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JMT tent
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Timothy Sexton
(Tijos1) - F
JMT tent on 04/11/2009 16:57:25 MDT Print View

I am debating over whether or not to take a free standing tent on the JMT or if I should take a tent like the Tarptent Contrail.

I am solo hiking the JMT and I feel safer in bear country with a little distance between myself and a bear.

My one concern is that there won’t be ideal soil to place a tent stake. Because I know that on the east side of Mt. Whitney it is almost impossible to stake down a tent.

Also I will be carrying my WM down bag and do not want it to get wet if there is rain.

Almost all tents require being staked down to prevent condensation from dripping, however I am not sure if I should rely solely on a few stakes to hold up a tent in the rain.

What are other solo tents that people have used on the JMT hike?

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: JMT tent on 04/11/2009 17:38:35 MDT Print View

I took a gatewood cape. For hard ground I used a titanium nail peg and pounded it into the ground with a rock. This served as a pilot hole for lighter shepherd hook stakes. You can always use a dead man as well if you can't get a stake in. If weather threatens camp in sheltered areas down from the passes. Also even if your bag does get wet, the sun will be out soon and you can dry it out. We're talking about California after all.

Don't worry about the bear thing. They have little interest in people. They just want the food. Use a bear canister stored a little ways a way from your tent and you'll be fine. Besides if a bear really was intent on eating you a flimsy piece of fabric is not going to make the difference.

b s
(smyth) - F
JMT tent - Sublite on 04/11/2009 17:41:07 MDT Print View

I used a Tarptent Sublite (tyvek version) from Yosemite to Taboose Pass. No problems finding areas that it could be set up. Needed a stone to pound the stakes in a few times but that's all.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
JMT tent on 04/11/2009 17:45:19 MDT Print View


Freestanding tents generally weigh somewhat more than tents like the Contrail and for that reason alone eliminates these tents from consideration for many hikers that hangout here, including JMT hikers. The Contrail is a great choice and you will find almost limitless camping areas to drive in tent stakes. If you are determined to sleep on a rock slab, say for the ambiance of a particular site, plan on some work around or improvisation to stake out and to allow for that possibility. It can be done. Otherwise you will not have a problem using the Contrail.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
JMT Tent on 04/11/2009 17:59:24 MDT Print View

All the talk about bear burritos all the time makes me think next time I go to Chipotle I'll try to make a contrail out of tin foil.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
JMT tent on 04/11/2009 18:28:26 MDT Print View

For hard ground and/or rocky areas, I always carry at least one, usually 2, titanium nail stakes to make pilot holes for my "softer" stakes.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
... on 04/11/2009 18:57:36 MDT Print View

Go for whatever is lightest. If you are spending all day hiking, you'll probably never use it anyways. Just make sure you have a headnet for the mosquitos at night. A bivy would be better.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: JMT tent on 04/11/2009 19:17:21 MDT Print View

The Tarptent Rainbow is freestanding with trekking poles and is only 8 ounces more than the Contrail if you really want freestanding and light.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Re: JMT tent on 04/13/2009 18:16:11 MDT Print View

But the rainbow isn't really freestanding.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
JMT Tent on 04/13/2009 18:58:05 MDT Print View

As James mentioned - it is freestanding with trekking poles. You can pick it up and move it around while it still maintains its structure.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: JMT Tent on 04/13/2009 22:11:45 MDT Print View

I've hiked the high sierras 8 years now, and tarptents are the way to go, any variant of them. At guitar lake or the twin ponds above them, use rocks as the tent stakes (there are plenty of slabs -- I've always stayed at the twin ponds above guitar lake, it gives me 30 minute head start on those who stay at guitar lake, is more quiet, so I can't 100% speak about the rocks at guitar lake -- but there are tons of rocks suitable for staking down a tarptent at twin ponds. I was able to use tent stakes every other location of the last 165 miles of the JMT in 2008. I'll be doing the entire JMT in July.