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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan428 View Post
    So the ~9 nights of the PCT you set up a tarp because of rain? I thru'd the AT with a sil-nylon tent. Recently bought a Duplex (frankly with the PCT in mind) that I've taken on a few trips already. But it sounds like I should consider leaving the Duplex at home and start looking into tarps.
    Tarp was setup for privacy sake at Lake Morena near the Mexican border at the now defunct ADZPCTKO gathering where I camped for 2 days. 3 nights in on and off snow at the Canadian Border to finish the PCT. And the rest for rain or the threat of rain. I did dodge one big storm in central Washington where I beat it to a hotel and zero'd the next day to avoid hiking in it. Otherwise, I mostly hiked in a perfect weather bubble that people ahead of or behind me had worse weather.

    I will note that there were 2 or 3 other times in Oregon where most people would have set their shelter up, but I didn't as I really really hate camp chores like setting a shelter up so really push my luck with weather. I was awakened before 5am to light rain that after 5 minutes didn't stop so I decided it was better to pack up then get up and setup the shelter for another hour or so of sleep. So I hiked in the dark for an hour before the sun come up. Another time, a midnight shower happened, so I moved my bivy over under a nearby large spruce tree which kept most of the rain off (as it wasn't hard), relying on the water resistence of my bivy sack to keep me dry from whatever penetrated through the tree and it did.

    Nothing wrong with the Duplex other than the high price and a bit more weight. Plenty of people have used them on the PCT. Some people prefer the illusion of a thin fabric protecting them from their fears at night and from the more realistic threat of mosquitoes and ants. In my case, I decided that since I'm going to cowboy camp most of the time, a bivy sack made the most sense and thus I added a solo sized tarp for rain protection. I basically picked the best shelter system that worked with how I wanted to hike and camp. Not everyone will arrive at the same solution as their goals and desires are a bit different.

    Back at the end/beginning of the year, I spent 2 weekends in Joshua Tree hiking the Cal Riding and Hiking Trail in both directions. I heard bad stories of the shut down there, but away from the campgrounds and the road, I barely saw anyone during the day. First trip was great weather temperature wise whle the 2nd had a very cold strong wind where I never stripped off the warm layers.
    Another advantage to cowboy camping. High Winds. I've seen tents damaged in 40-50mph winds at night from the fabric flapping hard. I've seen more than 1 pct hiker collapse their tent during the night to protect it. Being able to place a bivy sack in a small depression or in between brush where a tent would never fit, can keep you out of most of the wind.

  2. #22
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    In two PCT completions one NOBO thru starting in mid April I've set up a tarp less than 15 times total. On the 08 NOBO I set up 4-5 times because of rain and sleet(in northern WA 2 nights). One night because of high winds blowing sand. I dallied not finishing until mid Oct.

  3. #23
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    Bug protection especially skeeters, can certainly be an issue for a PCTer. Addressing it isn't an unsolvable issue. We shy away from that which we are unfamiliar. I've learned to embrace unknowns. I know I'm better more adaptable for it. Scorpions I too make sure to shake out my shoes and when packing up as probably anyone should no matter their shelter choice. It's not uncommon to see different species of rattlesnakes on a PCT NOBO. I've never had one in camp. I've seen then night hiking. Gotta be aware and not turn your mind off. The green Mojave Rattlesnake is a gorgeous snake sometimes being quite green. The sidewinder, a horned pit viper, is one to be aware of too. I'ver seen some that were almost orange in color like a bright Navel orange. Quite beautiful. King snakes, Mt Kings snakes, coachwhips and Rosy boas you might see too. If you get to glance a MT King consider yourself fortunate.

  4. #24
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    The only reason why I made the comment about reconsidering the Duplex is that if I'm aiming to cowboy camp all the time, I image I'll want some sort of tyvek groundsheet to lay my pad on. And I could use my Duplex for that, but that seems like overkill, and certainly not what it's designed for. And it seems duplicative to carry a groundsheet and the duplex. But then again maybe I'm just overthinking this...

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    Dogwood your reply makes me want to take a snake identification class...

  6. #26

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    A sheet of polycro is much lighter than tyvek. While several outfitters sell it precut to a nice size, you can also purdhase it a a home depot. I think mine weighs about an ounce. I mainly use it to keep the dirt off my sleeping pad and the pine sap off the bottom of my bivy sack.

    I do not recommend sleeping ontop of an $600 cuben fiber tent as a ground cloth. Abrasion is the weakness of cuben fiber (or whatever they are calling it now) so sleeping on top of it just seems like asking for small holes to form right where you want rain protection.

  7. #27
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    Miner and myself are of the same shelter mind. One thing I'll add is that polycro actually comes in different grades or different thicknesses in mils. Same with Tyvek. FWIW I've made bathtub floors for under a tarp using the 1.5 mil Duck brand Window film. It also comes in .5 and .7 mils. I've made them in .7 mils but in my use leads to unacceptable durability. On soft sand they are OK if you pre screen the site for thorns, small rocks, pieces of cholla or Joshua tree blades.

    Here's the .7 mil: https://www.duckbrand.com/products/w...-x-120-in-3-pk It's really wispy, the slightest breeze blows it around, and if a puncture occurs it quickly uncontrollably tears.

    Here's the 1.5 mils: https://www.duckbrand.com/products/w...n-x-126-in-3pk I get 2-3 ground cloths out of this size. Cost is about $8-10 at WallyWorld. This still saves wt over Kite Tyvek 1443R.

    It does shrink if left exposed to high heat.

    It seems many backpack to reconnect to Nature, to decompress from off trail affairs. One way to facilitate that is through knowledge and wisdom rather than always being fearful, like of snakes, scorpions, bears, etc. Familiarizing ourselves with the natural environment and cooperating with it through awareness is a better approach IMHO rather than always attempting to dominate it in a consistent human centric mindset. There is a world of beauty beyond what is man made or known by man.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    I do not recommend sleeping ontop of an $600 cuben fiber tent as a ground cloth. Abrasion is the weakness of cuben fiber (or whatever they are calling it now) so sleeping on top of it just seems like asking for small holes to form right where you want rain protection.
    This is what I was attempting to get at. In fact, I've seen online some people complaining of just that - that sleeping on top of the duplex can lead to holes. Although I will say I was surprised at how well my cuben backpack held up to various abrasions. But I guess the decision I'm thinking about is if should I keep the shelter I have and just add a ground sheet (of polycro, I'm learning - thanks to you both for info), and carry both the entire way knowing that I'll get minimal use out of the tent. Or do I swap systems entirely and get into tarps.

    Dogwood - I appreciate the practical advice as well as the philosophic!

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    While in a different desert that I'm usually roaming, I never carry any shelter, doing just cowboy camping.
    Its good prcatice to stay away from water sources and green areas, away from shrubs, best is to be out in a sandy spot.
    Water means the whole food chain that ends like lizzards+mice means snakes. Shrubs means seeds means mice means snakes. Mammals access the water source usually in dusk or dawn.
    And Moskitos thrive around water only.

    Saw a Scorpion once, and some harmless snakes now and then.
    Got visited by a Desert Fox sometimes, once he tried stealing my wife's socks, another time eating the leftover from the pan.
    Heard lots of night birds hooting, saw great numbers of shooting stars.

  10. #30
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    One product serves both needs.
    I own a TarpTent StratoSpire 1. I pitch the rain fly alone when insects arenít a problem. The rain fly is a sturdy full coverage waterproof cover for me and my gear.
    When the full double wall tent is needed the inner tent clips in quickly and easily. Together both components provide a secure shelter.
    The StratoSpire 2 would shelter two easily.
    Wayne

  11. #31
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    DCF also comes in different wts. Although companies like ZPacks offers shelters in their standard .51 DCF that's for the walls. It's common to see .75, 1.0-1.25 oz DCF used for ground sheets and bathtub floors which is more abrasion resistant. One advantage DCF has over polycro, once you hiccup on the added extravagant price, is polycro is slippery as heck while DCF offers greater traction to being slept on using a NeoAir or silny sleeping bag or quilt. If a polycro ground sheet is used on even the slightest slope expect to slide downwards and maybe to the side during the night. New Tyvek can be slippery as well. It's also rather bulky when new. I run it through gthe wash a couple of times before using to soften it up and get rid of the slipperiness. Polycro is much more easily punctured and not very abrasion resistant. Again, poly in a slightly heavier wt can strike a fair balance. Once poly is punctured it can quickly lead to a run away tear while Tyvek and DCF don't do that.

    Different pieces and approaches for different environments? A lot of this depends on CS selection and how well one looks at the ground to prepare it.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan428 View Post
    This is what I was attempting to get at. In fact, I've seen online some people complaining of just that - that sleeping on top of the duplex can lead to holes. Although I will say I was surprised at how well my cuben backpack held up to various abrasions. But I guess the decision I'm thinking about is if should I keep the shelter I have and just add a ground sheet (of polycro, I'm learning - thanks to you both for info), and carry both the entire way knowing that I'll get minimal use out of the tent. Or do I swap systems entirely and get into tarps.

    Dogwood - I appreciate the practical advice as well as the philosophic!
    Only you can answer that. I will say for traditional PCT NOBO timeframe conditions a tarp can be highly suitable.

  13. #33
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    some of my best memories are waking up in the middle of the night, peering through the netting of a bivy and simply stare at the stars for a while.
    Last edited by yaduck9; 02-02-2019 at 14:48.

  14. #34
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    There are a bunch of no brainer positives in choosing the ZP Dup for the PCT. Two things about it personally disliked is it's non modular and it requires a substantial footprint. The foot print isn't really an issue on the wide open PCT but it might on other trails.

    Being a wt weenie I like to add and delete components as anticipated conditions dictate. I ask myself why do I need insect netting when there is zero or minimal insect pressure? I like the choice of picking my choice ground sheet material and whether I'll carry any at all possibly just using a bivy under a tarp. And, even though DCF repairs easily with duct tape maybe I don't want to add duct tape wt to my shelter especially the floor as it attracts dirt and adhesives can run in the heat or become brittle in deep cold. Ever unfold a stuck together shelter or ground sheet because it's been repaired with duct tape? Maybe I want a lighter wt polycro sheet/floor that isn't integrated and easily replaceable by another or different material groundsheet. I like options. Options require greater consideration though. With care a ZP Duplex can be used after a PCT thru so maybe consider where and how it may be used and if that's the right choice of shelter longer term. And, as Miner said $600 for a shelter that lasts MAYBE 4000 miles at the wt it was bought can be pricey to replace if you anticipate ramping up your annual trail mileage and in a diversity of environments.

    I also can cowboy or bivy in much smaller ground sites ie; on ledges, base or apex of waterfalls, in a grove of tightly spaced Foxtail Pines or under low hanging evergreens to go stealthy. It's the same for hammockers. They can camp in places that tenters couldn't.

    Like Miner and Yaduck I've long gotten over the supposed psychological safety of placing a DCF or silny barrier between where I'm sleeping and the natural world. Personally, I don't hike and don't want to sleep on a hike unless absolutely having to disconnected from Nature by placing a sheet of fabric between it and myself. I get enough of that off trail.


    All this does not mean tarps, shaped tarps, cat tarps , and bivys are for everyone and necessarily for every situation but it's good to recognize the positives.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Connie View Post
    I really like a bivy for keeping "crawlies" out.

    I use a bivy whether I am "cowboy camping" or use a tarp or a tent, except if it is a fully enclosed trnt I keep zipped up. Then, I do not leave it open.

    For desert, I think spiders. Are scorpions spiders?

    I like to use one or two hiking poles to pitch the tarp or the tent.
    Same Class (Arachnids) - different Orders. So, first cousins evolutionarily (not a real word) speaking.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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