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Do you ever not take a shelter?
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Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 00:37:48 MDT Print View

I'm just curious if anyone ever does this and under what circumstances? I'm going up to the Sespe Wilderness this weekend and the weather forecast is clear and sunny. I'd love to just sleep under the stars but not sure if it's a bad idea or not.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 00:51:52 MDT Print View

I try not to tempt fate. If I carry zero shelter, the weather will be terrible.

If I carry a shelter, there is no law that says that I have to erect it in camp. I can just leave it in the pack unless bad weather happens.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 01:11:19 MDT Print View

Often. Benefit of hiking in deserts.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 02:22:39 MDT Print View

Even if I had faith in the weather man, I'd still take a bivy sack to keep the creepy crawlers at bay, and the dew off of my quilt.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 04:34:17 MDT Print View

I have sometimes only taken an emergency shelter like a solar blanket. But I guess I have not gone out without something that could get me by in a pinch.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 04:36:26 MDT Print View

We went shelter hopping on the AT for right at 100 miles last October.

The weather was perfect every day / night that we were on the trail. We did a zero day in Damascus, VA at our hike's mid-point which kept us out of the white and wet stuff.

I carried my shelter the entire way and never used it.

Slept on my pad under my top quilt and never had to deal with any of the creepy crawlies. ;-)

Party On,


john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 05:43:05 MDT Print View

With a reasonably good forecast, and no bugs, you can compromise with an ultra light shelter without a bivy. I've just done a week in the Sierra Tramontana on Mallorca, in the Med. I carried a Zpacks Hexamid, 6ozs with beak, taped seams and two extra guys, plus pegs. I had no rain, no dew and no wind, and didn't bother pitching it once, even high up. At that weight and tiny pack size it's no hardship to carry, just in case. I wouldn't have taken anything heavier.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 06:24:20 MDT Print View

With that kind of forecast, I'd bring a UL poncho/tarp and a headnet, just in case the weatherman is wrong.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 08:41:49 MDT Print View

I usually carry a shelter but use it only about half time

Even if the weather report is good in Oregon and Washington, it sometimes rains

On my most recent trip, I forgot my shelter, weather report said a slight chance of showers, it rained all night about 1/2 inch - I put my eVent jacket over my face and my sleeping bag is pretty water resistant so I made do but wasn't comfortable : )

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Hiking without a shelter on 06/15/2012 09:08:36 MDT Print View

It depends a lot on the particulars of the trip (e.g., location, season, weather forecast, etc), but yeah, I hike sometimes without any shelter.

Generally, for southern CA hiking in the summer, I'd say you can expect the weather forecast to be pretty reliable and if the forecasts call for sunny clear weather, you can be reasonably sure it will be nice. That said, I'm just over the hill from Ojai and the Sespe area (right on the coast) and I woke up this a.m. to heavy marine layer and drizzle. Depending on how far inland the marine layer crept in overnight, it could be foggy and light drizzle along the Sespe overnight and then burn off early morning. The boundary line of the marine layer seems to hang right around Ojai...

Depending on where in the Sespe you plan to hike, you could always set up sans shelter in one of the many caves or rock overhangs... Lots of nice spots up on Pine Mountain.

Edited by NickB on 06/15/2012 09:09:39 MDT.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 11:40:27 MDT Print View

Always take a shelter (tarp), we hike mainly in the ADK's and White Mountains.

No matter what the weather report says it can rain during the night there. We need to start sleeping under the stars more, with tarp ready to go, but it's often buggy so we like to use a net tent under the tarp. Probably should set the net tent up by itself and move under the tarp if it rains...

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 11:45:12 MDT Print View

The other problem with sleeping under the stars is dew or frost collecting on the outside of your bag. Then you have to dry it out which is a delay and a pain.

If you camp under a tree or other sheltered location there's much less

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/15/2012 15:25:03 MDT Print View

It's like an umbrella or raincoat--take it and it will be dry; leave it home without it just once and it will pour!

Then there are bugs....

I have actually not used my shelter only once, when camping at the beach. I did take it with me but decided to sleep under the stars. I had it at my side, though, ready to pull it over me if it started drizzling.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/15/2012 15:25:54 MDT.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Yes, always on 06/15/2012 17:18:02 MDT Print View

Granted, I live in Oregon and grew up in Michigan, so in those places, I learned it was far too likely the weatherman would be wrong.

My most recent trip it didn't rain, but snow was dripping most of the night until it got cold enough for it to freeze again. I'd have been pretty wet if it weren't for my poncho tarp.


Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Do you ever not take a shelter? on 06/20/2012 03:12:16 MDT Print View

only when I go to the beach or desert areas in hot weather, but I may still bring a dime store poncho tarp that I can rig if I need to for rain or shade.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Shelter on 06/20/2012 08:00:44 MDT Print View

I was up at Sespe a few weeks ago. Two adults and two 8 yr olds hiking 4 miles in for one night, no shelter. I always make the decision at the trailhead, not in advance and not when I'm still at home hours away from the area. The kids were in synthetic clothes and bags.

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
Sespe on 06/20/2012 08:55:28 MDT Print View

I ended up taking my MLD monk tarp but I didn't use it. Perfect weather both nights, pretty hot actually. I went up the Gene Marshall trail to Pine Mountain and it was beautiful up there...a few great campsites, some swimming holes, lots of butterflies and small animals and best of all, not a single person seen all weekend! Thanks everyone!

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 06/20/2012 16:18:29 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/11/2015 15:04:37 MDT.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Frequently on 06/20/2012 16:40:22 MDT Print View

If the forecast is good, if the air is dry, I cheerfully leave the shelter behind. Creepy-crawlies worry me not; this one time I once picked a place to toss my groundsheet that in the middle of the night turned out to be swarmed with Daddy Longlegs--what they were doing swarming in the middle of the night is a mystery to me, but they had no interest in me so I figured I'd turn over and go back to sleep. Another time I awoke when I heard something big and heavy moving nearby, and it about scared the bejeebers out of me to spy a very large dark shadow moving in the nearby shrubbery. Turned out to be a horse, minding his own business.

I've slept under the stars more often than not, I figure.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: falling debris on 06/20/2012 16:47:58 MDT Print View

I was camping under stars West of Timberline Lodge

Squirrels were dropping pine cones out of trees onto ground. Didn't quite hit me though. Initially I though there was some sort of creature walking around.

On the ground they tear apart pine cones eating the seeds leaving a distinctive pile of pine cone pieces.

Since then, I frequently see the same piles of pine cone pieces wherever I go.