Six Moon Designs Owyhee Review by Jim Sutherland

Six Moon Designs Owyhee Review by Jim Sutherland

Early summer pitch for my Owyhee Backpacking Tarp

I bought my first Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo shelter in 2019 and since then have been privileged to be on the ambassador team.  Over the years I have learned to use a wide variety of shelters from 1 person tarps such as the Deschutes to palatial shelters like the Lunar Duo.  It is no exaggeration that this has been a small, life-changing experience for me, especially with the Pandemic happening in 2019.

Each time I use a different Six Moon Designs shelter, I cry out ‘This is the one for me now!’  The problem is that as an ambassador, I get to try out LOTS of shelters…  so I have learned to be more specific.

I believe that the Six Moon Designs Owyhee Backpacking Tarp might be the one for me on trips where I need space, mesh to keep bugs out, and something that isn’t bulky for bikepacking.  So, let’s dive right into my thoughts about this superb shelter.


Like all Six Moon Designs shelters, the instructions for pitching are attached to the main stuff sack.  When overnighting with friends I like to give them the chance to try out some of the shelters and of course, a chance to pitch them.  This photo shows my buddy Kyle pitching an Owyhee Backpacking Tarp for the first time.  Once all the lines were staked out and the shelter left to settle he came back and got it perfectly pitched.

Kyle setting up an Owyhee Backpacking Tarp for the first time

The offset feature of the design means that I have more space above my head when settling down to sleep in this shelter as approximately 60% of the shelter is sloping above my lower body and feet with the other 40% a bit steeper above my upper torso.  I have certainly found this to be super comfortable for me as in cold conditions, or ‘slow start’ mornings I spend a LOT of time in my shelter.

Owyhee Backpacking Tarp pitched without a groundsheet in early autumn, no bugs!

If the bug index is low, like in the shot above I usually just pitch the main tarp as the mesh around the shelter perimeter is enough.  However come summer, or damp Scottish midge conditions I love the modularity of this shelter with the option of connecting the bathtub 3D UL Groundsheet quickly from inside the shelter.  Another plus point here is how small the groundsheet packs up into its little stuff sack - no excuse for not taking it!


One of the most used features of my Owyhee is the internal clothesline.  I like how I can put small items such as my buff, trail socks, and gloves up there when organizing my kit at camp.  Provided you don’t overload it and you have pitched your shelter well there is next to no sag on this handy clothesline.  Of course, it also makes a great place to stretch out your camping lights instead of wearing a head torch and suffering its glare!


Ever since losing my tent poles a long, long time ago, I have a fear of losing them again, so I appreciate that my 45" Carbon Fiber Poles fit neatly inside the shelter stuff sack, or even better in my bike's frame bag.



This is a well-designed and featured shelter, one that I would not hesitate using on a multi-week bikepacking trip in the US, or Europe.  All of the components work together extremely well and when packed up the Owyhee Backpacking Tarp does not take up too much space when strapped to a front bike rack for instance.

The Owyhee Backpacking Tarp takes up very little space on a bike front rack for example

Like all of my Six Moon Designs shelters it is a quick and easy process to de-rig the Owyhee Backpacking Tarp.  With practice, you learn which stakes to take out first to leave the shelter still standing with the poles and lines holding it up.  You can then easily pop out the poles from their sleeves and sweep up the shelter for a shake before rolling up.

After the shake, the roll!


So far I have used my Owyhee Backpacking Tarp on half a dozen trips and there have been no issues with the quality of materials used for the shelter, the groundsheet, the poles, or the stakes.  With care and attention, especially post-trip I expect this shelter to last me for many years with some re-proofing each season being a good call.


As I have mentioned in this piece the Owyhee Backpacking Tarp has proved to be a very spacious shelter on bikepacking and hiking trips alike.  For long trips, I believe that folks would learn to appreciate the small details such as the internal clothesline, or the modular nature of the groundsheet.

  •  Jim’s research on the meaning of Owyhee

  • Located along the far eastern border of Oregon — about six hours from Portland and 4.5 hours from Bend — the Owyhee Canyonlands unfold over more than 2 million acres. Cut by just three paved roads, it's considered one of the largest expanses of undeveloped land in the lower 48 states.22 May 2020



    Jim in his natural environment having a ‘slow start’.

    Reading next

    The Four Corners Loop – A North American Walkabout by Kevin "The Animal" Koski
    Allgood's 2023 Gift Guide

    Leave a comment

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.