View Full Version : What do you Carry for Shelter on the Trail?

09-27-2002, 11:44
It would be interesting to discover what the predominate shelter preference is, the one we carry in or on our packs.

09-28-2002, 10:16
I answered the poll but need to tell you what I use, it is the Nomad-Lite hand made by Wanderlustgear and a guy named Kurt Russell.This year on my second thru-hike I saw more and more of his tents showing up on the trail.And even though I once had a HH I sold mine and returned to my trusty Nomad-Lite.
You can't beat the weight of the tent and how simple it goes up.If anyone would like to check them out then go to
In closing I love mine and have used it for two thru-hikes and the tent is still like new.

09-28-2002, 10:32
Originally posted by ez-does-it
I answered the poll but need to tell you what I use, it is the Nomad-Lite hand made by Wanderlustgear and a guy named Kurt Russell....
In closing I love mine and have used it for two thru-hikes and the tent is still like new.

I will go out on a limb and put it into the "tent" category as it has a floor. But when I looked at it on the net some time ago (couple of years?)I did not think the floor would last long.

From what you say, I was wrong. Perhaps you should do a gear review as I would like to hear some first-hand info about it. Two thru-hikes is a lot of use and maybe there are more like me who, at first glance, immediately discounted it.

And why did you choose to use it over the HH? The only advantage I can see is that you keep your gear inside, with you, including the pack, which is what I like to do, but crowds me in my HH. What is your view?

09-28-2002, 11:35
Answer to Highway's qoestions:
I had owned the HH ultralight backpacker and loved it for not sleeping on the ground.But as time went on I found the Hamock to be to much touble for sleeping in the cold weather.I was on all kinds of web sites and found all kinds of answers to sleeping in the cold.However when it was all over and done the weight of the Hamock and the cold that surounds you out weighted using my Nomad-Lite.Plus as you have stated I like being self contained and having all my gear in with me.
(1) Tent is easyier to set up.
(2) I sleep much,much warmer
(3) Tent weight much ligher then Hammock
(4) Tent weight compleate with all stuff sacks,poles, 5 Ti. pegs,tyvek ground sheet-29 oz's
(5) Tent goes up in about 2 minutes

Two draw backs to using the Nomad-Lite tent over the Hennessey Hammock are:
(1) you must have a good flat spot
(2) you must use you hiking poles to put up the tent or make your own (see web site for wanderlustgear)

In closing I hope I have answered your questions.The above is my opion only.
Let the fun begin.

10-04-2002, 20:29
The Wanderlust Tent is a single walled type. How much condensation did you experience??? Does it require lots of TLC or is it bomb proof?

10-05-2002, 07:55
with 15 votes cast, 40% claim to be hammock users. Hiking the trail, I didn't see anywhere near that number using hammocks. Although I saw more this year than last, hammock users are a diffinate small number.

10-05-2002, 08:18
Hello Jeff,
The Wanderlust tent as you call it which is the Nomad-Lite had very little condensation,and as with all sil-nylon material you have to be careful with it as you would have to be careful with any type of shelter.Again I have used my tent for two years now and it shows no signs of wear and tear.I hope I have answered your questions.

10-11-2002, 15:30
Depends on the location of the hike and season. I regularly use all of these types of shelter.

Jack Tarlin
10-25-2002, 15:19
I have used the same tent, a Mountain Hardwear "Laser", on my last 6 thru-hikes, and have spent almost 1,000 nights in it. Each year I've had the opportunity to replace it; each year I've decided I've no need to do so. Regrettably, this model is no longer on the market, but they make several comparable products (see www.mountainhardwear.com) With the exception of my packs (from Osprey), my boots (almost always from Merrell), my stove (MSR), and various accessories (Outdoor Research), I cannot think of a company I think more of than Mountain Hardwear.

12-05-2002, 18:56
I use a custom made tafetta tarp, it's about 9 feet long, 8 wide on one end, six on the other. For the little bastards I have a home made bug net that fits over my Thermarest and guys to the top of the tarp. A co-worker of mine made it for me, it only weights 3-4oz. Thinking about scoring a Tarptent though.

12-07-2002, 06:00
Being as I follow LNT and set up camp well away from the trail I doubt you would ever find me swinging from the trees... Unless you followed the snoring:eek:

11-30-2003, 22:02
The Wanderlust Tent is a single walled type. How much condensation did you experience??? Does it require lots of TLC or is it bomb proof?

Different tent, but I use a Wenzel Star Lite (http://www.oshmans.com/product/index.jsp?productId=6899&cp&searchId=10333867476&keywords=wenzel&parentPage=search) single wall, and though it does have condensation issues, those are ameliorated by pitching the tent first when making camp the next day, and leaving the door tied open until you get ready to climb in for the night.

Unless folks are dead-set against not paying an arm-and-a-leg, this is a really nice backpacker's tent, and worth a try. I've used it for quite a few nights now, and have zero complaints.


P.S. I have reviewed the tent on the Oshman's site if you are interested in following the above link.

12-03-2003, 13:46
Hammock in the spring and summer...GoLite Hex 3 in the fall and winter

12-04-2003, 09:33
with 15 votes cast, 40% claim to be hammock users. Hiking the trail, I didn't see anywhere near that number using hammocks. Although I saw more this year than last, hammock users are a definate small number.

Thats because most of us stealth camp. You wont see me most of the time in PA because I want peace & quiet and not the slums of the shelters and tenting areas.
Most of which have too much broken glass, mud and partiers in PA.

12-04-2003, 10:06
I have yet to ever be comfortable in a hammock and lately find I dislike tents as well.

Last few trips, rain or shine, Gortex Bivy. Extra weight? not really if I am not using tent or other shelter and the extra 10degrees help at 25f

04-06-2004, 17:39
My wife and I just recently switched over to a Tacoma-For-Two shelter. 2# 5 oz and it packs down smaller than my sleeping bag. 40 square feet of floor space and two doors. Have to add in the weight of stakes too, about another 5 oz.

04-30-2004, 02:13
According to the poll it would appear that bivy's aren't all that popular. I've been thinking about ways to shave weight, and scrapping my tent in favor of a bivy is starting to sound like a good idea (I don't think I would mind the small space)

Even though popularity is low I'll ask anyway (you guys have had such good ideas for other stuff) Has anybody used a bivy on their thru-hike or an extended hike? Do they help much in the way of keeping you warmer than say in a shelter or a tent?



04-30-2004, 09:44
I guess I fall in with EZ-Does-It when it comes to shelters. Started off with a HH Ultralight, prior to my thru last year. Slept OK in warm weather but just never got comfortable once the mercury dropped and wasn't willing to go the extra mile and build in all those "extra" maneuvers to stay warm.

Based on a lot of research and a desire to get my pack weight down as low as possible (which was a real feat for me at first), I went with the Wanderlust Nomad Lite. In fact, in 2003 we (EZ-Does-It and I) ended up together at a campsite and it looked like a Wanderlust showroom. Anyway ...the Nomad got me all the way to Katahdin with flying colors.

To be honest though ...I did have some condensation issues, especially on the cold/damp nights. I just made sure my sleeping bag (goose down) was away from the walls of the tent on those nights and never had any damage due to moisture. Another point I'd like to make ...and this may be true of other single wall tents as well ...but you have to be carefull how you set them up with respect to wind direction. The awning of the Nomad is pretty high off the ground and a good wind can get underneath it. One night in the Smokies the wind shifted 180 degrees and I awoke to find my tent trying to take off like a kite. I pulled up the line that secured the awning and it blew completely over the top of the tent, exposing the no-seeum mesh on the front half of the tent. Thank goodness it wasn't raining. I slept a little cool that night but otherwise no damage done. Just wanted to mention that since one post on this thread asked about the "bomb-proofness" of the Nomad.


04-30-2004, 15:49
Can't beat it, it may be hard to get into but I can fit my pack and all gear inside. pack is used as pillow. The whole shooting match with emergency blanket as ground cloth 2 lbs 12 ounces.

04-30-2004, 22:52
i always carry a TENT!(bivy-style:"Dart-2"...3lbs)
i love to stay in shelters..for the camraderie...meeting the interesting people & hearing of trail experiences,...for me, thats part of the "excitement" of the trail...but, sometimes....its a bit crowded & you have to TENT.
hehehehehehe :D

i'm gone May 1st-May 8th section-hiking Clingmans to Hot Springs!
(with "Jigsaw", "Model-T", "DragonFLy" & "TooTall")

If you see us....stop & say "HOWDY!"

05-29-2004, 05:05
Much better thread. More Trail related.

For "PROTECTION" (from the elements) on the trail I carry a tent.
Some hikes I carry a bivy or hammock...other times I carry a tarp.
Whatever I carry for "PROTECTION" (from the elements) I "CONCEAL" inside my backpack. I do not break any laws by carrying my tent, bivy, tarp or hammock concealed inside my backpack.
When it rains, I stay dry.:clap

05-29-2004, 09:21
I have been making the transition from a Kelty V-2, to a Golite Cave 2 (worked well last year during a 6 day stretch), and am now starting to use my HH Expedition Ultralite. :-?

Kozmic Zian
05-29-2004, 19:36
Yea.....Shelter. I've been carrying a Slumberjack Summer Bivy since '95. Only thing I have to do is refresh the the waterproofing once a year. I did get some really nice, light weight aluminum tent poles from the CO. when the fiberglass ones gave out. With 2 titanium stakes, and a small cut-to-fit ground piece (thin plastic from Home Depot) the thing only weighs 2lbs. I spent many a night in a down-pour, with minimal water stuff happening. It's kinda cramped and small, but it works.....packs down to nada. Super fine bug netting works when they're bad. When the weather is good, you can throw off the fly for full star gazing. Fits in the bottom of my pack with the sleeping bag. Cost 79.00 new. Suewy....Good stuff! KZ@

05-30-2004, 10:30
My shelter varies depending on where I am going to be and the conditions I expect to face. Most of the time I take a Tarptent Squall. When I have good reason to believe the entire trip will have nice weather without a lot of mosquoitos I take a poncho which I use as a tarp if it rains. If I am going to be stuff above tree line with very rocky soil, I bring a free standing tent.

06-22-2004, 21:04
When bugs are out: Sierra Designs LightYear, including canopy and fly and small Tyvek footprint (wish I had the UltraLight). When no bugs, the fast-pack method (footprint and fly only). When my three kids are along I take a GoLite Hex, no mesh when no bugs, mesh when bugs. And sometimes a Kelty tarp for "open" cover. Yeah, it adds up, but we're all happy.

Bear Magnet
06-22-2004, 22:53
I use the MSR Zoid I. Big enough vestibule to squeeze my pack underneath plus my shoes, mesh walls so you can stargaze in warm weather and be protected from the bugs, enough space so you are not clausterphobic, and pockets to put stuff in.

I do get minor condensation on occasion, but it's never a serious problem.

Weight comes in at 2 lbs 14 oz.

I have given some thought to getting a tarptent or something similar to shave a bit of weight, but overall I am quite pleased with the Zoid.

Bear Magnet
Jonathan Amato

06-22-2004, 23:08
I voted myself as a hammock user when I took the poll when first posted in 2002, but I've found that I will only use my Hennessey when its above 50 degrees, so really only in the summer. I purchased the single-wall, silnyl, 2-man Europa II from Six Moon Designs this spring for my Georgia section hike. Very easy to set up, sturdy in the wind if set up with the entrance facing away from the prevailing wind, and light, light, light. Conditions didn't permit a fair test of the condensation properties, but the ventilation is very good with the open, slanted front and side mesh covered by pull-out awnings.

Major Slacker
05-05-2005, 11:23
I carry a Byer Moskito Traveller hammock and an Equinox Extended Poncho Shelter. I prefer colder weather for backpacking and sleep warmer on the ground, so I use the poncho as a tarp more often than as a hammock fly. I really like having the hammock, though. It is way more comfortable than the ground as a seat or bed, especially if the weather warms up.

Major Slacker
05-05-2005, 11:40
…Has anybody used a bivy on their thru-hike or an extended hike?…
For 4 months backpacking across Nevada, Utah and Colorado I used an Early Winters Pocket Hotel bivy/tent with a 5x7 tarp rigged as a vestibule for sitting upright and out of the weather. It was great in all but the hottest weather, and it kept me warmer in cold weather. I eventually stopped using and carrying the tent poles and used it as just a bivy bag.

I now carry a hammock and poncho that provide comparable shelter but with more options and half the weight.

05-06-2005, 02:05
Shelter has always been the big question mark. My husband hates the 3.5# weight, but loves the protection from the elements his Walrus Swift gives. It's proved to be one of the most watertight. It's a 1.5 person tent. Great for hiker and gear. Has excellant ventilation. I'm sure they now make something lighter, but this tent has miles and nights to go. He once used tarps/bivy's but says he sleeps a lot better protected from more of the elements with the heavier tent. I guess you have to maintain a certain comfort level to stay happy. hikerwife

05-06-2005, 03:14
its an evolution thing? ground or platform sleeping now seems like horses and buggy compared to hanging....
the HH Light Racer is 1pound 6ounces so the weight argument is mooted...staying warm with the underquilt's weight is almost mooted when compared to a thermarest, so i'm stumped why people still want to deal with finding a flat spot, deal with rock and root, or even worse sleep on a hard platform????????
i know setup time is quicker with a tent-non existant with a shelter, but what is 10 min's for 10 hours of incomparable sleep?

05-06-2005, 10:25
[QUOTE=i know setup time is quicker with a tent-non existant with a shelter, but what is 10 min's for 10 hours of incomparable sleep?[/QUOTE]

That's just your opinion. I prefer sleeping on the ground. I get a sore back sleeping in a hammock, not enough support. Also, I really enjoy sleeping in open spaces whenever I can. Can't do that in a hammock.

07-15-2005, 03:24
My tent sucks, it's a cheap piece of crap. I should have a tent tele-thon to raise money so I could buy a nice one.

07-15-2005, 08:02
I just got a Henry Shire's Cloudburst . I am anxiously awaiting delivery as they are backordered.

07-15-2005, 11:57
My tent sucks, it's a cheap piece of crap. I should have a tent tele-thon to raise money so I could buy a nice one.
then get a hennessey hammock:cool: neo

07-15-2005, 15:24
I've been using a Black Diamond Mega-mod for several years. I originally bought it because it was floorless and I didn't have to worry about my dog tearing up the floor with his nails. I've come to enjoy the fact that I can cook in it and pack up all my gear in it when it's raing on the other side of the canopy. Not the lightest around, but I guess everything is a compromise.

The down side to me is that it is not breathable, so when it's windy outside you get either a light rainshower or snow shower, depending on the temp.

07-16-2005, 01:43
Still have my Moss Solet. Great for one + dog and gear, or 2 good friends. Now I've got a MH Hammerhead3, think that sucker weights 11-12lbs, I'm afraid to weigh it. Love it though, perfect for us.

07-16-2005, 11:29
Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight tent - about 2-3 pounds. I've had it for 14 years. Technically, it's my second. My first: On its maiden night in Death Valley March of '91, the winds of a desert sandstorm snapped the main (front) pole. I managed to rig it up somehow for the rest of the night. Upon returning East, I visited Campmoor who promptly exchanged it for a new one.

At some point, the rainfly lost its waterproof ability because I got soaked in a heavy rain in August '03. I re-waterproofed the fly and since then, it's been fine including just last weekend when it survived a heavy rain while camping at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

07-16-2005, 19:04
My current tent is a Mountain Hardwear PCT 1. Small for a big guy, but I sleep well and dry in it. I thought I'd have trouble sleeping in a tent I can't sit straight up in (only to dress since the fabric is near my face). Hasn't been a problem.

It is a good starting point for my lightweight hiking plans.

07-16-2005, 19:32
Need to change my vote from tent to hammock. I now have over a year in my hammock and I really prefer to hang around.

07-22-2005, 09:04
My wife and I use a Siera Designs Sirius 3 tent. It's a single wall tent where 1/2 of the tent is mesh and the other half is nylon. There's a fly that covers the mesh when it's installed. On nice nights we leave it off for increased ventilation and star gazing. With a door on each side it's convenient for either of us to get out during the night without waking the other. We got the 3 person version because we often hike with our 80 pound dog. The only drawback is that it isn't very light. With the manufacturer's footptint and gearloft it weighs in at about 6.5 pounds.

For when we hike without the dog, I'm trying to convince my wife that we should get a Cloudburst Tarptent. She doesn't like the idea that it's not freestanding but sure does like the weight savings it would bring.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-02-2005, 00:24
I can't squat down or twist up like a pretzel due to an auto accident last year. The only choices for me were tent or tarp - and the male dino won't sleep with a tarp alone. I get chilled easily and tents are warmer than all others except bivies. I'm claustrophobic so a bivy is out.

I tried several hammocks at Trail Days this year, but wasn't able to get in or out of them without serious assitance from my hubby and the guys at the booths. I'm fairly sure I lost my dignity at Hennessey's booth where it took three guys to get my rotund dinosaur carcass out of the hammock.

08-02-2005, 13:49
I have (kidding, had) back problems, I now have a fused back. I WAY prefer sleeping in the hammock for the back. with my speer type I find the best way to get out is to roll out, landing on my feet. The other thing I like about hammocking is it is comfort with options- hang where ever you want and can, and also, sick of trees? use the tarp...


Crazy Larry #1
08-28-2005, 07:48
i carried a "mountain hardwear kiva teepee" for awhile, only three pounds total when dry, but when wet add ten pounds.....but the best tent i had was a "coleman peak one one man tent"......i do think in the future a very light tarp will do the trick...

08-28-2005, 08:53
We finally recieved our Cloudburst2 a few weeks ago. Henry Shires was great to deal with. He even called me up to question my ordering 3 extra pegs, explaning that the tent comes with pegs included. ( I loose things!) It has been everything I hoped for. Very light, supereasy to put up, roomy, and very stable. We've already taken it with us for a couple overnighters and it has performed very well. Another satified customer!
:jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump :jump

Ranger Dick
10-11-2005, 13:23
Lightweight one person tent with room to sit up, a vestibule, and very dry. Love it.

10-11-2005, 13:49
Up until this summer tent but after a couple of mounths in the hammock I can honestly say that whenever possible, Hammock.

12-30-2005, 21:47
I have a Stephensons warmlite 2R with optional Large door, Side flap/windows, 3/8" dia. front pole, 3 ti. stakes. Total weight is 2lbs.15ozs. this tent is amazing it affords you 42 sq. ft. of floor space, plenty of room to sit up and play cards or a board game (chess/checkers on back side of closed cell foam pad done with a magic marker) while it`s pouring rain outside. I use their Down Air Mattress(D.A.M.)for some of the best ground sleeping you can get, 3" of loft and no cold spots. I also have a H.H. lite racer asym. hammock that is the cats meow when I`m not sharing the carry weight with a hiking partner. For single or solo hiking I like the Nomad lite from wanderlust gear.

12-31-2005, 19:58
On my 2000 my adventure along the AT I carried The 5# Eureka Timberlite2. It was plenty of room for me. I only spent 3 nights in a shelter so i used it alot. It was a free standing netting with a rain fly to go on top. After a few months iT was easy to set up in a matter of minutes.

For the next few years I experimented with smaller lighter tents. The Backcountry, the exo (That sucked). Then I bought a bareley used Hillebrand Akto from a dude. It weighs about 3 pounds and has only one pole. This is agreat tent. I have about 500 miles in this tent.

For my most recent 200 miles on the CT I purchased a larger NalloGT. COmes in around 6 pounds. I decided I needed more room. This tent has a huge vestebule. I have been able to lose weight in other to try and keep my overall pack weight below 40 pounds.

Hillebrand tents are expensive but worth it.

12-31-2005, 21:06
On my 2006 attempt I plan on using my HH BULA all the way, using shelters only for social activities. I have what I need to camp to a low temp and wind blown rain. I plan on switching up my quilts from the "old rag mountain" to the "no sniveller inside. I use the nest under quilt and also have the JRB weathershield top and bottom to start with for those thick fog mornings. I just gave up on my equinox 8x10 and purchased the MacCat deluxe tarp using the tarp tensioners I made from thera-band elastic tubing(the blue, heavy I think) on the four corners and the two ridge tie outs.