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Why Modular?

There are lots of different ways to look at this, but essentially, most people do different kinds of trips into the outdoors. Day walks, overnight camping, trips with friends, long expeditions, winter trips, river trips. And many trips have quite different requirements for shelter.

So, the aim was to make a system that could be used in lots of different ways. Part of that versatility is provided by having a modular system, where different parts can be added or subtracted for each trip, to provide a different type of shelter.

Let’s say you’re doing a day walk on a wet day in autumn. Where are you and your two companions going to have lunch? Throw a few components of our Modular Shelter System in your bag, and you can set up a roof with a view wherever you happen to be.

Or, you’re going wild camping with 6 people. If everyone takes a few components, then at camp you can build a cooking shelter, to keep wind or rain off the cook – or perhaps a whole dining room, so everyone can sit and eat, talk and play cards together.

Another advantage of a modular system is in the purchasing. Just need a few parts at first? No problem, buy what you need now, and add components and features to the system if you need to later. Similarly, it makes replacing damaged components easy.

Our components page has more information about the different parts of the system, and what each does. The shelter size page shows the how shelters can be configured to many different sizes.

Which is better – an open or closed shelter?

Like so many things in life and especially outdoors, it depends on the situation. Open shelters are a bit more like a “tarp” shelter. They are light, can be pitched in different ways, and can provide a great view. You feel close to the environment.

Of course, sometimes the environment can be too close. When the air is cold and wet, when the midges or mosquitos are forming clouds, a closed shelter can be more pleasant at the end of a long day. A closed shelter is more like a tent, not so light, but much more protecting.

One of the great features of The Theory Works® Modular Shelter System is that you can have either. Or both. You can decide before the trip to take enough components for a closed shelter, or save weight and take just enough for a tarp style shelter / wind break. If enough components are available, you can decide what kind of shelter is necessary at the time.

There is lots more information and examples – check the open and closed shelters page.

How do pitching options help?

The pitching options of the Modular Shelter System are one of the its key features. By using the sidewalls in different ways, the full range from tarp style shelter to sealed single wall tent can be covered.

With the sidewalls vertical (i.e. as sidewalls), the shelter is well sealed from wind and rain, but has extended headroom. The sidewalls can also be rolled up for extra ventilation, or rolled back down again to seal out cold breezes. On difficult pitching ground, like dry river beds or on snow, the shelter can be pitched with the sidewalls on the ground, with snow or rocks piled on top. This provides great stability and weather sealing, even in bad conditions. And on wet, soggy ground, the sidewalls can be laid inside the tent with the groundsheet on top. This helps keep surface water from running onto the top of the groundsheet, and provides extra wind sealing.

The best thing about the pitching options of the Modular Shelter System is that they are always available, so when plans (or the weather) changes, you can adjust the shelter to match.

    • Purchase only the parts needed for the desired shelter system
    • Take different components to suit different kinds of trip
    • Make an open wind shelter with just a few components, or a fully enclosed shelter
    • Choose different components to make a shelter for just one person, or sleeping up to six people
    • Pitch a closed shelter in four different ways, depending on the weather and local conditions
    • Extend the system in future with extra or updated components