Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Non-free standing tent for JMT
Display Avatars Sort By:
Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/01/2009 09:28:02 MDT Print View

I'm planning to do a chunkof the JMT in a week with a buddy. I have a Mtn Hardware PCT2 tent of which I was planning on bringing just the fly.

The fly isn't made to use as a stand-alone, but with some thoughful staking it works well. But it DOES require a good bit of staking to stand.

My concern is about the terrain. I have the impression that there may be sections where I can't stake - gravel/solid rock ground.

Is this correct? If so what shelters are people bringing? I was considering a Ray Jardine 2person tarp kit, but that definitely wouldn't solve this problem - plus i've only used a tarp once before.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/01/2009 09:39:33 MDT Print View

If your guy lines are long enough, in the places where the ground is not stake-able, you can tie them to rocks,logs, trees, etc. I've done this before with a Golite Poncho tarp in A-Frame mode at Lake Aloha in Desolation Wilderness.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
You'll be fine on 10/01/2009 11:13:29 MDT Print View

I did the JMT this summer with a totally freestanding tent (the FirstLight) and didn't even bring stakes. But my two trail buddies both had tents that needed some staking.

Our criteria for camp spots was mostly to have a fabulous view. My buddies set up on sandy spots that had staking opportunities and me usually on a slab of granite nearby. The need for staking was never an issue.

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/01/2009 13:53:36 MDT Print View

Finished up the JMT on Sept. 5th. I used a Duomid (pyramid type tarp) and an inner net-tent that also had to be staked. I used MSR groundhog stakes (y stakes) that could be pounded in with a rock for the four corners. Titanium skewers for everything else.

I just camped wherever I felt like stopping and usually wasn't wasn't too much trouble getting stakes in the ground. High up near a pass the soil may be only a couple inches deep and you may need some rocks for one or two of the corners.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/02/2009 00:53:06 MDT Print View

What chunk are you doing?

Freestanding would be more helpful in the south, but isn't a requirement. Just an advantage for some people, on some nights.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Planning to start in Yosemite on 10/02/2009 01:01:26 MDT Print View

Start at the north end. Thus is my first longer trip, so I'm guessing we'll do about 12/day over 7 days. I assume this is pretty reasonable.
My incomplete gear list, with 1.5lbs food/day, a bear can, and 60oz alcohol fuel says my weight total (incl shoes, worn stuff) is 32lbs.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/02/2009 09:52:30 MDT Print View

My experience along the JMT is that any of the places I stopped I was able to use stakes. Of course, easy setup (being able to use stakes) was part of my campsite selection criterea. There were a few site I might have choosen to use if I had a freestanding tent... but the place I moved on to was still beautiful and was close by so this was no sacrifice, especially in light of my shelter system being around a pound.

The suggestion of Y stakes for their added holding power and/or extra long guylines so you can use deadfall/rocks in the places that aren't ideal for staking is a reasonable suggestion. The 6" easton stakes have been more than adequate for me... though if you pound them in with a rock too many times, the epoxy that keeps the top to the shaft can break and you have to dig the shaft out.


Edited by verber on 10/02/2009 09:55:32 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/02/2009 10:36:55 MDT Print View

There is a lot of rock on the JMT, but I can always find a spot to set up my non-free standing shelters.

That said, I also carry three titanium nail stakes in addition to my regular stakes. In super-compacted ground - like most established campgrounds or in really rocky areas with little soil - the nails will give you a pilot hole into which to drive your other stakes.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
no to carbon fiber on 10/07/2009 21:23:38 MDT Print View

I used a carbon fiber stake and it broke as I was trying to push it in by hand. Another had the top break as I pounded it with a rock. By chance I found a thin straight metal stake on the ground and it went in easily. So, don't use a hollow stake. Ground was hardest at a site a mile north of Forester Pass and alongside Guitar Lake north of Whitney.
When you have to use a rock as an anchor because of hard ground, put your stake through the loop, lay it parallel to the tent floor, ie. form a "T", then weight it down with rocks. (That is if your guy lines are not long enough to easliy tie around a rock) Another way is to put a rock inside of al stuff sack and tie it to the shelter tie-out to act as an anchor.

Edited by rambler on 10/07/2009 21:33:31 MDT.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Fly only or full tent? on 10/08/2009 23:35:03 MDT Print View

We leave for our trip on Tuesday. It's late in the season and I heard that it snowed last week. I'll have a 15 degree bag. I was planning on just the fly but an experienced JMTer suggested I bring the full tent for warmth.

What do you (all) think? The fly doesn't seal against the ground, but
it's within 5ish inches. Will we be warm enough without
the extra heat trapping features of a fu zippered
tent?? (this model, the Mtn Hrdwr PCT-2 has lots of mesh).

I'd like to avoid bringing the extra weight, but I also don't want to freeze.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Fly only or full tent? on 10/09/2009 02:37:49 MDT Print View

Another consideration apart from the warmth factor and pegging is the vulnerability of the main pole to wind damage. In my experience, using fly only setups with long arched poles can get a bit flappy in high winds. Maybe consider attching some guyout points and take spare cordage.

Edited by tallbloke on 10/09/2009 02:38:26 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Fly only or full tent? on 10/09/2009 03:19:44 MDT Print View

A night - or several nights, is a long time to spend freezing...


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Non-free standing tent for JMT on 10/09/2009 06:11:43 MDT Print View

Never done the JMT, but it would bother the Boy Scout in me too much to not be prepared for possible snow at this time of year, especially with no easy way to bail out.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Planning to start in Yosemite on 10/09/2009 06:27:20 MDT Print View

"We leave for our trip on Tuesday. It's late in the season and I heard that it snowed last week."
"...first longer trip..."
"...weight total is 32#"
"Fly only or full tent?"

In the sense of "equal opportunity" I think it only appropriate to suggest all the admonitions and comments that are mentioned in Planning to do JMT in early October. (Just in case you missed it.)

Edited by greg23 on 10/09/2009 06:31:00 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Planning to start in Yosemite on 10/09/2009 06:46:51 MDT Print View

I don't know enough about the meteorology of the area, but I not there are reports of unusually early snows coming from several parts of the U.S.

Stay safe and warm.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Starting further south on 10/09/2009 08:30:24 MDT Print View

The advice so far has been helful and somewhat cautionary.
I've decided to take the full tent which means I'll almos surely be taking my nit so lightweight Gregory pack instead of mu ULA Conduit - just don't think I can fit it all, with the Bearikade, in that little guy. But I'll do a test fit as soon as the can arrives (rented it).

Our latest plan is to start at about 60ish miles from Whitney, entering at Kearsarge Pass. Higher altitudes down here which means greater likelihood of early season storms, I think. Bringing some traction for ice, but wasn't planning on anything specific for snow.

My other concern, as echoed in the forum thread linked-to above, is white-out navigation. I know how to use a compass and map, and were bringing a SPOT as a last resort (though I know it's nothing to be counted on). Additional advice?

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
resupply? on 10/09/2009 08:48:53 MDT Print View

You got enough food for half a trip? If Vermillion is even open when you get there.

I wouldn't be happy with a 15 degree, but I'm paranoid that way. It's gonna be colder than that. It was 30 in August at night... wind chill makes it feel colder. I was up on the northern section that first week of August when it snowed. Would not even try the southerly portion this late in the year. But then, I've never had winter b'packing experience, and don't intend to.

Edited by lori999 on 10/09/2009 08:53:03 MDT.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Carrying all the food on 10/09/2009 11:47:35 MDT Print View

We'll be carrying all our food with us (6 days plus 1+ days extra just in case).

Where is Vermillion?

I don't have much in the way of snow camping experience either, just been doing plenty o' research. Will definitely be on the lookout for storms and plan a few bail-out points - though it looks like Shephard Pass Trail is the only one, about 1/2-way through our trip.

Simon Weiss
(SimonGtr) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
My Gearlist and preparation for new challenges/terrain on 10/09/2009 12:02:03 MDT Print View

1st half of gear list for JMT + Whitney in October
2nd half of gear list for JMT + Whitney in October

I'd love some expert advice here. I'm likely going to have to ditch my Conduit pack in favor of my 4.5lb Gregory Reality to fit it all in.

Per Lori's comments - thinking I may add a sleeping bag liner to add an extra couple degrees to my bag (in addition to sleeping fully clothed).

Besides gear, a few of these *DANGER* posts are getting to me. Especially since I've not camped in the snow (which I hope there won't be, but certainly something to plan for). My thoughts to prepare for this are:
1) bring additional warm clothes
2) bring some extra fuel
3) bring some extra food (this and above in case we get stuck)
4) bring SPOT as last ditch backup
5) download the Topo app to my iPhone 3GS as a last ditch navigation tool (plan to rely on compass + map).

Are my ThinLight and NightLight (torso) pads enough for weather this cold? Do I bring an additional piece of my ridgerest for more insulation? If I do bring my Gregory pack, there's padding and plenty of material in it to go under my legs.

Edited by SimonGtr on 10/09/2009 12:07:27 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Starting further south on 10/09/2009 13:11:19 MDT Print View

"Additional advice?"

If things get really bad and you can't get out over Shepherd Pass, drop DOWN into Kern Canyon. It's sheltered, lots of wood and water. It's a long hike down the canyon, but it's doable and safe. It's my standard bolt hole if things go south on me in October. Haven't had to use it so far, but it's nice to know it's there. Good luck.