Approaching shelter enlightenment: The GoLite Shangri La 3 and Ookworks BigNest

I’ve had my GoLite Shangri La 3 for a couple of years and, when I bought it, I thought I’d reached the end of my search for a spacious, lightweight yet weatherproof shelter.

Camp near Pike o Blisco
Camp near Pike o Blisco

My height is a real disadvantage when it comes to tents. Many lightweight backpacking tents are too short and, given I like to sleep in my back, my feet or head are normally squashed into the ends of the shelter inner, forcing the fabric onto the outer where it becomes damp overnight.

My Hilleberg Akto is a solution of sorts. However, while the tent is long enough for my 6’6″ frame, its pitiful headroom is a real pain (literally) on longer trips

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A trusted favourite – Go Lite Pinnacle pack

Like many, I was bitten by the bug to shed weight from my pack a few years ago.

Going lighter made sense. Driven by the desire to increase comfort and enjoyment during long days and nights on the hill, I also shed pounds out of medical necessity: it made sense to reduce weight to ease pressure on the base of my spine where I had an op a few years ago.

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2010 Go Lite range

The 2010 Go Lite range is now available to view on the company’s website.

This includes an even lighter Shangrila range and new sleeping bags, including quilts made of recycled material.

I am interested in trying one of the down quilts in future and the lighter nest for the Shangrila makes it increasingly viable.

However, a half nest would still be the best solution for me so I’ll wait to see if a promised version from a third party manufacturer sees production in a couple of months time… no surprises for guessing who that is.

Go Lite Shangri-La 3

After umming and ahhing for more than a year, I’ve finally taken the plunge and bought myself a Go Lite Shangri-La 3.

It arrived this morning from those lovely folk at after a bit of email tennis with Bob asking whether I’d fit or not without brushing the walls.

I needn’t have worried. I’ve just put it up in the garden and it’s huge.

I have bought the shelter and the Go Lite groundsheet. This is not the lightest option by any stretch but my reasoning is as follows…

This is my ‘winter’ shelter… or at least, my shelter when the bugs calm down. I have a way of combining my walking poles so will not need the hefty adjustable pole which reduces things by over 300 g.

Therefore, I have the tent and groundsheet coming in at under 1.5kg (not super light, I know) yet have all that room to do my back stretches and the added protection of a full groundsheet for the colder months.

Assuming I get on with this tent, I will investigate some bug-proof addition for next summer. Some of the US manufacturers have options here and the weights are more than acceptable.

So, first pitch and what do I think…

Build quality is good and consistent with my positive experiences using a Pinnacle pack. However, I will be sealing those seams.

The main shelter is supplied in one stuffsac with pole and a small sack of six Y pegs. The ground sheet comes in another sac.

The great news about this shelter is that it is a doddle to put up… took about five minutes.

Admittedly, the hexagonal ground sheet helps with peg placement but the technique sans groundsheet is very well demonstrated on YouTube.

Simply put, peg out the corners, put the adjustable pole into position and then tighten down the straps at the six corners… ‘simples’.

The ground sheet has bungee loops at ground level and some additional clips to raise the sides of the sheet and make a bathtub. I struggled to get this effect at first (see p
hotos) as I’d pitched the shelter low to the ground. Unhitching the bungee loops soon remedied it, though.

A full ground sheet has its draw back for wet gear, cooking, access etc, but the Go Lite groundsheet unclips easily and you can adjust the floor coverage to suit.

For all those fellow lanky folks out there, I can lay ‘width across flats’ without touching the walls and, preferably, ‘width across corners’ despite the pole obstructing a little. I’m 6’6”.

The door is large, giving great views, and secured with a light press-stud at the base. No two-way zip though, which is a shame, although I’m told that next year’s version will have one, along with another vent and improved vent ‘hoods’.

An additional tension strap also can be found at the base of the door for extra security and zip ‘protection’ – I guess .

Mid way across the base of each face is a small webbing strap to which further bungee loops can be added for more security.

I now need to experiment with different pitching heights so I’m ready for bad weather or those times when I need more ventilation.

So far, so good, though.