Need advice on a tent and a quilt for an AT thruhike
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Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Need advice on a tent and a quilt for an AT thruhike on 08/28/2009 11:11:07 MDT Print View

This is my tent sleeping bag plan so far.

I plan to leave very early when it is still freekin cold from south to north. I like cold hiking anyway. So I am going to start with a winter pack, and send home my winter added gear in the spring.

Tent Option 1
I am 95% on a tarptent sublite sil tent for the entire trip. I like the breathability of the tyvek model, but dont think I want to go through a nasty storm in one.

I might take a tyvek bivy bag with netting for shelter sleeping, but have not decided on that yet.

Edit: I just noticed the sublite sil on not onthe tarptent site anymore !! The moment is but weighs a bit more.


Tent option 2

my other option would be a shaped tarp or gatewood cape, and use a narrow net inner tent for bugs and shelter sleeping. Probably should have a tyvek bivy sack with that setup.

Already have a..
Neoair full length pad
GG 1/8 pad

Already have a Montbell UL SS 800 #2 which is rated for 25dF which is almost good enough for AT winter - weighs 31oz.

To that I want to add a liner quilt that will take me down to 5dF or so.

This is where I am stuck.

I want to build a cuben climasheild quilt, maybe that I can inflate a bit, (already have a plan on that) to use as a bag liner in cold weather, but I want to be able to send my montbell bag back sometime in the spring and continue on with just the cuben quilt for the rest of the trip.

A cuben 2.5 oz quilt would probably be enough for the liner, especially if I can slightly inflate it, and should be fine for summer, but I dont think it is good enough alone for spring and fall.

I am thinking that to be safe in the shoulder seasons I would be better off with a 3.7 or even 5oz climasheld cuben quilt, but I am thinking that would be too hot for mid summer.

If I did go the heavier insulated quilt for the entire trip, that has me thinking I might just be better off builidng warmer quilt for the entire trip and not even use the montbell #2 bag.

I guess I could also do this.

Winter - montbell #2 + 3.7 cuben quilt.

Then 3 season IE the rest of the trip with the 3.7 cuben quilt + a very thin breathable quilt to use alone for summer. Something like 1.8 oz primaloft and 1 oz momentum.

At least I would not have to worry about a cuben quilt getting wet so that would be a plus on the AT.

Any input would be appreciated.

Edited by tammons on 08/28/2009 11:22:17 MDT.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Couple of questions on 08/28/2009 13:02:52 MDT Print View

Hi Troy, I live in the Southern Highlands and spend alot of time on the southern AT in all seasons. I'm curious about a couple of details with your plan:

Exactly when do you plan to start? January and February can be extremely cold in the high peaks. I've had temps below 0F in both the Smokies and the Roan Highlands area that time of year. I've also had a couple heavy snowfalls of 30" plus. Ice will be a problem probably anywhere above 4500 ft, but there may not be snow. It's tough planning for all potential variables, and a big storm or extended cold spell could delay/halt your trip.

Are you planning on staying mostly in the shelters? If so, my choice would be a shaped tarp. You'll need some kind of bivy or inner tent in the shelter to keep the mice off. My plan for this winter is a Duomid with a MYOG 1.1/silnyl inner tent. I'll make a mesh/silnyl inner for bug season. I think a system like this is much more versatile for AT hikers. Using a gatewood could get your baseweight down pretty low, but I'm not a huge fan of ponchos, especially in winter.

What's your clothing system like? This will have a pretty significant bearing on your sleep system. If you have a warm jacket with hood, you can go a little lighter on the liner, and send the jacket home when it warms up. I would choose an overquilt instead of a liner though. Having a layer of climashield over your down might keep the Montbell drier by shifting the temp gradient outside the bag's shell. I've had decent success in temps around 0F with this system: Marmot Hydrogen, MYOG 2.5 climashield quilt, Patagonia down hoody, MYOG cs booties, MYOG cs knickers. The knickers are simple, were easy to make, and seem to make a huge difference by insulating my groin/upper thighs.

Good luck on your hike! Take as much MYOG as possible; I love seeing the incredulous looks of all the folks with their giant packs full of brand-new, brand-name gear! Especially after a night of horrible storms, when they got wet and cold, and I stayed dry and warm!

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
Quilt on 08/28/2009 14:35:05 MDT Print View

I would not use cuben fiber in your quilt, use a lightweight colored non-coated nylon. Cuben fiber is not breathable plus it makes a noise like crumbling newspaper which you would not want to hear when you moved in the night. Do not make your quilt very thick. It will quickly become too bulky for your pack. Consider making a down quilt. A simple tarp or Wild Oasis (Gatewood Cape clone with netting). There is a pattern for a spin cloth tarp at this site. Most likely you will be spending the majority of nights in a shelter. AT shelters are just easier and near water sources.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/MYOG_down_quilt_bag.html

Hey, Scott I would like to see those plans for knickers. My old wool knickers suddenly became to small in the waistline! I use knickers a lot in winter and they are quite common among European hikers, summers, too.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/make_your_own_gear_5_yards_to_sul_part_3.html

Edited by rambler on 08/28/2009 14:43:31 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Need advice on a tent and a quilt for an AT thruhike on 08/28/2009 16:23:20 MDT Print View

>Exactly when do you plan to start?

Probably mid Feb. My parents live about 2 hours south of Atlanta so if I bail out for a while I can just go there and hunt hogs for a few weeks.

>Are you planning on staying mostly in the shelters? If so, my choice would be a shaped tarp.

Have not decided yet. I just finished moding a campmor extened poncho into a 5x12 tarp with a beak. Sort of a test run. Weighs about 14 oz and has a lot of room. Basically 9'x5' or there abouts. Set it up into a shaped tarp and it looks good. Sort of a forester, with the flap on the long side.

One hiking pole setup. I think I am going to build a hybred bug tent for it with a tyvek or silnylon door so that would work in shelters. Set up like that it really turns the tarp into a tent fly. I may rebuild it though from scratch and clean it up a bit, get rid of some of the seams etc.

Here is a sketchup of it. Maybe I will just stick with this.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=23437&skip_to_post=189614#189614

If I knew I was not going to stay in shelters much, I would perfer a real tent though. I like privacy so I need to think about it more, but with a solid door the above should be somewhat private. I did some short AT hikes in the early 80's and never cared for the shelters too much.

>You'll need some kind of bivy or inner tent in the shelter to keep the mice off.

I will be sure to bring my mouse trap. Good for a free meal via Cody Lundin. I will have a tyvek bivy, mostly for the down bag, a bit extra water protection, and extra insul in winter.

>My plan for this winter is a Duomid with a MYOG 1.1/silnyl inner tent. I'll make a mesh/silnyl inner for bug season. I think a system like this is much more versatile for AT hikers. Using a gatewood could get your baseweight down pretty low, but I'm not a huge fan of ponchos, especially in winter.

Duomid sounds nice. I am going to have some sort of suit, driducks or the real deal. Probably an umbrella if I can find one thats not too heavy.

>What's your clothing system like?

No liner.
Winter - Probably 2 sets of merino johns, one to sleep in, 3-4 pairs of socks, one to sleep in, BPL type MYOG insul pants, just ordered a salsa jacket, but not sure if it will fit. I also have a heavy polarguard snowlion jacket that is super warm, but really too heavy for UL backpacking at about 30oz. Had it a long time.Added zippers under the arm pits and you can wear it hiking all day long with just a shirt and be comfy from cool to very cold temps. MYOG blaclava, MYOG minima type vest, driducks, micro fleece scarf, mits, + the normal stuff.

After looking at this list, I dont even think I need a stinkin sleeping bag !!
Well maybe just my #2 will do.

>This will have a pretty significant bearing on your sleep system. If you have a warm jacket with hood, you can go a little lighter on the liner, and send the jacket home when it warms up. I would choose an overquilt instead of a liner though. Having a layer of climashield over your down might keep the Montbell drier by shifting the temp gradient outside the bag's shell.

Sounds like a good idea.

>I've had decent success in temps around 0F with this system: Marmot Hydrogen, MYOG 2.5 climashield quilt, Patagonia down hoody, MYOG cs booties, MYOG cs knickers. The knickers are simple, were easy to make, and seem to make a huge difference by insulating my groin/upper thighs.

Convinced. I think I will maybe go back to my old plan of a climasheild over bag. For some reason I am just hooked into building a 9-10oz inflatable cuben quilt. I will probably still do it one day.

So in that light I could, just carry my #2 into spring and summer which would be way too hot for summer, or do you think a 2.5oz climasheild momentum quilt, bivy with a BPL type jacket and pants, heavy sock, blacava keep me warm in spring and fall.

>Good luck on your hike! Take as much MYOG as possible; I love seeing the incredulous looks of all the folks with their giant packs full of brand-new, brand-name gear! Especially after a night of horrible storms, when they got wet and cold, and I stayed dry and warm!

I used to be one of those people !!

Thanks for the help.

Edited by tammons on 08/28/2009 16:28:45 MDT.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Umbrella on AT hike on 08/28/2009 17:57:40 MDT Print View

Troy,
In reading your post I noticed that you mention carrying a lightweight umbrella to complement your rain gear. I would advise against this based on my personal experience in the southern Appalachians. I tried using a GoLite umbrella on the AT on a 60 mile section between Rock Gap NC & Fontana Dam, NC over this past Memorial Day weekend. It was just not possible because you are literally in a "long green tunnel" with rhododendrons & mountain laurel scraping & bumping the umbrella incessantly. The only time the umbrella could be brought into play was at rest stops while sitting & still. It may be possible to use an umbrella on other parts of the AT while walking but not between Springer Mt & Fontana Dam!

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
8 oz on 08/28/2009 18:12:34 MDT Print View

Is too heavy for me.

Maybe I will buy one along the way and try it out. Too bad somebody has not invented some double use for an umbrella.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Re: 8 oz on 08/30/2009 10:10:58 MDT Print View

Troy, there are quite a few uses. Shade, rain gear, spider web clearing, and a properly moded hiking pole setup found here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=13739&nid=168552&print=1

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Re: Re: 8 oz on 08/30/2009 10:38:24 MDT Print View

Interesting

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Need advice on a tent and a quilt for an AT thruhike on 08/30/2009 11:40:30 MDT Print View

Hey Troy,

The extra quilt piece just gets in the way of the fit of your sleeping bag. It causes gaps in places you didn't have before and tightness in other places that will both cause you a loose of your bags full potential.

A warmer jacket is your best bet..

Edited by awsorensen on 08/30/2009 11:44:08 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Re: Re: Need advice on a tent and a quilt for an AT thruhike on 08/30/2009 11:56:54 MDT Print View

Thanks, I have been thinking about that, IE MB #2 and just some extra layers. If I take off in Feb, I can always take my heavy snowlion jacket along, since I will be wearing it most of the time anyway.

I have some down booties I made in the 70s tha are falling apart, so maybe its time to rebuild those.

Also have some snowlion polarguard booties but they are too heavy.

paul buzzard
(troop208) - F
MB #2 on 08/31/2009 07:06:30 MDT Print View

I have that bag, and have slept in it at 10 degrees with a light weight down coat and vest draped over me in the bag, with wool socks and hat on. Toasty warm. Best thing to do is test your set up this winter at cold temps if possible. Then you will know the limits. Sucks to be cold. Good luck.