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[pct-l] It's all about having fun!!!

>> Ron, I challenge you to sleep in your 25 year old down bag under a tarp
on a
star-filled twenty degree night!  My bet is that you won't sleep and you'll
freeze. <<

Ah, a challenge. I love challenges. I'll do you one better I'll skip the
tarp and just sleep out under the stars. On the PCT I used my tarp less than
10 nights on the entire trail. I zipped up my sleeping bag only twice. The
rest of the time I simply used it as a quilt.

In the months preceding the hike I trained to sleep cold. By the time I left
for the trail I was able to sleep comfortably in a 55 degree room with no
clothes or covers. It is quite possible to train our bodies and minds to go
beyond our normally prescribed limits.

My little training pales in comparison to Buddhist monks from Nepal who can
sleep out at 14,000 feet in the dead of winter with nothing more than a thin
cotton robe. Yes, it's been thoroughly documented.

>> In my old SD Starflight this is the case.  The pyramid shape provides
ample head room and sheds consensation excellently.  It most cases the
condensation formed not on the inside of the tent (very rare) but on the
inside of the fly collecting then outside of the tent on the ground. <<

I love that old SD Starflight, my wife and I used one on the AT. The two of
use slept in one and hiked through 8 days straight of rain in Maine and
managed to keep our down bags dry. The foot of the bags got a bit wet, but
hardly enough to prevent a comfortable nights sleep.

Tom writes >>For you, now that you have decided to use your brain, I suggest
that you go out and make some money and buy a Stephenson tent  for those wet
conditions. A well pitched tarp in cold, wet conditions is an oxymoron. <<

On the PCT one of our companions had a Stephenson's tent. He had more
problems with wet gear from rain or condensation than I did with my tarp. I
can hike a lot of miles on money differential between a $400 tent and a $40
tarp. Besides I like wasting brain power on activities that have little or
no economic return. Like designing tents and backpacks. Of course I'd make a
bit more if you'd buy my tent.

Bob asks >>OK. Enough ruffled feathers. How about real advice? Where do we
find information on properly pitching tarps? <<

First Bob let me say I've got two rules when it comes to backpacking. I've
stolen them from Greg who probably stole them from someone else. They are:

1) There are no rules.
2) Refer to rule number 1.

So when it comes to talking about tarp/tents down/synthetics etc. I don't
take myself too seriously. The goal is to go out and have fun. What's
important is what it takes to get you out there and keep you happy. There is
no right or wrong / good vs. bad approach. If however, what you're doing is
no longer fun then you look for alternatives.

As to information on pitching tarps, there are a number of references
available on the net. You should be able to find some with a reasonable
amount of searching. Then it's a matter of going out and finding what works
for you.