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down & going tentless

In the advice, generally excellent, about lightening pack weight, were two
bits that I have problems with - the one was to leave the fleece at home and
carry a down jacket; the other was to leave the tent at home.  I don't know
where they hike, but it isn't the same places I hike.  On an AT thruhike, it
is wet one day in three - rain, snow, sleet, hail, heavy wet fog, etc.  Down
would be utterly useless for that kind of weather.  And goretex is no help. 
Pennsylvania in October may be absolutely gorgeous, or it may be cold and
wet with all day drizzles.  We've hiked in both, usually on the same
weekends.  There are no shelters.  Staying dry is not easy, staying warm is
easier if you have the right gear, like fleece that keeps you warm even when
damp.  Down doesn't.  If you are hiking in an all day rain, the goretex will
get saturated, and be no protection at all.  It will keep you warmer, but
not dry.  
Second point, no tent.  A light tent is an absolute essential for camping in
the east where the weather is so damp. In most areas off the AT there are no
shelters.  Where there are shelters, you may well find them filled - even in
winter.  A tent is warmer than a shelter.  The mice won't keep you awake all
night.  It gives you much needed flexibility.  (I once hiked 24 miles in the
rain because I wasn't carrying a tent, I finally arrived at the shelter and
it was full!)  What happens if you don't feel comfortable with one of the
people in the shelter (i.e. hoods in the woods, or party crowds)?  Without a
tent, you have little choice but to stay.  This can be very dangerous.