess… I will have to see what I can do because I believe that the Trekker model would be a great potential AT Thru hike shelter…

UPDATE:

I called Ron this morning and talked with him for a while and decided to place an order for my very own Skyscape Trekker, with a porch. Of all the tents that I have been discussing recently on my blog, while I liked them and felt that they would be a great candidate for my solo shelter for my upcoming AT hike, they didn’t push me to make a way to get them. To make a long story short, the Skyscape did.

With my experience with my Lunar Duo, I felt that Ron does indeed believe in a palatial interior. What I mean by this is that I feel like the Skyscape will be long, and tall enough so that my sleeping bag will not rub against the head or foot.

I love the fact that it is double wall, even if a mere 20% is not… I love that I can open it up on both sides and a breeze can come through, and that I can have a view.

I am having to adapt to the floor in my Lunar Duo, but it looks like the sliding floor will not be a problem in the Skyscape since the trekking poles are located inside the tent. Not only should this make the floor stationary, but it should also make readjusting the tent very easy.

And of course, I can place the order now, and pay for it when it is time to ship it…Just about everything is perfect, and I feel like this will be a winner! So, I bit. Now I am just waiting for July 13th…

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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17 Responses to Six Moon Designs Skyscape

  1. Speaking as someone who’s lived in LA, NC and WA, the Pacific NW is so not humid compared to the Southeast. Ha.

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    • Stick says:

      Laural Hill,

      Thanks for the heads up! I hope that one day (soon maybe) I will be able to at least head up and visit that area. I would love to do the Wonderland Trail…

      And I am looking forward to “winter” coming in and getting rid of this hot and humid misery…

      ~Stick~

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  2. Lukabrazi says:

    Skyscapes are shipping after the 4th!

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    • Stick says:

      Luka,

      Thanks for the heads up! I went to the site and read it too! According to Ron, they should start arriving at the end of next week, at least the ones that have not opted for seam seal. Did you get seam seal or no?

      ~Stick~

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  3. Pingback: Mountainfitter Reflective Glowire | Stick's Blog

  4. Steph says:

    I’ve been looking at this tent… fairly seriously. Any idea how many ounces the porch adds? I e-mailed them with that and a few other questions.

    I’m also wondering about the porch and poles… they use trekking poles in the picture, which means you’d need poles inside?

    VERY tempted by this tent.

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    • Stick says:

      Steph,

      Here is what Ron says about the weight on the porches. (See post #77.)

      Yes, the poles to hold the tent up are located inside the tent. There is a crossbar at the top in which the tips of the poles fit into. Personally, I like this idea. It should make keeping tension taut very easy. Also, I figure it will act as somewhat of an anchor to hold the tent floor in place a little. And yes, the porch can use poles as well. However, with this being a solo shelter, (and a UL one at that) I doubt I come across many hikers lugging around 4 trekking poles…but Ron does offer light-weight carbon fiber poles for sale on his site which are made to work with the porch, or inside the tent. He said once the tents are actually available he will release an aluminum pole which will be less expensive, but a little heavier. (But you can also go to QuestOutfitters.com and order the pieces to make one as well.) I am also thinking that if set up in the right spot, I can actually tie off the porch to surrounding trees, or rocks or something another and not necessarily need the 2 extra poles.

      I did order the porch, but if I end up going with this tent as my thru hike tent, I don’t foresee myself carrying the porch. But who knows, I will see…I am really looking forward to July…

      Hope this helps,

      ~Stick~

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  5. Julio Rainwar says:

    You literally switch what shelter you want to buy on a daily basis. Give yourself some time to learn about the shelters and take more time in the backcountry to figure out what you actually like and need. Both SMD and MLD will be at Trail Days this year. Drive north and experience them both in May and then you can actually comment on what you’d like better instead of just reading stat sheets. It would also save you a lot of time just to put the link to SMD or MLD pages on your website, or just to point to BPL where most of your topics come from anyway and are already thoroughly discussed.

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    • Stick says:

      Julio,

      You literally switch what shelter you want to buy on a daily basis.

      I wouldn’t say that I switch what shelter I want cause I don’t think I really switch…more like I add to. All of the tents I have talked about lately I want to try out, but I do have to choose which one I want to do so first…I am not made of money so I gotta take it slow…

      Give yourself some time to learn about the shelters and take more time in the backcountry to figure out what you actually like and need.

      I agree with you on this. I currently have 3 tents/shelters. A Kelty Grand Mesa 2 tent, which I learned a lot about tents from. (Hey, it was my first tent.) My OES 8×10 tarp, which I enjoy but not sure I would want to rely on it for an entire thru…that’s just me and my SMD Lunar Duo. I have learned about this shelter and this has been what pushed me to make the decision to actually go with the Skyscrape. Some of the other shelters I have discussed recently on my blog, while I liked them, there were things about them that wouldn’t push me over the line to get them. However, the Skyscrape has…I ordered one this morning!

      Both SMD and MLD will be at Trail Days this year. Drive north and experience them both in May and then you can actually comment on what you’d like better instead of just reading stat sheets.

      I know, and I am trying to work it out so that I can go! I have never been and would love to make it to it…just gotta get around work…I am on call that weekend…gotta try to talk someone into taking my call, or trading…And I hear ya on just having to rely on stat sheets, although with some common sense and a little creativity, those stat sheets can tell a lot about a tent…which is a good thing for someone in my position, that is someone that lives no where near hiking communities, let alone a gear store or outfitter which carries anything like this (unless you want to count Dicks Sporting Goods…)

      It would also save you a lot of time just to put the link to SMD or MLD pages on your website,

      I do include a hyperlink back to the product page in which I write about. This way if anyone wants to head over to the home page, I make it easy for them. However, I do like to include some of my opinions in my posts as well. Isn’t that was a blog, or forum, or any other type of internet page basically is?

      or just to point to BPL where most of your topics come from anyway and are already thoroughly discussed.

      Haha…I don’t have to rely on BPL for topics to post on. It is actually quite rare that I go there. Maybe once or twice a week…But I will admit, lots of things are thoroughly discussed over at BPL…

      Thanks Julio for stopping by and taking part in my blog!

      ~Stick~

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    • John Abela says:

      I just wanted to voice my thoughts on the issue of switching tents a lot…

      Obviously the Julio was trying to make a point, and one that is perhaps valid, I have not followed stick long enough to know, but I think there is some rather viable reasons for doing just that – to go with different tents for different trips.

      I run three different setups, from a 3.78 pound setup to a 8.36 pound setup. Each of them have a different sleeping system. Now I will grant the fact that not everybody desires to spend the huge amount of money for three different setups, but hiking is a large part of what I do in life so I have no objections to doing so.

      The point that Julio was trying to make is dead-on (that being, too many people switch gear way to often so that they never really learn how to excel with the gear they have) and I think it has some serious merit.

      I spent nearly two years going from 18 pounds down to 12 pounds. I spent another year going from 12 pounds down to 8 pounds. It is all about experience at that point. From there the jump down to XUL was about a whole lot of money and some very harsh nights spent in bad weather learning what I could take and not take, what worked and did not work for me. Eventually I was able to get down into the 3 pound range, but this took me years from when I first started getting back into hiking.

      At the same time, while I think the point that Julio is making is right, anybody who intends to take hiking serious (aka: thru-hiking) and thinks that the first set of gear that they buy is going to be the best piece of gear for them, is setting themselves up for failure and/or a whole lot of miserable days/nights on the trail. I think the only thing that I originally bought when I first got started and still use today are my GossamerGear hiking poles. That’s it. Everything else I originally thought “was the best” turned out to not be ‘the best’ for me as I gained experience.

      Just some things to consider from my own experiences.

      HYOH,
      John Abela.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      Thanks for the comment! Really, I do appreciate your thoughts and comments.

      I agree with you for going with using different set-ups for different trips, and not only for shelter, but everything…bedding, clothing, kitchen, etc…one set-up really doesn’t cover it all…for the ones that have made backpacking a part of their life…

      As far as switching tents, I would like to say that I have not switched any tents yet, at least solo. The only tent that I own is a Kelty Grand Mesa 2 tent and a Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo. I spent time and used the Kelty GM2 for a while, and since it was my first newbie tent purchase, I took time to learn from it, and what I wanted out of my next 2 person tent. Which is why I ended up going with the Lunar Duo. Even though I knew lots more about a tent in general at this time, I still found stuff to learn about with the LD, and I suspect I will for every other tent I ever buy, at least to some degree…

      The tents I kept going back and forth on were solo tents for my upcoming AT thru hike. And, I will say right up front that I take this hike (and actually all hikes) in all seriousness. I am doing my research, my reading, and getting out there and using the gear. I hope that this is understood in my posts, although I must admit that I feel like some of it is being read over…I guess that comes with being the new guy though…But the tents keep getting brought up, so I would like to take a minute and elaborate…

      Concerning solo tents, I have never purchased one, until Monday morning.

      For a while, I admit, I liked the Lightheart tent in cuben, and I knew that I wanted it. Why? well, it offered lots of room, it used my trekking poles to set it up, it is actually double wall (I do live in the SE) and it was light. Why didn’t I jump on it? First off money. That thing is crazy expensive, however I have come to realize that some items are worth every penny (such as my NeoAir) and I feel certain that this one was worth it. But in my wait to have money, I realized that some didn’t like it because of it’s large footprint…and then other things started picking away at me…but that was ok, cause I still didn’t have the money…

      Then I heard the buzz about MLD’s new tent, the Cricket. I immediately felt that it would be a great option for a thru. It being a double walled…modular tent was perfect. But I kept getting hung up when I looked at the picture of Ron (?) laying in the net tent. It looked like his feet were mushed against the ends, and that was without a bag or a pad! This is one thing I definitely learned with my Kelty tent…I hated that my bag touched both ends of the tent, and I am only 5’10” with a regular size sleeping bag! Seeing this, I felt it would be ok to wait still…but of course, I kept it in mind…

      So, I honestly went back to the Contrail. I really do like the design of this tent, and I do want to own one one day. (Who say’s I can only have one tent…) I also loved the concept of the Sublite Sil, however they will not be in production again until next year…The only downfall I see to these 2 TarpTents is that I wouldn’t ever really have much of a view…but like other small sacrifices we all make, this is one I would make for this tent. If it is pretty outside, I can just throw it on the ground as a ground sheet…

      Then Ron released his Skyscape…people were buzzing about it everywhere…(not just BPL…sorry guys). And obviously for good reason. I don’t need to go through all the reason’s I like it and feel like it will work for a thru hike, I already have. I will just say that this really hit home for what I was looking for in a potential thru hike shelter. So, I ordered one. My first solo shelter (read: not swapping it for anything here…) So, once it gets here, I will put it through the paces and see how it does for me, although I feel like it will be a great option…but I will see…

      ……………………………..so…………………………..

      I don’t have any problem spending money on having multiple set-ups…if you don’t believe me, just ask my wife. I like having options for different situations, and I, like you, am realizing that backpacking is going to be a big part of my life, so really, I don’t mind spending $600 on a tent…but since I am starting out, I gotta figure out which is the best bet for me to start with…I have replaced a fair amount of gear already since I started, but there are some things that are solo specific that I haven’t yet…such as the tent…so, I gotta start somewhere…but I can say that I am much more wiser now than I was when I first started. I have come a long way in my understanding of gear in the field, and honestly feel like I can make much more educated first purchases…

      As far as how much am I carrying…I am not after a magic number, and don’t feel that I have to be lumped into a certain group. I want to be able to be comfortable, both on the trail and at camp. In the last year, I have made a huge drop in weight while still remaining safe. My base weight can range between 12 – 15 pounds, depending on trip. My Circuit carries this weight well, and I enjoy myself…So, while there are still other things I would like to replace, or even simply try, it is not so that I can be called by a certain name.

      As far as people swapping gear before they learned how to use it…I hear ya, and I read about a lot of people doing it on some of the hiking forums…me…I cannot afford to do so…which is why I try to take the time to figure out if what I am about to purchase is what I really will need. And right now, that need is mainly focused on my AT thru hike. I have plenty of stuff that will work for my hikes I do now, but some of it I know will not work for me on the thru for one reason or another. So, when I buy gear now, I ask myself, is this what I really need for that hike, and why?

      Saying this, I don’t think that there is much of anything on my AT thru gear list that is something I purchased when I first started backpacking (other than clothes). I have already changed pretty much all of that out. But I still have that gear and let my buddy use it when he wants to go hiking with me. Hey, I did carry it, it will work, it just wasn’t the lightest…although, to date his heaviest pack that he has carried was still 20 pounds lighter than the first time I stepped on the trail…So, my (limited) experience has made a difference, even so far…

      As well, I expect that in 2 years from now when I can finally head out on my hike, the current list will change. I can be flexible, I can learn, I can adapt… I am not saying I cannot.

      Anyway…blah blah blah…I don’t mean to sound uptight or rude or such. I really do appreciate your help and your words John. However, here lately, I think that much of my blog has been looked at as new and completely inexperienced and quite honestly, felt that some look down there nose at it. That is fine. Whatever helps them sleep at night. I have come to realize 3 things about starting a blog for someone that is learning, such as myself.

      1. Some will actually read the content.
      2. Some will read what they want of it.
      3. Everyone will criticize it.

      So, that is fine. I do my best, and I feel like I am doing a pretty good job. I know there are much better blogs/sites out there than mine, and I look up to them. But I also know that there are some people that must get offended when I try to be a part of “their backpacking world”.

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      ~Stick~

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  6. Lukabrazi says:

    The zippers make sense to me now. I see that the X has taped seams. Do you know if this is due to the use of cuben fiber or just because it is the high end model? I have wanted to make the jump to this style of tent but haven’t been able to make a decision. I believe that I am sold on the Skyscape. Looking foreword to seeing one in person at Trail Days. I wish I could get my hands on one a couple days sooner than the release b/c I am heading for Yosemite July 14th.

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    • Stick says:

      I am not sure on that one, but I would say it is because of the cuben. I am not sure if Ron sews the tent and then tapes it, or of he simply tapes it. Taping doesn’t put holes in it like sewing would so I would assume the full integrity of the cuben is still intact.

      So, are you going to be getting one? I am really debating trying to sell some gear so that I don’t have to outright ask my wife if I can straight up buy it…if I can say, I have XX $$ and jsut need XX more… 🙂

      ~Stick~

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    • Lukabrazi says:

      Sounds like I’m in the same boat. Have been steadily upgrading things this winter and getting my pack weight down. My wife’s wondering when will it end. Yesterday I posted a piece of gear for sale on the forum and I also threw something on craigslist. I am going to get one. They don’t charge your card until it ships so I will order one and get the introductory pricing at Trail Days.

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    • Stick says:

      Lukabrazi,

      I hear ya on the going lighter thing, as well as the wife wondering when this addiction will end, or at least slow down…

      I called and talked to Ron this morning for a while about the tent and went ahead and placed an order for the Trekker model and the porch. Like I said, I think that this tent will be a great candidate for my thru coming up, and I should have plenty of time to test it out. It really does seem like a great shelter though. I love that it is almost completely double wall, and that the trekking poles are situated on the inside. That should make it super easy to keep the tent taut as well as weigh the floor down to keep it from sliding around…

      ~Stick~

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  7. Lukabrazi says:

    I love the design of this tent. I don’t have the same condensation fears that have thus far kept me from buying a tarp/tent. I don’t quite understand the zippers on both sides if there is only one entry.

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    • Stick says:

      Lukabrazi,

      I agree with you, the design is pretty sweet. This would be an excellent contender for my upcoming AT thru…I believe that I would go with the Trekker though. Especially for the price now, $175…I gotta save some $$$ before the end of May…

      I would say that the idea behind not using a zipper on both sides is simply to keep things simple and light. I understand the reason for putting a zipper into the outer canopy; this allows both sides to be raised so both a better view as well as better ventilation is achieved. Although, it would be nice if a zipper were an option in the second side. I wonder if I could mod it to include a small enough zipper for me to simply access the second side as well as be able to reach the zipper to open and close the outer canopy. I don’t have to be able to get in on both sides, but it would be nice if the second side were accessible enough so that I could store gear in one side, and use the other for entry/exit. Anyway, hopefully, I will see…

      ~Stick~

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