Integral Designs Observer

1:48 p.m. on December 19, 2011 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

Anyone ever use the Integral Designs Observer?  In the snow?  Dewey?

11:29 p.m. on December 19, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

I do not have an Observer, but, I do have the civilian model now discontinued by the new owners of ID, it is called the "Mega Sola" and mine is OD. This is a superb shelter for certain uses and my choice for solo alpine hunting, which is what I bought it for. It is relatively heavy, built like a tank and the easiest shelter to erect with a leg fracture, etc. that I know of.

It is costly, much more than most hikers will ever require and I did not know of the Observer variation when I bought mine through a Lower Mainland dealer, from whom I have bought a lot of ID gear.

If, I had known of the Observer model, I would have purchased one instead of the "Mega Sola", but, I would NOT recommend this unless you are a serious alpine solo hunter as it weighs about the same as many light tents and costs a lot more than most of them.

However, if you are caught in an alpine storm and cannot get down to your spike camp or are injured, this will save your life and also works in severe wind like no high profile tent. I know all the tricks of building rock walls, etc, but, I carry gear that WILL SAVE ME when I am injured and cannot do such things.

So, for some people, the Observer is a great rig and worth the price and weight, but, for most hikers, there are better shelter options.

10:31 a.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

Other than it being somewhat heavy seems like a solid lil rig.

12:41 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

Well, I have been thinking of an Observer for a couple of years as there is nothing out there that will protect me on a solo alpine hunt here in BC as this will. Sooooooo, after some careful thought, I called Evan Jones of ID about an hour ago and discussed buying one from him......CWF, this is ALL your fault!!!!!

But, an old geezer like me can always justify buying really fine gear and the actual "made in Calgary" ID gear is among the VERY finest in design and materials I have ever used. so, I will be sending my order into Evan right after Christmas, and he will ship when they do their next run of these.

What attracts me to this shelter is that one can easily erect it quickly in horrible weather, even when injured and it will keep you safe in any conditions. The much greater ease of entry with a splinted limb is the dealmaker for me and while it weighs 4 lbs. 12 oz., about what my ID MKI-XL tent weighs and a bit more than my Soulos, the fact is that the pound of extra weight over my Mega Sola, is worth it to me on solo trips.

I guess I will just have to eat gruel for several months to afford it, but, hey, we North Americans are all too "fat" anyway or so various diet gurus tell us so this can only be a good thing, eh!

12:57 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

Ha!  Sorry about that.

Like Rick was, I am on the hunt for a bomber shelter that can fit in very small places.  I have used a Soulo and loved it but found it a bit short for me.  That really would be my only criticism of it.  It really is that good.

But the Observer caught my eye given it's narrow an low profile.  I also like the fact that ID is still making them in Canada.  Some of their other models including the Wedge will be made in China in the new year (according to RAB).

If you want to see what ID will be making in Calgary, have a look at: and try not to drool (I am an ID hack, however, so excuse me)

I am in no way affiliated with these folks but they are carrying some of the ID tactical gear in Calgary as a retail shop:

And I found some excellent photos of the Observer here. Notice the maximum ventilation and the access from the top if required.  Would be pretty easy to get into!


3:39 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

I am familiar with the sites you have posted and as I said, I have ordered an Observer from the next production run that ID makes. I have thought this over for 2+ years and finally decided that spending the coin for one so I could develop my ultimate sheep hunting camp is worth the financial effort considering the functional utility of the Observer.

I would not buy one for 90+ of any backpacking I have done or know of here in BC, there are options that cost less and are much lighter and perfectly adequate for most situations. Where this will really excel is in those few mountain situations where the weather is horrible, you cannot get down/out and must camp for a short time to just survive.

I will ALWAYS choose a tent for any planned camps and do, but, when you want to "siwash" on a high ridge for a night or two, there is no equal to the Observer and it is as "bomber" as any tent/shelter gets.

I asked Evan some years ago about making the Mega Sola in eVent and he just said, "I don't want to go there" and subsequently released the Wedge. I got to test the first Wedge in BC, did not care for it and still don't.

I was then informed that ID was being sold and kinda gave up on the whole issue, but, still badly want a blaze orange-red Observer in eVent and one in camo such as Multicam also in eVent, as these would be the best possible serious mountain shelters for emergency and sheep/goat hunting uses.

That said, I will settle for what I can get and buy a currently produced Observer and call it good.

7:00 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

I am so lucky that I am under 6ft. :)

May 25, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Gloves & Mittens Newer: Several new pieces of gear!!!!
All forums: Older: marmot plasma 15 womens sleeping bag wanted Newer: NorthFace Hyvent rain jacket