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Which is a good hunting blind for EAA

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#1 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 06:25 PM

I attend two star parties most years, GSSP and CalStar, both in California and have never had any complaints about stray light from my EAA setup.  As I have previously noted, I don't use a red filter because 1) the filter limits the amount of detail one can see;  2) I want to see objects in color.  The second is most important.  So, I set up well away from other folks except friends, use an EZUp with side curtains, point my computer away from the field and shield it inside a box.   This works very well, but is not perfect.

 

Next year I plan to attend a star party I have never been at before.  Perhaps the Okie-Tex or Oregon Star Party and I want to make sure I don't have any stray white light at all.  I know that some people use hunting blinds to completely shield their computers.  I have checked around on line but it is hard to tell just how good these are at shielding light until I try it out in person.  I have heard that some can leak light through the sewed seams.   

 

I would appreciate any input from those who have used or seen hunting blinds used.  The first priority is to be light tight.  Durable is a close second.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis


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#2 TikiTom

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 06:46 PM

I attend two star parties most years, GSSP and CalStar, both in California and have never had any complaints about stray light from my EAA setup.  As I have previously noted, I don't use a red filter because 1) the filter limits the amount of detail one can see;  2) I want to see objects in color.  The second is most important.  So, I set up well away from other folks except friends, use an EZUp with side curtains, point my computer away from the field and shield it inside a box.   This works very well, but is not perfect.

 

Next year I plan to attend a star party I have never been at before.  Perhaps the Okie-Tex or Oregon Star Party and I want to make sure I don't have any stray white light at all.  I know that some people use hunting blinds to completely shield their computers.  I have checked around on line but it is hard to tell just how good these are at shielding light until I try it out in person.  I have heard that some can leak light through the sewed seams.   

 

I would appreciate any input from those who have used or seen hunting blinds used.  The first priority is to be light tight.  Durable is a close second.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis

 

I saw a mini-tent thing for sale in the ads here. It's called a lap dome.
Looked it up on Amazon and they seemed to be pretty good, here's a link: 

(btw - there was 2 & they sold quickly)

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B01DRD060A/

 

I was thinking of using one for my job, which requires me to be outside, using a laptop, rain or shine......


Edited by TikiTom, 07 October 2017 - 06:50 PM.


#3 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 08:23 PM

Tom,

 

Thanks but that won't prevent light leakage.  The computer and I have to be totally enclosed like I am in my EZUp.  What you showed is great for solar observing to enable one to see the computer screen in bright sunlight.   It is also good for reducing the stray light when one uses a red filter over the computer monitor, since even red light affects one's seeing.  Most astro imagers uses red filters on the computer screens and also shield them with something like you show or similar.

 

Regards,

Curtis



#4 OleCuss

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

I've not used one, but I know that a few people have used the Ameristep Doghouse blind and seemed happy with it.



#5 The Ardent

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 09:26 PM

I have the doghouse blind as a portable observing office. I can't comment on the light part leakage.

Pros: portable and easy to set up, enough space to sit comfortably with a small table. Much easier to set up than a tent or canopy.

Cons:
Have to stoop to enter/exit
Dew forms on the inside roof, unless additional cover provided.

I looked at the taller blinds, but they don't have a normal entrance. I'd really like a larger size doghouse style.

#6 SonnyE

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:58 PM

I attend two star parties most years, GSSP and CalStar, both in California and have never had any complaints about stray light from my EAA setup.  As I have previously noted, I don't use a red filter because 1) the filter limits the amount of detail one can see;  2) I want to see objects in color.  The second is most important.  So, I set up well away from other folks except friends, use an EZUp with side curtains, point my computer away from the field and shield it inside a box.   This works very well, but is not perfect.

 

Next year I plan to attend a star party I have never been at before.  Perhaps the Okie-Tex or Oregon Star Party and I want to make sure I don't have any stray white light at all.  I know that some people use hunting blinds to completely shield their computers.  I have checked around on line but it is hard to tell just how good these are at shielding light until I try it out in person.  I have heard that some can leak light through the sewed seams.   

 

I would appreciate any input from those who have used or seen hunting blinds used.  The first priority is to be light tight.  Durable is a close second.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis

What if you were to use black out curtain cloth, instead of trying to find something ready made?

Since you already have an EZUp frame, drape the curtain cloth Inside. (Like a dual layer light curtain, a smaller tent inside the EZUp enclosure)

 

I think outside the box. I'm claustrophobic about people telling me what to do.

 

I work from my backyard. And there is enough light pollution around me that nobody better ever complain, lest I crawl down their throat and raise their voice several octaves. wink.gif

I'm with you Curtis, red lith filters are painful to work around. So I run barefoot, too.

 

I almost went to a star party with the local group here, a member invited me. But found out I couldn't take my little toothless 13 pound Chihuahua mix. No dogs allowed.

If my little buddy isn't welcome, neither am I. neener.gif

I never did do well with other peoples self importance for telling others what they can or can't do.



#7 dtripz

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 07:55 AM

https://www.amazon.c...pf_rd_i=3473431

Ice fishing blinds, fully dark on the inside and well insulated, quite a nice option.
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#8 OleCuss

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:57 AM

The difficulty I see with these options is that you cannot freely point where you wish.  To me it looks like you have to point through a window.

 

And the ice fishing hut looks to me to have tiny windows.  Oh, and for GSSP and similar California star parties I'm guessing insulation is not a benefit.  Even the Glacier Point star parties usually wouldn't be chilly enough to make that welcome.  But the dark would be nice indeed!!!

 

Some day I'd like to get this tent:  http://store.smartas...com/poobte.html  I don't know if it is supposed to be light-proof, but I'd like it.

 

Personally for the near future?  If I were to desire to go to a star party where light discipline were a huge issue and I were planning to do NRTV - I'd get some umbrella stands, put some ABS pipes in them, get some ABS caps and put eye-bolts in them and hang heavy/dark tarps.  I'd use about 5-6 of them and effectively enclose my NRTV rig while leaving the sky open and an ingress/egress point(s).  If it is a little breezy I'd use stakes through the tarp grommets to fasten them to the ground.  Light discipline should be pretty good unless I light things up with a searchlight!  The umbrella stands aren't all that cheap, but you can sometimes find them on Craigslist for a low price.


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#9 dtripz

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:13 PM

That tent is pretty cool and affordable compared to the Kendrick one. If you need ventilation that would def do the trick.
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#10 The Ardent

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:48 PM

The hunting blinds are for the control center , not the scope.
The Kendrick style tent has an "office" and separated open scope area, but....it's a tent. Too much work for me.

What I want is a pop-up no floor tent with tall entrance and roof (no stooping)

Earlier this year I purchased a beach sun shelter. Works very well to keep dew off my desk. Easy to set up. Easy entrance and exit. Cons: not fully enclosed. Needs additional cover for full dew protection (just like the blind)

The difficulty I see with these options is that you cannot freely point where you wish. To me it looks like you have to point through a window.

And the ice fishing hut looks to me to have tiny windows. Oh, and for GSSP and similar California star parties I'm guessing insulation is not a benefit. Even the Glacier Point star parties usually wouldn't be chilly enough to make that welcome. But the dark would be nice indeed!!!

Some day I'd like to get this tent: http://store.smartas...com/poobte.html I don't know if it is supposed to be light-proof, but I'd like it.

Personally for the near future? If I were to desire to go to a star party where light discipline were a huge issue and I were planning to do NRTV - I'd get some umbrella stands, put some ABS pipes in them, get some ABS caps and put eye-bolts in them and hang heavy/dark tarps. I'd use about 5-6 of them and effectively enclose my NRTV rig while leaving the sky open and an ingress/egress point(s). If it is a little breezy I'd use stakes through the tarp grommets to fasten them to the ground. Light discipline should be pretty good unless I light things up with a searchlight! The umbrella stands aren't all that cheap, but you can sometimes find them on Craigslist for a low price.



#11 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 09:24 PM

Thanks for the many replies.

 

OleCuss - the Doghouse is one option I looked at but is a bit small for my tastes. I know others use it for astronomy as it is relative cheap and lightweight. As Ray says, the blind is to be used only for myself, laptop, table and chair.  The scope sits outside and I run a single USB cable inside.  I do this now with my EzUp and it works great for me as it provides lots of room for everything, but it does not completely eliminate light glow from inside.  As for GSSP, I can tell you that most years I get pretty cold inside the EzUp by 2:30 in the morning.  You'd be surprised.  The tent looks nice, but I am sure it is no more light tight than my EzUp.

 

dtripz - thanks for tip on the ice fishing blind.  I have been looking at a hunting blind a bit bigger but this could work.  I like the fact that it lists the material as 300 denier which is an improvement over the 150 denier I see listed for most hunting blinds.  

 

Sonny - that was my first thought, just get some blackout fabric and make my EzUp light tight.  That would work with the sides, but I don't know how I would light proof the the top of the EzUp which has slanted sides for the roof.

 

One hunting blind I was looking at is this one:  https://www.sportsma...skirt?a=1939353

 

Pros:  Easy to set up;  large interior; supposedly light tight with zippered door and windows; skirt.

Cons: Expensive; only 150 denier

 

If anyone has direct experience with any of the hunting or fishing blinds, please let me know your feedback.   I've got until next spring to figure this out.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#12 iam1ru12

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 02:50 PM

I tried using a hunting blind last fall for SRSP because I of some computer issues, I could not control my camera from my laptop under my pop up canopy and had to move closer.  A buddy of mine a the party had a hunting blind and I used that.  It completely blocked out all the light but I will say getting in and out was a chore once I was all bundled up for a night of astronomy in below 40 degrees.

 

My setup1a

 

For the spring SRSP, I purchase the same brand of blind (Gear Guide) - https://www.sportsma...blind?a=1333037.  It’s a taller version and well made.  However in the end, I found I was feeling left out of the party.  Several folks came by at night to say and take a look at my views but they didn’t realize I was in the blind - I guess it worked too well.

 

I’m back to using my pop up canopy with side walls and a new hood for my computer monitor.  I plan to use either some green house fabric (white on one side and black on the other) or a couple of tarps to further reduce light trespass.  I post some picture of my set up fromthr party next week.

 

-Mike


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#13 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 04:02 PM

Mike,

 

Exactly a concern I have about the blind.  At this last GSSP I must have had 6 people come by my EzUp every night to see how EAA works.   The EzUp with curtains is not as inviting as someone sitting outside next to the scope itself.  But a hunting blind will be even less so.   And since I am planning to try out some different star parties I definitely want to meet new people and make new friends.  But, I think I can do that during the day and just let them know to give me a holler when they come up to the blind so that I can invite them in.

 

At least this way, I can do my own thing without the cumbersome screen filters and not worry about upsetting anyone else around me.  I usually try to set up a bit away from the crowd anyway.

 

Since I don't need the blind until next spring or summer, I plan to keep an eye on a couple of them (and the wonderfully bright red ice fishing hut that dtripz provided the link to) to see if any go on sale.   In the meantime, I will continue to look for any other input I can find since I don't want to spend over $100 and get something that doesn't work well.

 

Regards,

Curtis



#14 The Ardent

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 04:09 PM

Make a little sign "visitors welcome" and clip a red light to it.

#15 iam1ru12

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 10:33 PM

Mike,

 

Exactly a concern I have about the blind.  At this last GSSP I must have had 6 people come by my EzUp every night to see how EAA works.   The EzUp with curtains is not as inviting as someone sitting outside next to the scope itself.  But a hunting blind will be even less so.   And since I am planning to try out some different star parties I definitely want to meet new people and make new friends.  But, I think I can do that during the day and just let them know to give me a holler when they come up to the blind so that I can invite them in.

 

At least this way, I can do my own thing without the cumbersome screen filters and not worry about upsetting anyone else around me.  I usually try to set up a bit away from the crowd anyway.

 

Since I don't need the blind until next spring or summer, I plan to keep an eye on a couple of them (and the wonderfully bright red ice fishing hut that dtripz provided the link to) to see if any go on sale.   In the meantime, I will continue to look for any other input I can find since I don't want to spend over $100 and get something that doesn't work well.

 

Regards,

Curtis

I'll take pictures of my set up at SRSP next week and post them here.  The wind/side walls are not very thick but I'm hoping by adding a tarp (a double wall) that no light will leak out the back or sides.  Just be carefull when selecting a blind, if you go that route, some of those doors are pretty small and some of the triangular shaped doors can be tricky to get in and out at night without tripping.

 

Make a little sign "visitors welcome" and clip a red light to it.

I really like the sign idea!  I just messed around with a few options:

Sign1
Sign2
Sign3

 

-Mike


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#16 iam1ru12

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:53 PM

Nothing like reviving an old thread.  I thought I would post some progress pictures.  I had gone with adding black zippered walls to my 10x10 canopy.  It didn’t stop all the light leakage but it drastically reduced it to the point no one but the most uptight observer would complain (not that anyone complained) - click on the pics to view larger pics

 

My canopy with a buddy’s hunting blind in front:

IMG 3715
 
Control center and. Kitchen
Star Party Equipment Setup control room
 
the control center:
57F77F28 AE2C 49F9 9241 3535C324149F

 

However the set up took almost 30 mins.  If strong winds came through, I had to remove the walls and once I had to take off the top fabric.  I was a great setup and very comfortable but took too much effort and monitoring.

 

I knew the best option would be one of those hub blinds.  However, I didn’t want one of those camo blinds with all the extra windows for multiple shoot angles.  Enter the Eskimo Ice Fishing. Shelter.  I really wanted a red shelter because if the interior blackout coating starts to wear, any light would leak thru as red.  Plus the ice fishing shelters seem to be built a little more rugged.  Below are a few pics of it in action.

 

Click on the pics to view larger pics

my set up at ECVAR 2019 V2
My Video Astronomy Hut
 
Here’s a video clip showing how light-proof it is:

 

Regards,

-Mike


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#17 FrankG

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:33 AM

Nothing like reviving an old thread.  I thought I would post some progress pictures.  I had gone with adding black zippered walls to my 10x10 canopy.  It didn’t stop all the light leakage but it drastically reduced it to the point no one but the most uptight observer would complain (not that anyone complained) - click on the pics to view larger pics

 

My canopy with a buddy’s hunting blind in front:

 
 
Control center and. Kitchen
 
 
the control center:
 

 

However the set up took almost 30 mins.  If strong winds came through, I had to remove the walls and once I had to take off the top fabric.  I was a great setup and very comfortable but took too much effort and monitoring.

 

I knew the best option would be one of those hub blinds.  However, I didn’t want one of those camo blinds with all the extra windows for multiple shoot angles.  Enter the Eskimo Ice Fishing. Shelter.  I really wanted a red shelter because if the interior blackout coating starts to wear, any light would leak thru as red.  Plus the ice fishing shelters seem to be built a little more rugged.  Below are a few pics of it in action.

 

Click on the pics to view larger pics

 
 
 
Here’s a video clip showing how light-proof it is:

 

Regards,

-Mike

Will cast a second vote for the Eskimo. I copied Mike after seeing his at the East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous and used it at SRSP. Ran the camera and dob from inside the Eskimo which kept nicely warm with my Little Buddy heater - also doubled as a good tent. Had a large monitor going in addition to laptop and NO light escaped.

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Edited by FrankG, 18 December 2019 - 09:55 AM.

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#18 TimP

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 05:24 PM

This ice house has a door all the way to the ground. No step up.

 

Tim

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...0HTL7HC8L&psc=1


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#19 iam1ru12

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 08:01 PM

Will cast a second vote for the Eskimo. I copied Mike after seeing his at the East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous and used it at SRSP. Ran the camera and dob from inside the Eskimo which kept nicely warm with my Little Buddy heater - also doubled as a good tent. Had a large monitor going in addition to laptop and NO light escaped.

And set up takes just a few minutes and can be done with 1 person.  Also, you can see the peak of my a-frame camper in the background of Frank’s picture.

 

This ice house has a door all the way to the ground. No step up.

 

Tim

 

 

https://www.amazon.c...0HTL7HC8L&psc=1

I seriously considered that one but it was larger than I wanted and more expensive.  However, that full door is a real bonus!



#20 astrohamp

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 10:38 PM

I reasoned a portable dark shed for EAA live viewing of my 32" UHD 4k monitor is essential for me when attending star parties.   My search led me to a frame and fabric grow tent enclosure.
Yes the industry, now legal in some states, along with orchid growers among others, provided just what I was looking for.  Heavy duty light proof fabric, fully enclosed self supported internal frame, doors, windows, vent openings, some with screens or clear plastic covers. Even made in sizes to accommodate just me or a bevy of users.  Zipped up my 4'x4' enclosure is nearly total blackout as light will leak past vent fans when used.

I seam sealed all the major seams from the inside, so no more leaks.  A mat underneath protects the floor from wear.  The shed even helps protect me from the summer mosquito/bug ridden dark sky locations I traveled to this year.  I do use 7 guy lines added to stake it down which held fast during two wind/rain storms this summer.

More then a month of use so far and I am pleased with this dark shed as a temporary field structure. The image is my early arrival set up at the 2019 Black Forest Star Party, Cherry Springs State Park.

 

Clear skies and happy trails.DarkShedBFSPIMG_2026e.JPG


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#21 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:38 AM

Mike

 

Thanks for reviving this thread.  Which model did you get.

 

I am planning to retire early next year which will give me the time to head off to some of the more distant star parties (Okie-Tex, Texas, Staunton River, Winter, Cherry Springs, etc. etc.) where I would seriously worry that my laptop light would upset folks.  I don't have this problem at GSSP and CalStar since I have been setting up for more than 10 years in the areas where it is not a problem.  With that in mind I was once again looking at my options for hunting blinds or ice houses.  I've come to the same conclusions.  The blinds are quite small (Mike's picture with one side open shows just how small it is) and they are tricky to get into and out of, especially in the dark.  Both make it difficult to share views with additional people. Also, I bought one of these (forget which model) at Bass Pro and did a light leakage test in my back yard and wasn't too happy with it.  You and Frank have confirmed for me that the ice house is the way to go.  It is not just to keep the light out, but I get pretty darn cold at our star parties out here in CA and I expect it gets even colder at many of the other star parties around the country.  I hate being cold while star gazing (maybe an oxymoron).  

 

The big disadvantage is such an enclosure is not conducive to folks dropping by.  It's fine with friends you already know since they know you are in there and can let you know they want to come in.

 

I may just order an ice house for CalStar this April.  Tends to be pretty cool at night this time of the year.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis



#22 JimT

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 12:13 PM

Will cast a second vote for the Eskimo. I copied Mike after seeing his at the East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous and used it at SRSP. Ran the camera and dob from inside the Eskimo which kept nicely warm with my Little Buddy heater - also doubled as a good tent. Had a large monitor going in addition to laptop and NO light escaped.

If this keeps up I may have to change the name ECVAR to ELSP = Eskimo Live Star Party.

I knew from the minute I saw Mike's I wanted one. Dang you Mike.


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#23 iam1ru12

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:01 AM

Mike

 

Thanks for reviving this thread.  Which model did you get.

 

I am planning to retire early next year which will give me the time to head off to some of the more distant star parties (Okie-Tex, Texas, Staunton River, Winter, Cherry Springs, etc. etc.) where I would seriously worry that my laptop light would upset folks.  I don't have this problem at GSSP and CalStar since I have been setting up for more than 10 years in the areas where it is not a problem.  With that in mind I was once again looking at my options for hunting blinds or ice houses.  I've come to the same conclusions.  The blinds are quite small (Mike's picture with one side open shows just how small it is) and they are tricky to get into and out of, especially in the dark.  Both make it difficult to share views with additional people. Also, I bought one of these (forget which model) at Bass Pro and did a light leakage test in my back yard and wasn't too happy with it.  You and Frank have confirmed for me that the ice house is the way to go.  It is not just to keep the light out, but I get pretty darn cold at our star parties out here in CA and I expect it gets even colder at many of the other star parties around the country.  I hate being cold while star gazing (maybe an oxymoron).  

 

The big disadvantage is such an enclosure is not conducive to folks dropping by.  It's fine with friends you already know since they know you are in there and can let you know they want to come in.

 

I may just order an ice house for CalStar this April.  Tends to be pretty cool at night this time of the year.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis

Curtis,

Frank and I both have Eskimo’s FatFish 949 (non-insulated).  I chose the non-insulated version for several reasons:

  • Cheaper than the insulated version
  • i was worried the extra stitching in the ‘quilting’ would just be more to seam-seal
  • It would be too hot in non-winter months

Im happy I went with the non-insulated version!

 

I’ve had 3 people, a 2.5’x5’ table and a 2’x4’ table with no problem.  You could also easily fit a cot inside.  In the end, I found the doors easy to navigate.  However, a buddy that is taller and heavier than I am did find it more difficult.  If you want larger and no tripping hazard, try Eskimo’s Outbreak 450 - the full door looks awesome!

 

-Mike



#24 iam1ru12

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:04 AM

If this keeps up I may have to change the name ECVAR to ELSP = Eskimo Live Star Party.

I knew from the minute I saw Mike's I wanted one. Dang you Mike.

It won’t blow away easily, assuming you stake it down. poke.gif



#25 CA Curtis 17

CA Curtis 17

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:52 AM

Mike,

 

Thanks.  For me as well I think the insulated version will be too hot in the summer months and it is also heavier.  I am leaning toward the Outbreak 450 because of the door.  The fact that it is larger can go either way.  More room, but a bigger footprint.  The specs on yours say the elbow room is 94" x 94" with a setup size of 99"x 99" while the 450 says the elbow room is 108" x 108" but the setup size is 139" x 138".  From the elbow room one would expect the 450 is just a bit bigger, but from the setup size it appears a lot bigger.  I did watch a video of the 450 and when you see the guys standing beside the hut it doesn't look too big.  I think I'm going to order one on Amazon next month since they have free shipping and free return.  I'll set it up in my back yard and see firsthand.  If I keep it I will take it with me to CalStar in late April where it can get pretty cold around 2AM this time of year.  I might even try to sleep in it instead of in the back of my van.

 

Will report back later.

 

Curtis




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