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  1. #1
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    Default Tentless and Hamockless Entire Thru-Hike?

    Is it reasonable, considering I am starting a late, September 1, SOBO thru-hike that I decide against bringing a personal tent or hammock and just stay in the shelters the entire hike?

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    I wouldn't. Its gonna get cold too later on.
    Anyway there will be tons of NOBOs in ME then, finishing the trail. At one shelter alone we had 15 of us. I'd bring a shelter at least for ME and NH







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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScubaSteve View Post
    Is it reasonable, considering I am starting a late, September 1, SOBO thru-hike that I decide against bringing a personal tent or hammock and just stay in the shelters the entire hike?
    totally unreasonable. NEVER count on shelter space. you need to be self-sufficient

  4. #4
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    It's entirely possible but a potentially higher risk approach to an AT thru-hike! I would not want to be totally dependent on HAVING to reach/stay at an AT shelter on the trail! Your hiking flow/timing can easily get interupted without a tent, tarp, or hammock. Your weather man predictions better be right on if you decide it's OK to not stay at an AT shelter on a given night if you decide to not carry a shelter! AND, consider the start of your SOBO! You'll be on the AT, still in the northeast, when nasty colder weather can suddenly occur!

  5. #5
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    I'm a Florida Cracker and when I've done the AT in the winter in New England I find myself setting up my tent inside the shelter just for that extra few degrees. I've never shared a shelter after first snow.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    I'm a Florida Cracker and when I've done the AT in the winter in New England I find myself setting up my tent inside the shelter just for that extra few degrees. I've never shared a shelter after first snow.
    I should have refined that to mean Connecticut Massachusetts and lower Vermont.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  7. #7

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    take a small tarp at least....what happens if you walk into a storm in the middle of the day and no shelter near.

    geek

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    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    Going SOBO, I went from Damascus to Hot Springs with rain fly, poles and footprint only. I sent the rain fly and poles home from Hot Springs and did the last stretch fully reliant on shelters. My tendency was to arise early, hit the trail quickly, hike far and fast and arrive at my planned shelter early, usually before anyone else. That time of year (mid to late November), the trail was very sparse. It was a calculated risk, but one that I was comfortable taking.

    I never used my tent out of need after New Jersey. In Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, there were a number of rainy nights on which I encountered a full shelter and used my tent in the rain.

  9. #9
    Registered User Lord Helment's Avatar
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    you are a total ****ing idiot if you do...a tarp weighs a pound at the most...it ain't florida

  10. #10
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    It's doable I suppose. Just do not show up at a full shelter expecting to be accomodated because you don't have any personal shelter. I just did a short section on a relatively deserted stretch of trail,Davenport Gap to HS. Crossed Snowbird mountain and got to Groundhog Creek shelter about 4:00, just before a nasty storm. We met 2 other NOBO's who cut their day short because of the storm clouds. 2 others came in about 6 or a little after, they were going to camp on the bald but it was too nasty. Just like that, the shelter was full and we had not seen anyone else all day while hiking.

    That's a long winded way of saying that shelters draw hikers during storms, even when you think the trail is deserted - which is exactly the time you will be in need of a tent/tarp/hammock. very risky way of trying a thru-hike. also, I've had to tent at a few hostels that were full as well.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    totally unreasonable. NEVER count on shelter space. you need to be self-sufficient
    What Lone Wolf said. It's your responsibility to be prepared out there, not others to move out of a full shelter when you arrive tentless on a rainy night without your own shelter. At the very least, bring a small tarp... a cuben fiber tarp will only weigh 3-5 ounces at most.

    Always bring your own shelter. Always.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  12. #12
    Registered User Monkeywrench's Avatar
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    If you don't carry your own shelter, you need to be prepared to lay down in the mud and go to sleep in the pouring rain.
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    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
    NOBO 3-18-09 - 9-27-09
    blog.allenf.com
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    www.allenf.com

  13. #13
    Registered User d.o.c's Avatar
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    or under the shelter i usualy relied on shelters i had a tarp that was alright but i didnt ever stay dry or anythng in so i went shelters all the way but.. once upon a bluemoon i got shut out so i went under the sheter.

  14. #14
    Registered User d.o.c's Avatar
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    cowboy camping on nice days were always cool one time it startd raining at like four in the morning i did a big but slow day that day.

  15. #15
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    You just cannot depend on there being room available at established shelters. You need to bring something to provide you with enough shelter that you'll at least be able to keep your sleeping bag dry. A Cuben fiber tarp is one light-but-expensive option. You could also try a Gatewood Poncho/Tarp (11 oz, $135) for at least dual-use. Of course, you may never need it, but it is frankly irresponsible to hike without some form of basic shelter.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    Yep. I've witnessed people without tents not able to get shelter space on rainy days before. One time, the tentless dude was really annoyed that people weren't moving out into the rain with their tents so he could have a shelter space, but no one budged, with one person in the shelter outright calling him an idiot for not being smart enough to have at least a tarp. It was a little ugly, but the guy hiked on to the next shelter maybe 6-8 miles away. I always wondered if that next shelter was full too...
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  17. #17
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    I guess we all have our stories about being or seeing fools without shelters on the AT.

    The time I was really happy to have my own shelter was when I got caught by a flash flood on the Rattle River near Gorham, NH. I was two miles from town, might as well have been twenty. Couldn't go either way. I camped right on the AT below a good water bar and had a good dry sleep. I even avoided the cost of a night in a motel. It would have been a whole different story without a tarp.

    I often go without a lot of things, including a stove, camera, knife, phone, even maps sometimes, but I won't go without appropriate shelter and insulation. Along with a clear head and enough water, those two things will help get you to your next birthday as much as anything you can carry.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  18. #18

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    With a Sept 1 start, there is a pretty darn good chance you will have shelter space every night (and often the whole shelter to yourself). However, like everyone else said, having some kind of personal shelter is prudent.

    I would recommend a bivy sack. Not only does this give you an emergency shelter if you need it, but it can be used inside an AT shelter for added warmth and protection from the weather, such as rain or snow blowing into the shelter.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  19. #19

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    No shelter = idiot
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  20. #20
    So many trails... so little time. Many Walks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    No shelter = idiot
    There could be a lot to say, but this says it all.
    That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. Henry David Thoreau

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