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Open and Closed Shelters

Open and Closed Shelters

The Modular Shelter System creates many different shelter types or varieties, but one of the most basic concepts is whether a shelter is “open” or “closed”

Open Shelters

Open shelters are open on one or more sides. Like a tarp, they do not provide complete protection against the weather in every direction.

Open shelters are created when there is not a complete ring of elements. For example, if only one element is used, or not all the elements are zipped together on both sides.

So why use an open shelter? They are light, as not so many components are needed. They provide a view, and lots of ventilation. And they are quick to pitch. Despite this, they still provide significant protection against wind and rain when the wind direction is fairly stable.

Modular Shelter set up as open shelter

Closed shelters

Closed shelters are more like a tent – they provide weather protection from every direction. A closed shelter is formed when elements with a total of five to seven sides are all zipped together to form a ring of elements.

Obviously closed shelters provide better weather protection in extreme conditions. They can block wind rain and snow from any direction, and create a more secure feeling environment. In the fundamental sense of providing shelter, a closed shelter provides more.

Modular Shelter with sidewalls inside

Which Shelter Type to use?

The Modular Shelter System can be used to build either kind of shelter, so long as sufficient components are available. Here are some possible situations and comments on which shelter type is more suitable:

Situation Open Closed
Day shelter ++ +
Cooking shelter ++
Dining / meeting tent o ++
Gear /shelter storage o ++
Wind / rain shelter with bivy bags ++ o
Emergency shelter + ++
Sleeping shelter good conditions + ++
Sleeping shelter cold / wet / windy conditions ++

++ Great
+ Good
o OK
– Not recommended