During the recent Hill People Gear Winter Skills Event, one of the subjects we covered were emergency / hasty shelters. I set up two of them for the event....a Force Protector Gear double wall tarp and a Terra Nova Bothy 2. Both worked out fine as quick shelters for getting out of a storm, or for a lunch stop in inclement weather. After the Winter Skills weekend, I got to thinking that I would like to have a bigger bothy-style shelter, but one that would still pack up small enough and be fairly lightweight...while still remaining robust and able to put up with some use. After some searching, I found the Rab 4-6 Person Group Shelter. I bought it from Moosejaw for $80.00. Here is the link: Rab Bothy. It only weighs 22 ounces, and when in the stuff sack it is about 12 " x 4". Not too bad at all.
While reading some reviews on it and examining the product, I had another one of those "thought grenades" cook off in my noggin. I decided to modify the shelter by sewing on some short and strong loops of cordage onto it at key spots, in order to be able to tie it off to trees in forested areas, and if in a group, use extra trekking poles to act as points to support and guy-out the corners. If I am alone and above tree line or if speed is of the essence to escape a storm, it still has the ability to simply throw it overtop and hunker down...with or without trekking pole support.
So, here are some photos along with explanations as needed for what I did to sew on the guy-out tabs. For $80.00 and then adding some minor mods, this small shelter can provide a lot of functionality, and in some circumstances it could be a life-saver. Inside these bothy shelters, you will feel noticeably warmer within a minute. The orange color and reflective strips allow it to do double duty as a day and (passive) night signal. In a pinch, the bothy can be used for an overnight shelter, as well.
As always, questions and comments are welcome.
I set it up in my front yard to test out the cordage loops I sewed on, check the space inside, and also to apply some Seam Grip to the spots where I sewed. Yep....all of my neighbors think I'm nuts and are scared of me, anyway! There is one window, but it is spacious and easy to view what's going on outside.
With a pair of Leki trekking poles in the pockets of the shelter, along with the loops tied off to trees, it becomes a pretty comfy floorless shelter. I had the poles extended to about 135cm. Plenty of space to sit up inside. The two reflective strips along the top are a nice feature.
The stuff sack is pre-attached to the bothy via a length of nylon webbing and seems easy enough to get the shelter back inside it. There is enough room in it to keep the cordage and small S-Biners I used for guying out the corners, as well.
As previously stated there is one window, but there are also these adjustable vents on each end of the bothy. Another good feature.
I used some short lengths of orange cordage with reflective striping to create my sewn loops. I sewed them externally using heavy duty nylon thread, which I whipstitched into place for multi-directional strength. I used this method because I did not want to compromise the integrity of the seams on the bothy. I then applied Seam Grip to the spots I sewed for added strength and waterproofing.
The two pockets for the use of trekking poles really work nicely.
I had three Crazy Creek chairs and a Z-Rest pad inside of the bothy. I have no doubt that this shelter can indeed fit 6 people in an emergency. For comfort, 3-4 can fit.
I could easily stretch out my legs (I am 6'2"). I feel confident the Rab could be used as an overnight shelter by 2-3 people, if needed.