View Full Version : One More Shelter Poll---% Usage

08-07-2003, 10:07
I'm just curious about what percentage of the time thru-hikers use shelters versus tenting. I'm thinking I would probably prefer tenting when possible. But, shelters must offer certain benefits like protection from bad weather, company and ease of use.

08-07-2003, 12:13
Hey Illni...

I've seen you write several questions about the shelters. They are really something you should experience for yourself. Stay there a couple nights, if you hate it, it was onlya couple nights. If you love it, you can stay at them more often.

I feel you should bring shelter whether you plan to stay at shelters or not. Emergenices can happen as can overcrowding.

08-07-2003, 13:27
If it helps you feel better, I had concerns about staying in the shetlers before I started backpacking on the AT. I figured I'd prefer to stay in my tent so I didn't have to deal with the mice.

However, I really find that I enjoy the shelters -- I really like the comraderie of meeting other hikers and hearing their stories. The mice aren't really bothersome (except when they get into someone's potato chip bag in the middle of the night. :) I find I actually do sleep a little better in the shelter -- mainly because I'm not worrying about my bear bagging technique.

I agree with Grimace... go try a one-nighter in a shelter out and see how you feel. You may be surprised, like I was, at how much you like them.

-- Ivy

08-07-2003, 14:40
This is one of those issues that get discussed a lot off trail. On trail, it's not really talked about. The shelters get used when it is raining. EVERYONE heads to a shelter then, mice or no mice. When it's nice, they get a lot less use, mainly just it they are well placed to stop for the night. Also in the beginning they get used more 'cause no one likes being in a tent if it is snowing!

The mice are there. Some people find it a fun game to talk about them a lot. Others ignore them. I'm in the 2nd camp. It usually doesn't stop people from staying in the shelters. Take the example of one person being allergic to them. He still slept in the shelters though...

Gravity man

08-08-2003, 11:18
I like being at the shelters because I like talking to other people and not having to worry about taking down a wet tent in the morning. I also agree that you should try it once and see how you like it. On the issue of mice @ the shelters I've heard and seen them but they havn't bothered me. Have a great hike!

02-01-2004, 09:08
I like the fact that the shelters are there. Its my goal to photograph all the shelters. But for useing them i perfer to eat lunch or supper at them and then go on and sleep somewhere else. I do enjoy talking to hikers at the shelters though. You can meet alot of new freinds there. Some of the shelters are located to close to road ways which make them a prime loacation for locals to come and party.

02-01-2004, 14:58
I slept in shelters every night on the Trail for 5 months with the exception of about 10 nights that i spent in my tent. Went from Davis Farm Campsite in virginia to Crocker Cirque Campsite in Maine without using a tent. A mere 1300 miles :)

02-01-2004, 16:47
I heard the mice scurrying around just as it was getting dark my first night in a shelter. I watched a little with a flashlight then tried to sleep. They were keeping me awake so my friend and I, since we were the only humans there, set up his clip-flashlight inside the shelter and slept fine. Later on in another shelter I just used earplugs. When the first mouse ran over my head I woke up, thought a bit, "Hummm, a mouse just ran over my head ... that wasn't so bad." and I went back to sleep. The only problem was one eating a hole in my tent while it was in my pack on a peg. I would much rather hear rain on a shelter roof than on my not-as-waterproof tent. And personally, if it's kick-butt thunder, near by or right overhead, I don't/can't sleep at all in a tent. Hours pass slowly from midnight to 3 AM between that first rumble and the last.

warren doyle
02-02-2004, 14:47
I rarely use shelters - mostly in the winter if they are empty and there are no pine trees around to camp under.

02-06-2004, 01:37
i think the pole was a good one but it needed a "i never sleep in shelters"
i never have but if i was sure it would not be crowded and it was gonna poor or heavy snow i might. i like to be social but a snorer or some shead ariving at 11pm and making noise would piss me off. i am also overly paranoid about theft. the mice and urine smell would turn me off to.

a small group of 4-8 all cooking and drinking and smoking and enjoying each others company around the fire ring would be cool though.

Kozmic Zian
02-27-2004, 10:34
Yea......I use them when nobodys in, or the weather's bad. I carry a weather radio, and if it forcasts for a boomber or front, I head for the shelter. If it's nice, I'll find a spot to camp at. To me, the shelters and the hub-bub all around them, detracts from the 'wilderness experience' I'm seeking. But, I do use them and it's kind of rewarding and warm to see them as you're hiking along The Trail. Kind of like a guide post or, pheeww....I made it thing. You look at your maps day by day and say, 'How far is the next Shelter?' Or, I can eat lunch at so an' so shelter, then make it to Hobbob Shelter and find a camp, thing. I say stay away from 'Peak Hiking Season' and the shelters are OK. KZ@

02-27-2004, 11:28
On my partial thruhike this year, I clocked 123 days. 70 nights were in shelters, 6 nights under tarp/tent, and the rest were in motels, hostels and houses. So I answered more than 80% of those nights in the woods.

I'll take a shelter anytime. If it's not too crowded, then there is room to spread out, room to pack up in the morning. Don't have to put up or take down the tent, wet or dry. Being snug in a shelter when the rain is pouring down is a delightful feeling.

I will also take a motel/hostel/house anytime I can get it. A shower and bed, (in that order) is a most welcome.

Pete Hoffman
"Old Corpus"

Speer Carrier
03-02-2004, 18:39
I like to stay in shelter areas, but not necessarily in the shelter itself. I, as some of the others who responded, like sitting around the fire ring at night swapping war stories, but I always set up my tarp just a little way away from the shelter itself. When thunder and lightning start, I usually curl up in a little ball and hope for the best. I will agree, however, it is a pain packing up wet stuff in the morning. But a tarp is a whole lot easier than a tent.

03-02-2004, 21:18
I like to stay in shelter areas, but not necessarily in the shelter itself. I, as some of the others who responded, like sitting around the fire ring at night swapping war stories

Except, for me, it is a tarp and hammock instead of a tarp alone.

I do enjoy cooking supper and breakfast with others around.

Kozmic Zian
03-03-2004, 10:46
Yea.....Shelters again. Stay in them if you want to. That's all. But, do take a tent or shelter. The guys that try to cut weight by not taking a shelter, don't cut it in my book.
They put an unnessesary burden on shelter occupation. Sometimes you get there and the shelter's already full. 'Can Yall squeeze over some more, 'cause I don't have a tent?' Now, if the weather's bad, yea, but just because some ho ho dosen't have a tent? Don't think so. Personally, I rather tent. KZ@

03-03-2004, 17:07
I tend to make dinner and breakfast at the shelters and hang out and camp nearby if there are interesting people around but for the most part i camp away from the shelters for sleeping.

I am a hammock user and have come to love to comfort of being in a hammock instead of on the ground.

If weather is really really really bad I will use a shelter or if i have a bunch of friends with me.

But i agree with everyone else that you should try it for yourself you may like being in the shelter as it allows you to get to know more people on the trail.

Just remember if you dont use the shelter use low impact camping meathods.

03-03-2004, 19:52
I' with Risk. Shelters are good socially at meal times. But give me the comfort of my hammock under agenerous tarp any day....infact make that every day :) .

12-22-2004, 15:32
I like knowing that bears sniff around tents before shelters folks...

I like keeping company with mice, flying squirrels and all other nocturnal creatures...

I like hanging my food sack only feet from my body so the bears don't have to work so hard...

I like writing country western songs to the tempo of various snoores, sneezes and grunts of fellow hikers...

I like obtaining hip-pointers from six straight months of sleeping on hard wood planks without an inflatable mattress...

I like trying to out-do my fellow hikers whooper stories...

I like sharing the fact that NOBO's walked to New England while SOBO's hiked to Georgia...

I like staying out of the rain when it would seem more manly to get soak and wet folding up my tent during a tropical downpour...

I like having to tell a boy scout that I earned the "right" to stay in a shelter because I am a thru-hiker....

I like everything about shelters- for they make the man...

disclaimer: "Tongue in cheek observations"

12-23-2004, 00:08
on my last hike from delaware water gap to dalton mass i stayed on in shelters 3 night,stealth tarped 5 nights,picknick pavillions 4 nights,cabin 2 nights.on all my other section hikes,its been 95% or more nights in shelters,plann on using them even less for rest of my hike:sun neo

12-30-2004, 00:20
:sun You have gotten in a lot of miles Neo! When did you start section hiking?

Have you missed a year?

After reading this book:

" Walking Home A Women's Pilgemage On The Appalachian Trail"

There seems to be a lot of rats and mice at the shelters.

Do you run into that tenting?

My Dream Is To Hike The AT


04-27-2005, 09:57
In the eight years it took me to section-hike all the AT, I only stayed in six shelters. I just can't sleep well in them. Reasons include: The slightest noise or movement wakes me up, I toss/turn a lot myself so I'm always concerned about waking other hikers, I need to use the woods a couple times a night and I worry about waking others, and when I hike with my dawg I'm aware many shelter dwellers don't want to share space with her.

The shelters provide something of value to many and I'm not against them (actually, I help maintain one as a volunteer), just choose not to sleep in them.

Typically, I'll camp near a shelter (but not right next to one) to take advantage of the water source, privy if there is one, a place to cook/eat, and the comaraderie. But come bedtime I'm outta there.

P.S.: I have the same view for similar reasons toward dormitory-like situations in hostels and in the White Mt. huts, tho due to weather concerns I've used the latter (didn't get much sleep).

04-27-2005, 10:04
i use shelters for the camraderie....

always cool to meet the different types out on the trail...

& to be quite honest...i'm too darn tired @ the end of the day, sometimes, to put up my tent.

but, in case of a shelter thats FULL....i tent close by. :D

05-11-2005, 18:54
My vote goes to NEVER