Contributing editor Jeff Kish is hiking the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail this summer. He will be making regular trip reports and gear reviews from the trail..
The Cirriform SW from Yama Mountain Gear is an ultralight, single-wall backpacking tent. The production Cirriform SW integrates a 0.8-ounce Cuben fabric fly and a thin sil-nylon floor with no-see-um mesh to form a fully-enclosed shelter.
The whole tent, made for one person, weighs an incredibly feather-light 17.5 ounces. (We got an even lighter prototype model to test; see below.)
It utilizes trekking poles for support and requires a minimum of six stakes to pitch. (Yama has tent poles available for those that wish to carry them.)
The version I’m testing is a new model expected to join the Cirriform product line in the future. It achieves a weight of just 14.9 ounces by trading the sil-nylon for a floor made of Cuben material.
The pitch is fairly straight-forward, easy to master, and it allows for adjustment to the conditions. A high pitch with the floor dropped and an open vestibule offers maximum ventilation. A lower pitch can be staked directly to the ground, and the bathtub floor can be cinched to the fly to block out drafts and seal the interior from wind-driven rain.
A small vestibule area will keep your shoes dry in wet weather.
The tent design is carefully thought out, full featured, and durably constructed. I spent a summer on the Pacific Crest Trail in a similar design by another manufacturer, and I immediately appreciated the added attention to detail apparent in the Yama.
I’m 6’ 3” and received the standard length Cirriform, which I fit in comfortably. But Yama will add up to 12 inches in length to the design if requested to accommodate taller hikers.
The stock floor area is 22.25 square feet, but the Cirriform feels roomy, thanks to the rear center pole which minimizes the slope from front to back and keeps your feet from rubbing the fly.
As with all single-walled tents, condensation can be an issue with the Cirriform, depending on the conditions and the pitch. But I’ve found it to be adequately ventilated on my hike this summer so far.
The cuben fiber fly is a big improvement over sil-nylon in this regard, as it stays taught throughout the night. Sil-nylon tends to sag and rub.
When the tent is not in use, it fits in a small stuff sack. Thanks to its lack of poles or rigid components it all but disappears when stowed in a pack.
So far on the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Cirriform SW has protected me from swarms of biting flies and mosquitoes in the Rockies; kept me warm and dry in a thunderstorm that leveled forests in the Purcells; and it made me a Yama Mountain Gear fanboy in the process. It’s simply the best ultralight shelter I’ve ever carried.
While Yama really impressed me with this tent, the meticulous design and cuben fiber construction doesn’t come cheap. Serious long distance backpackers that want one of the best fully-enclosed ultralight shelters on the market won’t bat an eyelash at the price tag. But at $420 for the base model, the Cirriform SW will not appeal to hikers on a budget.