PDA

View Full Version : Comparing tents, hammocks, tarps, tarptents ...



Bootstrap
03-19-2009, 16:41
Between now and the weekend I'm setting up a tarp, a tarptent, a hammock, and a conventional tent, possibly more than one tarp or tent, so my kids and my girlfriend can compare them and get a feel for what they prefer.

And it occurs to me: sleeping overnight is pretty much essential to get a feel for a shelter. There's no way to do that in a store. Doing that in several kinds of weather is best ...

If you don't already happen to own "one of each", is there any way someone could get access to these things for a comparison like this?

Jonathan

Petr
03-19-2009, 16:50
I know my local REI rents out gear, but I doubt they'd have any hammock worth buying available to rent.

You live in AT country...maybe give a shout-out to your local WB members. Offer to drive to 'em to the trail for a weekend jaunt in exchange for a couple of days with their shelter.

optimator
03-19-2009, 16:51
Rent the gear from somewhere? Borrow from other hiking partners? I'm gonna hedge my bets that if their new to this, their gonna lean towards the conventional tents. Security factor...

Cannibal
03-19-2009, 16:55
Make friends with people that have the gear you don't. Most are very good about letting others try a piece of gear.

Jim Adams
03-20-2009, 00:56
Get tents and be done with it.
If you are taking the kids and the girlfriend then you will need a hammock for each. If you use tarps then you have to practice alot between now and actually using them as they can be difficult at first. Tarptent, too much work for the kids. They are not going to want to sponge the inside to get rid of condensation and if they are not guyed tight will sag and or fall.
Stick to normal double wall free standing tents until : a. they all decide that they like backpacking or b. they all get enough experience to know what type of shelter they want. It will be far cheaper for you in the long run.

geek

Franco
03-20-2009, 02:02
The Hogback could be a good compromise. Sets up like a tent, IE no trekking poles required,has the weight of a Tarptent , about 65oz for 51 square feet (86"x86") of fully usable space , lots of headroom 49" at the peack , two mesh walls with some space between them and the fly, so a bit of an hybrid between the typical tarp tent and a tent but (in my view) more of a tent. (the guy inside is over 6')
Out in a few weeks.
http://www.tarptent.com/hogback.html (http://www.tarptent.com/hogback.html)
Franco
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e389/Francophoto/TT%20Hogback/hogbacksneak31.jpg
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e389/Francophoto/TT%20Hogback/hogbacksneak41.jpg

Bootstrap
03-20-2009, 09:03
Get tents and be done with it.

Hmmm, this may be the right thing to do. I probably need something lighter than what I have, though.

You're a tarp guy, if I recall, for your own camping?


If you are taking the kids and the girlfriend then you will need a hammock for each. If you use tarps then you have to practice alot between now and actually using them as they can be difficult at first. Tarptent, too much work for the kids. They are not going to want to sponge the inside to get rid of condensation and if they are not guyed tight will sag and or fall.

I spent the night in a tarptent below dewpoint two nights ago, and the sponging down issue is real. I can get it to stay tight, it does take a little learning.

I've spent about 5 nights under a tarp, twice with rain, 4 nights with a urethane coated tarp, 1 with a silnylon tarp. I'm working on different setups. I really like all the room they give, and they would be a lot lighter than anything else big enough for four people. Last night, there was a lot of rain, there was also condensation in the tarp (trapezoidal setup, one end high to a tree). So the low end was damp because of dripping condensation, rain blew in the open end for a certain distance, I was bone dry in between. But there wasn't enough dry space for four. I'd be willing to put in the time to really learn how to make tarps work if I thought I could get everyone to go for it.


Stick to normal double wall free standing tents until : a. they all decide that they like backpacking or b. they all get enough experience to know what type of shelter they want. It will be far cheaper for you in the long run.

That might be the best psychological approach, at any rate, since it would make people feel comfortable. Actually, everyone likes my hammock except my girlfriend ...

Jonathan

Tipi Walter
03-27-2009, 09:23
Here's one thing you could do: Get a double walled tent and set it up with just the fly. This would count as your tarp experiment. Then try it together with the tent body. Two in one. Then throw a bedroll on the ground with nothing else, this would be your quasi bivy-style sleeping. A tent can be "fast-packed" and used as a tarp, but it will have all the limitations of a tarp: no insect protection, no snow protection in blizzards(windblown snow will enter), no real protection from ground water pooling, excessive guying required in high winds on open balds with breezy interior results.

I like Jim Adams advice: get a tent. Camping configuration has to be figured out: who's sleeping where. Individual shelters? One big shelter for all? I'd probably go with a tent for the kids and a tent for the adults. Or one massive tent for all and break it up so that one person carries the fly, one the tent body, one the poles and stakes, etc. There are some dynamite big tents out there--VE25 comes to mind though even it might be too small for four people bunched up together all the time. I'd look for something in the 60 to 80 sq foot range. Four people can easily carry one big tent.

SGT Rock
03-27-2009, 10:14
Here's one thing you could do: Get a double walled tent and set it up with just the fly. This would count as your tarp experiment. Then try it together with the tent body. Two in one. Then throw a bedroll on the ground with nothing else, this would be your quasi bivy-style sleeping. A tent can be "fast-packed" and used as a tarp, but it will have all the limitations of a tarp: no insect protection, no snow protection in blizzards(windblown snow will enter), no real protection from ground water pooling, excessive guying required in high winds on open balds with breezy interior results.
I like the idea - but with a slightly different opinion on this. Straight tarps don't normally work like the fly on the tent pole things in my experience. I've never used a "shaped tarp" but this is more like what I would think of them being like. Tarping is a whole nother animal to me because of the use of trees (for the most part), so the inherent tactics associated with selection of site and the problems and advantages that creates.


I like Jim Adams advice: get a tent. Camping configuration has to be figured out: who's sleeping where. Individual shelters? One big shelter for all? I'd probably go with a tent for the kids and a tent for the adults. Or one massive tent for all and break it up so that one person carries the fly, one the tent body, one the poles and stakes, etc. There are some dynamite big tents out there--VE25 comes to mind though even it might be too small for four people bunched up together all the time. I'd look for something in the 60 to 80 sq foot range. Four people can easily carry one big tent.
That would be a system. I've got a 2 person tent that is about 5 pounds. Packing the tent between two people is about an even 2.5 to 2.5 split. One person gets the tent, the other gets the poles, fly, and stakes.

One other thing I might add is if you are going as 4 people with 2 tents is you may want to also think about bring a tarp along as well. Something light like sil-nylon. Back in my old tenting days, have a community space for the rain was nice. Back then it was a poncho or two so everyone could get together and cook, play cards, etc. You can also set two tents up facing each other with the tarp in between them as a shared corridor.

Tipi Walter
03-27-2009, 10:45
Yeah, a tarp for social purposes is near-vital for group camping. Solo not so much. Whenever we did our Pisgah backpacking clusters we always carried several tarps for community space as invariably it would rain. We also had a cache hidden under a rock with several tarps, cordage, a bowsaw, and my buddy's fishing pole.

I just got back from a trip and ran into 12 kids backpacking for 10 days in the Citico/Slickrock, nine kids and three leaders(from the Cranbrook School in Michigan). They all used big tarps and heavy weight climbing rope to run a tight line(did I say TIGHT?)about chest level to create a long campsite.

THE CRANBERRY SHELTERING SYSTEM
It's very simple and very cheap: 12 people, 3 ropes and 3 tarps, the Walmart blue tarps too, not some fancy silnylon wing or golite cape. Here's what they do: They find 2 trees about 20+ feet apart and use a beefy climbing rope and string it tightly between the 2 trees at about chest level. Then they throw the tarp lengthwise across the rope and with 6 stakes peg out the 3 pegs on each side. The A apex on each end is fairly high and there's about a 12-18 inch gap around the bottom sides so this config is not the best for high winds or snow, but it works.

On the ground they put a thick piece of plastic for their pads and bags. In a heavy rain with pooling ground water this system won't work but they don't seem to complain. With 3 tarps, they put the leaders in one and the girls in one and the boys in the other. It's a good fast system but is totally dependent on 2 important things: a level spot with 2 adequately spaced trees.

This sounds simple but in fact they often end up choosing tilted campsites since a level spot oten does not have the best tree configuration. A tent would be more flexible and offer greater freedom, especially on open balds and at tricky little areas like the Hangover. But for 12 people, the tarp system works.

ishmael86
03-27-2009, 11:36
How big are the kids? In hammocks I wonder if you could try a kind of side-by-side hang with you and a kid under one tarp and your girlfriend and another kid under another? It would be a bit more complicated than just going the tent route :o)

Lyle
03-27-2009, 11:37
Get tents and be done with it.
If you are taking the kids and the girlfriend then you will need a hammock for each. If you use tarps then you have to practice alot between now and actually using them as they can be difficult at first. Tarptent, too much work for the kids. They are not going to want to sponge the inside to get rid of condensation and if they are not guyed tight will sag and or fall.
Stick to normal double wall free standing tents until : a. they all decide that they like backpacking or b. they all get enough experience to know what type of shelter they want. It will be far cheaper for you in the long run.

geek


While I personally use single wall tents and tarps mostly now, I would probably agree with Jim hear. Conventional tents have the lowest learning curve, so unless someone is somewhat experienced as to what to expect, and willing to accept the limits for the advantages, I would suggest they start with the basics. Many items do not involve any real trade-offs for light weight (sleeping bags, pads, packs, shoes, stoves) but shelter does.

Just my $.02 worth.

Bootstrap
03-31-2009, 07:58
This has been helpful - I've always carried the tent, the whole thing, and dividing it up is something I've just never done before. (On the other hand, if I just carry it, it slows me down, which is helpful for the others ...). My Half Dome II is fine for at least two if used this way.

I'm going to want a tarp regardless for social camping.

Jonathan

brooklynkayak
04-02-2009, 12:11
Rent the gear from somewhere? Borrow from other hiking partners? I'm gonna hedge my bets that if their new to this, their gonna lean towards the conventional tents. Security factor...

I don't know? I guess it depends on the location. My wife, who is not an outdoors person, swears by tarptents as they aren't as claustrophobic as tents. Unlike a standard tarp, the screen keeps the critters out.

Your view around you is much better in a tarp or tarp tent. People can sometimes get creeped out if they hear something, but can't see what it is.

Gear To Go Outfitter
04-02-2009, 18:17
I don't have hammocks in stock yet but I do rent tents and can ship to you in NC. (www.geartogooutfitters.com (http://www.geartogooutfitters.com))