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Really need some shelter help.
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Really need some shelter help. on 10/10/2012 11:16:57 MDT Print View

My shelter needs are a bit different and I am having trouble finding what I need.

First, I am 6'5".

Second, I don't take trekking poles because it is mostly flat here and when there are hills of maybe just a few hundred feet I like to try and scramble up them.

Third, during the three seasons I am more interested in bug protection which happens every day rather than rain protection which might happen a day or two out of a week.

Fourth, when there are trees around they are usually small stands and not the best places to be caught under if there is a storm at night and lightning.

Fifth, I really just use the shelter for sleeping, not reading or cooking, etc. so I don't need a huge space to sit up in and I can change my clothes laying down with maybe a foot's worth of space above me.

Sixth, I would rather buy something that cost $100 that weighs a pound and will last 8 years versus something that weighs 8 oz, costs $200 and will last 2-3 years.

Seventh, when it is hot outside I will not be using my quilt so any bug protection will have to be full length and off me so it actually does provide protection.

My thought was maybe to go with some kind of free standing bug shelter that might have a net floor but I couldn't find any that fit me and I don't know how much that type of floor would last. I could then just use a tarp for when it is not buggy and when it is I could just throw it over me if it is raining and wrap it and tuck the corners under me if it is windy. I know I would have to pick a good pad and site to use so that rain would not build up and I would get flooded. I could also just use my trash bag pack liner for my legs and a smaller tarp/poncho for the top of me. Or I could incorporate an umbrella in the deal as I really have not found a good rain clothing system that works for me and am open.

Any suggestions or thoughts? I am very open to any out of the box thinking also.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Shelter Suggestion on 10/10/2012 11:57:03 MDT Print View


It really sounds like your best bet will be a custom solution. Check out BearPaw Wilderness Designs.

I've not used them myself but people really like working with them and their products have a good reputation.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Shelters: You're Not Without Options on 10/10/2012 12:02:54 MDT Print View

There's a recent article on here (URL: compares the one-plus sized shelters available. I think you'd be well off with three they mentioned, Zpacks Hexamid Long tent, the Lightheart Gear Solong, or the Tarptent Stratospire 1. Also, with an oversized inner - which Bearpaw WD among others would do for you - an MLD Trailstar tarp. You could also get a custom sized/length tarp and have a longer bivy or inner net tent made to go in it. I think you'd do pretty well for your money at Bearpaw Wilderness Designs.

EDIT: Kevin beat me to it, but definitely look at Let John know you want a tarp (he has some very nice ones, shaped, flat, and pyramid) that's built a little longer. Given your shelter requirements, you could also have Borah Bivy build you an extra long bivy, and be done with an oversized shelter for under a pound. Best of luck. Let us know which way you go.

Edited by bcutlerj on 10/10/2012 12:28:01 MDT.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
huh? on 10/10/2012 14:53:06 MDT Print View

Okay, how are you guys using all of these options without trekking poles or trees? Also, not going to spend $300 on a shelter. Bivies don't work because in the summer, when it is 90F out at night when all I want is bug netting above me, not on me.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: huh? on 10/10/2012 15:02:15 MDT Print View

Tarptent, Lightheart and other companies have aluminum or carbon fiber poles to be used in place of trekking poles.

you are going to need to adjust either your price or weight expectations.

Maybe a MLD pyramid type tarp with an inner net.

Edited by JakeDatc on 10/10/2012 15:09:02 MDT.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Re: huh? on 10/10/2012 15:02:44 MDT Print View

"Okay, how are you guys using all of these options without trekking poles or trees? Also, not going to spend $300 on a shelter."

You can buy tent poles for any tent.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Take Poles on 10/10/2012 15:30:17 MDT Print View

There are light, cheap (cheaper than trekking poles) support options for any tarp or tent. I think my poles for my SMD Trekker were $30 each, but they are Easton, carbon fiber, and weigh 1.8 ounces each. They're 45" and would work well for tarp supports too. You don't need a bivy, you don't even need an inner tent most of the time. Take a head net, groundsheet and your tarp and be done with it. You'll spend anywhere from $50 (used in Gear Swap) to $150 (cuben fiber) for a tarp that's 7x9 or bigger and works for your height. Add $20 for stakes and a groundsheet and your at $70-$170.

If a bivy is out, understandable, then you'll want a bug net inner net tent for the buggy months. These run about $95 and up. Less if you can find one on gear swap. I let one priced at $60 go and I regret it. Add $20 to get Bearpaw or someone else to do a custom length order for you.

So net and tarp ... likely more than $200 when all is said and done. BUT, you could get a nice tarp, poles stakes and mosquito head net and be done with it all for under $125. Many tarp users go without the inner tent or bivy when it's not dumping rain. Your needs seem pretty spartan, I'd give it a shot.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Bug Tent on 10/10/2012 16:30:45 MDT Print View

There are many bug tents out there that are relatively well ventilated. Ventilation is uber important in the summer. BearPaw Minimalist 1 comes to mind, but there are others.

Combined with an 8x10(or smaller) silnylon tarp, you have a good all around shelter matching your description, IF you can adjust to the tarp mentality.

You can carry a cheap set of trekking poles, spare tent poles or found objects, bushes, trees, rocks, ... for supports.

My current personal favorites would be like the MLD Patrol combined with the BearPaw Minimalist 1 combined with the MLD carbon fiber tent poles, but there are lots of variations on what I might think would work for you.

Maybe bring one trekking pole? It will come in handy at times.

evan eisentrager
(evaneis) - MLife

Locale: western Mass
cheap poles on 10/10/2012 16:52:17 MDT Print View

I think you can still get 45" aluminum poles that weigh about 2 ounces for $5 from tarptent. the poles fold into 3 sections.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
repsonses on 10/10/2012 18:30:33 MDT Print View

My weight expectation is around 2-3 pounds depending. So yeah, I don't have to go $300 probably then.

Good point on the poles thing and nice referral on the Tarptent $5 ones.

Can't do the headnet thing, it was one of the main points I was trying to make. Spring-summer-fall bugs. When it is above 70F I am not going to use any kind of insulation. I actually need a bug shelter more than I do a rain barrier.

I would much rather use a freestanding bug shelter than some inner under a tarp and just attach the tarp to the bug netting if I had to.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Bug tent + tarp=good and versitile. on 10/10/2012 19:16:03 MDT Print View

This is about the same set up I use in the ADK's for bug season (mostly blackflies and mosquitoes.) I usually head out with a partner with that set-up though. It is for two people.
I have a GoLite Nest 2 and a 9x11 Equinox UL tarp. I generally use a trecking pole or found stick or the front. The nest can attach to the stick or on a loop on the tarp. If I use the trecking pole, the tarp just goes over the soft end and gets staked out, the nest attaches to the line for staking.

At the low end I use a found stick, around 18", I think...never really measured it.

I used the same set-up when I did the NFCT, so it went through many rain storms, lightening storms and some fairly rough winds (30+mph.)

The problem with this is that GoLite no longer offers the old nest series. I paid well over 100 for it, but it went down to 60 a few years after that. A near equvalent can still be had. This is close:
I think it is a bit expensive, at 160. This is 89" long or 7'5".

They also offer a solo-long (an inch longer at 90"):
They want 110 for that one.
Both look like they would fit you and weigh less than a pound. Both have bath tup floors, so drips/spray won't be a problem.

For tarps, well, thats a bit different. Both shaped tarps and square tarps will work, with shaped tarps being slightly lighter (about 18oz.) A square tarp will likely be a bit heavier. You want the extra length over the bug shelter. For 90" I would say about 10'. Width shold be about the same. Likely this would weigh about 20-24oz. Of course, you can go with cuben.

You will need about 14 stakes to insure it will stay up in bad weather. In not windy weather you can get away with 10...about 4oz.

This is a real versitile system if you use a flat tarp. In early spring and later summer/fall you can drop the bug tent.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
re on 10/10/2012 19:31:02 MDT Print View

To me, it sounds like you should shop for a bug shelter that fits your tall size, and then just run a large flat tarp, maybe a 2-person size tarp, in the pitch of your choice that works with the bug shelter.

For the shape of most bug shelters, you'll probably end up with a A-frame pitch of the tarp.

Edited by towaly on 10/11/2012 00:27:10 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Bivy on 10/10/2012 19:46:03 MDT Print View

My vote is bug bivy + poncho tarp. Use the tarp as a breezy spot for shade during day too. Cheap multiple use, either use a stick or bring a single pole.

Edit: since your tall a poncho tarp might be too short.

Edited by M.L on 10/10/2012 19:50:21 MDT.

Ryan Spurlock
(RyanS) - F
Bug shelter on 10/10/2012 21:31:36 MDT Print View

89inches long


96 inches long

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Really need some shelter help. on 10/10/2012 22:48:20 MDT Print View

Take a look at the SMD Skyscape Scout, a lower-cost ($125.00 new) polyester version of a really good shelter. SMD has both carbon poles ($30.00/1.8oz) and aluminum ($14.00/3oz) 45" poles.

I don't know if the length is perfect for someone of your height, but it should be fine for sleeping. It's an excellent bug tent with the sides rolled up.

The main downside is likely high condensation IF it's raining with humidity and the tent is closed up. This will be true in the right conditions for any shelter unless its a open tarp, but then that would have to be large enough to give you a little extra length at the ends to prevent precipitation on the ends of your bag/bivy.

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Really need some shelter help on 10/10/2012 23:00:24 MDT Print View

+1 Bearpaw Wilderness Designs

Jack Richland
(BlackScoutSurvival) - F
Shelter Help on 10/11/2012 13:01:28 MDT Print View

here are two ideas, they both weigh about 3lbs total. They can both be used with or without the rainfly. So you can use it in your area just with the bugnetting and leave the rainfly at home to save on weight. Both are around 8' x 3' in size.

Snugpak Ionosphere $153 on Amazon

HQ Issue Solo Bivy tent $36

I've used the Snugpak stuff and really like it. I've not used the HQ Surplus stuff but hey its 36 bucks and you can buy a few for the price you would on most single shelters and chunk them when they tear up. Good Luck

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
hmm on 10/11/2012 15:10:10 MDT Print View

That HQ Issue was a good step in the right direction. The REI Bug Hut Pro 2 is cool but already at 3#s itself. The REI Bug Hut 1 Pro Shelter will have my legs eaten with the mesh laying on them. And to be honest, I am really not concerned about condensation because I don't use down that much.

Maybe take the HQ Issue Idea with the Bearpaw Bug bivy idea. Would probably cost a little bit extra and add a few ounces for the extra pole. Would be even better if I could get a connecting pole that was offset a bit to make it free standing. Then just use a poncho/tarp over it and have it connect to the frame at each end hoop and stake out at the four corners. You could do the bottom ends while you are setting it up and just leave it rolled up by your feet until it rains at which points you can attach it to the top and stake out each top corner with out leaving the bivy. Make both end silnylon and done.

Maybe I am guessing they made a short, long freestanding double wall tent or at least bug tent.

Edited by bpeugh on 10/11/2012 15:13:04 MDT.