Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 47
  1. #1

    Default Use shelters on the AT or not?

    Just been a passive reader of this great AT forum. Wealth of information here... would like to attempt a thru hike of the AT; but that most likely won't happen due to work and regular life. Have a couple of questions though concerning AT shelters.

    It is possible or has anyone ever completed an AT thru hike without using the shelters... just by tent only? I would sleep better alone then hearing everyone snore in a shelter, so I would be likely to use a tent all the time rather then using a shelter from time to time.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-10-2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA
    Posts
    12,678

    Default

    I'll bet a few thru-hikes have been completed without sleeping in the woods at all. There are a couple of areas where you're nominally required to stay in the shelters -- the Smokies, and the Whites. Crafty folks find ways around the rules in both cases. Here and there are short no-camping sections, usually state parks and such. There's a fifteen mile stretch in PA like that -- where the trail corridor is just too narrow and too close to roads and private property.

    Aside from that, and in general -- nobody's forced to stay in an AT shelter.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-08-2012
    Location
    Taghkanic, New York, United States
    Posts
    2,977
    Journal Entries
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dzarn View Post
    Just been a passive reader of this great AT forum. Wealth of information here... would like to attempt a thru hike of the AT; but that most likely won't happen due to work and regular life. Have a couple of questions though concerning AT shelters.

    It is possible or has anyone ever completed an AT thru hike without using the shelters... just by tent only? I would sleep better alone then hearing everyone snore in a shelter, so I would be likely to use a tent all the time rather then using a shelter from time to time.

    Your thoughts?
    In the AT thru hike you can sleep most of the time in tents, but there is normally the requirement of sheltering specifically in the Smokies.

    I don't recall that the whites had this requirement and I do believe they do not (you can tent below treeline with respect to a certain distance from trail, huts, roads and water), and there are several established camping sites along the AT or a short side hike to them. The hut 'croo' if work for stay is not available will usually direct the thru hiker as to where to camp nearby which is just usually right outside the hut perimeter zone.

    OTOH AMC (which manages the whites) is very big on the 'leave no trace' principals and will often discourage it, but I believe it is legal regardless.

    Also even though the privacy of a tent is nice, and usually better then a shelter sleep, there are times, such as heavy rains where one appreciates the covered structure over setting up a tent.

  4. #4

    Default

    Staying in shelters isn't nearly as bad as some people make it out to be - most of the time. Shelters do make life easier and many, if not most, thru hikers will opt for staying in the shelter when ever possible. This is especially true later in the hike when competion for shelter space isn't as great as it was early on as people spread out and others go home.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2005
    Location
    Concord, NH
    Age
    56
    Posts
    2,050

    Default

    I'm sure some one somewhere has hiked the AT without ever using shelters. However, I would add.. that if it has been raining all day.. and the rain doesn't stop, it's a heck of a lot more pleasant to have a shelter to hole up in then to confine yourself to a small tent. You can stand up in shelters.
    Also.. shelters get less crowded when you go north. Or if you sleep in a shelter 3-4 miles from town.. no one will be there.. they all went right into town to hit the bars.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-08-2012
    Location
    Taghkanic, New York, United States
    Posts
    2,977
    Journal Entries
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Staying in shelters isn't nearly as bad as some people make it out to be - most of the time. Shelters do make life easier and many, if not most, thru hikers will opt for staying in the shelter when ever possible. This is especially true later in the hike when competion for shelter space isn't as great as it was early on as people spread out and others go home.
    Later in the hike you are more likely to know everyone in your bubble, and everyone is pretty much trail hardened and going to make it, that does change the social dynamics a bit and one may be more willing to shelter then near the beginning.

  7. #7
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-28-2007
    Location
    Midlothian,Virginia
    Posts
    3,067
    Images
    76

    Default

    I can see the allure of possibly wanting to stay in a shelter in lieu of tenting during inclement weather. Packing away a wet tent always sucks.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  8. #8

    Default

    I talked to a guy who would not use shelters or use a privy because he was scared of spiders. Maybe he disliked crowds.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
    Age
    60
    Posts
    31,111

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dzarn View Post

    It is possible or has anyone ever completed an AT thru hike without using the shelters... just by tent only? I would sleep better alone then hearing everyone snore in a shelter, so I would be likely to use a tent all the time rather then using a shelter from time to time.
    yes. totally doable

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Mountain Edward View Post
    I talked to a guy who would not use shelters or use a privy because he was scared of spiders. Maybe he disliked crowds.
    Crowds of spiders? I don't blame him! Snacktime and I stayed in our first shelter last January, and it was rather nice. We might have been warmer in a tent, but we wanted to experience a shelter stay. The advantage in winter was no bugs or mice, and waking at 1am to a silent, snowy world. It was SO beautiful, and something I would have missed had we set up the tent. I can think of a few locations where I'd like to shelter for the sunset, sunrise views....Thomas Know, balds, anything that offers panorama.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-10-2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA
    Posts
    12,678

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Mountain Edward View Post
    I talked to a guy who would not use shelters or use a privy because he was scared of spiders. Maybe he disliked crowds.
    Met a hiker in VT who had to end a thru-hike on account of being bit by a brown recluse spider, in VT.

  12. #12
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-29-2007
    Location
    Reading, Pa.
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,844
    Images
    18

    Default

    I'd like to address this one from the standpoint of someone who has built a few shelters (Eagle's Nest, William Penn, and the newly reconstructed Rausch Gap, all in Pa.), and who has been involved in shelter maintenance for over 25 years. While it is may be possible to thru-hike the trail without ever using a shelter, it's REALLY nice to be able to set up camp and NOT have to worry about pitching in a heavy downpour. As previously noted, packing up a wet tent sucks! However, the shelters are more than just "a dry place out of the rain": they are actually a resource management tool that allows us to "persuade" campers to use a particular area, thereby concentrating the human impact on the environment in certain areas, and allowing the rest of the trail to sustain only minimal damage. If LNT camping was universally practiced, this would not be a consideration, but - at least in MY neck-of-the-woods - there are LOTS of folks who think nothing of clearing a large campsite area, building a fire-ring, having a huge fire all weekend, and then leaving everything intact "for next time". The shelters help to draw these types (and others) into an established area, where it's often easier to mitigate the damage. The down-side is, of course, all of the reasons that many people here and on other sites don't like to use shelters - sorry, but it's not a perfect world yet. As for spiders in the toilets...well, just use a stick to sweep out under the seat!!
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  13. #13
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-15-2004
    Location
    Colorado Plateau
    Age
    45
    Posts
    11,002

    Default

    I like the shelters when there were 4 people or less in a typical shelter meant for 8 people.

    When it is raining, and the shelters aren't crowed (week days, typically) they are great. I still remember a trip to New Hampshire with a good friend. When it was a cold and rainy fall day, we thought we hit the jackpot when we had the entire shelter to ourselves. Lots of space to spread out, be comfortable and not have to pack up a wet tent.

    OTOH, when it is crowded and basically shoulder-to-shoulder, the lack of space was not very comfortable for me even in the rain. I'd rather be in my tent. The shoulder-to-shoulder crowding negates any dryness found in a shelter...at least for me!

    As always, it comes down to your personal preference.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
    http://pmags.com
    Twitter: @pmagsco
    Facebook: pmagsblog

    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-13-2012
    Location
    Mid Atlantic
    Posts
    1,034
    Images
    9

    Default

    I try to avoid them. Eat at them, use the privy, socialize, and move on.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    I'm sure some one somewhere has hiked the AT without ever using shelters. However, I would add.. that if it has been raining all day.. and the rain doesn't stop, it's a heck of a lot more pleasant to have a shelter to hole up in then to confine yourself to a small tent. You can stand up in shelters.
    Also.. shelters get less crowded when you go north. Or if you sleep in a shelter 3-4 miles from town.. no one will be there.. they all went right into town to hit the bars.
    Rolling into a shelter, no one there, on a rainy night & setting up a msr hubba tent, in the shelter = a beautiful thing! It's called the "hubba trick".

  16. #16
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-02-2007
    Location
    DFW, TX / Northern NH
    Age
    63
    Posts
    7,712
    Images
    27

    Default

    I don't have the total aversion to shelters some have, but they can sometimes be crowded, dirty, bug infested etc. and I'll avoid them. But in an electrical storm, and/or when there are high winds and branches are falling, they are safer than a tent IMO.

  17. #17
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    63
    Posts
    4,127
    Images
    3

    Default

    I personally hate staying in the shelters for the usual reasons, and besides 2 nights sleeping in "required" GSMNP shelters, I only stayed one other night in one in 1000 miles of AT hiking (springer to near Harpers). I did camp right at or near a shelter maybe 30-40% of the time, however. Nice having a picnic table and privy.

  18. #18
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-28-2007
    Location
    Midlothian,Virginia
    Posts
    3,067
    Images
    76

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I don't have the total aversion to shelters some have, but they can sometimes be crowded, dirty, bug infested etc. and I'll avoid them. But in an electrical storm, and/or when there are high winds and branches are falling, they are safer than a tent IMO.
    Yep, had a close call a few years back camping at Toms Run Shelter when an all night soaker with heavy winds brought down a tree 50 feet from my tent.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  19. #19
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-22-2007
    Location
    Springfield, Illinois, United States
    Age
    61
    Posts
    6,384

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Staying in shelters isn't nearly as bad as some people make it out to be - most of the time. Shelters do make life easier and many, if not most, thru hikers will opt for staying in the shelter when ever possible. This is especially true later in the hike when competion for shelter space isn't as great as it was early on as people spread out and others go home.
    I staying in like two shelters outside of the Smokies and that was because I got to the shelter late and couldn't find a flat spot. I would almost always tent even if I showed up at a shelter area and I was the only one there.

    I loved the sound of rain beating on my tent while sleeping. Packing up a wet cuben tent in the morning was no different than packing a dry cuben tent. The wet-tent issue in a non-factor.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  20. #20

    Default

    Generally I prefer not to sleep in shelters, but there are times when I have. If you are inflexible about this or other hiking dos and don'ts, you might be painting yourself into a corner for no good reason.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •