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Re: [John Muir Trail] camp: sleep without tent

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  • Chris
    I have camped and backpacked in California for over 25 years without a tent and LOVE it. If I spent more time in rainy or buggy areas, I would use a tent for
    Message 1 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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      I have camped and backpacked in California for over 25 years without a tent and LOVE it. If I spent more time in rainy or buggy areas, I would use a tent for those reasons, but in most of California in the late summer there's no need for a tent. IMHO tents only provide a false sense of security by providing a psychological barrier between you and nature. They only protect you from rain and bugs. And dirt.

      It is amazing the things I see at night outside... watching bats swoop through the campsite, seeing the moon work it's way across the sky (I wake up occasionally throughout the night), seeing the light get imperceptibly brighter as the sun rises. Also, I wake up earlier and get an earlier start in the morning (important to me, since I'm not a morning person and can sleep until noon if I'm in a tent).

      Years ago, I was sleeping outside in Yosemite Valley (Upper Pines, I think) and I woke up the next morning to see that a bear had trashed a neighbor's food and drink coolers that were sitting outside about 15 feet from where I was sleeping. Through my fuzzy sleep coma, I remember hearing the noise of the bear knocking over the coolers and spilling ice cubes and beer cans all around, and I remember thinking that those guys in the neighboring campsite were being very loud and inconsiderate, then I promptly drifted back to sleep. Really, that bear had one thing on its mind, and it wasn't me. I was never in any danger.

      If you find that you are nervous sleeping outside, remember: "There's nothing out there at night that isn't out there during the day." It's true. In fact, I think we are in less danger at night than during the day, since there's less chance of surprising animals (stepping next to a rattlesnake, startling a preoccupied bear, etc). At night, they see and smell a person sleeping outside and avoid them, just like they'd avoid the sight and smell of a tent.

      Chris.

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Ron Cordell wrote:
      >
      > I cowboy camped every night I could; those nights I couldn't due to rain I
      > just had a tarp. I had no issues with animals of any kind. Bear canister
      > was well away from where I was sleeping, and I cooked well away as well.
      > Cooking for me at night is only rehydrating food.
      >
      >
      > On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM, Stanley Peng wrote:
      >
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > I welcome animals dropping by, but would I become a bear back rub or a
      > > coyote marking if I sleep without a tent along JMT? (August-September).
      > > Need experienced opinion. Thanks.
      > >
      > > Stanley
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • charliepolecat
      IMHO tents only provide a false sense of security True, but it s that or bring the blankie along.
      Message 2 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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        "IMHO tents only provide a false sense of security"

        True, but it's that or bring the blankie along.
      • staehpj1
        On my recent trips to the Sierras I just slept on top of the bivy (no hoop). If it rains I just get inside. I generally have the pad inside the bivy already
        Message 3 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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          On my recent trips to the Sierras I just slept on top of the bivy (no hoop). If it rains I just get inside. I generally have the pad inside the bivy already making it really quick and easy to get in. I typically have either a small tarp or poncho ready to pull over the mesh of the bivy if needed.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd wrote:
          >
          > My usual practice, after a few of
          > these, is to set up my shelter (for me, a hooped bivy) but sleep in the
          > open nearby. If it rains, I just move into the bivy
        • ravi_jmt2013
          For those with down sleeping bags, how can we determine in the evening whether condensation will be significant enough overnight to get the outside of the bag
          Message 4 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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            For those with down sleeping bags, how can we determine in the evening whether condensation will be significant enough overnight to get the outside of the bag more than a little wet? I like the idea of camping outside my tent in good weather but this issue has been in the back of my mind. I've always used a tent and find it difficult to predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning.



            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
            >
            > On my recent trips to the Sierras I just slept on top of the bivy (no hoop). If it rains I just get inside. I generally have the pad inside the bivy already making it really quick and easy to get in. I typically have either a small tarp or poncho ready to pull over the mesh of the bivy if needed.
            >
            > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd wrote:
            > >
            > > My usual practice, after a few of
            > > these, is to set up my shelter (for me, a hooped bivy) but sleep in the
            > > open nearby. If it rains, I just move into the bivy
            >
          • robert shattuck
            . . . predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning Just plan on it. If you brought along your barometer (or some such gizmo) and spent all
            Message 5 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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              "  . . . predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning" 

              Just plan on it. 

              If you brought along your barometer (or some such gizmo)  and spent all kinds of time taking various measurements and using a table of data and a calculator and so on, you could probably figure out when you were going to wake up with a wet tent, or bag––but you'd have to stay up all night, monitoring your systems, jotting down data and waiting for that moisture to form . . .  

              But if you just go with the flow (open your vents) some mornings your tent will be free of condensation, and other times, it'll be wet.  This kind of moisture doesn't really hurt your sleeping bag or anything else and if it is wet, the simple fix is to set it out in the sun––let everything dry. 

              Of course if you're getting up at 4 a.m. and hitting the trail in the dark, so you can knock out the big miles, just remember to take a break in the afternoon and pull out whatever might need to dry out. 

              Just a side note to drying things out––make sure to tack things down . . . I've seen a few tents get blown away. 

              Condensation is pretty much just a daily part of your household chores

              Bob
              http://www.summitpost.org/plans/view_activity.php?post_id=6480





            • charliepolecat
              A while ago on the Ozark Highland Trail I slept sans tent near the side of a lake. The next morning everything was covered with a heavy dew and my sleeping bag
              Message 6 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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                A while ago on the Ozark Highland Trail I slept sans tent near the side of a lake. The next morning everything was covered with a heavy dew and my sleeping bag and me were soaking wet. Best to take an hygrometer with you.;-)

                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "ravi_jmt2013" wrote:
                >
                > For those with down sleeping bags, how can we determine in the evening whether condensation will be significant enough overnight to get the outside of the bag more than a little wet? I like the idea of camping outside my tent in good weather but this issue has been in the back of my mind. I've always used a tent and find it difficult to predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning.
                sleep in the
              • Don
                Condensation won t be a much of a problem cowboy camping on the JMT In a tent remember you re pumping out moist warm air with your breath and creating an
                Message 7 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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                  Condensation won't be a much of a problem cowboy camping on the JMT In a tent remember you're pumping out moist warm air with your breath and creating an condensation incubation environment. That moist warm air hits the colder walls of your shelter and creates condensation. I have yet to see a tent that vents well enough to totally eliminate condensation when the elements conspire to create the moisture. Sleeping in the open all that warm air freely circulates with the colder air, hence no condensation. Now if you camp in a low lying area next to a lake all bets are off. Chose your campsite wisely, higher ground, tree cover etc. all help.

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "ravi_jmt2013" wrote:
                  >
                  > For those with down sleeping bags, how can we determine in the evening whether condensation will be significant enough overnight to get the outside of the bag more than a little wet? I like the idea of camping outside my tent in good weather but this issue has been in the back of my mind. I've always used a tent and find it difficult to predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning.
                  >
                • Don
                  Best to avoid the OHT if you want to stay dry. I did that trail in 2010 was pretty well saturated more than once. And that was just from walking through wet
                  Message 8 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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                    Best to avoid the OHT if you want to stay dry. I did that trail in 2010 was pretty well saturated more than once. And that was just from walking through wet vegetation in the morning. It was the first time I experienced condensation splatter, heavy condensation on the tent walls being bounced off by heavy rain hitting the outside.
                    Having said that, the OHT is well worth hiking if you ever have the chance. It's a 180 miles of a very different environment from the JMT.

                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "charliepolecat" wrote:
                    >
                    > A while ago on the Ozark Highland Trail I slept sans tent near the side of a lake. The next morning everything was covered with a heavy dew and my sleeping bag and me were soaking wet. Best to take an hygrometer with you.;-)
                    >
                    > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "ravi_jmt2013" wrote:
                    > >
                    > > For those with down sleeping bags, how can we determine in the evening whether condensation will be significant enough overnight to get the outside of the bag more than a little wet? I like the idea of camping outside my tent in good weather but this issue has been in the back of my mind. I've always used a tent and find it difficult to predict when condensation will be on the tent in the morning.
                    > sleep in the
                    >
                  • John Ladd
                    My experience in the Sierra is similar to Don s. I sometimes used to get condensation inside a tent, but rarely when I sleep in the open. I avoid wet,
                    Message 9 of 19 , Feb 1, 2013
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                      My experience in the Sierra is similar to Don's. I sometimes used to get condensation inside a tent, but rarely when I sleep in the open.  I avoid wet, low-lying campsites near meadows. Even a little breeze seems to keep the condensation away and anything on the bag when I wake up has usually dried off by the time I back up the bag.  If not, what little is there will dry out at a lunch stop.

                      John Curran Ladd
                      1616 Castro Street
                      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                      415-648-9279


                      On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM, Don <amrowinc@...> wrote:
                       

                      Condensation won't be a much of a problem cowboy camping on the JMT In a tent remember you're pumping out moist warm air with your breath and creating an condensation incubation environment. That moist warm air hits the colder walls of your shelter and creates condensation. I have yet to see a tent that vents well enough to totally eliminate condensation when the elements conspire to create the moisture. Sleeping in the open all that warm air freely circulates with the colder air, hence no condensation. Now if you camp in a low lying area next to a lake all bets are off. Chose your campsite wisely, higher ground, tree cover etc. all help. 

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