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Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy
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Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hammocks with tarps on 10/02/2013 00:28:54 MDT Print View

> I've hammocked in rain so bad that little water rivulets started running under my
> setup. Again, high and dry...

And I have tented in rain so bad that the bucket groundsheet was floating in an inch of water. We too were 'high and dry' inside. The secret - good gear.


Kenda Willey
Thank you for this discussion! on 10/02/2013 07:49:05 MDT Print View

I'd like to thank all participants for this excellent discussion: As a long-time backpacker and tent camper who's just now branching out into tarps and UL, I'm looking for information on alternatives to tents. (a) The various tarp setups and tarp-tent configurations are going to save me a lot of trial-and-error. (b) I've never seriously considered investing in a hammock, since we live in an area with minimal rain, ergo, with practically no trees. But the diy possibilities in this discussion have piqued my interest, and I just might try to make my own and take it out to the mountains.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Lots of methods on 10/02/2013 08:49:47 MDT Print View

In warmer wet weather, I prefer a tarp or mid/tipi with a lightweight bivy. In colder wet weather, I prefer a floorless tipi with a wood stove. The wood stove dries it out inside a lot. I will add a liner sometimes to make it effectively a double wall tent with a wood stove.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hammock plans on 10/02/2013 21:49:28 MDT Print View

Hey Kenda,
Check out some of the very easy to follow hammock plans over at DIY Gear Supply. That should get you started:

Could you talk a little more about your use of a wood stove inside your shelter? I have a few burning questions (I know, bad pun, but I couldn't resist):

1) What kind of wood stove are you using (I'm trying to get an idea of the magnitude of the fire in there)?

2) Do you run into any ventilation issues with CO2 and smoke, and if so, how do you deal with them?

3) Are you at all concerned about lighting your shelter material on fire?

When it's raining, I have often made small cook fires under a PU coated tarp, but I've never done this with a silicone impregnated tarp. I know silnylon will burn quite readily if given the chance, and I wonder how much of a potential issue this has been for you?


kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
stoves on 10/03/2013 06:25:49 MDT Print View

It is a fully enclosed stove, so no issues. Sometimes, there may be small cinder holes but it is rare. Overall, I can keep a tent very warm when it's cold out. I normally keep the tent 70 degrees or more, when outside temperatures are 20 and below. You can also use them for cooking. If you are really bad at starting a fire, sometimes it can get smokey, but it dissipates quickly

Full Disclosure: We produce these stoves.
Wood Stoves

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: stoves on 10/03/2013 17:59:17 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin

'Full disclosure' - good, thanks.

However, both links gave me a 'database connection error'. Oops!
But fixed later in day.


Edited by rcaffin on 10/04/2013 01:03:49 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: stoves on 10/03/2013 21:03:40 MDT Print View

No problem with the links here.

Anton Solovyev
(solovam) - F

Locale: Colorado, Utah
Re: stoves on 10/05/2013 01:51:41 MDT Print View

I have very fond memories of a multiday winter ski trip with a canvas tent and a wood stove (in a different epoch and different locale). A wood stove can make it very comfortable inside a tent when it's -20C or less outside. Having a saw and an ax and more people to feed the stove through the night helps too. Very different experience from cold winter camping.

If I could only figure out a way to scan old color slides, I'd post pictures.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/05/2013 14:29:05 MDT Print View

"1. Take a single large shelter: this will provide room to live, spread out gear, and cook. Examples: large mid or tarp"

This is my solution for use in Scotland, which has a very high rainfall much like the PNW.

I take the flysheet from a 2 person tent, but fit it with a 1 person inner tent. This gives me a lot of space to spread stuff out, cook and change out of wet clothes before entering the inner tent. The overhang is on the horizontal of the roof, as well as the sloping sides, which makes this easier.

The rain here is often windblown. Having a tent with an entrance either side usually allows one side to be open for views and ventilation. If the wind changes through 180 degrees, I unclip the inner tent from inside and move it to the opposite end, then open up the opposite doors.

Tent with 2 person inner;


Same tent with 1 person inner;


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/05/2013 15:17:34 MDT Print View

SS2 camping

I took this photo sometime ago just to illustrate the space inside the TT StratoSpire II.
I am inside the drip line so if I closed that vestibule door I would not have to move.
(Standard inner unclipped on one side ).
With the 2 person inner in place :
SS2 vestibule space
You can get a lot more room than that and without unclipping the inner simply by staking the inner floor in a foot or so.
Just noticed that I already posted a similar photo...
Looking at Marc's photo reminded me of my set-up.

Edited by Franco on 10/05/2013 15:26:24 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Stratosphire on 10/17/2013 22:22:00 MDT Print View

@Franco (or anyone else): how do you fit a StratoSpire 1 in your pack? The packed length is listed at 16'', which I assume is because of the carbon fiber struts.

I like to keep my shelter packed at the top of my pack and I don't see how that would work with the SS1 unless I strapped it on the outside.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/17/2013 22:45:18 MDT Print View

The tents I use are all around 16-18" long.
I almost never have a tent inside the pack but carry them across the top (yes outside strapped and with the cinch cord attached to another strap just in case...) or in the front pocket.
Keep in mind that they are only a few inches in diameter.
I also keep all the bits inside the stuff sack, it does not make any sense to me to separate them.
(I set up the tent, then I put the pack inside the vestibule and then I open it...)
The reason I do that is so that I can set up my tent, then watch others do theirs as I prepare a cup of coffee.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Stove on 10/20/2013 19:53:57 MDT Print View


Nice work on stove. Couple of Qs:

1. What packed dimensions? Does funnel fit in bag. Would be nice to see full package packed.

2. How far does it have to be from tent wall?

3. Not sure I understand how weight is saved from standard to u turn. Is it simply the connections of 4 edges being dispensed with.

4. Would be nice to see full video of setup from storage bag to funnel setup to fire burning.



Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/21/2013 00:44:26 MDT Print View

>> I like to keep my shelter packed at the top of my pack and I don't see how that would work with the SS1 unless I strapped it on the outside. <<

This was one of the biggest concerns I had when I bought my TT Notch (it has the same struts). I have always liked to drop my shelter (loosely) into the bottom of my frameless pack (I don't roll it up) and was concerned about the struts preventing me from doing this (I hate to change my system!).

It has actually worked out fine. I just hold onto all four struts when I drop the tent into the bottom of my pack and then tip the struts up to run along the side of my pack (to avoid putting gear directly down on top of them). This hasn't really created any issue at all for me and my pack is quite narrow (MLD Burn).

As far as wet weather goes, the Notch has actually solved an additional problem for me. I used to take a small tarp when I knew it would be pouring but since the inner of the Notch removes so easily and can be added back in while the fly is up, I don't need to take a separate tarp any more (overall weight saving). The Notch fly offers enough coverage to comfortably hide from the rain and is really fast to set up and take down (only 4 stakes required).

Edited by skopeo on 10/21/2013 00:45:39 MDT.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/21/2013 05:10:11 MDT Print View

Ray Jardine's book on tarps covers pretty much everything that has been mentioned here and why he chose tarps over tents in the first place. Last winter I decided to try out tarp tenting...most of my hiking time is fall thru spring, no bugs for the most part, so I played around with a cheap tarp and discovered the very thing mentioned here and in Ray's book. The best part is that I actually felt like I was sleeping outside. It took a bit of time to get ridd of the 'willies' that I mean going solo and being in the dark , watching my mind race about things going bump in the night. But once I settled down, listening to the wind, or trees in the breeze, the coyote howling...I just fell in love with it.

Edited by leadfoot on 10/21/2013 06:22:58 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re: Re: Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/21/2013 08:08:16 MDT Print View

Donna, I know what you mean by changing shelters in the outdoors.
I used to spend most of my outdoor life in drier climates and so almost always cowboy camped with a poly ground cloth that could be pulled over me if it rained in the middle of the night.

I never liked being in a tent because I felt helpless and vulnerable, not being able to see what was making that noise outside.
So I would wake up a little freaked at times when I felt enclosed/trapped knowing the tent would provide no protection from the animal outside and it would be difficult for me to defend or escape while trapped.

Of course reality doesn't come into play when you are half asleep:-)

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Adirondacks on 10/21/2013 15:16:34 MDT Print View

I envy those who live in environments where bugs and mosquitoes are not an issue. The tarp/mid concept is very attractive to me but mosquitoes and a wet environment are ever present at least for late Spring through early Fall.

I hike in the Adirondacks where you are always under the canopy of trees, have lots of bugs and it is always wet. Wind is not an issue here like it is for those of you who are above treeline or in more open terrain.

It's the bugs, rain and wet ground that one has to calculate in the formula for the lightest, most spacious and protective environment possible.

I've considered:

1)Trailstar and bug bivy.

2)Pyramid and bug bivy

3)ZPacks Hex twin

4)TT Stratospire 2

Still waiting to pull the trigger.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Wet Weather Shelter Philosophy on 10/21/2013 15:19:45 MDT Print View

> I never liked being in a tent because I felt helpless and vulnerable,
Odd - we have the opposite reaction.

> not being able to see what was making that noise outside.
Who cares?
It helps that in Australia I know that I am the peak predator in the bush.


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Tarps on 10/21/2013 15:23:05 MDT Print View

I find a tarp to be the most luxurious shelter for rain without wind. You can set up a large canopy where you can stretch out and cook under. When it gets real windy and you have to pitch in storm mode, it gets much less comfortable.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Groundsheet or Bivy in a Mid in the Heavy Rain? on 10/21/2013 17:42:33 MDT Print View

Great discussion and wonderful to get the collective wisdom from everyone.

I've been using a tarp and bivy for while and like it, but during a 12-13 hour rain storm at the base camp below Mt. Whitney, I really was envious of a friend's MLD Duomid because he was able to sit up, cook, and generally had more room to move around.

I was going nuts laying on my side, back, and stomach under my tarp for all those hours. I could have pitched the tarp higher, but it did illustrate the short comings of a tarp in heavy, prolonged rain.

Since then, I have been considering a MLD Solomid for really heavy and prolonged rains, but wanted to know if people would recommend a polycro ground sheet or use the bivy?

Just curious as a ground sheet would be a lot lighter than my 13 oz MLD eVent bivy, which I love, but would seem unnecessary in a Mid.

As always, thanks for your thoughts and advice.