I thought I'd prefer a floorless shelter because the dog that goes with me most of the time has a long, thick coat, which doesn't dry fast. I have a Rainshadow 2 and a Shangri-la 3. The problem is the SL3 has to be pitched really low or he just walks under the sides and I don't want him wandering off. I guess I could tether him to a stake at night but would prefer not to do that in the shelter. If I pitch it low, there's less room and more condensation. And he likes to do his morning "victory lap" around the inside walls so more condensation is not good. (Trying to break him of this but he's already half way through when I wake up and stop him.) The RS2 keeps him contained and has great ventilation but weighs more and the floor can get really dirty when he's wet at night. We like to hike late so not much drying time before bed. Not sure which way I'll go yet.
Warning: This is a bit of a rant.
+1 on leashing you dog. Although I rarely see anyone else do it and most of my trips are in wilderness where it's the law. Keeping my dog from bothering other people is very important to me. But keeping him safe is even more important. As mentioned above, keeping your dog safe also means keeping your dog from encounters with wild animals. Here's a video from last weekend demonstrating this. (Sorry for the blurriness at the end, still learning this camera):
As far as going where there are few people, that's also where I usually go to. On the same trip last weekend, there was 1 car at the trailhead when we arrived on Friday and it turns out they were camped down a unmaintained trail that ends in a box canyon and sees very little use. They were camped, (illegally) right next to that trail. And they had a view where they could see anyone approaching on that trail for a good half mile as it was in a meadow. They probably felt very comfortable letting their dogs off leash while they were there. There were no other cars at the TH when they arrived and anyone going in past them would be easy to spot well before they got there. They just didn't count on us doing a 4 mile bushwack into that canyon, and hiking out on that trail Sunday morning while they were cooking breakfast. I have encounters with off leash dogs all the time and most aren't a problem and you can USUALLY tell. When I spotted an Australian Sheperd on the trail about 100 ft away, I was wondering if it was friendly when it bolted right at us barking and growling. There was no question with this one. I started yelling for them to get their dog (their young kids nay have learned a few new words that day) and they were calling their dogs and yelling at each other to get the dogs, get a leash, etc. It sure wasn't the usual, "Don't worry, they're friendly". Then a second Aussie (a twin in appearance) came onto the trail in the same spot where I saw the first one and started racing up the trail about 20-30 feet behind, which turned out to be a stroke of luck. I put my dog behind me and when the first one got there and tried to go by to get my dog, I kicked it under the jaw as hard as I could and it veered off and maybe 10 feet away still growling and snarling. The second one arrived and I kicked it in the neck (missed a bit on that kick) and it also still wanted my dog but didn't want to get hurt. The owner finally got there and, of course, said the off leash dog owners catch phrase: "Sorry. Sorry. Sorry." and tried to get his dogs but couldn't. He was finally able to kind of herd them back to camp and they got leashes on them and we went by as they apologized again. I love dogs but if I did hurt them, and I was certainly trying to, I don't care. I didn't put them in that position, their owner did. I have to protect my dog. Right when the first dog got there, I heard my dog (14 months old) really growl for the first time. Afterwords I started wondering, if this happens a few more times, is he going to become dog aggressive?
Now that is the worst case I have seen. So far that is. A GSD went after my other dog once but I spun her behind me and the owner got her dog and leashed her. My dog didn't yelp so I don't think she got bit. This was 5 seconds after the owner said "Don't worry. She's friendly." But I know more trouble is coming. Even if your dog is not aggressive in any way, there are plenty of people who are scared on any dog. Don't be surprised, or complain, if your dog gets peppered sprayed if they do approach someone who's afraid of dogs. And it could be even worse. When I told this story to my friend who carries when backpacking, he said good thing it wasn't him as he would have shot them. I have no doubt he's not alone. I'll defend my dogs with whatever means I have at my disposal.
I used to carry pepper spray but read that it can actually increase the aggression in really aggressive dogs. Plus you and your dog can end up getting hit with some of it. My dog training instructor recommends Spray Shield, which is citronella, and says it works 99% of the time. Supposedly harmless and effective. I bought some last night. Clips to your waist belt. It's 3.25 oz but I now think it's a required piece of gear.
And when people say that their dogs are under complete control by voice commands, I laugh. If the right distraction is there, especially some animal they haven't seen before, they'll ignore their owners. I've had llamas for a little over 3 years, in that time exactly 1 dog has listened to their owner's commands when they saw them. A really laid back Bernese Mountain Dog. I'm sure there are a very small amount of exceptions, but I've only seen one.