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11726RE: [John Muir Trail] JMT Shelter

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  • robert shattuck
    Jan 4, 2011
      "What type of shelter, if any, do most people use on the trail?" 

      Do you want to suffer, survive or stretch out and enjoy a bug-free and weather-resistant night (several, in fact) . . . 

      I have done 'em all and I am now very happy to carry a 3.5 REI  2-man tent. Nothing like setting up  and climbing in and then being able to drag the rest of your gear in. If I wanted to splurge and spend another $100-200 bucks, I could buy a lighter tent, but assuming it's free-standing, I am only going to cut another pound or maybe two. 

      You can of course go the ultra-light route and buy a henry shires or any one of a good many ultra-lights––but my preference is to get into camp and not spend much time setting up a non free-standing tent . . . playing with the guy lines and pounding in stakes, or just having to find decent soil––often camp spots are just a good amount of sand over rock––or a tree. 

      All this being said, I admit to being lazy and tired after a long day of walking and just like the luxury that a bear canister is, I am happy to carry the weight and convenience, rather than spending precious time ( I suck at tossing rocks into trees) bagging or pitching some feather-weight tent that will no doubt fail due to my lack of attention. 

      I can set my tent up in about three minutes. BUT AGAIN, there are people who've got the UL tent thing down and do just fine. 

      Early in the season you'll be real happy you're not sweating it out in a bivy sack while a zillion hungry bugs are plastered to your tiny window. About mid-august you can usually count on the bug count going way down, but the chill factor picking up. 

      As noted by others though, you're going to be sleeping out for many nights. I did the one-man-almost-bivy-sack small tent thing one summer and it was no fun. No room to do anything and then the weather hit and the bag stuck to the frozen tent and . . . don't go there unless you're an absolute glutton or just trimming every point of every ounce . . . this one weighs 3.5, but this one weighs 3.4 and has a whistle . . . 

      I've also done the no-tent thing and again, if you're out for speed and every ounce counts, then maybe you want to suffer a few nights getting ravaged by bugs and weather––hardcore. 

      And then there are those with totally contrary experiences and opinions . . . 


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