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Sai
(saizai) - F
Using tarps when the ground is suboptimal; migrating from a tent on 11/16/2006 15:05:46 MST Print View

I currently have a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1. (http://www.bigagnes.com/str_tents.php?id=sh1sl)

It's a good waterproof tent, and has served perfectly well for two-person camping also.

My issues with it are that
* it kinda sucks if the terrain isn't flat - floor is too slippery to be viable unless flat
* its footprint is large enough to make it hard to find a large enough flat patch on a slope
* it takes up more room & weight in my bag than I'd prefer
* it does actually require staking - if the sides aren't staked then the inside gets wet, which somewhat negates the 'free standing' benefit, and is hard to do in soft terrain like a wet redwood forest

... so I'm thinking of moving to a tarptent or similar.

My criteria are
* pack size (my SL1 w/ floor but w/out poles fully fills (almost perfectly) an Integral Design size small silcoat sack - I'd prefer smaller)
* weight
* suitability to all weather / terrain short of mountaineering (i.e. bug and waterproof system)
* durability / ease of use
* preferably still usable for 2 people (the SL1 has more than enough room; a bit less would still work)

So, it seems that using a floorless tarp when the ground consists of e.g. snow or wet leaves would be rather unpleasant. How does one avoid this?

I'm willing to consider eg tarp+bivy or whatnot.

My bag is a WM Ultralite. I'm 5'5" 135 lb. It's (slightly) long for me, and again I'd prefer smaller & lighter in pack, but otherwise no complaints.

Suggestions please?

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
tent on 11/16/2006 15:39:52 MST Print View

IMO Six Moons Designs and TarpTent are state of the art.

http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=47

http://www.tarptent.com/doublerainbow.html

However for wet and uneven ground the best solution is a hammock.

http://www.hennessyhammock.com/catalogue.htm

Floorless tents have a lot of advantages. In snow you dig to increase your living space. A stump in the middle of the tent for a nightstand is great. I never cook or eat in a tent with a floor, but I do a floorless tent. Wet clothes can drip dry in a floorless tent.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Using tarps when the ground is suboptimal; migrating from a tent on 11/16/2006 17:03:45 MST Print View

for years i used bivy shelters or bivy sacks both for easy of pitching and often "real estate" is at a premium and finding space for a larger, more mainstream floored shelter could be just a little difficult at times.

tried an original floorless HS Squall with groundsheet. much easier to find a spot to pitch it than a floored shelter, but it proved sub-optimal if heavy rains were expected that weekend. the amount of water we can get at times can easily overwhelm a groundsheet and the largest "LNT" rain trenches i care to dig with a Montbell Ti potty trowel. in these conditions, only a bathtub floor suffices. now, the real-estate issue surfaces again, depending upon where i attempt to bivouac.

it's a trade-off. how much rain do you expect to see when on a trek is the question i suggest that you ask yourself. the answer to this question, IMHO, together with how easy is it to find adequate real-estate to pitch a floored shelter, will govern your choice of floored vs. floorless shelter.

The floorless, original HS Squall did a fine job when it came to bugs in my limited experience with it. due to the aforementioned heavy rain issue, i gave it away and purchased, immediately after their introduction, a GG Squall Classic (spinnaker and floored), but haven't had a chance to use it yet, so i can't comment on it, other than to say that i already know in some places i'll have problems finding sufficient real-estate to pitch it. i have a SMD Lunar Solo 'e', and sometimes have trouble finding sufficient even surface to pitch it.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Using tarps when the ground is suboptimal; migrating from a tent on 11/16/2006 18:06:39 MST Print View

IIya, using a tarp/bivy combo is something that may take time to get used to. I personally like floorless shelters and use a Golite Hut 1/Equinox bivy combo for three season camping.

In snow you can get in with your boots on without worry of needing to take them off first. With wet leaves I would sit on my closed cell foam pad and bivy before getting in the bag for the night. No, it's not as comfy as a tent in previously wet ground or if the bugs are out, but for me it's the way to go when solo. For bugs, I simply wear a headnet to sleep. I try to minimize the time I need to be in the tent but outside the bivy to avoid the bug unpleasantness.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Using tarps when the ground is suboptimal; migrating from a tent on 11/16/2006 19:41:41 MST Print View

>So, it seems that using a floorless tarp when the ground consists of e.g. snow or wet leaves would be rather unpleasant. How does one avoid this?


I like the GossamerGear Polycryo Ground Cloth. Just put it under yourself and your gear, and leave the rest of the area as open dirt to absorb rain.


If you're a confirmed ground sleeper then I'll second the recommendations for Six Moon Designs and Tarptents. (Be sure to read the recent BPL article comparing two of these; both are winners.) You might be pleasantly surprised by the utility of the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape as a floorless shelter.

But I'd rather be in a hammock, especially in the wet or snow. No worries about slope or water pooling.

Edited by Otter on 11/16/2006 19:44:16 MST.