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Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/19/2010 21:31:45 MDT Print View

In the pacific nw where a person is likely to get at least some rain, how does one use a tarp and stay dry?
Does it really not work and do you need something with a bucket floor?
Are there any particular shelters that people recommend for this sort of area to stay as light as possible but stay dry?

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Solution. on 10/20/2010 00:00:06 MDT Print View

Easy...just rig a hammock under it.

BF

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Make your own bucket floor on 10/20/2010 06:49:39 MDT Print View

Just attach some lines to the edges of your groundsheet and tie them to something overhead (the ridgeline, perhaps?) while using gear or sticks to keep the rest of the groundsheet spread out. This folds up the edges creating a "bathtub floor" effect.

Or a lightweight water-repellent bivy to use under your tarp is a common tactic.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/20/2010 08:20:46 MDT Print View

I've been tarping it in Washington for the past dozen years, and generally I've found it's easier to stay dry with an adequate tarp than with a tent with a built-in floor. The "bucket floor" doesn't just keep water out, it has annoying tendency to keep water in. Combined with the condensation issues in a lot of tents on humid, calm nights and well....

Make sure your tarp is big enough, covering significantly more ground than your ground sheet. Try to pitch it in a place that will not turn into a puddle (hint: water flows down hill). Pitch the tarp and put all of your gear under it, still packed up in waterproof bags. Get under the tarp out of the rain, take off wet rain gear and shoes, than un-pack your dry gear.

You have lots of ventilation and a dirt floor, so go ahead and cook under there. Try not to go out from under the tarp more often than needed in camp, each time you have to fight to not bring water in and get it on your sleeping bag and such. If you are going in or out after your sleeping system is set up, than fold your bed in half, with it's ground sheet, like a big sandwich with waterproof stuff on the outside. Than you can mess around with wet things (rain-gear, wet pack, etc.) without getting water in your bedding.

If you do get stuck camping somewhere that doesn't drain, do like a previous poster mentioned and prop up the sides of your groundsheet with things. Using a bivy or sleeping bag cover can make this process somewhat easier.

Note, if you use your pack as part of your ground insulation and it's sopping wet from hiking in the rain, just put it down underneath your groundsheet or bivy. Try not to bring wet stuff into your dry world you've created, and carefully manage your transitions from dry to wet.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/20/2010 08:59:42 MDT Print View

Pitching in established campsites with compacted soil and low spots is an adventure with rain. You end up with very limited choices for pitching and getting a good orientation to the weather and flowing surface water. I have woken up in the middle of the night with flowing water running under my tent. It can be a challenge with a floored tent, let alone a tarp. With a tent, I roll up the edges of the footprint so any rivulets run under the footprint rather than between the footprint and the floor. If you use an oversize ground sheet under a tarp, you may be able to pull off the same trick--- the curl goes under so it keeps itself in place, just enough to raise the edge a tiny bit. Water is thin :)

I have a bathtub floor for my GoLite Utopia, which is hooked to the poles and has toggles to the walls to hold the fabric up, and shock cords at the center points to help spread it out sideways--- a total of 12 attachments to keep it all in place.

I have experimented with making a Tyvek bathtub for a tarp, but it needs help to keep the sides up. It was simple enough to fold and cut the Tyvek and tape the corners, but where do you go from there? A footprint with an inflatable perimeter would be interesting. It could be made of really light stuff as it would only need to hold up it's own weight. It could just be a ring that you lay your groundsheet over.

Many bug nests incorporate a floor, which may solve several problems, keeping the bugs out and the net holds the sides of the floor up. Bivvies or simpler sleeping bag covers with a waterproof bottom and a breathable DWR are an option. Either options brings the weight and cost up enough that an UL double-wall tent starts to look good. That's why I got the Utopia, as I could add the floor with a tyvek footprint under for really nasty weather.

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/20/2010 09:03:40 MDT.

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
shelter on 10/20/2010 09:40:15 MDT Print View

thanks everyone for the different ideas.
Are there any particular tarps that people would recommend?

Also hw much does your utopia weigh dale and is it similar to the one near the fence in this thread http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=37700&skip_to_post=323239#323239

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/20/2010 10:34:32 MDT Print View

"I have experimented with making a Tyvek bathtub for a tarp, but it needs help to keep the sides up."

I have a shelter without floor, and I intended to use it in Alaska where the ground would be damp, so I sewed some spinnaker fabric into a formed ground sheet. It is several inches larger than my sleeping bag and pad, all the way around, but it is pentagonal in outline. I formed five corners so that the perimeter wall is one inch tall, and I reinforced that corner with inch-long pieces of thin carbon fiber tube. It folds down flat and rolls up, but it keeps any ground water out. The whole thing weighs 2 oz.

--B.G.--

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/20/2010 10:46:13 MDT Print View

+1 to points made by Dale and Douglas:

Make sure you have a tarp/shelter that provides a large covered area, like a 2-person pyramid shelter or 8x10 (or larger) tarp. I have a MLD Trailstar and a GG SpinnTwin, both large enough for 2+, though I have only used them as solo shelters so far. For the SpinnTwin, I have a GoLite Shangri-La Nest that is heavier than bug inserts by Alpinlite or MLD but has a 70D floor that is a little thicker than a silnylon floor.

b. try to find the best site you can to avoid drainage problems. This is often limited in the forests here.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
bivy on 10/20/2010 12:35:39 MDT Print View

use in combination with a bivy ...

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Tarp Suggestions... on 10/22/2010 22:10:19 MDT Print View

There are more and more out there, but a couple:

Echo the GG SpinnTwinn.

Also, the Alpinlite Gear Stratiform III tarp provides excellent coverage while also being able to string up a bug shelter underneath. Alpinlite makes several sizes, as does MLD. The Alpinlite has a cool feature: both ends of the bug tent are solid, not mesh, so that helps with the spray. Also, any tarp with a "beak" helps, whether you are pitching high or lower to the ground in storm mode.

For cuben, check out some of Lawson Kline's stuff on here, well made and light as a false rumor...good stuff :)

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
tent on 10/22/2010 23:27:38 MDT Print View

Its not quite a tarp but i ended up getting a tarp tent rainbow for a pretty good deal and it cuts my current tent weight more then half so i think it will suit my need nicely for a while. Thanks everyone for the advice. Now i just have to find a bus that goes somewhere near the olympics.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Shelter in the Pacific NW on 10/23/2010 00:00:35 MDT Print View

Here's what high humidity and dropping temps look like.

Tarpsicle!

I need a couple more stakes to get the side vents in best position. I thought I could get by, but I should have just whittled a couple more stakes and got those vent flaps spread out. I got a face full if ice crystals when I opened the door--- not a way to greet the day!

It was 40-ish at sundown, dropping to just below freezing (a half-full nalgene was partially frozen in the morning). IN the morning, I pulled my sleeping bag out and laid it on a Tyvek sheet, hoping it would dry out. The sun was still behind a high ridge to the east, so there was no direct sun (it was about 9AM). I shook about a cup of ice cystals off the tent and my bag had more frost on it than it did in the shelter. This was just an overnight, so I shook it all off as best I could and dried it at home. Everything around me was covered in a light layer of frost. If it had been 5F warmer, it would have been thick dew all over.

I just found the local record: humidity was 95% and the dew point was 44.7F.

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/23/2010 00:05:49 MDT.

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
frozen tent on 10/23/2010 00:03:25 MDT Print View

that looks insane.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: frozen tent on 10/23/2010 00:10:56 MDT Print View

I was actually quite comfortable with a ProLite pad and a 20F synthetic bag. At least frost pretty much stays put and doesn't trickle to bad places :)

It was chilly, but clear weather is really a treat this time of year (this was 10/16). The door arrangement is great for stargazing. I saw a couple shooting stars and spotted a satellite, even with a bright half moon it was quite a show.

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
tent on 10/23/2010 00:14:52 MDT Print View

yeah i guess frost is probably better then a lot of dew.
i was supposed to go to the olympics this weekend but the group i was going to go with ended up going in a smaller group and its kind of hard to get up there without a car.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: October in the Olympics with a tarp? on 10/23/2010 00:28:21 MDT Print View

It's going to be wet-- 70%-100% chance of rain and 25-35MPH winds. They expect 1" of rain at Forks. 88%-99% humidity and 45F-52F. Should be perfect for testing the breathability of your rain gear! Think you can dry your socks or sleeping bag in that kind of weather? And people ask why I don't use down around here.....

Getting back to the thread, you can use a tarp in wet weather, but I prefer something like the Utopia or other models with 360 degree coverage vs. an open-sided flat tarp. My other go-to shelter is a Gatewood Cape. From there it is a good ol' double-wall REI dome.

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
tent on 10/23/2010 00:31:57 MDT Print View

yeah im not going overnight this weekend anymore. probably going to packwood lake on sunday for a day hike which should be my first real test for my rain gear.

I ended up getting a tarptent rainbow, it looks pretty solid and a lot lighter then my rei half dome.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: frozen tent on 10/23/2010 00:33:15 MDT Print View

I wish I had a photo to show you.

Years ago, a bunch of us were climbing Aconcagua, and we had established our high camp at 19,500 feet before summit day. Due to the harsh weather, three of us were cooking in the vestibule of the North Face Mountain-25 tent. It got cold that night, and then in the morning (summit day) we had to wake up early to get started. As soon as we started to move in the sleeping bags, it started to snow heavily inside the tent. Actually, the humidity inside the tent had frozen on the walls overnight and was now covering us. We almost would have been better to leave the fly off and the doors open.

--B.G.--

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: frozen tent on 10/23/2010 00:45:30 MDT Print View

Hehehe--- that was only 15,000 feet higher than my little camp.

Something tells me that "It got cold that night" is an epic understatement :) I would have gone home-- or Hawaii!

Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
tent on 10/23/2010 00:47:49 MDT Print View

ha 19500. the highest mountain in australia is like 8000 and you could nearly wheel a wheelchair up there.