Why do women prefer a tent?
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Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
Re on 06/02/2009 13:48:35 MDT Print View

yep bugs. Unfort here in Alabama, if you don't have some netting could wake up like this.

Edited by rcaffin on 06/02/2009 16:39:01 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 14:43:24 MDT Print View

Wow!

I'm flabbergasted when this question comes up. More blown away when people say that it's really only inexperienced hikers who prefer tents. Or comments that tents only give the psychological sense of increased protection. Get real!

I've been backpacking and traveling the backcountry for well over 20 years. I've slept in "survival" style brush shelters, snow caves, under tarps, and in tents. Last weekend I paddled 240 miles in two days (which I mention because I'm guessing most newbies couldn't or wouldn't). I have a book forthcoming on backpacking equipment. And I will really only sleep in a tent.

Do I have some kind of massive insecurity? Am I an idiot who carries a couple pounds "too much?" No. Of course not.

The joke around the areas I frequent is that mosquitos should be the state bird (incidentally, doesn't matter which state I'm in). Sometimes people get bored and switch it up, saying the black flies should be the state bird. Bugs are thick and they drive me batty. Sure, I could use a bug net under a tarp... but then, why not just use a tent? I could also use a headnet or a bug bivy... if I didn't mind locking myself into my sleeping bag or bivy any time I wanted to escape the bugs. It would make eating, playing cards, or otherwise doing anything other than hiking or sleeping more of a pain.

I think it's absurd to argue that a tarp gives better, or even equal, storm protection as a tent. A double-skin tent will be warmer and drier than a tarp, period. If you do most of your traveling in dry (or drier) areas, this probably won't matter to you. If you hike as I do in areas where 4 or 5 days of rain isn't unheard of, you come to appreciate the genuine shelter of a tent. For those who say a tarp is easier to set up, I say baloney. I can set up a tarp or a tent in about the same amount of time and with about the same amount of hassle. Although, frankly, the tent takes a little less hassle in tensioning guylines.

So if you love being bitten by bugs and hate having pret' near bomber storm protection, use only a tarp in my neck of the woods. If you go out to have fun, though, and are secure enough in your "status" as an outdoorsperson, you'll probably find that your experience in a tent isn't nearly as miserable. Again, your take on this probably differs depending on climate and such.

My cents.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Hammocks on 06/02/2009 14:49:07 MDT Print View

"I think modern women prefer hammocks, but then so do men."

Ugggh. Me No Modern?? Me Get Motion Sick In Modern Hammock. Me Not Always Have Trees Either.

This un-evolved women prefers Refuge-X for solo use, and Double Rainbow for two people plus dog.

If you ignore the gender aspects of the question, then it is an entirely different question. There have bee many MANY posts at BPL of guys asking what kind of shelter they should get for their women coz the women won't go without a fully enclosde tent. I haven't yet seen the opposite question, ie what tent should I get for my man coz he won't go without one. So I think it's a legitimate gender query even though SOME men prefer tents and SOME women prefer no tent.

Obviously the answer is as varied as the women who are answering it. There is no single reason. I suspect that one big reason is that women are less likely than men to go solo. For a couple, a tarptent can be just as light as a double tarp/groundsheet/bivy bag/insect net combo, and more conducive to intimacy. For a solo hiker a tarp or bivy bag may be fine.

The point about the dog is also a good one I hadn't really thought about before. Without a tent, we would have to tie our dog up, and he would be restles and probably keep us awake. Inside a tent, he is very happy and secure. Again, nothing to do with gender per se, but a lot to do with the more social nature of many women's outdoor pursuits.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 14:55:12 MDT Print View

Hi Brad, I don't think people are quite that judgmental about tent users :)

For the record, I camp in a lot of rain and clouds of sandflies, and still prefer my 'tarp'-like shelter over my tent. That's all it is, a preference.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 16:43:51 MDT Print View

Hi Adrian,

Yeah, I was probably on a borderline rant there. Sorry. It does seem to be the inference here, though. What really gets me is the plethora of pics of wet, cold, miserable looking people under their tarps "building character." I've got plenty of character! I just wanna have fun.

I will say that I also psychologically prefer a tent to a tarp... as do my dogs. It's our little den, cave, hut, home away from home. Or, to build on what Lynn said, it's our portable fort. Guess I'm a kid at heart, too.

In a sense, I think the tent vs. tarp debate is much like the quilt vs. bag debate: there are people who strongly prefer one over the other, not always for rational reasons, and sometimes for rational reasons that apply to a limited circumstance. As we say so often, HYOH...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 16:44:45 MDT Print View

I like a tent because I am a wimp.
My wife likes a tent because she does.

AWTO1S.jpg

Autumn trip (very long), snow not expected, bail-out not possible.

Cheers

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 16:51:04 MDT Print View

Ooo pictures... !

Here's a tent:

Double Rainbow on the Kepler

Here's a sort of tarp:

MLD Patrol in the Ahuriri

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 18:24:05 MDT Print View

I'm remembering some of my earlier 'cowboy' camping trips as a teenager with my mates in Yosemite. The weather was fine but cool one night, no bugs around, ideal weather for sleeping out. Come morning, one of the girls in our group awoke to a snake in the foot of her bag. Turned out it was just a harmless rosy boa, but it was a life-changing experience for me. It COULD have been a rattler. I like tents a lot. It may be irrational, it may even be a primitive instinct that goes back to our cave-dwelling days. Controlling my sleep environment to keep me safe, warm and unbitten is not something I feel a need to justify. It just feels right, and if anything has a lot more to do with plenty of experience being in uncomfortable or in dangerous situations where I wished I'd had a tent. Nothing at all to do with being a newbie. Quite the opposite...It's the reason why I will carry a tent even though I'm going to where a perfectly good hut is located. I can't keep insects, rats or other snoring, coughing, drinking, smoking late night hikers out of the hut!!

As for being a woman, it is well documented that the 'average' woman is less risk-taking and more harm-avoidant than the 'average' male. Nuff said.

Edited by retropump on 06/02/2009 18:40:42 MDT.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
aging on 06/02/2009 18:31:26 MDT Print View

"As for being a woman, it is well documented that the 'average' woman is less risk-taking and more harm-avoidant than the 'average' male. Nuff said."

This might help explain why women live longer.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: aging on 06/02/2009 19:23:21 MDT Print View

"This might help explain why women live longer."

Yup, and when was the last time you saw a woman in the running for the Darwin Award?

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 19:42:13 MDT Print View

>I'm remembering some of my earlier 'cowboy' camping trips as a teenager with my mates in Yosemite
...
>As for being a woman, it is well documented that the 'average' woman is less risk-taking and more harm-avoidant than the 'average' male. Nuff said.

I think you're right, but I'm not sure it's strictly connected with a tent is it ?

A snake would have happily crept in through a tent left open on a fine evening, or it would have been stymied by a zipped up sleeping bag or bivy under a tarp.

Similarly being a harm seeking male ;) I could camp out somewhere exposed at 2000m in my Double Rainbow, but my Patrol would take higher wind when tight to the ground. And a floorless pyramid shelter like the MLD Duomid would be better than both.

So (just like people) differences between individuals are more important than whether it's a tarp/floorless/tent/boy/girl.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Happy on 06/02/2009 20:14:08 MDT Print View

Photobucket

Snug in my little tent looking out at what the winds brought all night. It was early October.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Tents...or not on 06/02/2009 20:31:00 MDT Print View

All I know is that when I'm in unknown territory, I sleep far better in a tent than not. Like the Kakadus, Roger?

My lessoned learned happened back in '86, when I hired a guide to hike me deep into Malaysia's Taman Negara N.P., the most wild of jungle experiences I've had. One morning, after it had, and still was, raining hard (1.5" per hour), we were lying prone and looking out the screened A-frame tent door. We kept hoping the downpour would go away sometime soon so we could start our day. Then we saw it. A 10' python slid toward us out of nowwhere, and it stuck it's nose into the void where we didn't quite have the T-zip door closed. Jalil popped it in the nose and it sort of backed off, enough so we could zip the door closed. That dragon-without-legs could easily have come in while we were sleeping, and I have never been comfortable thinking about that possibility since.

But there's nothing better than sleeping just atop a ground sheet at 11,000' on CO's Continental Divide during a cloud-free Perseid shooter show in August, where/when there are no bugs or critters to mess things up.

Tents or no tents? It depends, doesn't it? Tarps are good, and tents are as well. So is sleeping under the stars, when you can afford it.

Disclaimer: I own 15 tents, and each has it's own purpose. I enjoy them as I do unique hotel rooms, playing with the different amenities--like attics, loops to hang a Photon, door arrangements, views, and interior space for waiting out a storm, etc. Some light, some moderate, a couple that could be called "Hemmingway" tents, which would work for a year based in Africa while one writes his book (Base Camp 6).

I say, whatever is light and serves the purpose is where it's at. Unless you're horse camping or have a couple porters to carry your stuff.

Just watch out for the frightened and territorial baboons that toss coconuts down at you, and of course, the pythons. And I guess also the 14-year olds with hunting rifles.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/02/2009 20:31:47 MDT Print View

"I think you're right, but I'm not sure it's strictly connected with a tent is it ?

"A snake would have happily crept in through a tent left open on a fine evening"

Which I never do. I now always at least have some mesh between me and the creepy crawlies (and more importantly live where there are no snakes).

"or it would have been stymied by a zipped up sleeping bag"

My friend's bag was zipped up, just not cinched tight around the neck as the night was not that cold.

"or bivy under a tarp."

Again, this would require complete mummification to keep critters at bay, which is not nice when the weather is fine.

It certainly does come down to personal preference, but it also happens that women more often personally prefer a complete enclosure than men. It's not a sexist comment, just a recognition of one of the many dichotomies bewteen the sexes (in the general sense, not the individual sense where some women really prefer open camping and tarps). To deny general inherent gender differences in personal preferences is going overboard in the direction of political correctness IMHO. Obviously, all women prefer chocolate ice cream to any other flavour ;)

For me, a tent gives me all the options I want in a shelter. I can zip it up tight to keep out weather and crawlies without restricting myself to a fully cinched up sleeping bag or bivy bag, I can keep the dog happy, I can open it up if I'm not worried about insects or other vermin, or in the case of the Double Rainbow I can sleep under one of the rain porches if I want a true 'tarp' feel. I can share it with a loved one in a double quilt without bivy bags or headnets getting in the way.

It's all about Nidification!

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Why do women prefer a tent? on 06/03/2009 01:07:07 MDT Print View

Tarp or tent?

Or just a happy camper.

gatewood a deux

rob wil
(AUradar) - F

Locale: FL Panhandle (aka LA)
tent on 06/03/2009 09:16:57 MDT Print View

Right now I perfer a tent for several reasons,

1) bugs, bugs, bugs, ants, ants, ants, snakes, snakes, snakes, etc

2) sense of protection, even if its a false sense of security. This is mainly for my boy who's 7.

3) I don't understand how a floorless tarp keeps you out of the water running on the ground

But one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is dew. Around my neck of hte woods, you wake up in the morning and everything is soaked. And if you aren't in an enclosed tent, you are soaked to. With the tent, you are just moisted.

When I did basic at Fort Sill, OK, this wasn't the case. You could be out at night and in the morning everything was dry. Same as when I was in Texas.

Do ya'll tentless guys tent in very humid, dew pronged areas?

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: tent on 06/03/2009 13:42:05 MDT Print View

>1) bugs, bugs, bugs

I cover up with clothing (which I do anyway in a tent to keep my sleeping bag clean) and use a bug headnet.

> 3) I don't understand how a floorless tarp keeps you out of the water running on the ground

Bivy with waterproof bottom acts like the bottom of a tent. My Soul bivy has bathtub-like sides when you peg it out or clip it to your tarp pegs.

> Do ya'll tentless guys tent in very humid, dew pronged areas?

Under the tarp I'm ok, and inside a bivy it's not an issue that I've found. I wouldn't sleep out in the open (even in a bivy bag) for this reason.

rob wil
(AUradar) - F

Locale: FL Panhandle (aka LA)
Re: Re: tent on 06/03/2009 14:02:50 MDT Print View

>>Bivy with waterproof bottom acts like the bottom of a tent. My Soul bivy has bathtub-like sides when you peg it out or clip it to your tarp pegs.

A bivy is "tent sleeping bag" correct? What do you do when its to hot to sleep in a bag?

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Re: Re: tent on 06/03/2009 14:11:45 MDT Print View

A bivy bag is a protective bag for a sleeping bag, see http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=37&osCsid=9ed8db06621297981e9abae67b5cddda. It has no insulation, so if you got out of your sleeping bag inside it you'd be unlikely to overheat (think sleeping under a windshirt).

I only zip mine up in very windy cold/wet weather, so when it's hot I wouldn't really be in the bivy or the sleeping bag, at least not above my waist.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: tent on 06/03/2009 15:21:55 MDT Print View

I usually hike in areas with little precipitation. Also, few bugs most of the time. When there are bugs, they don't bother me much, especially with a little DEET. Been sleeping in the deserts and mountains for decades and never had a snake bother me in my bed.

Tarps mostly for rain. Sometimes a single wall tent for rain, with no bathtub. Have camped in light snow with tarps and single wall tents. No problem. In real snow, then it is a double wall tent. But I generally avoid a lot of snow.

It works for me. If it doesn't work for someone else, then whatever they choose is fine with me, and none of my business. There is no right or wrong.

If no rain or snow, then I always sleep in just a bag or quilt. I don't like sleeping in a tent or tarp unless it is necessary. I like to lay on my back and watch the sky until I fall asleep. But then I own a couple telescopes, so maybe I am more interested in the night sky than most.

Bed with a view. Yes that is a heavy pack, but I needed to carry 2 gallons of water.

Bed with a view

Overnight temps in the 20F's. Nothing better than watching the sun slide down the red rocks and the interesting shadow formations. When the sun finally cupped my bag and started to warm me up, I got up. I thoroughly enjoy watching the sunrise and slits of light inching towards me. I position my sites to take advantage of this. It is one of my favorite camping pastimes. I can't participate in this morning glory inside a tent.

472

This shelter allows me to capture and observe the awaking of the sun from the comfort of my bed. I also would have been hard pressed to find a spot where a tent footprint would have fit will all the cactus and rocks. Few areas with enough sand to set up a tent. You will notice the sides of the tarp overhang the plants. Desert plants are fragile, so we need to let them be.

609

Last resort :)

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