Thursday, October 8, 2009
the Wake Up Call (part 7)
ah, tents.....I can never have enough TENTS. During a recent garage clean-out session, I made a big pile of all our tents. Most of them are car camping sized tents. I have used many different types of shelters in my backpacking adventures. I have used small 7x7 ft dome tents. I have used a polyethylene green tarp. Once in the Seven Devils mountains I experimented with an orange poly emergency tube tent (it was lightweight, but slept very cold with the wind blowing through both ends!). I also have spent a couple of nights sleeping without a shelter with just a small 5x7 ft. tarp beneath me for a groundcloth. For a couple of years I had good results with the REI Coupe, which is a double wall tent that weighs 2 pounds (+ a few ounces). Although the REI tent was a bit small for my size (I am 6 ft. 3 in.) I felt very comfortable inside it. It was/is a good ventilating double wall tent with some vestibule space outside. My most successful lightweight shelters have been silnylon tarptents. My first one was a Brawny Tarptent. It weighs about 1 pound. The tarptent I have been using for the last two hiking seasons is a tarptent called Wild Oasis, made by Six Moon Designs. It is based on the successful Gatewood Cape design, with the addition of mosquito netting sewn along the bottom perimeter and with a zipper added for access. It does not have a floor. I lay out my 5x7 tarp as my groundcloth, then tuck the edges of the mosquito netting beneath the tarp to keep the bugs out. I have been very pleased with this shelter system. I have been through three good rains inside this tent and I have stayed dry. My biggest challenge, as with all single wall silnylon shelters, has been condensation on the INSIDE. The answer to the condensation problem has been to keep the bottom edges raised a few inches to allow ventilation. This shelter has a ton of room underneath, and for 13 ounces it saves on weight in the backpack. I will try to post some pictures of the various shelters I have mentioned above.