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11745RE: [John Muir Trail] JMT Shelter

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  • Don Amundson
    Jan 5, 2011
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      It's that time of the year again.  Discussion of shelters now, backpacks and sleeping bags soon with clothing, food and first aid kits to follow. I love this stuff since it always forces me to compare, rethink and possibly make some changes in my gear. Besides I hate backpacking in the snow so I'm stuck at home for awhile. 
      For what it's worth--my current shelter of choice is a SMD Wild Oasis (it seems that others like it also).  It is the same size and shape as the Gatewood Cape, without the poncho capability but does have a screen skirt for bug protection. It is light at 13oz. There is plenty of room at 35 sq. ft. for me and all my gear. It sets up in minutes using one pole. I've used it in lightning storms, heavy rain, hail and extreme winds and it has protected me from the elements through it all.  The only thing that keeps me from changing is money. There is probably a cuben fiber product in my future.  For now I am completely comfortable with what I have.
      My previous favorite was a Tarptent Rainbow which was also a great shelter but had a weight penalty at 32 oz. At my age I'm trying to extend my backpacking life by lowering my pack weight.  In 2009 on a JMT thru hike I did OK but found myself struggling on some of the passes.  Last spring I did a 180 mile hike on the OHT with about 8lbs. less and really felt the difference.  This year on a JMT section hike, having dropped a few more pack pounds I was feeling pretty frisky.  Leaving MTR with 5 days of food and a supply of water I was carrying 25lbs.
      Everybody seems to have different priorities regarding their shelter. There is no right or wrong way. One persons idea of comfort or utility can be totally different for another as is obvious from the varied responses. My recommendation to you CK is that you test drive what ever shelter system you plan to use.  Go out on some done in a day trips.  See if you like what you have and if not try something else until your confident that your choice will work for an extended trip. When you finalize your choice let the rest of us know how it worked for you.  Around Jan 2012 we'll revisit this topic in earnest.

      From: o0distorted0o@...
      Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 22:52:33 +0000
      Subject: [John Muir Trail] JMT Shelter

      What type of shelter, if any, do most people use on the trail?

      I was thinking of bringing a 4.5lb tent... then I realized that I could cut that weight nearly in half by getting a blue tarp and a outdoor research bug bivy from REI.

      So what do you use?


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