Hiking and fishing...tent or no tent???

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Mike Ediger, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. One summer when I was working in Alaska with the US Geological Survey, my partner and I had a large bull moose wander through camp one night. He tangled himself in our tent stake ropes, pulling the stakes out of the ground. The tent collapsed on us. The Moose thrashed around, finally freed himself and wandered off with one of our tent stake ropes still in his antlers.

    I would still recommend a tent to keep out the rain, insects, creepy crawlers and small mammals. Even the big critters will usually detour around a tent unless you have been careless and have left food scent inside. A tent is worth the extra weight.
  2. Mike, get a vestibule and a good sleeping bag. This is coming from years of doing 3 week to month long trips in Montana and Idaho roadless areas..... Yes, before I had kids.

    You can hang your food and clean all you shit, but the fact of the matter is, bears can smell meat and sugar from 30 miles away. Your best protection is a dog. Big game can smell our canine buddies from as far away as they can food, and they associate this foreign scent with their fear of humans. If you are in the back country, bring only dehydrated foods and clean all your stuff afterwards. I have never had a bear walk into camp ever with this method. Dehydrated foods lack oils and therefore don't have odor residues that attract critters. Another key: I always camp in a raised, exposed area, away from regularly used camping areas. Most people camp around lakes and meadows. These are the coldest and worst places to camp because all the cold air and aromas settle here. It can be as simple as gaining 100ft of elevation. That can make a 15 degree difference in temperature and eliminate most camping odors because it gets carried away. Vestibules weight next to nothing and take up no space in your pack.... only way to go if it’s just you. Get your ass up here and we'll do a Selkirk lake trip.
  3. Fly sheets (for leanto's) have improved during my backpacking decades, but lightweight tents have improved much more. The difference between them is that with a leanto on a stormy night, you'll lie there with one eye open; with a sound tent, you smile and go back to sleep.

    Colin Fletcher, who is to backpacking as Lefty Kreh is to flyfishing, chose a tent when hiking through the lion-dense Mara Game Reserve in Africa, deciding that lions were less likely to invade a closed shelter. He survived, but it's a matter of degrees of safety, not certainty.

  4. Agreed, bivy is the way to go. Theyre light, wind and water proof a very packable. For a good one the price can be steep though. I have the Integral Designs "Salathe bivey" The thing has been bomb proof for over 8 years and been well used in all types of conditions and temperatures. Thats all I use for climbing or any other outdoor adventure unless Im camping at a campground.

  5. The trouble with a bivy is that if you actually needed it, rain, snow, whatever, you have to crawl out of it into the elements to get dressed. You need to figure away to keep your clothes dry.

    My tarp is a 10' square of reinforced nylon, it is waterproof and packs into the size of a couple of packs of cigarettes. Weighs 6 OZ. It is plenty for a one man lean-to with 4 feet underneath and the ends tucked in. Just add another for a second person.

    I like being outside, seeing the stars, hearing the rain. ;) Why go into the bush and crawl into a tomb a night to be safe from the ghosts and goblins. :)

    Years ago I used to think nothing of carrying a 60 pound pack all day. There was a time when 100 pounds was my load. bawling: Now I try and keep things around 25 pounds if I can, and I go slower.

    I carry bear spray every day in BC. In Idaho I carry a pistol. Never used either but I have much more faith in the pistol. It's not effected by which way the wind is blowing and it's harder to shoot myself with it. :eek:
  6. I have a two man tent by peak1 that is light ,but most importantly cheap. It has a removable rain fly so I can see that stars if its nice,or have some protection if it gets rainy. If you are going to be out for more than one night its worth it to invest in something to stay dry. I know some people who swear by tarps but I HATE bugs.
  7. I'm a big fan of light weight tents while in the back country. I like sleeping out under the stars BUT if skeeters are thick or weather decides to change, a tent will make your expericence much more enjoyable and if you only getting out to those beautiful back country places a couple times per year you don't want the elements to ruin your experience.

    In addition to bear spray, I also like to sleep with a pot and something to "clang" it with. Creating noise will often scare off anything roaming through camp.
  8. Hiking in to fly fish is one of my favorite things to do in the early summer.

    I take a tent for many of the reasons already posted. There are many tents for reasonable prices that are only a few ounces to a single pound more than the $300-$500 range. I would rather pack the extra pound 10 miles and buy a new rod.

    As for bears, if they are sniffing you while you sleep there probably just curious. Most bears, especially black bears, are afraid of humans. Reguardless of that, I take a .44mag, and I sleep with it for the same reason as your original post. Bear spray is for treehugging dirt worshipers. Curious bears are not dangerous, aggressive ones are.

  9. Nothing like a .44 or .357 to bang on that pot with! If the pot noise doesn't work, the ability to make a much larger bang probably will.

  10. Yup, I have to agree with the .44 or .357 mag theory. I carry a .357, because I don't have the money to buy a .44 yet. But realisticaly, in the middle of the night if a bear comes a chewing on you, you won't likely have the chance to get to or use it. The same can be said for bear spray. Also, on bear spray I've heard it is not a good idea to spray stuff (coolers, packs and trees) down cuz that will just attract them. But more than bears and cougars (which I did have to go bang at a stump to scare off this last summer), the .44s and the .357s are for the "real" dangerous animals that bear spray won't stop, the type with two legs. Oh and can't foget chipmonks and bigfoot, someone has to stand up to those that steal your peanuts and toilet paper.

    Disclamer: No Bigfoot or Chipmonks were hurt in the making of this post.
  11. Agree with the gun idea, one shot in the air and that bear is likely to be gone real quick!
  12. Yeah tried that this summer with a cougar (shot at an old stump), but a half a mile later or so (where my truck was) the damn cat was still following me, just a little further back. That spooked the heck out of me.

  13. Buy a hunting license. Since the wise voters of Washington decided to end hound hunting Bears and Cougars are much less afraid of man and much more aggressive towards us and our pets.

    Ask the people of Auburn who have lost goats and dogs to Cougars over the last couple of years. My next door neighbour on Lake Tapps had his little Yorkie snatched by a Coyote about 3 months ago, broad daylight and right off the back porch. She chased it with a broom and the 'yote dropped the dog after about a block. :eek:
  14. Gator, do you think hound hunting is ethical and good sport? What kind of moron sends there dog after an animal, then when their dogs alerts, they walk to the tree and shoot the animal out of it. Sweet! :beathead:

    That’s not hunting, that’s killing. :eek:

    Cougars follow out of curiosity and to determine if you are weak or injured. The chance of a cat attacking a grown man who is able bodied is the equivalent of getting struck by lightning 3 times in one day. The fact of the matter is, cats are aware of your presence whenever you are out in the wild; it's just rare to see them see you. As far as carrying a fire arm in the lower 48 to protect yourself against wildlife give me a break....... you probably shouldn't even be out there if you feel the need to protect yourself from the wilderness. It’s not a place to be on the offensive, it's a place to embrace the fact that you're not in control (feeling alive). Carrying your gun gives you the opportunity to use it (99% of time unwarranted). I spend a lot of time bushwhacking the wilderness behind my house. I run into big critters all the time. I stand there, speak softly and sit down calmly. I have never had an incident or even false charge. Usually the bears will continue doing what their doing and then move on, sometimes take off. It’s all about attitude and your motives for being out there. If, I do, happen to ever get mauled, Oh fucking well. :beer2: Having said that, moose are the only thing to be wary of.
  15. Panhandle

    I don't know if hound hunting is good sport or not as I have never done. I have had friends tell me it was some of the most difficult physical hunting they had ever done. I think I would probably enjoy chasing hounds and Cougar on horseback though.

    Hound hunting and baiting Bear is the very best way to insure that the proper animal is taken. The current methods in Washington anyway are as targets of opportunity. This means that the young and stupid are taken and the old and smart are left. This applies to Cougar as well as Bears. The main problems with Bears and Cougars in WA is the overpopulation and the encroachment of people in to the marginal areas and the over population of mature animals forcing the younger animals into the marginal areas. This creates interaction and that is always bad for the wild animals.

    Both ways can target mature animals and thus relieve the pressure on the younger animals. I have to admit that sitting over a pile of doughnuts for a bear does not excite me but neither does fishing with Roe or Sandshrimp.

    As for packing a firearm, to each his own. I was raised on a ranch in Central BC and have grown up with wolves and Bears. We used to lose nearly a dozen cows a years to Bears and Wolves and they were anything but afraid of us or our horses. I find it amazing that people actual support the reintroduction and uncontrolled expansion of Wolf packs. But that is just my experience. At my Cabin on the Horsefly I see Grizzly about once a month. Last year we had a Sow with two cubs hanging around all summer. We never crossed but that is me being careful and lucky. I saw here probably 10 times while fishing, got woofed 4 or 5 times.

    You say the Wilderness is not a place to be offensive I say it is not a place to be timid. You have a better chance bluffing an animal than talking it out of something. Only moved to Idaho last Fall so I don't know that much but my neighbour has had Grizzly in his yard and Wolves in his pasture. I do know they are around.

    I've been following the back packing into N.Idaho Lakes thread. Looking forward to stumbling up to some of them next Summer.
  16. Mike, I have hiked over 2,000 miles in the Sierras and in every month of the year. Back then a light tent was six or seven pounds. The tent was always welcome despite it's weight. Although the Sierras are known as a fairly benign range there is little benign about 100 mosquitos per cubic foot of air. I was usually even more concerned about snakes as I have seen rattlers all the way to 11,000 feet. I didn't want one of those bad boys cuddling me in the middle of the night.

    I have seen you haul your pontoon up the hill where we usually fish and I'm pretty sure a man of your strength would be little bothered by a 4# tent. The tent offers a level of comfort and protection in the back country that is often the difference between an enjoyable trip and a truly miserable one. We did the Enchanted Gorge in 1966-two of us in a tent and two in the Red Worm-one of those tube tents popular back in the sixties. And it rained. We crossed 3 12,000' passes the first day so needless to say there were no trees to sting up the Red Worm. Those guys got soaked and were just pathetic. We stayed warm and dry and finished the trip in dry sleeping bags. A lesson learned.

    A few years back I read a story about a guy who was camping at Big Bend State Park in Texas. Apparently he was sleeping on the ground in his sleeping bag. Sometime during the night he rolled over and felt something long and round under his bag. Terrified he started to inch his way out of the bag without disturbing whatever he was sharing his campsite with. After almost 3 hours of barely moving he was free of his bag and ran to his truck to get his shotgun. Returning to the scene he blasted the offending creature and only then realized that he had gone to bed with one of those long 6 D-cell flashlights by his side and had rolled over on it in the night!

  17. I had a hunting license, why I had a cougar tag, I don't know, I don't hunt cougars, I've heard they are not good for eating, so I see no point in killing them. It was probably a situation like PanHandle said, curiosity on the cat's part. Usually cougars don't let you see them when they stalk you. I saw no point in killing the cat, hence why I shot the stump. It just spooked the heck out of me that the cat came back and continued to follow after the shot. It was by my choice to go fishing up there, so I see no reason to kill a cat (in his home) just so I could feel comfortable. Now if it attacked I would have defended myself.
  18. By reputation Cougar is supposed to be quite good eating. I had a some once but can't remember as it was a wild game dinner and their was all sorts of stuff.

    I don't buy the 'it was curious' stuff after the first time it was scared off. Lots of problems with Cougars stalking and attacking humans on the North half of Vancouver Island. You can Goolgle it.

    My neighbour in BC had a Cougar stalking him last Winter for about a half of a mile. He figures it was only the dog that kept it off of him. He went to his house and returned with his 30-30 and the Cat actually jumped down in the road in front of him and started a 'sneak' right at him. There had been Cougar tracks on his deck a few times in the preceeding month and he was sure it was the same one.

    He planted it right there in the middle of the road. He now carries a pistol on his walks even though it is illegal in Canada. :p

    A fellow in Northport was calling 'Yotes with a rabbit call when he heard a sound behind him he turned to look and when his eyes met the Cougars the cat jumped at him. He whacked it with the rifle butt and shot it as it turned to face him. 'Just curious' I guess.
  19. I've made the switch to a homemade hammock and silnylon tarp for backpacking unless I'm hiking with my wife, then I use a 2 lb single wall silnylon tent. The tarp set up gives me a place to hang out and cook if the weather sucks and the hammock has a bug net and keeps me off the ground. There has really been a renaissance in lightweight backpacking gear in recent years. Mostly due to the popularity of thru hiking trails like the AT and the PCT. Most all of the best stuff is being made in basements and garages by small cottage industry venders here in the good ol' USA. And you would be hard pressed to find most of this really good gear at REI. It's just not necessary to carry a 7 lb tent anymore. Bivy, bivy + tarp, hammock or lightweight single wall tent in silnylon, spinntex or cuben. Pick your poison.
  20. I use a silnylon tarptent made by Anti-Gravity Gear. The thing is awesome if you're solo, but it will work for two in a pinch. It packs down to about 1lb, so there isn't really any excuse for me not carrying it.


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