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Tarps vs. tents...and sleeping bags

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  • sheehan1962
    Hi all, I m hiking the northern half of the trail in late Aug. and early Sept., for the first time, and I m wondering if anyone has any input on tarps vs.
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 6, 2009
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      Hi all,
      I'm hiking the northern half of the trail in late Aug. and early Sept., for the first time, and I'm wondering if anyone has any input on tarps vs. tents. I have never used tarps and don't know much about using them, so I'm wondering about them vs. a tent.
      Also sleeping bags - what's the temp. drop to usually this time of year? Depends on the altitude I know....and does anybody have any thoughts on zip together bags?! I'm thinkin about a 20 degree down bag...
    • Ralph Alcorn
      We have used both tarps and free standing tents on the JMT, and use a Henry Shires Tarp-Tent on the PCT. A tarp is fine for the JMT, but it will be colder than
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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        We have used both tarps and free standing tents on the JMT, and use a Henry
        Shires Tarp-Tent on the PCT. A tarp is fine for the JMT, but it will be
        colder than a tent, and also, you need to be quite careful of placement if
        there is any chance of rain, i.e. you don't want water running thru it. We
        have an original Golite tarp, not available now, which is about 8 by 10.
        This gives a lot more area than a tent, and there is plenty of room to put
        all your gear in the shelter of the tarp. It is also nice to be able to look
        out during the night.

        I have an REI SubKilo bag, rated at 20 degrees. If I just sleep with a light
        top, this is comfortable to about 30. Colder than that then I have to start
        sleeping with more clothes. Fully clothed it is ok to about 20. We have
        camped on the JMT various years from July to October. In Sept - Oct it can
        freeze your water bottle, but 20 degree bag still ok wearing all warm
        clothes. Coldest night on the JMT was one year in August when I slept on top
        Mt. Whitney. Even though I was in a sheltered spot, the winds kept blowing
        around me all night, and the bag was enough to keep me from going
        hyperthermic, but not much warmer than that. I didn't use a tent.



        --
        Ralph Alcorn
        http://www.backpack45.com/johnmuirtrail.html
        http://timecheck00.blogspot.com


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • s_auchterlonie
        I m going to suggest the tent...and here s why. Tarps serve good purpose to those who want light weight options. In addition, they provide a sense of
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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          I'm going to suggest the tent...and here's why. Tarps serve good purpose to those who want light weight options. In addition, they provide a sense of openness not found with tents. However, tarps do not weigh much less than tents do. Sure, tents are heavier but wise shopping will provide you with a light weight tent. Also, tarps produce annoying flapping noise during windy nights. Sometimes they can be more of a hassle to set up than a tent. You could always sleep outside on clear nights and not set the tent up all together to get the "openness" feeling of a tarp. Nevertheless, choosing between a tent and tarp is a personal preference. I hope this helps.

          Also, I have a REI Polar Pod +20 which keeps me toasty in 20-30 weather. Anything below this, I wear warm fleece which keeps me even warmer. My coldest night dropped to single digits and I was fine.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "sheehan1962" <sheehan1962@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi all,
          > I'm hiking the northern half of the trail in late Aug. and early Sept., for the first time, and I'm wondering if anyone has any input on tarps vs. tents. I have never used tarps and don't know much about using them, so I'm wondering about them vs. a tent.
          > Also sleeping bags - what's the temp. drop to usually this time of year? Depends on the altitude I know....and does anybody have any thoughts on zip together bags?! I'm thinkin about a 20 degree down bag...
          >
        • Robert W. Freed
          Temperatures are usually mild to hot this time of year. (Aug-Sep) That is what makes the Sierras so great. Tarp vs. tent is a personal choice. Mainly how to
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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            Temperatures are usually mild to hot this time of year. (Aug-Sep) That is what makes the Sierras so great. Tarp vs. tent is a personal choice. Mainly how to deal with the thunderstorms. Ultra lite etc.. I use a tarp and a couple a yards of noseeum for the bugs.
             
            Robert

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • richfax
            We hiked the JMT during the last week of Aug/first week of Sep in 2008. Weather was mild at night but dropped below freezing one night. We used Marmot Atom
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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              We hiked the JMT during the last week of Aug/first week of Sep in 2008. Weather was mild at night but dropped below freezing one night. We used Marmot Atom 40 degree bags with a silk liner and had no issues. I just wore all my clothes to bed the night it got below freezing. I was in a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL double wall tent.
            • david
              ... I spent 13 nights on the JM trail last August, and slept on passes a few nights. Anyhow, I employed the Shire s tent only one night because it was
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "sheehan1962" <sheehan1962@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi all,
                > I'm hiking the northern half of the trail in late Aug. and early Sept., for the first time, and I'm wondering if anyone has any input on tarps vs. tents. I have never used tarps and don't know much about using them, so I'm wondering about them vs. a tent.
                > Also sleeping bags - what's the temp. drop to usually this time of year? Depends on the altitude I know....and does anybody have any thoughts on zip together bags?! I'm thinkin about a 20 degree down bag...
                >

                I spent 13 nights on the JM trail last August, and slept on passes a few nights. Anyhow, I employed the Shire's tent only one night because it was sprinkling as I got to camp. I tried using tarp the last few outings- after channeling Ray Jardine. Here are my thoughts on tarps:
                1. it takes some practice (and time) to set them properly -more than tents
                2. there is less site flexibility, if you plan use a tree (or?) for one of your anchor points
                3. when the wind direction changes at 2 am, sometimes the tarps need to be adjusted
                4. there is nothing easier than a freestanding tent
                5. they are lightweight
              • Rich Ehli
                You ll save about 2 pounds and about one-third the space compared to a good, light one-person tent. I am unfamiliar with how a tarp would perform in the
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 7, 2009
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                  You'll save about 2 pounds and about one-third the space compared to a
                  good, light one-person tent. I am unfamiliar with how a tarp would
                  perform in the Sierras but I suspect it does substantially better as a
                  shelter compared with lower, wetter climes on the East Coast where there
                  are more creepy crawlies and bugs to deal with. Waking up in the middle
                  of the night to a mouse prancing across your lips is an experience that
                  is harmless on one level but also one you don't soon forget. Ask me how
                  I know that. I found a shaped tarp design with relatively steep sides
                  was much superior to a rectangular design since it is easier to set up
                  in windy conditions, especially if using hiking sticks as your 'tent'
                  poles. A rectangular tarp set up with a low arch is apt to have
                  condensation problems since moisture expelled by respiration and
                  perspiration will migrate to the waterproof tarp material and hang
                  suspended on the underside until shaken loose. In a downpour, the
                  pounding rain shakes loose the droplets on the occupant beneath, almost
                  like being out in the rain. With steeper sides, gravity eventually wins
                  out and the droplets slide down the material and fall off around the
                  perimeter. I had a good experience with the Integral Designs Sil Shelter
                  hiking the AT a while back and may decide to use it on JMT this year.

                  Rich

                  sheehan1962 wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi all,
                  > I'm hiking the northern half of the trail in late Aug. and early
                  > Sept., for the first time, and I'm wondering if anyone has any input
                  > on tarps vs. tents. I have never used tarps and don't know much about
                  > using them, so I'm wondering about them vs. a tent.
                  > Also sleeping bags - what's the temp. drop to usually this time of
                  > year? Depends on the altitude I know....and does anybody have any
                  > thoughts on zip together bags?! I'm thinkin about a 20 degree down bag...
                  >
                  >
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