Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Mike Ediger, Jan 10, 2009.
iagree Bivy for light stuff in the summer, Bear spray who knows if it will work. Bring it anyway.
I was in Alaska after two "killing frosts". The White Stockings were driving everybody nuts. There are lower 48 bugs and Alaska bugs. I cannot imagine being in Alaska without a tent!!
Just to treat yourself sometime you should take a nice backpack in the early September in the Sierra's, or the Sawtooth's of Idaho.
Ever had a bear eat your chap-stick while napping? Been there done that! Gotta love chasing elk with a stick in string...
It doesn't matter regarding tent or tarp or bivy. If you're going to get eaten you will. Pack what you are most comfortable in and go for it. If a tent and fly give you mental security, that's certainly worth something. If you lie there one way or another wide eyed with your butt cheeks clenching your sleeping pad, go for the bivy.
Nothing like sleeping under the stars enjoying creation.
P.S. Try sleeping in a hammock before committing. I wish I could, but it doesn't agree with me at all.
With a tent for sure. Especially around here with bugs and rain that can come in at the drop of a hat. I've tent camped with friends who insisted on not using one. One of them ended up being face to face with a skunk (which he confirmed by shining his headlamp on it) and another had a similar encounter with a brown bear. Both of these people now use a tent exclusively.
Although I will say, once while in my tent during a rain shower I had something crawl underneath it seeking cover. I woke up feeling a rodent sized animal moving around underneath me with just the bottom of the tent separating us. Kind of freaky when you have no idea what it is.
I usually use a one-man tent whenever I'm backpacking, either that or a bivy sack. Mostly for convenience. I don't think a nylon membrane will keep a bear out if it wants to come in, though. :rofl:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.