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  1. #21

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    Daybreak makes a good point about when it's raining on the AT that you can stop at a shelter for a break. I'd say a majority of the time I have spent on the AT I have used a tarp but it is actually rare that I will stop and set it up for midday use. Most times if it's pouring I will make for a shelter for lunch or a long break. (Beware though , it can be a time trap!) Roughly, a tarp and a tent can be set up in the same amount of time. My tarp is more spacious except perhaps with smaller tarps your dry footprint can approach that of a small tent. For me, once my shelter is up, tent or tarp, the only period of real wet is getting out of wet hiking clothes and into dry camp clothes. At that point, if I need to be outside of my shelter, I have full raingear. My tents all have vestibules (except my pyramid tent) so as soon as shelter is up, pack is stowed with space to work outside the drier inside. With a tarp, I just cook under the tarp and with a tent, if need be, in the vestibule with the door open but I also will just cook in the rain. Mostly just heating water for dehydrated food anyway but the rain doesn't bother me much. Rain is part of nature. I do much prefer the tarp in camp vs the tent so it is nice to have!
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  2. #22
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    08-09-2016
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    A tent like the zpacks duplex has plenty of room inside and two vestibules to keep gear out of rain, great light option that meets both your needs.

  3. #23
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    04-09-2011
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    I think most thru-hikers are just looking for something to get up quick and easy at the end of the day, and goes back in the pack quick & easy the next day. Most people planning for a thru-hike tend to visualize spending a lot of time in camp. I spent very little time in camp and when I did it was eating, sleeping or laying prone reading a book. I've carried both a tarp and a tent on hikes when I wanted to experiment and I thought I'd be spending lots of time in camp, in the rain. I personally wouldn't plan a thru-hike with that set-up, especially along the AT where there are shelters but as pointed out, there are a diversity of opinions on what is important to carry. In a one-man tent I'd prioritize something that goes up easy and quick, and has a small footprint. You really won't feel like mucking around with a tent at the end of a long day.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Creature Feature View Post
    In preparing for my first thru-hike attempt, I’m trying to decide if it’s too much to bring a tarp, a poncho and a tent. I have a one person tent that is definitely coming but I’m concerned about dealing with persistent rain. I would prefer not to rely on shelters to keep (somewhat) dry and I like the idea of being able to quickly set up a tarp to get my stuff out of the rain and be able to prepare meals, etc… Also, my one person tent is rather small and confining and it seems that having the luxury of a tarp in conjunction with my tent would make the rainy season more bearable. I’ve experimented with using the poncho for a tarp but it’s simply not big enough (5’x8’) to have any room to move around underneath. The tarp weighs 17oz, the poncho weighs 11oz and the tent is 40oz. All of your opinions would be appreciated.
    So you are looking at 57 oz of shelter with both tent and tarp. That's a lot. If your budget can stand it, you could get a much lighter, more roomy tent that would weigh about a pound, and save you about 2 pounds of pack weight every step of the way. Look at Zpacks, Gossamer Gear, Six moon Designs, others. Another option, a bit less expensive, would be to get an ultralight hammock tarp and use this as your shelter even while ground-dwelling. Could have a simple polychro groundsheet underneath, a bivvy, or a net tent if you want bug protection.
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  5. #25
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    This is my exact plan too for the same reasons. I want to put up the tarp, then pitch my tent under the tarp so I can cook in the rain or not have to worry so much about rain or snow taking down my tent.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidgeGator View Post
    This is my exact plan too for the same reasons. I want to put up the tarp, then pitch my tent under the tarp so I can cook in the rain or not have to worry so much about rain or snow taking down my tent.
    If you use trekking poles to hold up your tent, then you need to set up between two trees in order to hang the tarp. Finding two trees the right distance apart with ground suitable to put up a tent on in between is somewhat of a rare occurrence.

    If you have a self supporting tent, you can use your poles to hold up the tarp, but they might not extend high enough to give enough clearance. And it makes all that more difficult to get in and out of the tent.

    You should probably try this out before hitting the trail for real. You can cook under the tarp, but do that before setting up the tent. Never a good idea to be cooking in or close to your tent with an open flame. Keeping food smells off your tent is an another reason.
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  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevperro View Post
    In a one-man tent I'd prioritize something that goes up easy and quick, and has a small footprint. You really won't feel like mucking around with a tent at the end of a long day.
    Exactly. Small footprint lets you squeeze into tight spaces, which opens up more possible locations. Nice ability to have when arriving at an already packed campsite or trying to stealth camp. The quicker and easier the set up, the happier you will be.
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