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  1. #1
    kicking around ideas for the next adventure 1Pint's Avatar
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    Question 3-season tent good enough for winter in SNP?

    I'm looking at doing some long weekend hikes in SNP between now and the end of February. Do you think I can get away with using my 3-season tent?

    Thanks,
    Laura
    "It's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." Train

  2. #2

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    I think you'll be fine in SNP, assuming you've got a good sleeping bag and appropriate clothes. You might also want oto consider a thicker (or even additional) sleeping pad, and make sure you have a good groundclothof some sort. I'd also exercise some caution in where I PUT the tent, i.e., I'd make a special effort to try and set up in an area relatively sheltered from the wind, and perhaps under tree cover if more than light snow is anticipated. A well-made 3-season tent should be OK for Sheanandoah Park, unless you run into some really crazy weather.

  3. #3

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    three season is fine. if the snow is flying hard, brush it off of the tent every hour but you should be fine. the biggest difference between 3 and 4 season is the support against wind and snow load.
    geek

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    Registered User Mother Nature's Avatar
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    Be sure to check with the authorities in the SNP. Portions of the AT are in very bad shape from the recent ice storms.

    Someone from the area can chime in here and let us know if the AT has been reopened.

    MN
    Sue Buak

  5. #5
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Pint View Post
    I'm looking at doing some long weekend hikes in SNP between now and the end of February. Do you think I can get away with using my 3-season tent? Thanks, Laura
    Yes, yes, yes. (Three yeses are needed to thwart the minimum post rule)

  6. #6
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    As of a couple days ago, crews had the AT open between US522 (near Front Royal) southward to about Powell Gap in the South District. I'm guessing this past weekend they got even more open. They seem to be concentrating first efforts on the AT.

    Some side trails are fine, others not passable without a whole lot of extra effort. I do not have a current list for either.

    This was one crazy ice storm that took place just before Thanksgiving. Some places were untouched, others totally decimated. The western side of the Blue Ridge took it harder than the eastern side. Higher elevations got slammed the worst.

    There are still a few SOBOs who have been in the Park the past couple weeks. Hearty souls for sure.

    A three-season tent should be fine, but keep an eye on the weather forecast. If it looks like heavy snow, head for a shelter. There will probably be room.

  7. #7
    Registered User JimSproul's Avatar
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    Default Winter Camping Issues

    If you have snow pack. A bigger issue than snow load can be the implact of your body heat UNDER your tent. Using something under sleeping bad that is reflective is a good idea. I use a slice of a "space blanket" in my bivy. Another popular item are those aluminized windsheld shades for you car. The Complete Walker IV has a good discussion.

    Those very popular single wall tents (I use one myself Spring/summer/fall) can be a problem. Pick a double wall if possible. Not having a liner of some kind to catch the frost if you get a hard freeze can make for an exciting morning.

    The old controversial topic of using a vapor barrier in your sleeping bag is something you might explore. That can start a heated discussion around the old camp fire like asking about the best stove.

    Winter is one of the best times to be in the backcountry. The cold is managable if you plan ahead. It is not something to gamble with. An extra 5-10 pounds of gear and/or food could be enough to keep it an adventure even if you get to stay an extra day.

    Sorry to ramble, I topic I enjoy, not much of an issue since I moved to Texas from New England.
    Last edited by JimSproul; 12-17-2006 at 23:58.

  8. #8

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    As Skyline said, "a three-season tent should be fine, but keep an eye on the weather forecast." I remember a number of years back that some hikers got stranded in SNP in the Presidents' Day weekend nor'easter. I can't remember how many feet of snow came down, but I would not have liked being in a three-season tent that weekend.
    "Space and time are not conditions in which we live; they are simply modes in which we think," Albert Einstein

  9. #9

    Default There's a reason it says "Three Season" and not "Four.."

    Winter's the "fourth" season. Better be safe than sorry, Laura. Ask around and see if you can borrow or rent the proper tent.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

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    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    On the one hand, I've sat out some pretty good storms under a tarp, so I'm not really one to talk. But a four-season shelter doesn't have to be a heavy, bomb-proof tent. One of the pyramid shelters like the Megalite or the Kiva provides plenty of space for two or three people, and holds up well to winter weather. Site selection is important, of course. The Megalite weighs less than 3 pounds with the pole.

    The standard disclaimer for winter hiking advice applies -- don't take anything I or anyone else says as the truth, or you could die.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  11. #11
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Winter's the "fourth" season. Better be safe than sorry, Laura. Ask around and see if you can borrow or rent the proper tent.
    I backpacked most winters in Maine between 1970 and now, often three or four trips per winter. I've used tarps, a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight, a Moss Starlite (?), AMC self-service huts, Baxter Park bunkhouses, and shelters. Temperatures ranged from 20 degrees F to minus 32 below. So far I've had no problems. I'll tell my wife to be sure to let you know if sometime I fail to return safely.

    My favorite winter tent is the Moss. It's easy to put up, and seems to be absolutely immune to high winds like gusts to 70 mph. The Moss factory in Camden Maine stopped making it a few years ago and if I remember rightly sold the design to REI.

    Weary

  12. #12
    I'm worth a million in prizes astrogirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    As of a couple days ago, crews had the AT open between US522 (near Front Royal) southward to about Powell Gap in the South District. I'm guessing this past weekend they got even more open. They seem to be concentrating first efforts on the AT.

    Some side trails are fine, others not passable without a whole lot of extra effort. I do not have a current list for either.

    This was one crazy ice storm that took place just before Thanksgiving. Some places were untouched, others totally decimated. The western side of the Blue Ridge took it harder than the eastern side. Higher elevations got slammed the worst.
    I only live 10 miles from the park, and we got nuthin' here. I mean, I don't even recall this!

    It's the magic of elevation, I suppose. I guess we just got rain here at 1100 ft.
    -----------------------------------------------
    obstacles are found everywhere, and in taking them, we nourish ourselves.
    http://astrogirl.com/blog/Backpacking

  13. #13
    kicking around ideas for the next adventure 1Pint's Avatar
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    Default Thanks.

    Thanks for all your feedback. My schedule is flexible enough that I will only go when the weather forecast is decent, just to improve my chances of having an enjoyable hike. I hadn't planned on taking my space blanket, but I'll throw it in the pack as suggested and place it under my pad at night.

    Thanks again all. I appreciate your thoughts!
    "It's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." Train

  14. #14
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrogirl View Post
    I only live 10 miles from the park, and we got nuthin' here. I mean, I don't even recall this!

    It's the magic of elevation, I suppose. I guess we just got rain here at 1100 ft.
    Same here just north of Luray in the valley, tho high winds a week or so later brought down a big tree limb in my yard.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Pint View Post
    I'm looking at doing some long weekend hikes in SNP between now and the end of February. Do you think I can get away with using my 3-season tent?

    Thanks,
    Laura
    I agree with the others that you'll be OK. I did 3 days/2 nights in SNP last February in snow and stayed in shelters so I didn't have the benefit of the 4 sides of a tent. Even the second night at HighTop Hut (one of the highest in SNP), I was fine on about a 20 degree night.

  16. #16
    kicking around ideas for the next adventure 1Pint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    I agree with the others that you'll be OK. I did 3 days/2 nights in SNP last February in snow and stayed in shelters so I didn't have the benefit of the 4 sides of a tent. Even the second night at HighTop Hut (one of the highest in SNP), I was fine on about a 20 degree night.
    Cool. Thanks. I'd intended to go this coming weekend, but my dog's having health issues (he's 13) and so I'm sticking close to home. Hopefully I'll be able to head out for MLK weekend and Pres' Day weekend.
    "It's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." Train

  17. #17
    Spirit in search of experience. wacocelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Pint View Post
    I'm looking at doing some long weekend hikes in SNP between now and the end of February. Do you think I can get away with using my 3-season tent?

    Thanks,
    Laura
    Without a doubt. you'll do fine.
    Everything is exactly as it should be. This too shall pass.

  18. #18
    Registered User Squeegee_Joe's Avatar
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    Default Winter blowdowns

    I'm taking a three-season tent with me for a quick trip the day after Christmas, but it's also hevy-duty.

    Also, there could well be some blowdowns left from the ice storm, or new blowdowns from the quick change in temps and the currently forecast rain.
    According to the Blue and White Crew's database, there's a blowdown 4 minutes north of Tanner's Ridge Fire Road. (The end of my section.)

    I'm packing my folding corona saw so I can be sure my section is clear. I'm also going to try to be sure it's clear down to the Bearfence Hut. If I'm feeling energetic, I'll also clear from the cemetary up to Big Meadows.

  19. #19
    kicking around ideas for the next adventure 1Pint's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Squeegee_Joe View Post
    .....

    I'm packing my folding corona saw so I can be sure my section is clear. I'm also going to try to be sure it's clear down to the Bearfence Hut. If I'm feeling energetic, I'll also clear from the cemetary up to Big Meadows.
    That's something I never thought of doing, but I like it. Is it cool for an untrained trailmaintainer (aka just a hiker) such as myself to take a saw along and clear some trail if I get energetic? I'd wanted to sign up for a weekend trailcrew but my dog's health is unstable and I'm not always sure when I'll be able to get away for a long weekend and when I need to stay home. So if I could just go hike when it's convenient but still help a tiny itty bit on the trail, that'd make me really happy.

    Anybody think freelance trail clearing is a bad idea? I don't want to cause more harm than good.
    Last edited by 1Pint; 12-21-2006 at 14:18.
    "It's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." Train

  20. #20

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    If you plan on using Skyline Drive to reach your trailhead, be sure to call the SNP before you leave to make sure they haven't closed the road. This happens often in the winter. Also, be sure to get your backcountry permit.

    A three-season tent should be fine depending on the weather.
    Some people take the straight and narrow. Others the road less traveled. I just cut through the woods.

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