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Re: [AT-L] Re: [AT-L] [AT-L] down & going tentless

Hello David -

You asked:

>What are the disadvantages of having just a tarp?  You mentioned bugs.

It's tempting to say "ain't none" <g>...I used a trail tarp (both solo and
with a partner) during both of my thru-hikes.

Had a lot of bugs, rain, sleet, and snow on the AT (southbound, June start,
Dec finish).  Used a mosquito net on the hot nights (both tarp and shelter)
when I couldn't mummy up and use a headnet.  Never had any problem with
rain or wind (will get into various pitches and the mod's I made to my
tarp, if interested).

The PCT is made for tarps <g>.  In fact, we didn't even bother to pitch the
tarp most of the time.  The nights are cool enough to allow you to mummy up
and wear a headnet when the mosquitoes are out (Oregon).

Critters (scorpions to snakes to mini-bears to skunks to feral dogs to
bears) didn't seem to be any more of a problem to tarpers than they were to
tenters.  I really enjoy sleeping out where I can watch the sky, feel the
breeze, and wake up with the false dawn.  I must admit that I never did
much like eating all those dehydrated foods, feeling my gut rumble, passing
more gas than I ever have in my total years on this planet, and THEN zip
myself up in a little almost air- tight envelope and SLEEP with it...

There is a downside to using a tarp.  If you are not going to carry poles
(I didn't), you either need to find something to substitute for them or
camp where you can tie to trees/rocks.  You can get wet where you brush
against the tarp while it is raining.  You need to pitch the tarp so that
you have plenty of moving around room (no problem if you have some way to
hold it up).  I carried a walking stick on the AT and used it many a time
as part of a two-stick pitch (when hiking with someone else) or a one-stick
pitch (solo).  My preference is to have plenty of trees to choose from -
the pitch is both simpler and quicker.  The biggest challenge is to pitch a
tarp in the middle of a big flat rock!

My tarp setup (10'X10' tarp, little bag of #18 braided nylon string, small
mosquito net, and end panels) weighs a smidgen under two pounds.  It sleeps
two with no problem (plenty of room to hang clothes, cook, and stash packs)
and three if friendly.  I have slept four under it in a drizzle-type rain.
Quite often, rainy-day tenters will come over and visit with me while they
cook (I collect my fee with my spoon...<g>).

I started using a tarp for four reasons.  The first was because I was going
out with groups of kids (Scouts) and I liked to be able to stay aware of
all that would be happening in the camp throughout the night.  The second
was because I really liked the feeling of openness I got when using a tarp.
The third was because I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to pitch
the blasted thing in the many different situations I seemed to find myself
in.  The fourth was because I was (and am!) a lazy sot...

y'all come,
            Charlie II

charlie2@ro.com    Huntsville,Al