View Full Version : To lighten the load

10-08-2006, 18:28
This has most likely been covered before, but... has anyone here ever thrued without a tent/ tarp and if so how feasible is it? I've been toying with the idea but I'm kinda wary.

10-08-2006, 18:32
go for it, but if there is a full shelter in the rain which does happen often, be prepared to either barter food for space in the shelter or walk till it stops raining

10-08-2006, 18:33
I would not recomend even attempting it. What happens if you get to a shelter on a rainy night and there just isn't any room? What happens if you can't do the miles to the shelter and it is raining? So you decide to forgo the tarp/tent and opt for a bivy. Do you really want to possibly spend a day or two in the bivy waiting out some possible nasty weather. Weather aside I consider carrying a shelter a safety issue.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-08-2006, 18:53
What Shakeyleggs said. A shelter is a safety item, not a luxury. Lighten up elsewhere if your pack is too heavy.

10-08-2006, 19:33
What they said, and how much does a sheet of Tyvek weigh anyway? a few oz? Not safe to be without a roof, IMO. Though there are people who will say they've done it, and encourage you to. As long as you don't come knockin on my tent in the middle of the night, or use my tax dollars because you have to be air lifted off the mountain, HYOH.

10-08-2006, 19:57
well, yeah I guess I should have made it clear that i was considering SOME sort of protection against mother nature... just something substantially lighter.

The Will
10-08-2006, 20:06
The worst story of trail etiquette I've heard had to do with hikers who were not carrying tents/tarps/bivies of their own. These guys arrived at a lean-to during a rain storm and had the audacity to request that someone who had already established a space in the shelter to move out and pitch their tent in the rain.

Things like injury, weather and shelter capacity are not easily predictable. Many thru-hikers, myself included, make the shelters their first choice for a nights accomodation. The shelters are usually a good hiking distance apart and frequently located by good water sources. But I encourage you to take something for a back-up, even if only a 6 oz. tarp, for both your convenience and safety.

10-08-2006, 20:17
well, yeah I guess I should have made it clear that i was considering SOME sort of protection against mother nature... just something substantially lighter. I don't know what is substantially lighter than a six by eight foot silnylon tarp, but whatever you are considering, it is easy to see if it is feasible. Just load your pack with the stuff you are considering bringing and nothing else. If you are thinking about going tarpless/tentless, then load your pack that way.

Then wait until the weather is miserable. Cold rainy and windy, for instance. Go out in your back yard with your pack and sleep out there with only what you have packed. See if you can stand it. If you haven't quit and gone in the house by morning, and you feel okay about doing in again the next night, then you have found your lightweight system.

10-08-2006, 21:53
I would at least carry a poncho made of polyester spinnaker cloth (Backpacking Light and other places). 5-6 oz. isn't going to kill you, plus, it's multiple use. At least it'll keep your pack dry, and might just save your life if you slip on a patch of ice or snow and break your leg or worse.

Of course, there's always cuben fabric if you want something lighter.

10-08-2006, 22:00
I slept Under a shelter one time. It wasn't much fun... I would at least carry something like a poncho/tarp minimum and a few stakes and line.. Some people force march from shelter to shelter, trying to be the first to arrive and secure a spot.. It is worth it to me to carry a bug proof shelter so that I can hike at my own pace and stealth camp if I have to.

10-08-2006, 22:14
A poncho tarp isn't that bad, i only used mine once on my 2month section (i switched over to a tent because of the people i was hiking w/ then wanted to spend less time in shelters and I prefered shelters over my tarp mostly because staying shelters requires less work, blah blah blah) Practice different ways of setting it up, be sure to get one w/ grommets on all corners and centers. Having just the corners sucks, i know that from experience. carry 4 stakes, some small rope and use your hiking sticks. With my poncho which had only corner grommets, I would stake one side down then use rope, trees and my hiking poles to put up the other side, and hoped it didn't rain in the other direction. I also carried a tyveck ground cloth. A better configuration that i saw had a poncho tarp with the center grommets also. the four corners were staked down and the hiking poles where put in the center grommets on the short end. Practice getting it tight.