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  1. #1
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    Default Couples thru-hike (and tent weight question)

    Ok, so I see that there's an ongoing amount of discussion of weight for tents, in many different threads...

    This is the tent we already own: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/marmot/limelight-3p/ - at 6lb 11oz, do you think this is too large? Or are there any other red flags you see about this model? We will be travelling as a married couple (aiming at 2013 NOBO, if everything falls into place), so there are two of us to carry the load (obviously one for the tent but the other will compensate probably with food/other supplies.) We are going to start test driving in the next couple of months (3-5 day short hikes) to make sure that we get accustomed to hiking and camping themselves, before trying to thru-hike...

    For weight also, the sleeping bags we have are
    http://www.trailspace.com/gear/marmot/trestles-15/ (Mens, and Womens - can't find the difference in weight but they're both close to the 3lb 14oz each). I've been leaning toward getting

    Also, does anyone have any advice/information on packing for a married couple? We can have completely integrated packing, since we won't be without the other and are devoted to doing this together consistently, and wouldn't leave the trail without the other. I haven't seen any articles or information that really covered co-packing as much as "yes, people do that". I have figured out the obvious sharing items that we should need just one of (first aid kit, stove) but there are many items I'm divided on. (Mess kit - cook for two, or separately cook for one?)

    There's obviously plenty of time for us to figure a lot of this out, but it's going to be a huge deal financially (...mortgage payments without income...) and I'm trying to plan for everything I can plan for in advance (like needing a new tent, new whatever) although I know there will be some sporadic expenditures for things on the trail that we don't expect.

  2. #2
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    The tent and bags are very heavy and very bulky for the trail. You can get two person tent that weighs as little as 1 lb 13 oz. You probably ought to get something advertised as 3P. One to compare to is the Big Agnes Fly Creek 3. Bags you chose depend some on when you will start, later start, lighter bag. Some bags can weigh as little as a pound. As a couple you might consider going to a white gas or canister cooking system so that it would be easier for two to cook on one rig. Of course there is other stuff you will only need one of such as the first aid, water treatment and knife, etc.

  3. #3
    Registered User gunner76's Avatar
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    Also depends on how big they are. Many of the superlight weight tents are too small for me while my wife would have lots of room. Of course they can alway split the tents parts between them.
    Hammock Hanger by choice

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  4. #4
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    This year my wife will start the AT with me and we will use a 4 pound MSR Hubba2, 6 pounds is for car camping. Please don't use that you'll have an unhappy time. I'll switch to a lighter Hubba1 which is 3 pounds when she goes home as planed. When the weather warms up I'll use a tarp tent that is about 2 pounds.

    You need to get lighter than that pack and tent combo. Spend the money you'll be happier for sure. Many people start with car camping gear in ignorance and then end up buying all new gear in the early towns if not at Neels Gap. Do yourself a favor and get proper gear.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  5. #5
    Not committing until I graduate! Sassafras Lass's Avatar
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    On last year's NOBO thru attempt, we used the Henry Shires TarpTent Double Rainbow. Now, it may work for some people, but it sure didn't work for us. The sides slanted in, greatly reducing our usable head space; condensation was insufferable, no matter how we pitched it (and not lessened even with the extra 'ceiling' we bought), and we couldn't lash it down properly in some of the more major storms we encountered, resulting in pooled water.

    So it found a new home, and we bought the Marmot Aura 2P. We've not tried it in inclement weather yet, but so far we're pleased as punch. Essentially the same footprint as the Double Rainbow, but the pole design allows for near vertical walls (more head room!) and it's a double-walled shelter - condensation should run down the outer wall and not drip all over us, and on good nights we can leave the rain fly off completely. Minimally configured, it's around 4.5 lbs, but we can split that between the both of us.

    You'll find that most "2-person tent" offerings are ideal for two 120 lb. people, or a regular-to-heavy person with a dog.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamboo bob View Post
    This year my wife will start the AT with me and we will use a 4 pound MSR Hubba2, 6 pounds is for car camping. Please don't use that you'll have an unhappy time. I'll switch to a lighter Hubba1 which is 3 pounds when she goes home as planed.
    The OP stated that since they are husband and wife they will be splitting the load... which would put that 6 lbs tent @ 3 pounds per person just like the hubba you plan to carry. I know its heavy by most peoples standards but it seems as if the OP is trying to save money and 3lbs per person is certainly reasonable for shelter they already own. If they have the money to spend then lighter is certainly the way to go though.

    It is really just about your personal tolerance and ability when it comes to these choices... I carried a 5 lbs 2 man tent and a 4 lbs cheap synthetic bag on by VA section last year and was perfectly content. This year for my thru the only reason I am switching to the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 is because its freestanding, though the weight savings will be nice it wasn't the deciding factor.

    So my suggestion to the OP would be to do those prep hikes you were talking about and see how it feels... if its decidedly more weight than your willing to carry then upgrade to something lighter... otherwise I would save your money for other gear, more luxuries on trail or that mortgage payment.

  7. #7
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    It's very helpful that you're so clear that if one of you leaves the trail, the other will too. I hiked with a couple who made it together several hundred miles until the wife packed it in, I hiked on and off with the husband after that --- he was carrying a two-person tent, a larger-then-needed cook pot, etc.

    I suggest that you look at the lighheart designs duo tent, http://lightheartgear.com/ Virtually a doublewalled tent with a side-exit on both sides, light as a single-walled tarptent option. Does require two trekking poles to set up.

    Couple-specific stuff ... while I do a lot of solo hiking, when I am hiking like that I eat about enough for two, whereas with my wife I typically eat more normally so it's about the same. An 850 ml mug with lid is sufficient water for freezer bag cooking for both of us.

    Other than water treatment, first aid kit, possibly camera, I can't think of a lot of other things to share. Even then I'd be inclined to have each carry some basic first aid supplies --- you might find yourself walking separate for hours at a stretch (my wife and I often do). So ditto some sort of camera maybe. Really, from doing a lot of solo hiking now my bias is strongly towards being self-contained as much as possible. You might even consider that if one of you carries the tent, that the other has a poncho and knowledge of how to set that up as a shelter at need (though much less of an issue there on the AT).
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  8. #8
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    I think that's too much.

    I thru hiked the PCT with my wife. We used a single-wall tent and that weighed less than one pound per person ($200) and cheap down Campmor 20F bags that weighed 2 1/4 pounds each ($100) (2004 prices). That set-up worked fine. I carried the tent and my wife carried an emergency bivy (2 oz), because no matter how much you say you're going to stay together, you never communicate perfectly and you can get split up even during something as routine as a potty break--believe me, it happens, as Gadget obviously knows. The stronger hiker should carry more load, but the weaker hiker must carry enough to survive a night. One stove, one water purification set up is fine. Food and purified water are not survival issues. Also have a plan for meeting up, like at the place you last saw each other.

    One stove, one pot, one cup, two spoons worked fine for us. Neither of us liked cooking so we eventually sent the stove home and went cookless. That improved our hike.
    "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

  9. #9
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    The tent and the sleeping bags are almost 15 pounds by themselves. That's a lot of weight to haul up and down the mountains.

    My wife and I tested several 2-person lightweight tents, and settled on the Six Moons Designs Lunar Duo. It's about 2.5 pounds, very large inside, good weather protection, two doors, two vestibules, and long enough for tall people. The only downside is that it uses trekking poles and is a little tricky to set up the first few times.

    For sleeping bags, keep an eye out for sales on high quality down bags in the 20-F range. You can get one for <2 pounds. That makes your tent and 2 bags total out at 6.5 pounds, less than the current weight of your tent alone.
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  10. #10
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    Your sleeping bags are very bulky, so you'll need large (and heavy) packs. Your bags need a 19"x9.5" stuff sack, a decent down 15F bag (e.g., EMS mountain light) takes 11"x7". Don't forget to bring sleeping pads, at least $7 walmart blue pad.
    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    The tent and bags are very heavy and very bulky for the trail. ...
    As a couple you might consider going to a white gas or canister cooking system so that it would be easier for two to cook on one rig. ...
    I'd say try homemade alcohol stoves first because they're free. If you don't like those go for canister over white gas unless it's winter -- the canister stoves are lighter, cheaper and very easy to use but the fuel can be harder to find. A standard one is: http://www.rei.com/product/643058/sn...ove-with-piezo
    Take a look at tarp tents: http://www.tarptent.com/
    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    ...
    Other than water treatment, first aid kit, possibly camera, I can't think of a lot of other things to share. Even then I'd be inclined to have each carry some basic first aid supplies --- you might find yourself walking separate for hours at a stretch (my wife and I often do). So ditto some sort of camera maybe. Really, from doing a lot of solo hiking now my bias is strongly towards being self-contained as much as possible. You might even consider that if one of you carries the tent, that the other has a poncho and knowledge of how to set that up as a shelter at need (though much less of an issue there on the AT).
    Each person should always carry gear to survive a night in inclement conditions if you get separated. Even if you're intending to always walk together it's easy to get separated and lost in fog, rain or snow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambroseya View Post
    ... We are going to start test driving in the next couple of months (3-5 day short hikes) to make sure that we get accustomed to hiking and camping themselves, before trying to thru-hike...

    Since you're not far from the AT and the smokies, you ought to get out for some overnights around the time of year you're planning to start. It'll give you a good idea of how your gear works in the cold. Also, don't worry about finding the perfect gear until you know what you really need. Just get out there and try things out.

    If money is a problem and one of you sews, you could make yourselves sleeping quilts. Ray Jardine and his wife have done many trips as a couple using homemade ultralight gear. He has lots of good ideas even if you don't go ultralight. Take a look at his web site or read one of his books to see how they do it: http://rayjardine.com/index.shtml

    The miscellaneous stuff people start with can add up to a lot of weight. Be ruthless in paring down what you carry and you'll be happier.

    You can definitely do the trail with that tent and those bags, but it will be very tempting after a week to switch to lighter gear at the first outfitter you find (at high prices).

    Check out the articles on WB -- on the left side of the home page.

  11. #11
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    I hiked the AT with my spouse in 08'. Having some room in the tent is important. I found that the REI halfdome 2 person tent worked perfect for two people. It is not ultra ultralight at 5 lbs, but it is a backpacking tent and you can split up the weight easily. REI makes good stuff and has an excellent return policy. We got a lot of complements on the tent and we used the tent without the fly when warm and could stargaze to sleep. In the rain it was awesome and most importantly has good ventilation and great sized vestibules for boots and packs to keep dry in the rain.

  12. #12
    Registered User birdygal's Avatar
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    We just bought the Big Agness Fly creek UL2 so my husband can hike with me off and on during my thru. It came out to weighing about the same as my hammock setup under 3 lbs

  13. #13
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Get a MSR hubba hubba, it works great and you each get your own door and vestibule for your gear.

    DO NOT carry a 6 lb tent! Save it for car camping.







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  14. #14
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    My wife and I have been using a Rainshadow 2, by Tarptent.com, for a few years now.
    It does a good job of keeping out the weather, and bugs, and has enough room for us and our dog, a 100 pound shepherd as well as some of our stuff. Check their web site for more details.

  15. #15

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    As has been stated, your bags are silly heavy. My wife and I carried a North Face Tadpole on our thru back in the day. Served us very well, still does. I'd probably carry it again for two people our size. good luck.

  16. #16
    Registered User mainebob's Avatar
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    i love our big agnes fly creek ul2. if you look around on the internet you can get a good price (i think i spent $230 and just got a ul1 for $199) i think they are as light as any set up i.e tarp, bug net and gound sheet or tarp tent and are easy to set up and are free standing if you use a trekking pole to between the two back tent peg loops.

    for two peaple i think if you look into it you will find that for more than 3-4 days it is lighter, more convinient and you can find canisters all up the trail.

    get lighter sleeping bags, there are many options do a search on this sit.

    good luch

  17. #17
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I wont try to tell you what tent to purchase, that depends on a lot of personal factors that only you know, I will say however...go light as possible and you will not regret it...same with the bags.

  18. #18

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    I agree that you should really try to go lighter to ensure a higher chance of success.

    Yes, some people pack 50 lbs all the way to Maine, but I hear that most doing that dont make it out of Ga.

    Two can go LIGHTER than one because of the shared tent, cookgear, miscl items, etc. IF you take that approach.

    There are plenty of durable 3 season tents in the 4-5 lb range. I would set 2 lb per person as the max you should consider, preferably 1-1.5 lb per person.

    You really need lighter bags.

    Its not just a question of weight, but also volume (bulk) of the heavier items. You will be forced into even larger heavier packs to carry them too, and still end up strapping things to outside.

    Unfortunately, your approach to your most important items (shelter, sleeping, pack) sets the tone for your approach to all your gear. Yours is sounding HEAVY.

  19. #19
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    I use a BA copper spur 2. I am pretty big at 6-3 250#, so it does me pretty good, but I wouldn't want to share it with someone for long. I would see if they make it in a 3 man. Each side has its own vestibule, and door. It is pretty light weight and I am very happy with the tent. Sets up easy- important for a couple to set up in the dark or in the rain. One thing to consider, if you are just going to sleep in a tent, a two man will probably work for you, but if you have to lay over a day or two with a storm or something, a two man is going to get real small, real quick. I know we are always trying to balance weight and comfort, so you have to make wise choices. I agree with the above posters who say your current choices may not be the best for you.

  20. #20

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    My wife and I carried a north face rock 22. Great tent and split it. Got a kelty and rei bag. Worked fine. starlyte stove and zlite pads. this summer im using adouble rainbow as my solo and hubbahubba when,she comes out. Great couples tent

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