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PCT tarp question
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Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
PCT tarp question on 01/31/2013 20:53:55 MST Print View

I currently have a 6 x 10 tarp and plan on hiking the PCT this summer with my girlfriend. We've comfortably slept under the tarp in mild conditions with the tarp pitched high, but am wondering whether or not we could make it work for stormy pitches.

I was considering either an 8 x 10 or the canopy tarp from bear paw if this wouldn't work. Then I Noticed that on the bear paw site that the canopy 2 tent has a width of 6 feet, and it seems huge. Am i missing something?

Should I save the extra hundred bucks and use my existing tarp?

PS we dont' mind sleeping close! (maybe not when we smell like filth after a few weeks on trail).

Thanks to the community for its INFINITE wisdom!

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: PCT tarp question on 01/31/2013 22:05:52 MST Print View

You'll rarely pitch it, but when you do, it's because you need protection. 6x10 wouldn't be enough for two, at least if I were sleeping in there.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: PCT tarp question on 01/31/2013 23:16:28 MST Print View

8 X 10

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: PCT tarp question on 02/01/2013 12:59:57 MST Print View

+1 on the 8x10

Not much extra weight. Lots of extra protection and useful pitch flexibility . . . of course, if you're both <6' tall and <150 lbs and serious cuddlers and don't mind getting wet and cold sometimes . . . what the heck? Actually, a 6x10 is still long enough to make a pretty good pyramid, and wide enough, that if you rigged some kind of an extra sheet/curtain to cover the opening to reduce blown in rain, you might get along pretty well in your 4x7 sleeping space . . . assuming you don't get into one of the long rainy weeks from hell that are so common in the northwest. I'd sure as heck do lots of experimenting with pitching, and working inside the pitch, before I committed to a tarp that small for two.

Hmm, two (or less) extra ounces split between two people to double the usable under-tarp area . . .

You could always pick up a bigger tarp for more protection later in the fall as the weather turns in the NW if you are going south to north. Then you wouldn't have to carry the extra ounce the whole 2650 mi.

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
thats what I get on 02/02/2013 08:54:22 MST Print View

for being a cheap bastard and trying to forgo the purchase of another tarp. Thanks to you guys for the excellent advice. I really appreciate it.

I'd really like to get my hands on a spinn twinn as I feel like it'd be the ideal shelter for the PCT, but spinnaker tarps are hard to come by. I'll likely settle on a standard 8 x 10 tarp from bear paw wilderness designs.

I recently acquired this custom shangrila inner tent and am excited to try and get a tarp that will work with it for

I really hope that an 8 x 10 works.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
8x10 on 02/02/2013 09:16:17 MST Print View

I have used a 10x10 over shangri-la-2 inner net. I would think an 8x10 would work fine over a Shangri-la-1 inner net.

Also consider cuben material.

Although I have, and am happy with spinnaker tarps, I can tell they aren't as durable as my cuben tarp.

There a few different grades of cuben. I would avoid the really light stuff if you want durability, but others have been happy with it if they are careful.

I have come accustomed to the advantages of cuben. Not only is it lighter and stronger than silnylon, it doesn't sag when wet or when temps drop. Cuben sheds water much better than silnylon as well.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
bug strategy? on 02/02/2013 10:47:25 MST Print View

What's your strategy for handling bugs? Until you get to northern OR or WA state, the PCT is overall a pretty dry trail. I just carried a poncho tarp for the first 700 miles, and after that most of the time what I wanted from my tent was bug protection.

If you're comfortable (or at least willing to be) sleeping with just a headnet when they're swarming, then no worries. If not (I'm not), then you might find that a tarp plus an inner net tent isn't superior to a tarptent (with mesh).

What's your plan if one of you can't or doesn't want to continue at some point? If you have a blood oath to hike together or quit together then no worries, but otherwise I suggest that you each pack to be independent (separate solo shelters). This can help too if you just want to take a couple of days off from each other along the way. That might not seem appealing (or even acceptable) now, but your sense of what's normal could change on the journey.

I think that for the PCT, something like a Henry Shires tarptent, or an SMD Wild Oasis are about right --- something light and decently weather proof that creates an enclosed bug-free space.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Tarptent on 02/02/2013 11:52:32 MST Print View

Although I do agree with Brian's logic and I do in fact own a tarptent, I find the tarp/bugnet to be more flexible.

The tarptent style shelters are great for their simplicity, but the tarp/bugnet combination can be pitched in more locations and you can just pitch the bugnet in the summer heat if the bugs are out and you want more ventilation.

Sometimes it is nice to be able to pitch the tarp high and open in a light rain. And feel almost like your cowboy camping.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Stratospire 2 on 02/02/2013 21:17:21 MST Print View

I'd look very closely at the Tarptent Stratospire 2.

> It IS a tarp with a floored bugnet - thus it has a lot of pitching options.

> the SS2 has a lot of useable room compared to any pyramid-style tent.

> the SS2's USEABLE space-to-weight ratio is great, likely the best in any 2P silnylon tent.

> As the owner of 3 Tarptents over the years I can say they are top quality.

Edited by Danepacker on 02/02/2013 21:21:00 MST.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: thats what I get on 02/02/2013 23:32:09 MST Print View

"I recently acquired this custom shangrila inner tent and am excited to try and get a tarp that will work with it for"

Just curious, how much does that inner weigh?

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Re: Re: thats what I get on 02/03/2013 08:48:28 MST Print View

The inner weights around 14oz. It's an EXTREMELY light 2 person bug shelter, I really like it a lot. It has perimeter linelocs that work nicely with the shangri la 2. I Also think its a perfect bug shelter for a tarp for the PCT. Only downside I see to this setup is that it relies on a mesh floor instead of tyvek or silnylon.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Mesh floor on 02/03/2013 10:31:44 MST Print View

Regarding the mesh floor on your custom bugnet. Just lay a sheet of polycryo (storm window treatment) under your bugnet.

This will block moisture, mud, dust, sand, ... and will keep your mesh from getting frozen to the ground in ice or snow.