Home / Gear Reviews / Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P Tarp Shelter Review

Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P Tarp Shelter Review

manufactured by:
Yama Mountain Gear
Version:
1.0
Price:
250.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 4, 2015
Last modified:August 26, 2016

Summary:

The Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P double-walled tarp shelter is a versatile shelter system that can be used in a wide range of weather, including wet weather. Easy to set up and with a separate inner tent that can be left home to save weight or used as a bug bivy in shelters, it provides backpackers with a lightweight shelter option without skipping on comfort or utility. Available in both silnylon (and cuben fiber), it's also surprisingly affordable compared to the runaway prices of other ultralight shelters these days.

The Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1 is pitched using your trekking poles to save weight.
The Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P is pitched using your trekking poles to save weight.

Yama Mountain Gear is an ultralight shelter and gear maker in Charlottesville, Virginia that makes backpacking gear using cuben fiber and silnylon. Owned by long distance hiker and unicycler, Gen Shimizu, the company has quickly established a fiercely loyal following with long distance hikers for its innovative shelter design and impeccable product quality.

I purchased a sinylon version of Yama Mountain Gear’s Cirriform DW-1P Tarp Shelter for a 250 mile section hike on the Northern Virginia Appalachian Trail that I just got back from and I couldn’t be more pleased with the design and performance of the shelter. If you are looking for an easy-to-pitch double walled tarp shelter with excellent ventilation and a large front vestibule for storing gear in wet weather, check out the Cirriform DW-1P or YMG’s other innovative tarp-tent shelters.

The Cirriform DW-1P Vestibule has an extra panel that provides more interior volume and venting options than traditional two-panelled vestibules.
The Cirriform DW-1P Vestibule has an extra panel that provides more interior volume and venting options than traditional two-panelled vestibules.

Three-Panel Front Vestibule

The Cirriform DW-1P has a unique three-panel front vestibule design that provides more interior volume and venting options than tarp shelters with two-panel vestibules. This is handy in wet weather and improves the livability of the shelter since your head is positioned at the vestibule end.

Side view of Cirriform DW-1P front Vestibule
Side view of Cirriform DW-1P front Vestibule. The top apex and right panel tie-out can share a stake.

Each of the panels can be rolled open independently, so you can easily moderate how much front ventilation, privacy, and covered storage space you want, or you can roll open of the panels at once in order to pitch the tent as an open-ended A-frame (see top photo). There’s also a top vent in the middle panel to help vent moisture during rain storms or when the front vestibule is fully shut. The only possible downside of this design is that there is an extra seam to seal in the vestibule if you buy the silnylon version.

A waterproof zipper is located on the right hand side of the vestibule, assuming you're facing out inside the shelter
A waterproof zipper is on the right hand side of the vestibule, assuming you’re facing out inside the shelter

The vestibule zips open on the right hand side of the vestibule (viewed from inside the shelter) using a waterproof zipper, reinforced at the bottom with a plastic clip.

Double-walled vs Single Wall Shelters

Yama Mountain Gear makes a double-walled and single walled version of the Cirriform. I purchased the double-walled version because I knew I wanted to use the inner tent as a bug and mouse bivy on those nights when I sleep in a shelter rather than pitching a tarp outside. I also have a preference for double-walled shelters because it’s possible to pitch the outer fly first in heavy rain, before hanging the inner tent inside to keep it as dry as possible, or to leave the inner tent at home when it’s not needed for bug protection.

Using the Cirriform DW-1 Inner Tent as a bug and Mouse Bivy in an Appalachian Trail Shelter
Using the Cirriform DW-1P Inner Tent as a bug and mouse Bivy in an Appalachian Trail Shelter

The standalone inner tent for the Cirriform DW-1P is quite spacious, with solid 8 inch side walls, to prevent rain splatter from bouncing under the outer fly into the inner tent’s living space. The inner tent also has mesh venting at its foot end to enable moisture venting at night. Rain splatter is a big issue with any tarp shelter like this and having high solid side walls (with mesh above) is a must-have feature in the inner tent to protect your sleep system from getting wet.

The Inner Tent has a big zipper along the base and side for east entry and exit.
The Inner Tent has a big zipper along the base and side for easy entry and exit.

The inner tent connects to the outer fly at the two apex points (above your trekking poles or tent poles) using glove clips which are easy to attach or detach. It also connects to the four corners of the outer tarp along the corner seams and stake out points so it’s suspended from the outer fly. For full pitching instructions, see Yama Mountain Gear’s website.

The resulting pitch provides a wide gap between the outer fly and inner tent that provides excellent ventilation and interior volume. Air flow through the Cirriform DW-1P is excellent and the only time I experienced any internal condensation (on the inside of the outer fly, but never the inner tent) was during heavy rain storms when I pitched the outer fly low to prevent rain splash-back.

Simpler rear pitch with trekking pole looped through external guy out
Simpler rear pitch with trekking pole looped through external guy out

Ease of Pitch

Pitching the Cirriform DW-1P is easy as pie. Simply stake out the four corners of the outer fly, insert your front trekking and rear pole in the apex points at the end of the shelter and tension the corner guys, which have linelocs attached. In dry weather, it’s best to keep the inner tent attached to the outer fly when pitching if you know you’ll want both at night, because it makes setup slightly faster.

One possible rear pitch configuration. You can also place the pole inside and under the outer tarp.
One possible rear pitch configuration. You can also place the pole inside and under the outer tarp. The tarp height in this picture is low in order to reduce splash-back during rain.

If you want to get fancy, you can position the rear trekking pole off-center in order to pull out the rear beak for better rear ventilation or raise or lower the outer fly for better ventilation/more wind protection, depending on conditions.

In practice, you need 7-8 stakes to pitch out the Cirriform DW-1P, depending on the configuration you want. I only stake down the middle fly guy outs when I know it’s going to storm (rain) at night, but I bring very lightweight titanium shepherds hooks for this purpose. On the corners and apex guys, a 6″ Easton stake is more than sufficient for staking out the tarp.

The Cirriform DW-1P in Shenandoah National Park
The Cirriform DW-1P in Shenandoah National Park

Silnylon vs Cuben Fiber

Yama Mountain Gear makes the Cirriform DW-1P reviewed here in both silnylon and cuben fiber depending on your preferences and weight needs. I bought the silnylon version (list price $250) because it was more affordable and because I try to review the version of a shelter that most people can afford.

Incidentally, the blue color silnylon shown here is awesome. It’s translucent inside, allowing some light to filter in, but without cooking you like translucent cuben fiber in hot sunlight.

After speaking further with Yama’s owner, Gen Shimizu, I realized that the silnylon version of this shelter is somewhat easier to pitch because it has more stretch to it than a rigid fabric like cuben fiber. If in doubt about which fabric to choose, or about the pros and cons of the single-walled Cirriform shelter, I recommend you call Gen and talk to him. He has some very interesting insights into the durability pitfalls of cuben fiber, which is the reason he offers this shelter in both fabrics.

Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P Tarp Shelter
Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P Tarp Shelter

Recommendation

The Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1P double-walled tarp shelter is a versatile shelter system that can be used in a wide range of weather, including wet weather. Easy to set up and with a separate inner tent that can be left home to save weight or used as a bug bivy in shelters, it provides backpackers with a lightweight shelter option without skipping on comfort or utility. Available in both silnylon (and cuben fiber), it’s also surprisingly affordable compared to the runaway prices of other ultralight shelters these days.

Likes

  • Easy to pitch
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Separate inner tent can be used alone or left at home
  • Three-panel vestibule provides more interior volume and better livability
  • Pacer Pole compatibility
  • Impeccable build quality

Dislikes

  • Manufacturer does not provide a seam sealing option on the silnylon version. You have to DIY.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1 Person
  • Packed size: 10″ x 7″ x 5″
  • Interior height: 36″ (head) 21″ (foot)
  • Int. width at ground level: 34″ (head) 22″ (foot)
  • Int. width at top of tub: 37″ (head) 25″ (foot)
  • Int. length: 84″
  • Tub height: 8″
  • Floor area: 16.3 ft2
  • Tie-outs:
    • Perimeter: 9
    •  Peak: 2
  • Stakes req’d: 7 minimum, 9 recommended
  • Weight before seam dealing (mfg supplied)
    • Rain fly 14.2 oz
    • Inner tent: 10.8 oz
    • Guyline: 1.2 oz
    • Linelocs: 0.5 oz
    • Shockcord: 0.8
    • Grommets: 0.3 (removable)
  • Total weight after seam sealing: 25.5 oz on SH’s scale (yes, this is less than the mfgs weights would indicate).

Disclosure: Philip Werner purchased the Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform DW-1 with his own funds. 

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20 comments

  1. Yup, the Cirriforms are a nicely designed shelter. For my own use I use a larger MYOG 2 person tarp shaped very much like these, except open in the back end. I get very little condensation.

    The tarp started life as a 9×11 tarp. I cut the sides on a taper from 11′ down to 6′, then added the two pieces to the front door way, narrowing the maximum width to about 9’6″.
    The over-all length (including tarp body and front beak is about 11’6″. I recently revamped the silnylon with mineral spirits and silicone and it now weighs about 17oz including guylines. Originally, it was about 15.5oz, but old age will wear at the coating.

    Anyway, the height is 43″ and 16″. The extra dimension allows me to avoid rain spatter easily. If needed, I can easily sleep two, but I usually travel solo these days. The tarp packs very small. I can fit mine in my cook pot (“grease” pot.) I am surprised at the packing size you quote. The pot is only 5.25″ in diameter and 3″ tall. The 350ci you quote is a lot larger than 68ci I have. I assume you include the mesh inner. I have an old GoLite Lair 2 nest that works well with two people and is often needed in bug season but measures only 5″x4″x9″, 180ci. Somehow the numbers don’t work out since I figured for a 2 person shelter vs. the Cirriform DW-1p.

    The weights for these types of shelters with does workout. Total, including stakes and guylines for the MYOG 2p is about 35oz (17oz+16oz+2oz for stakes.) The Cirriform 1p
    is about 27oz (including stakes.)

    For weather coverage, I have never used a better 3 season shelter. Set up in storm mode this design just minimizes rain entry in every way (except maybe choosing to sleep in a mud puddle.) Wind infiltration is minimal. Worst case you get just enough for good ventilation. Condensation is minimal. While you can get condensation with any shelter, it just is minimized with these. The larger vestibule area means plenty of room to cook or just make coffee/oatmeal in the morning.You can pack everything up before dropping the tarp for an excellent start on wet mornings, too. (Well, except for retrieving the bear bag, of course.) They take a small footprint on a camp site so they are pretty easy to fit most anywhere. The only downside is it takes an extra minute or so to get set up because the perimeter is not “fixed” by the floor. A few times through will get you accustomed to that.

    Thanks for an excellent review, Philip!

  2. Glad to hear you liked the tent. I just ordered a SW version in CF for some trips I have planned out west. I looked at the DW version but after talking with Gen I opted for the SW due to length. (I am 6.4) Looking forward to trying it out.

  3. Looks like a great shelter option. Seems very similar to my HMG Echo 2 shelter, which I like a lot. Have you ever used the Echo? If so, curious as to how you think they compare.

    • Haven’t looked at HMG because I don’t consider them very affordable: they only use cuben fiber which grossly inflates their prices. Yama makes this shelter in silnylon so people who haven’t won the lottery can afford it or cuben, if you have the money. Having choice is important, to me at least, especially given the cuben shortages that manufacturers experienced this year.

  4. Would you be able to elucidate some sort of comparison between it and the Trekkertent Stealth per chance?

    • It’s very simple. Trekkertent said that they would raise the sidewalls of the Stealth inner to eliminate rain splashback and add netting to the inner back to provide better ventilation. It never happened (after a year of assurances and waiting), so I went and found a comparable shelter that did all those things already. Add in the better, more specious vestibule and much better build quality and you have a better shelter, which is also available in more variations: for one or two people, single or double walled, and in silnylon and cuben fiber.

      Gen at Yama is a genius at working with cuben fiber BTW. I stayed with him in Charlottesville recently and was amazed at the innovation and process he uses to build cuben fiber shelters, if you decide to get that material. He’s no slouch with silnylon either.

      • Hi Philip,
        I just wanted to point out that the changes you recommended seem to have been implemented. Both are mentioned in JohnBoy’s initial review on his Over the Hills blog from October 14 (http://overthehillsblog.com/2014/10/15/trekkertent-stealth-initial-review/) and mentioned on Trekkertents website. Anyway, thanks for the review. Looks to be a great shelter for “only” $250.

        Cheers

      • I saw that a while back, but TrekkerTent continued redesigning it afterwards and then ran into some production and material supplier issues I was told. I couldn’t wait any longer for the finished product so I took my business elsewhere. Small companies have growing pains, but there’s a point where promises lose credibility.

  5. Hi Phil,
    Did you have any issues using the inner tent in the shelters? Did you have any problems getting in and out of it since the door is at the end?

  6. Great review, I particularly like the idea of the entrance being in front like that..But I’ll keep my Snugpak Ionosphere…

  7. How does this tent compare to the Tarptent Notch which you had a couple of years ago?

    • It’s a totally different shape with one highpoint, not two; front entry, not side entry, more wind worthy, and provides more wind protection for your head and feet, including higher inner tent side walls.

  8. One immediate difference between this and the Trekkertent Stealth is how close the flysheet comes to the ground. For UK hill conditions we tend to prefer a fly that can be pitched almost against the ground as there’s very little tree cover here and winds can whip through the hills at some speed. I’ve found in the UK that there’s a pay off between ventilation and a tent becoming drafty and preventing warmth retention inside. Tents tend to take different design routes depending on which country there specifically aimed at.

    Gotta say though. for backpacking below the treeline the Cirraform looks great.

  9. Phillip:
    Do you have any idea why they don’t want to seem seal the tent? It’s not something I want to do and wouldn’t mind paying for that service.

    Thanks,

    Hank

  10. Philip,

    Since you have handled both the Trekkertent stealth and the Cirriform, can you say if the Stealth goes much closer to the ground with an inner net? In photos, the Stealth would appear to have much wider panels (read hypotenuse from ground to ridgeline) and would allow you to pitch much closer to the ground with a net but photos can be deceiving. Thanks!

  11. Hi Philip – Great review, Philip! Did you prefer the #3 zipper or #5? Would a #5 be more robust, and easier to zip? This is exactly the kind of versatile shelter I was looking for.

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