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Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Offline dryer

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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2007, 06:53:13 AM »
Every slept in a screened in porch?  That's what tarp camping is like.  The nice thing about tarps is their versatility.  You can pitch them a number of different ways, which is why I like rectangular versions, like my poncho shelter.   I can actually make it wrap completely around me with a central pole (trekking pole or free stick on the ground) and have a tent.  If suspended properly, you can drop one side all the way to the ground to block wind, and if the wind changes, drop another side, all without re-pitching.  I made my own bug netting....the store bought ones are too heavy....and sometimes that's all I pitch, no tarp unless it rains.   If you choose your campsites wisely, wind isn't a problem.   Candidly, I've always felt warmer with the proper bag in an open sided tarp, due to the lower humidity.   Ventilation is important.   I'm sure there is a point where weather/temperature demands a 4 season expedition quality tent (Everest)
but I don't do expeditions.  
 I stopped using tents in Big Bend when I got caught in 100 mph gusts in Pine Canyon.  My tent hoops broke and the thing became a sail around me.  Miserable the entire night and the tent was unusable.  Poor choice of campsites.  Had I been laying on the ground with no tent, I  would have faired better, hunkered behind a rock.   I'm big on campsite choices.

Here's another outstanding option with the best quality sleep you'll ever get in the boonies:

The hammock on the right is mine, a Hennessy, and my very favorite way to sleep.  Ground is no consideration.  You really do leave no trace.  Built in bug net, no creepies get in, in rain and wind you gently swing. Typically, I don't guy it because I enjoy the rocking/swinging in the wind.  It's like sleeping on a cruise liner, and you are totally and gently supported.  It can be guy'd steady if needed.  
Very lightweight.  I've gotten up in the morning with ice on the outside, toasty inside.   2.5 lbs. isn't really considered "ultralite" but I'll bring it if I'm going to a place I'll be hanging around a while.
KD5IVP, Texas


Offline bdann

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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2007, 08:44:19 AM »
This is a great discussion...

My old solo backpacking tent:

This tent is crap.  You can't move around inside at all and the ventilation is terrible.  I always have condensation dripping on my face when I wake up in the morning or ice when it's cold.  This tent is now retired.

My new Eureka! solo backpacking tent:

It's better, but it could be improved upon.  It's quite cramped, though easy to get in and out with the top zipper.  It has a small vestibule and the ventilation is great, no condensation.  With the rain fly rolled up (as in the photo) it's nice to lay there and watch the stars.  It weighs about 3lbs and rolls up nice and small.  I just wish it was taller so you could sit up.  You have to exit the tent to get dressed, which isn't fun on cold mornings.  

Honestly, I'm fine with splitting up a regular 3 man dome tent with my hiking buddy and deal with the extra weight.  I've done this many times and it's really nice to have the extra room.  

I'm definitely in the camp of needing to sleep in a tent.  I don't know what it is, I just feel like I need to be "inside" of something.  I like the false sense of security I guess.  I've slept out in the open many times with no shelter, but not since I was a kid.  I guess I didn't worry about bugs and snakes so much then!

My brother has a cool little solo tent I gave him for his birthday this year -

It's not pitched very well here, but it's a cool tent.  More spacious than mine. It's made by Mountainsmith.
WATER, It does a body good.


Offline mule ears

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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2007, 04:30:04 PM »
Quote from: "dryer"
Ever slept in a screened in porch?  That's what tarp camping is like.  The nice thing about tarps is their versatility...    If you choose your campsites wisely, wind isn't a problem...   I'm big on campsite choices.

I too am big on good camspite choices.  Sleeping out without cover gives you ideal mornings like this one where you just sit up in the bag, fire up the stove and the coffee is ready when the sun hits Elephant Tusk and you never got out of the bag  :lol:


I also like the versatility of a tarp including portable shade like this in Smoky Creek when it was over 100 degrees and we had a leisurely afternoon in the shade of the tarp, breezes and all.  This one is from 1973 and I still use the same 17 oz. two person tarp today (8.5 oz. per person plus stakes).

temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water


Offline trtlrock

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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2007, 06:34:07 PM »
We use a GoLite tarp (can't remember the exact model -- discontinued though).  Aside from being light & easy to deploy, one thing we really like about it are the side-beaks...

Previously used a Sierra Clip Flashlight tent, but it was way too confining, even though it was pretty light for a tent.  Also, the ventilation & condensation situation with a tent is never ideal.

Here's a few views of the GoLite...

1) good side-view of beaks

2) sometimes you've got to set it up REAL low  :wink: here we were expecting a windy thunderstorm that never materialized

3) sometimes you get beautiful weather but you just want to be safe...

4) it's way cool at night, with the reflective triptease guy wires & the headlamps or camera flash...

5) of course, the best tarp is no tarp at all!

John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee


Offline Casa Grande

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« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2007, 10:27:23 AM »
Quote from: "dryer"

 I stopped using tents in Big Bend when I got caught in 100 mph gusts in Pine Canyon.


« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2007, 09:31:38 AM »
I have a squall 2 and a cloudburst.....I love them both.

The squall2 will be headed out with me this saturday for two 6day 5 nite trips.  It is storm worthy and roomy enoungh for two and palatial for one.

I use my hiking pole for the front pole and it works fine.

I believe it is well worth the wait for one of his products.

Jeff- nice blog about your new tent.



Offline Hayduke

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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2007, 03:44:55 PM »
This may be of interest though it hasn't been updated in some time:

B.D.'s Ultralight Backpackers Home Buyers Guide



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