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  1. #1
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    Default Tents in shelters

    I am trying to find a solo tent for the trail. I will most likely be starting in January so don't expect to see too many at first. So I see a lot of people set up tents in shelters when the weather is miserable and they are not putting anyone else out. How important is a freestanding tent in that situation?

  2. #2

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    There is no reason to set up a shelter, inside of a shelter. Either tent, or shelter. You never know who has had a miserable hike for the day and arrives after dark to your tent setup in what could have been their empty spot. A lot of shelters have lofts, half height walls on the opening side, plenty of protection 99% of the time. At the most I would take my fly and lay it over myself within my personal space in the shelter. But if your going to set up your tent, what extra protection are you receiving from the shelter that your tent isn't providing?
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 09-17-2015 at 11:56.

  3. #3

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    I agree NO Tents in shelters.

  4. #4

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    If your tent doesn't offer enough protection for you, then you have the wrong tent. Either shelter or tent - not both. Or buy a better sleeping bag.

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    lots of responses - nothing constructive

    would have to say they have not had much midwinter shelter use - blowing snow etc does make just a sleeping bag less than ideal

    a much overlooked option is the bivy sack - reasonable weights, takes up no extra room, keeps the sleep system together, adds warmth, and can be used outside the shelters

    example: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/ca...category/2158/

    dominating space in a shelter is never nice, even just being spread out in a sparsely used shelter, be ready to consolidate for later arrivals

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    Yes, your tent needs to be more or less freestanding in order to set it up in a shelter, shelter's usuallydon't have any good anchorpoints to attach to.

    The only time I put up a tent inside a shelter is when I'm hiking a less used section of trail, it's the dead of winter and I don't feel like dealing with packing down snow to make a tent site. Typically these shelters have had no log book entries for several weeks prior to my arrival and the snow is completely undisturbed by footprints, so it's a safe bet that I won't be bothering anyone. I wouldn't recommend trying this on any popular stretches of trail.

    In reality there's not much advantage to putting up a tent inside the shelter besides not having to deal with the snowpack. I'm fairly sure that the ground is actually warmer since it doesn't have the constant draft underneath that the shelter's floorboards do.
    Last edited by Sarcasm the elf; 09-17-2015 at 12:48.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    lots of responses - nothing constructive

    would have to say they have not had much midwinter shelter use - blowing snow etc does make just a sleeping bag less than ideal

    a much overlooked option is the bivy sack - reasonable weights, takes up no extra room, keeps the sleep system together, adds warmth, and can be used outside the shelters

    example: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/ca...category/2158/

    dominating space in a shelter is never nice, even just being spread out in a sparsely used shelter, be ready to consolidate for later arrivals
    How is none of it constructive? They asked about tents in shelters, OP said nothing about different shelter options as you suggested. They asked about does and don'ts of setting up tents in the shelters. If you feel the need to protect yourself with your tent, do it in a tenting area.

    your right I don't have any experience with snow drifts in shelters because I sleep in my Dern tent.

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    I did not realize it was such a faux pas. I read several books in the last few years and it seemed frequent they would tent in the shelter. I figured I would get the added warmth from he 4th side the tent provides plus critter protection. I plan to use either my 15deg or 0deg bag with a liner and I know what conditions they can keep me warm, but the tent always keeps in a bit more heat.

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    Thanks, well put and helpful.

  10. #10

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    I would say just like anything else; Be mindful of others, the possibility of others and give it a reality check on the spot. In what little experience I have gained in the 800 miles of the AT I have done (Most people on here have a lifetime of experience), cold is cold, 14 degrees is 14 degrees and the space taken up by my tent isn't going to make me toasty warm.

    Now if you are looking to retain warmth, tyvek with some thumb taks in an end spot of the shelter would probably do a darn good job at both protection, cost, not impeding on others space and weight savings

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Yes, your tent needs to be more or less freestanding in order to set it up in a shelter, shelter's usuallydon't have any good anchorpoints to attach to.

    The only time I put up a tent inside a shelter is when I'm hiking a less used section of trail, it's the dead of winter and I don't feel like dealing with packing down snow to make a tent site. Typically these shelters have had no log book entries for several weeks prior to my arrival and the snow is completely undisturbed by footprints, so it's a safe bet that I won't be bothering anyone. I wouldn't recommend trying this on any popular stretches of trail.

    In reality there's not much advantage to putting up a tent inside the shelter besides not having to deal with the snowpack. I'm fairly sure that the ground is actually warmer since it doesn't have the constant draft underneath that the shelter's floorboards do.


    This was helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    YIn reality there's not much advantage to putting up a tent inside the shelter besides not having to deal with the snowpack. I'm fairly sure that the ground is actually warmer since it doesn't have the constant draft underneath that the shelter's floorboards do.
    In high summer, I see people tenting in shelters to get some bug protection. I roll my eyes at that, and go pitch my tent somewhere else where I can catch a breeze. Tenting in a shelter looks brutally hot to me.

    And Elf is right about the ground being warmer. I can recall one spring weekend when my daughter and I had stopped off at a shelter near the end of a hiking day to get out of the sleet for a bit and have a cup of tea. While we were sitting there, we said to two other parties, "Hey, if you want the lean-to, you can have it! We're just stopped for a break." The answer was, "No thanks! My tent's warmer!" It snowed in the night. In the morning, we could tell from the tracks that five or six of the tent sites nearby were occupied. Nobody stayed at the lean-to.

    Tenting in a shelter is unlawful in New York.
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    Got an R-5-6-7+ sleeping pad of some sort? If not, get one.
    I could see an advantage to using the shelter as a wind block for my tent set up in the lee of the shelter. Maybe add a nice snow wall to add additional wind protection. A few inches of snow under your tent is definitely warmer than a drafty raised floor.
    What critters are you worried about invading your tent? You told us about your bags, how storm worthy is your tent?
    In January I doubt that you can always count on finding a shelter at the right time of day anyway.
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    i still dont get why anyone would want to tent inside a shelter as opposed to out of the shelter. all the justifications offered so far explain why the tent in the shelter is better than being in the shelter without the tent, while ignoring the question of why not just set the tent up outside the shelter?

    only time i see this being rational is in the few very limited cases where tenting near a shelter is not permitted. ive more than once happened upon a single tent occupying an entire shelter (albeit one of the smaller shelters) and its one of those things i just stare at in disbelief and wonder how anyone could have possibly decided that was ok.

  15. #15

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    Many moons ago in a land far far away, once I put my tent (free standing) in a shelter, not rainy tent ti pack up in the morning, no mices, no bugs, no machete wielding killers can get to me with the first shot. Don't know that I'd do that again.

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    Lots of people set up tents without fly.in shelter to keep away mice,

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Lots of people set up tents without fly.in shelter to keep away mice,
    and what is the advantage of doing this in the shelter as opposed to out of the shelter?? are you not "supposed" to set up your tent without the fly out of the shelter? i do it all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    and what is the advantage of doing this in the shelter as opposed: to out of the shelter?? are you not "supposed" to set up your tent without the fly out of the shelter? i do it all the time.
    Im sure if you think about it you can come up with reasons. Out of rain for one.
    I saw 4 set up at one time in overmountain shelter.

    Most time if its a small shelter they will take it down or ask if others mind.

    I dont sleep in shelters normally, couldnt care less what the rodent-fearing inhabitants do. First come first served as well. If someone doesnt like it, go find another trail.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-17-2015 at 16:03.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    and what is the advantage of doing this in the shelter as opposed to out of the shelter?? are you not "supposed" to set up your tent without the fly out of the shelter? i do it all the time.
    The most common reason that people do it is that shelters are dryer, so if it's raining you can get the bug protection of a tent while using the shelter to keep the tent dry.

    As I said in my comment above, I would never do this in 3 season conditions due to the likelyhood of other hikers coming by who want to use the shelter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    The most common reason that people do it is that shelters are dryer, so if it's raining you can get the bug protection of a tent while using the shelter to keep the tent dry.

    As I said in my comment above, I would never do this in 3 season conditions due to the likelyhood of other hikers coming by who want to use the shelter.

    makes i suppose at least a modest amount of sense, but ive seen people do it not in the rain. further, in the rain is when its most inconsiderate to go hogging the shelter, arguably.

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