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Sharing 2-Person Tent Long Distance Hike
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Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Sharing 2-Person Tent Long Distance Hike on 11/15/2010 21:52:47 MST Print View

Hi, I am considering sharing my Double Rainbow with a tent-mate to save weight vs. buying a lighter one person shelter. We are just friends and have shared a tent before on a weekend hike, but a long distance hike is a different animal! Money is an issue, but I don't want to sacrifice a good trip for a few hundred dollars.

We are both small women - almost 5' 2". ;-) Advice and issues that come up greatly appreciated.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Sharing 2-Person Tent Long Distance Hike on 11/15/2010 22:21:04 MST Print View

You're safer (and IMO smarter) if each of you has her own gear in case one or both of you decides you want a little "alone" time or if one of you has to bail enroute. Share as much or as little as you like, but be prepared to proceed independently.

If you decide to share common gear (stove, shelter, etc.), be sure your Plan B addresses the possibility that the bail out may require one of you to spend at least one night on the trail without said shared gear.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Shared gear on 11/15/2010 22:51:04 MST Print View

I guess it kind of depends upon your situation, but generally, I'd advise on carrying your own tent. There are plenty of couples that do share tents on long distance hiking trails, but as Bob eloquently stated,having your own gear makes sense, especially if you become separated.

I experienced some knee issues and hiked slower than my compatriots and had to fend for myself. I elected to do so because I knew i had all the necessary gear. Once my knee recovered, I eventually caught up to them several days later. But never were any of us beholden to the other. Obviously, if you are married or some other strong bond, that situation is different. In the case of friendship, I'd carry my own tent.

One funny story - we were hiking along the PCT and some relatives had decided to hike along with their thru-hiking cousins. These relatives decided to split gear, and at one point, one of them fell behind several hours and decided to knock off early. Well, he had packed the poles to the tent while his cousin had the tent itself. Neither seemed very pleased with the other. But the same goes with shared cooking equipment, shared water filtration and especially, shared maps.

I guess with any long-distance hike, having your own tent also provides some solace and privacy.

Have fun on your hike!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sharing 2-Person Tent Long Distance Hike on 11/15/2010 23:00:31 MST Print View

Two females? No idea.

I have never slept alone when walking with my wife. Very rarely have I ever been walking without my wife.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
earplugs on 11/16/2010 01:17:24 MST Print View

if you do share a tent ... i recommend bring a pair of earplugs each ... and those eye covers

does wonders for yr sanity ...

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Sharing 2-Person Tent Long Distance Hike on 11/16/2010 10:37:15 MST Print View

Depending on how long distance... & weather. I can happily share a 2+ to 3P tent with my friend of 20 years. Tighter quarters, we can get more grumpy. Tiny things can cause giant (even if internalized) flare-ups.

I prefer carrying a larger tent b/c: (1) ultimately it's still lighter than carrying two solo tents, (2) it's nice to have a place to hang out, play cards, etc. in bad weather, (3) it helps build "communal spirit," as it were.

On point 3: my approach to hiking with a partner is that we stay together. It's not a competition! I tend to hike at a faster pace, but I'll stop when I think I'm getting ~5 min ahead and take some photos or something, then let him grab a breather. We're on the trip together, ya know? Bailing on a group member isn't cool IMO, although different groups have different experiences & preferences.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
how long is "long distance" ? on 11/16/2010 11:39:00 MST Print View

What do you mean by "long distance" ? If a multi-thousand mile thru-hike, then I strongly suggest that you each get your own light solo tents. If, however, you mean a hundred mile trip or something like that, sure --- at worst it's not going to be that many days that you have to deal with any potential negatives that could arise.

For me, the longer the trip, the more I'd want a solo tent, no matter how well I got on with the person, particularly if there were even the chance that we would split up along the way. It can be just so nice to carve out your own private space, spread your stuff out, sprawl out in whatever sleeping configuration you're inclined to, turn the light out at night when you want to do that, pitch far enough away from snoring, etc etc etc.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: how long is "long distance" on 11/16/2010 19:05:41 MST Print View

Brian makes a great point - distance and time are the key elements to this discussion. If you are hiking on a long-distance hike involving thousands of miles, the greater the likelihood of being affected by unforeseen event.. Having your own shelter makes things logistically easier, if heavier, because you are not tied to your partner.

Without question, there are people who shared tents the length of the PCT, AT and CDT. You can do it, it just comes down to whether or not you are willing to live that kind of arrangement over a long period of time.

I wouldn't suggest bailing on a partner - but if you are committed to hiking with others, be prepared for a great deal of compromise.

Enjoy your trip!


Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
2 people in a tent on 11/16/2010 20:23:21 MST Print View

I do a lot of long trips with my friend and him and I always share a tent. I actually just got a double rainbow and him and I share it and we have plenty of room. I am 5'7'' and he is 5'10'' its nice to have the double doors for each person. Him and I have done 2 week trips together and never had any problems....but we get along really well. If one of us had to bail out for some reason, I would just assume we would both head out. I think its smart to share as much gear as possible...can cut base weight dramatically. We share tent, stove, water filter, and we make sure only one of us brings the small stuff like bug repellent, sun screen, first aid kit ect.

HOpe that helps

Terri Wright
(ncalcamper) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Trip Length on 11/16/2010 21:29:43 MST Print View

We think we'll be out about three weeks, so no, not the PCT! I think a big question is whether or not the other person would continue the hike without the other. We are seeing if a couple of other people want to join us, looking at no more than a small group of 4-5, so have that to consider as well. Thanks for the feedback.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
overall campsite space on 11/17/2010 10:22:56 MST Print View

One other factor in camping with a group is what (if anything) you know about potential campsites. Sometimes there are places where light/ultralight hikers (particularly bivy users) can tuck in where a bigger tent can't go.

OTOH, sometimes there are just basically X tent spaces for Y people, and if Y is greater than X ...

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: 2 people in a tent on 11/17/2010 12:49:32 MST Print View

Well, this is backpacking LIGHT, so I would always try to share as much gear as possible, including stove, pots, tents, etc...but then again if my partner bailed, I would bail too, so that's a really important thing to consider if you might continue on your own. And of course, body odour and other issues can become problems with longer hikes!