Sleeping Gear

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cavaroc
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Sleeping Gear

Post by cavaroc » Feb 15 2016 2:23 pm

I'm currently planning on bringing an MSR Hubba tent and a Klymit sleeping pad, which together are just over three pounds (the tent being the bulk of it). Since I'll be bringing a lot of camera gear, I'm looking at shedding any weight I can. What would be a lighter weight option? Is a hammock doable on the AZT? Also, if I were to cowboy camp in nicer weather, is there any danger of a snake or scorpion joining me?
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oldmanonthetrail
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by oldmanonthetrail » Feb 15 2016 2:45 pm

Hey Mike I'm using my tent fly as a tarp, Lucky for me it seems to work really well with my trekking pole set up (8ozs )and I got a TYVEK ground sheet 5x10 with grommets for $20 (8ozs.) (google tyvek tarp kit or amazon). Make a great tarp too !! Unless you can afford cuban fiber .I really wanted my tent too (for critters) but the grommets on the tarp help get the edges off the ground and saves me 30 ozs. The expensive hammocks come in around the same weight. The only downside to Tyvek is its noisy in the wind .If you wash it a few times it really helps. Maybe something there to help you
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DallinW
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by DallinW » Feb 15 2016 2:58 pm

[s]One option to save a little weight, at a low cost, could be to bounce your rain fly ahead of you and take it only when there is rain in the forecast. If you look at the weather in town, and you have 0% chance of precipitation for the next 4 days, bounce it to the next town.[/s] (Probably a bad idea for a thru-hike.)

If you're willing to spend a little bit of money and do some research, I'd look into getting a "tarp + bivy/bugnet" or a "tarp tent" setup. You can find light (but expensive) options for both of these setups through "cottage companies", such as ZPacks.

A tarp tent is pretty much like a normal tent but it is made out of very lightweight material and are (typically) single-walled.

A tarp + bivy/bugnet combo consists usually of a tarp, groundsheet, and some kind of bivy or bugnet for protection. Some don't use a bivy and simply use a standard headnet at night for bug protection. This is the most versatile setup (imo) because you can cowboy camp with just the groundsheet when it's nice, and pitch the tarp when the weather gets bad. You can also get the entire system to come in at around 1 lb - 2 lbs. But, it also requires the most skill and experience to get right. If you do go this route, make sure to do a few shakedown hikes before leaving.

Both options (typically) use your hiking poles instead of tent poles.

Here are zpacks tarps, and tarp tents:
http://zpacks.com/shelters.shtml

A good article on transitioning from a tent to a tarp setup:
http://sectionhiker.com/how-do-you-slee ... er-a-tarp/

I'm currently transitioning to a tarp setup, so I don't have personal experience with it, but this is basically what I gather from the research I've done.
Last edited by DallinW on Feb 15 2016 4:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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cavaroc
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by cavaroc » Feb 15 2016 3:14 pm

Really appreciate the feedback! These are a great help.
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flagscott
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by flagscott » Feb 15 2016 3:24 pm

Bouncing your tent to the next town is a bad idea (unless,perhaps, the towns are quite far apart). Even with Priority Mail, you should allow several days for your gear to arrive. Just because it's 75 miles as the crow flies between trail towns does not mean that your package will be taking a direct route. Always allow extra times for mail drops--having to wait in town for a package sucks.

Also, rain forecasts are often wrong, especially up in the mountains where the higher elevation can squeeze precipitation out of the air that may not fall lower down in valleys where the towns (and forecast locations are).

I've only done pieces of the AZT, but if I thru-hiked, I would probably go with tarp + bivy--that's the lightest option if you get a very light tarp and bivy, and it offers a lot of flexibility. If you know what you're doing with a bivy (good campsite selection + waterproofing the floor), you can get away without a groundcloth.

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rcorfman
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by rcorfman » Feb 15 2016 3:40 pm

I have a silnylon tarp I sewed, along with a polycro groundcloth and ti stakes I bought from Gossamer Gear. The whole set up weighs 21 oz. I used it on my last 390 miles section hiking the AZT (Pine to Utah, Mexico to Patagonia). There were several rainy days/nights and I never had any issues with it.
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cavaroc
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by cavaroc » Feb 15 2016 3:41 pm

Great points, Flagscott! Definitely looking into the tarp+bivy option. I'd love to shave off two pounds at the last minute.

rcorfman - Sounds intriguing! I'll look into that too.

Thanks for all the advice!
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DallinW
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by DallinW » Feb 15 2016 3:50 pm

flagscott wrote:Bouncing your tent to the next town is a bad idea (unless,perhaps, the towns are quite far apart). Even with Priority Mail, you should allow several days for your gear to arrive. Just because it's 75 miles as the crow flies between trail towns does not mean that your package will be taking a direct route. Always allow extra times for mail drops--having to wait in town for a package sucks.
Didn't think about postal service lag.

I wouldn't do it on a long stretch though, the farther you go out the harder the weather is to predict. But I feel if you have 0% precip in the next couple of days, unless it's Monsoon season, in most of AZ you're pretty safe. It's still always a gamble. I've left the fly home on a lot of overnighters, and some 2 - 3 day trips. Maybe one of these days I won't get so lucky, though. :)

Just an option I thought up, probably not the most optimum.

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Adrian Adams
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by Adrian Adams » Feb 15 2016 4:41 pm

+1 on the Tarp recommendation. I have been using an 8' x 10' silnylon tarp (19 oz) here in AZ for the past ten years. I just recently upgraded to a Cuben Mountain Laurel Designs, Grace Duo (9.9 oz). I don't use any bug protection or a bivy. I opted for a little larger tarp and no bivy due to the condensation issues with bivy sacks.

If your a trekking pole user, which I am not, there a lots of options, like the MLD Duo Mid.

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jonathanpatt
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by jonathanpatt » Feb 15 2016 5:23 pm

I currently use a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 for shorter trips and on longer trips use a MLD Superlight bivy (~7 oz) with either a Borah Gear 5.5' x 9' silnylon flat tarp (7.5 oz) or a Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape (12 oz) that's a hybrid poncho/pyramid tarp shelter. I do like the flexibility of the tarps, as you can easily choose to camp without them if you know it's going to be rain free, and can pitch them a variety of ways for different conditions. But there's more of a learning curve with pitching a tarp vs. a tent.

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flagscott
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by flagscott » Feb 15 2016 5:50 pm

jonathanpatt wrote:But there's more of a learning curve with pitching a tarp vs. a tent.
That's an important point. If you get a tarp, practice setting it up! The first time I needed to use my tarp on the PCT was when a wind/rainstorm kicked up in the middle of the night. I couldn't get the tarp up because I'd only done it a couple of times before in calm weather and daylight. (I ended up rolling up in the tarp burrito-style, which was effective though not very comfortable)

Also, when camping in bad weather with a tarp, you'll want to be careful about site selection and how you orient the tarp. None of these things are hard to learn, but practice helps.

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Paintninaz
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by Paintninaz » Feb 15 2016 9:18 pm

flagscott wrote: Also, when camping in bad weather with a tarp, you'll want to be careful about site selection and how you orient the tarp. None of these things are hard to learn, but practice helps.
And none of this matters if you are stuck in a storm in the Grand Canyon...it has it's own rules. ;)
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cavaroc
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by cavaroc » Feb 16 2016 8:08 am

Thanks for all the great feedback! It sounds like a tarp with or without a bivy is a great option, but at the same time, it seems like I might be a little late in potentially switching setups. Even if I ordered it now, I wouldn't have much opportunity in practicing setting it up since everywhere within a day's drive of me is covered in snow (which could come in handy for a few days on the trail).
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JimAH
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by JimAH » Feb 16 2016 8:59 am

I've been using a HMG square flat tarp in Arizona and New Mexico for the last three years. As others have said, the weight savings are outstanding and it provides great protection provided you practice a few different pitches prior to hitting the trail. You'll want a few options in your repertoire to account for wind speed/rain direction and terrain. Be sure to have a pitch for when the wind is coming directly or obliquely down slope -- having sufficient headroom and wind protection in those conditions can be tricky.

The only issues I've every had with a tarp are: (a) when using a low storm pitch in very humid conditions, it's easy to rub your feet against the bottom of the tarp and get condensation on your bag; and (b) if it pours rain, the lack of a bath tub floor leaves you susceptible to flooding. For the AZT this spring, I'm going to try exchanging my polycyro ground cloth for a 7 oz sylnylon bivy. Since the bivy will hold a little heat in the cold, I'll take a slightly lighter bag. On net, I'll be 3 oz heavier than usual but will have a bit more moisture protection if it pours.

In spring, snakes are still hibernating everywhere except the low deserts. There, the evenings are still chilly. So, by the time you're in bed so are the snakes. No worries. Scorpions are a bit more of a crapshoot. They generally live under rocks and come out at night to eat other bugs. Saying "try not to camp in rocky areas" in Arizona is especially useful, however. That said, in over 20 years of desert camping with 95% of my nights either under the stars or an open tarp, I've never had a problem with scorpions.

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steady
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by steady » Feb 16 2016 1:08 pm

I'm taking the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape as both shelter and rain gear. I haven't used it on a trail yet, but I did the CDT with a Wild Oasis, which is a very similar shelter, including a stretch of 11 days of nonstop rain and I was quite happy. Not 100% sure on it as rain gear, but for the amount of rain I anticipate I think it'll suffice. I have other rain gear I can have sent if it turns into a season of deluges.

I wouldn't worry that much about being able to set up in advance. You can do that your first day out, just make sure you've got a general idea of what you're doing, and you don't start out in a rain storm. You can usually pitch in your living room using heavy objects as "stakes", it's not pretty but it gets the process down anyway.

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Sredfield
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by Sredfield » Feb 27 2016 1:58 pm

@cavaroc
Not if you spread your lariat around your bedroll there, Tex. ;)
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te_wa
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Re: Sleeping Gear

Post by te_wa » Feb 27 2016 2:09 pm

cavaroc wrote: Is a hammock doable on the AZT?
i wonder that myself... i can tell ya that there are many places devoid of trees (high altitude flats from GC south rim heading into flagstaff, for instance)
it would sure make the daily mileage harder, so if you're shooting for an even 20 miles/day you may have to go less or more depending on tree resources, right? then again, riparian areas are not a problem. i'm just concerned about the long stretches of tree-less terrain. i have in the past however, hung from unlikely spots. once did a t/h sign and old cowboy fence at woodbury.. and another time hung from a vehicle luggage rack to a HUGE sycamore down at Galiuros. fun stuff!
of course, life would be much easier if you use a wide pad as insulation, that can double as a ground pad. i'll be taking my 20 degree underquilt, so trees or similar structures are a must! maybe i'll be the first do hike the entire AZT w/ hammock only. i dunno, havent researched that particular spec.
:D

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