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My Trail Company Pyramid 3 Tent Review

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
299.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On June 5, 2017
Last modified:May 24, 2017

Summary:

If you are experimenting with ultralight backpacking or lightening your load, but also do a fair amount of car camping, the My Trail Company Pyramid 3 is a good multi-purpose shelter at a reasonable price. It’s easy to pitch and quite livable, something you won’t find in many other comparable ultralight or lightweight shelters weighing 25 ounces or less (fly alone).

My Trail Company Pyramid 3 Tent
My Trail Company Pyramid 3 Tent

The My Trail Company Pyramid 3 Tent ($299) is a three-person pyramid shelter with an optional inner tent. The design is basically identical to the Shangri-La 3 tent (click for review) originally made by the bankrupt ultralight backpacking manufacturer GoLite and now produced by My Trail Company with few noticeable changes over the previous design or material specifications. However, it’s still a proven weather and wind worthy tent that can be used for four season backpacking or camping in a wide number of different configurations from ultralight backpacking to car camping.

Specs at a Glance

  • Materials
    • Fly: 15 denier ripstop nylon, silicone coated outside, PU coated inside with taped seams
    • Floor: 70 denier nylon, PU coated inside with taped seams
    • Mesh: 20 denier no-see-um polyester
    • Pole: 19mm diameter aluminum
  • Weight
    • Fly: 1 lb, 9 oz
    • Nest: 2 lbs, 2 oz
    • Pole: 11 oz
    • Stakes: 5.5 oz
    • Stuff Sacks: 1 oz
    • Extra Guy Lines: 1 oz
  • For complete specifications, visit My Trail Company

Tent Design

The Pyramid 3 is a six-sided pyramid tent which can be used for four season backpacking and camping. It has an outer rain fly and optional inner mesh tent that requires a center pole and 6-10 stakes to pitch. The outer fly has three mesh-covered vents in the apex to vent moisture and promote ventilation with a large zippered front door. While the Pyramid 3 can fit three people, the center pole and front door make it far more comfortable for two people with plenty of room to spread out, so you don’t have to walk over another person to get out the front door. It can also be used for one person and makes a good tent to wait out bad weather because there is so much room inside.

The Pyramid 3 Mesh Inner Tent
The Pyramid 3 Mesh Inner Tent

One of the strengths of this tent is its great versatility and the ability to configure its components in multiple ways. For example, the Pyramid 3 can be used a spacious one or two person shelter with just the outer rain fly. It’s also large enough and sufficiently well ventilated that you can cook inside it in bad weather with the door cracked open, though that’s not suggested for locales with bears. The same configuration makes a good winter tent or a group kitchen for winter camping out of the wind. If you need more comfort or bug protection for base or car camping, add in the optional mesh inner tent. For improved ventilation you can raise the center pole to create a wider air gap between the sides of the fly and the ground, or stake the fly close to the ground for maximum weather protection.

There are also a wide variety of aftermarket ultralight inner tents available for the Pyramid 3, originally developed for the Golite Shangri-La 3, but fully compatible with the Pyramid 3. For example, Bear Paw Wilderness Designs makes ultralight inner tents which are lighter weight than the stock Pyramid 3 inner tent in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 4/4 sizes, in a gazillion different fabric configurations, including cuben fiber.

Pitching Considerations

The Pyramid 3 weighs 70 ounces when fully configured with the rain fly, inner tent, and stock center pole, minus stakes. That’s definitely on the heavy side and a configuration that’s more likely to be used for car camping. Compare that to a fly only, trekking pole setup and the weight drops down to a more reasonable 25 ounces, minus stakes. This is the configuration that most backpackers will use, often augmented with some sort or UL-style inner nest or bug proof bivy sack.

The fly has adjustable webbing on the corners that need to be staked out
The fly has adjustable webbing on the corners that need to be staked out.

When setting up the two fly and inner tent, My Trail Company recommends setting up the inner tent first and then draping the fly over it. While that’s a good approach for dry weather, there’s nothing stopping you from pitching the fly first, and then inserting the inner tent inside the fly to keep it dry if it’s raining. That’s my preference.

Another alternative is to roll up the outer fly and inner tent together when you take down the tent, so you can pitch the two at the same time, the next time you set up the tent. That works pretty well, although there’s no way to attach the inner tent to the outer fly walls, say with toggles or glove hooks, which I think would enhance the value of the tent.

However, when the inner tent is used, it reduces the usable interior volume under the fly because the floor has a shorter diameter and the mesh hangs free away from the fly walls. This results in less floor room, less head room, and less clearance between your sleep insulation and the inner tent walls, while increasing the likelihood of condensation transfer to your sleeping bag or quilt. There’s still plenty of room when the inner tent is occupied by two people, but the volume reduction is much more noticeable when used by three.

Pyramid 3 Measurements
Pyramid 3 Measurements

Suggested post-sale upgrades

The guylines on the outer fly are made of adjustable black webbing while the inner tent guylines are configured with reflective cordage and line locks. If you buy this tent, I’d recommend replacing the webbing straps with much longer reflective cord and line locks because the fly’s webbing straps aren’t really long enough to get a taut pitch once the silnylon relaxes and sags. Switching to a guyline only system will also make it easier to use one set of stakes to guy out the 6 points of the fly and the inner tent, which line up when the tent is pitched.

Similarly, I’d upgrade the tent stakes provided with the tent with longer, more durable stakes, like MSR Groundhogs with good holding power, since the stakes provided with the Pyramid 3 deform easily when hit with a rock.

When pitching with trekking poles instead of the 11 oz adjustable aluminum pole provided, you need trekking poles that can be combined to form a pole that’s 60-70″ long, depending on how much of an air gap you want between the ground and the fly for ventilation. Some pole manufacturers will sell you a pole extender, basically a length of tubing that fits over the point of a trekking pole, or you can strap two poles together using a pair of 9″ Voile ski straps. Here’s an example of a kit you can buy with two trekking poles strapped together to give a better idea of what’s required if you want to jury rig your own.

The Pyramid 3 requires a large level area to pitch which can be problematic in heavily forested terrain
The Pyramid 3 requires a large level area to pitch which can be problematic in heavily forested terrain.

Recommendation

If you are experimenting with ultralight backpacking or lightening your load, but also do a fair amount of car camping, the My Trail Company Pyramid 3 is a good multi-purpose shelter at a reasonable price. It’s easy to pitch and quite livable, something you won’t find in many other comparable ultralight or lightweight shelters weighing 25 ounces or less (fly alone).

Likes

  • Two tents for the price of one: double-walled configuration for car camping and single-walled for UL backpacking
  • Steep walls provide excellent headroom and internal volume
  • Easy to pitch by one person

Dislikes

  • Requires a large open space to pitch – can be difficult to find in heavily forested country
  • Included tent stakes are too short and deform easily– replace with MSR Groundhog stakes for much better holding power

Disclaimer: My Trail Company provided the author with a sample tent for review. 

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6 comments

  1. Have been using the Pyrmaid 4 for the past several LASH’s…. after years of traditional backpacking tents.. it is so cool to have soooo much room. We use it for two people and share the weight… not much difference. Used it through the SNP, WV, MD and into Pa and have NEVER had much of an issue finding a spot… and the Pyrmaid 4 is way bigger then the one featured in this article. I’ve completed over half the AT and I just don’t understand why more hikers don’t use this style of tent. With two adults, ALL our gear (yes, food bags) there is plenty of room. IMHO I believe the Pyrmaid 3 would make the ultimate Thru-hiker tent.

  2. We still have the Shangri-La 3 and 5 maybee 10 years. They are our go-to-tents for scouts, surf trips, car camping, paddling trips, and ground dwelling. The Shangri-La 3 survived my son’s initial Phillmont trek as well and was his back up when he worked as a Philmont Ranger. The 5 is currently at Bonaroo with my daughter and has seen many music fests. These are amazing tents.
    Two items of additional interest are that you can offset the pole to allow more room in both tents. You can also go pole less by stringing from a tree. The offset allows for a full size blowup mattress for those glamping trips.

  3. Interesting design concept; was not on my radar. Thanks for the review. Their “Tent UL 3” also looks like a contender for two people who don’t want to be cramped. 38 cu. ft. floor space at 3 lbs. 4.5 oz., which beats the Big Agnes Flycreek UL 3 by a few ounces.

  4. Michael P Douglass

    I have been using a pyramid style tent for 30+ years and have had great luck with them ( Chouinard MegaMid then a Golite 3) they have a lot of positives.. It is like having a portable LeanTo!

  5. I have used pyramids both professionally (FS Wilderness Manager) and personally for decades. Started with BD Megamid then MH Kiva and finally found the Golite Hex 3 (earlier ShangriLa3) I also have a Hex 3 clone made of cuben fiber by Bear Paw Designs that fits my Hex bugnest, floor, and half bugnest that I had them cut in two. Professionally it was a quick way to pitch camp in five minutes for me and my two border collies. Room enough to keep the mule/horse pads dry. In the morning I left the dog/horse hair and dirt on the ground since I almost alway used it floorless mode. Another weird thing is the bugs tend to spiral up to the top and stay there until squished at one’s leisure. I have also spent a torrential night with two people and two border collies on the Escalante float trip.

    PS: the best tip for a taut, fast, and flawless set up is to make an equlateral triangle with cord or ribbon. Peg the triangle apexes and then do the rest. Perfect and fast every time. I used mitten hooks to unclip the triangle out of the way after pitching.

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