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Colorado Trail tent?
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Colorado Trail tent? on 02/23/2011 12:37:55 MST Print View

A few of us are planning to hike the Colorado Trail this summer. I want to just do the southern half, sections 28 up through 15 B/C it's the most beautiful part and used almost exclusively by backpackers and not horses or mountain bikes, as is the northern half.

I've never hiked this trail and I know there about four days we'll spend at or above 12,000 feet. I have a TarpTent Moment which I've used at 11,000 feet in Colorado's Arapaho Pass in high winds in October. It was very stable BUT very breezy due to its excellent perimeter ventilation. Will the CT be windy in July?

I've added 4 stake loops (2 on each side) to the Moment's canopy hem to hold it lower to the ground. Also I'll dig out small pockets for the hoop ends to lower it. Aside from closing the end vents and roof vents I don't know any other way to keep wind out.

BTW, I REALLY wonder if the raised "floor netting" at each end is necessary or if I should replace it with silnylon. Seems it lets ground moisture in and maybe negates the closed end flaps to some degree when the wind kicks up.

Suggestions?

Edited by Danepacker on 02/23/2011 12:41:57 MST.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Colorado Trail tent? on 02/23/2011 12:50:19 MST Print View

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Three season tents rarely keep the wind out. And if it's really that windy, it'll be flapping so hard that you will have trouble sleeping anyways. If you're wanting something that doesn't let wind blow across you, you'll have to carry something that is completely enclosed. Tarptents aren't good for this.

The Moment is a good tent for the CT. There isn't anything unique about that place in comparison to other alpine areas when it comes to gear choices. I carried my Moment on the CDT last year. Your additions of extra stake points will make the tent much stronger, I've though about the same mod, but only in two spots. I'd encourage you to not dig holes, even small ones, at your campsite. LNT,'ya know? I also wouldn't bother with replacing the mesh with silnylon. You'll be getting wet from condensation on the walls of this tent (which will be shaking off on you if it's rainy and windy), not from water coming through the mesh.

I haven't hiked in the Colorado Rockies in July. I bet that it *could* be windy, if an "event" happens, but that it's not habitually very windy.

Have a great trip!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Colorado Trail tent? on 02/23/2011 13:07:12 MST Print View

As Jack says, closing up your tent will only make it wetter inside from condensation! Let the breeze blow through; you'll be drier!

Wind will be an issue primarily during the almost daily thunderstorms of July and August. You could luck out and have two weeks of dry weather, or you could have a series of boomers pop up every afternoon about 2-3 pm. It's a good idea to start your day extra early in the exposed sections so you can stop in early afternoon and enjoy the boomers from the shelter of your camp rather than on that exposed 11,000 foot ridge! Each one lasts 20-30 minutes and there will normally be a break before the next one, giving you time for various activities (fishing, cooking, washing socks, etc.) and awesome light for photos.

OK, I have to admit that my Rockies experience, both recent and while growing up, is in northern Colorado and in Wyoming. Hopefully those familiar with southern Colorado weather will chime in!

Edited by hikinggranny on 02/23/2011 13:54:03 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks for the input on 02/24/2011 23:23:30 MST Print View

JACK> I'm glad to hear your Moment did well on the CDT since the Colorado Trail lies along some of the CDT.

MARY & JACK> I hear you about keeping as much venting as I can so I will not alter the end floor netting.

I've coated the top 1/2 of my Moment's canopy with a very thin coat (5:1 ratio of mineral spirits to silicon by volume) to preclude any "mist-thru" druing a driving rain. I think I'll get a polycro groundcloth and cut it to shape to protect my floor. Been using very thin disposable plastic sheeting but it doesn't last even a week. Soon I'll post photos of all the "mini mods" I've done to the tent.

Jonathan Smith
(Drewsmith) - M

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Colorado Trail tent? on 02/25/2011 19:24:07 MST Print View

Eric, your tarptent will do fine. I've section hiked 2/3ds the CT sleeping in my Contrail tarptent and never been seriously uncomfortable. At worst, the breeze has just meant putting on my parka or getting in the sleeping bag earlier than I would otherwise. Unless you plan on camping on a pass, you'll rarely experience strong winds at night except during storms, which generally end by early in the evening.

Don't discount the northern half of the CT - there are many beautiful lakes, meadows and streams to enjoy. The only place I found mountain bikers to be a nuisance was in the stretch between Fooses Creek and Marshall Pass.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Colorado Trail tent on 02/25/2011 19:29:09 MST Print View

My Six Moon Design Gatewood Cape performed flawlessly on two CT excursions last summer; one in late July and another in early Sept. Didn't need the net tent insert at all - no bugs. Finished sections 1 - 6 (Denver to Breckenridge). Had rain only one day and one night. Lots of wind on the ridgetops though so don't forget your wind shirt!