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Tent fail this weekend
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jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Sorry too hear about tent failure on 05/19/2011 21:16:15 MDT Print View

Piper/Diane, I feel your pain.

Have used tarp’s allot over the years with much success in really bad condition BUT mostly in summer/warmer months with synthetic insulation & sometimes down if there is a relatively low risk of moisture that will come in & compromise down products.

Sounds like you had the perfect storm for hikers with small spaces for options above treeline, bad conditions that were not forecasted and you were relatively well prepared but.. thing’s happen in transitional seasons.

Might consider the following next time out if I were you and really mean this in a helpful manner, site selection is king, if that is not an option consider a smaller mid and weigh down stakes with rocks/use sticks in any left over deeper snow and tie off stake loops, seal off perimeter with natural debris to prevent drafts coming through that might lift the shelter off of you. Hoping this helps

Jim

Stephen B Elder Jr
(selder) - M

Locale: Front range CO
Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/19/2011 23:32:18 MDT Print View

or is this a continuation of

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=47176

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/20/2011 01:15:49 MDT Print View

If you read what Diane wrote, you'll answer that for yourself.

Nice to see Ron Moak offering great aftersales service. You wouldn't get that from TNF or MSR.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Tent fail this weekend on 05/20/2011 07:55:52 MDT Print View

Ah yes, another lesson learned. It only takes one time to swear 'never again'. I had years of skating free, then a few years ago had a close call S of Whitney with wet/cold, possible hypo if I didn't get out. Luckily, I basically sprinted 5 miles back to my car.

Anyway, the lessons learned are as you state:

(a) Get some MSR groundhog stakes - I think the shorter BP ones are fine. I have both, the monsters for car camping, shade tarps, etc, and the smaller ones for BP. Take 8 - 3 per side and one for each end. The total add weigh will be a few ounces, but 8 will tie down anything in any wind.

(b) Always have at least 10-12' of paracord 550 with you (two 6' lengths). And KNOW how to tie a taut-line hitch - forget line-locs, etc. If you have to configure something quickly on the fly, or alter the config, you need to know how to tie off guys in seconds. The 550 is for the two ends - worst comes to worst, these lines will hold.

(c) Take a tarp that is slightly "too large". I can squeeze into a 6x8, but I carry an 8x10. I'm 6'2", so my feet hit the end of the wall in a 6x8 (even diag). If I want to completely close down the tarp, and stay dry inside, then the 8x10 does the trick.

(d) Play around with different configs in your backyard. Know how to set them up quickly. The elevated A-frame is great when you want a sun shade - add 3' guy stays to each side. But knowing how to create an open half-pyramid, or really close it down if needed, should be a priority.

(e) I know it's overkill, but I carry a PU nylon rain hoodie. The thing not only blocks all wet, but also works as an insulator. Just know that it doesn't breathe, which may not be a concern if you hunkering down.

That's about it: perhaps an increase of 8-10oz+ to provide a pretty reliable, almost bomb proof weather system.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/20/2011 08:04:26 MDT Print View

Second tent fail in two weeks and second tent. It's just too dang windy. That's why I'm thinking for my return to San Jacinto perhaps a tarp tucked in my pack will offer additional security should I again find myself in conditions of too much wind to keep a tent up coupled with rain under a cloudless sky (blown in from miles away--that's how windy.)

Here's the terraine. I was lucky to have found the campsite I did. I didn't take a picture of my site, unfortunately, but here's what I walked through for over an hour to get to it.

Chapparal hills

After descending for hours in steep and windy conditions, I hiked on this contour for an hour or so before I found the crevices carved in the chaparral to camp in. There was a creek another mile away that probably had better shelter, but I did not know and I was very tired from a long day. In the morning the contouring went on for hours and hours and I did not find any place both flat and sheltered from the wind for 27 more miles.

More chapparal and a rainbow

Chaparral is not kind to seeking off-trail places to sleep.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/20/2011 08:15:27 MDT Print View

What about a waterproof bivy for such conditions, or is that out of the question? Flop pretty much anywhere with no setup, get a long to throw your pack inside at your feet.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/20/2011 08:21:55 MDT Print View

"waterproof bivy"

Isn't that one of those things you wish you'd taken after you get back?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Tent fail this weekend on 05/20/2011 08:46:11 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 09:02:23 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your 2nd tent fail in 2 weeks? on 05/20/2011 10:26:35 MDT Print View

Waterproof bivy

Isn't that kinda the same thing as being inside your tent without it being set up, albeit just a little more form-fitting?

I took my 8x10 tarp out and set it up in the yard. Lots of tie-outs around the corners and edges. I set it up inside-out so that the ridgeline tieouts were inside. They are composed of cotton ribbons. I tied my trekking pole handles to two of them and jammed the pointed ends into the soil. The poles were collapsed pretty low. The whole thing was low and tight with plenty of room for two.

We have permits for the weekend after next for both Strawberry Cienega camp and Fuller Ridge camp. Does anyone know the area enough to know which of these might be more sheltered? Should we get up there and it's knock-you-over windy again, it will be nice to have a choice. We're not averse to either taking it easy or pushing on to get to whichever one is better. We'll be hiking from the Spitler Trail to the PCT and then across the San Jacintos north to Cabazon.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Tent fail this weekend on 05/20/2011 16:11:15 MDT Print View

Hi Piper

You really are not giving enough detail about WHAT failed. It is hard to tell whether the problem was the stakes, the guys, the tent fabric or what. Sure, we can do lots of speculation, but in cases like these the technical details MATTER.

Reading between the lines, it does seem that most of your problems were associated with getting decent anchor points. So I will assume this was the major problem first.

Yes, you (and others) are quite right in inferring that sandy soil does not hold Ti wires very well. They are not meant for those conditions. But this is a very common problem with well-known solutions. You have three possibilities here: large snow pegs, deadman arrangements, or big sticks. Each of these spreads the load over a much larger volume of sand.

Large snow pegs usually hold OK, if large enough. I am talking about angle stakes made of 12" lengths of 1"x1" aluminium angle. Alternately, rectangles of sheet Al about 4"x6" with small holes through the middle for attachment. Also look at my article on MYOG Ti snow stakes
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/make_your_own_gear_titanium_snow_stakes.html
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/myog_ti_snow_stakes_part_2.html

Deadman arrangements: I think Mike C has published an article on 'going stakeless' which illustrates these. Basically, you dig decent holes and bury bags filled with the soil in the holes. The bags are carried empty of course!

Finally, depending on the country, you could scrounge around and find long DEAD sticks, maybe 1/2"-1" thick and 2' long, and use them as stakes. Either drive them deep into the sand, or dig trenches and bury them. We do this all the time when camping on sand on river banks.

If it was the knots on your guy ropes which were giving a problem - well, fix them before you leave home. The taut-line hitch works provided the string has some friction. Spectra etc is not so good for that: you need fixed knots for that stuff.

Finally, please realise that most of the American tents and tarps are not designed for severe weather. If you want to camp in really exposed places and not suffer too much, you will have to look at getting a better tent. I imagine I may be howled down over this, but I speak from some 'interesting experiences'.

Cheers

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Jacintos on 05/20/2011 17:32:19 MDT Print View

Piper, you make me worried! I'll be in the San Jacintos this weekend, but I'll be hammocking somewhere along Tahquitz Creek. I'll try to make sure we're protected from the wind - hopefully the trees will help with that.

Given that so much of the soil in our SoCal mountains is sand (decomposed granite), I've almost entirely abandoned ti wire stakes - they just don't hold! I find the MSR Y-stakes work much better.

Good luck this weekend!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Tent fail this weekend on 05/20/2011 19:49:34 MDT Print View

What failed:

Only one stake blew out of the ground. That was the only failure. But because of the high winds, I knew it was only going to be the first stake of the night. It was a large aluminum hook-shaped stake. I couldn't find it after it blew out.

What contributed. The high winds, of course. The loose soil. The chaparral and endless side-hill trail which left little choice in camping spots. The tent fabric seems loose and seems to catch the wind more than it should, bowing with the wind and flapping violently. The knots seemed to be coming undone and maybe I wasn't getting them back where they should be, contributing to the looseness.

I didn't have spare bags on hand and wouldn't have been able to spend the night filling sand bags with my bare hands anyway. There were a lot of sticks around but again, digging trenches with my bare hands wouldn't have been a viable option. Anything I would have done I would have worried about all night anyway. This wind was pretty violent. The ants were being blown off the trail. The hikers were nearly being blown off, too.

I did what I could and next time I think that a tarp and large stakes might be a better choice for similar conditions. At least I would have more options for the size and height of the shelter.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Integral Designs Wedge Bivy on 05/20/2011 22:00:53 MDT Print View

Integral Designs Wedge eVent Bivy

I'd use this in high winds, if I needed to keep my load light. Otherwise, I'd use my Hilleberg. Either way I'd use stakes or a deadman configuration that wouldn't pull out, like Roger said.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
ID Wedge, another view on 05/20/2011 22:11:18 MDT Print View

ID Wedge, another view

I used this a couple of weekends ago, ZERO condensation. It has guyouts on the sides...surprisingly stable.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: ID Wedge, another view on 05/20/2011 22:19:29 MDT Print View

It's really cute, too. A little cubby hole.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Integral Designs Wedge Bivy on 05/21/2011 01:47:35 MDT Print View

Ummm...
What happens when it rains? It looks as thought eh groundsheet would fill up real afst when the door is opened?

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Tent fail this weekend on 05/21/2011 01:55:17 MDT Print View

Hi Piper

Sounds like difficult country. You might need to get rather specialised for this stuff.

I might try for a large framed bivy sack held down by some big angle stakes. I would put hard knots in the guys at the windward end, and maybe some 4 mm bungee cord at the the lee end to get the overall tension.

I would also consider taking a rough light iceaxe or a large titanium trowel and stopping early enough that I could create (like dig out) a small site behind some of the more solid bushes. They are good wind breaks.

Or design the walk to avoid having to camp on that stuff - maybe.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 05/21/2011 01:57:17 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Waterproof bivy on 05/21/2011 06:44:02 MDT Print View

"Isn't that kinda the same thing as being inside your tent without it being set up, albeit just a little more form-fitting"

A little more form fitting? Try a lot more form fitting. That is what protects from the wind. Low profile and no excess fabric acting as a wind sail and less difficulty with setup in difficult conditions and no stakes to pull out. In addition, judging from your pictures a bivy would have been below the profile of those bushes.

Edited by randalmartin on 05/21/2011 06:53:43 MDT.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
ID Wedge Bivy on 05/21/2011 07:45:01 MDT Print View

Roger, I failed to mention that Integral makes a hooped vestibule that attaches to the front in nasty weather. You are correct - if the Wedge Bivy is used on its own, it can get wet inside when opening the door. A lightweight tarp overhead can also be used as a "porch" if set up in the trees. This is a shelter for a niche market, not best of course for all situations. Piper was having problems with high wind situations, that's why I posted the photo.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Tent fail this weekend on 05/21/2011 07:55:51 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 10/30/2013 09:15:42 MDT.