Date Tags hiking / pct

I changed out my tent today. Yesterday I was thinking that I'm just not in love with my tent--it's very lightweight, but also just a bit cramped. I like having a bit of room, and at my height of 5'7", and I don't often feel cramped for space, but I hate it when I do.

I got my current tent (a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1) online at a decent discount in December, and decided set it up in the backyard... and was a bit dismayed that it's semi-freestanding. Hm, I'll still have to stake it out to ensure the walls don't collapse in with condenstaion or the wind on my sleeping bag, and it's a one person tent so those walls are always very close to the sleeping bag . It's been eating at me for days, so I've decided that today I'd buy something new, particularly as I'm now starting my PCT walk in mid-March and could use some more effective shelter in April and May in the Sierras for late spring snowfall.

Later this evening I responded to a post online from another hiker named Shane H. He's deciding what he should take for a tent as well, and I responded.

He wrote:

So, went to a thru-hiking seminar, in CD'A, Idaho, today. Several triple crown/thru-hiking veterans giving a great presentation on the "big 3," the LNT/Basics, and planning a thru-hike. Great stuff! Asked a couple of gurus to give me a shakedown on my kit. After going over my equipment, all is well, except for my tent(MH Lightpath 2). Ugh! Now, I need to focus on a ultra light shelter, but am really unsure about tarp tenting. Need to go from 3.5lbs down to less than 2lbs; and hope bug-resistant and wet-proof capabilities can be achieved. Any thoughts of a pretty inexpensive system?...

That's interesting, but it's also a bit of nonsense to me. Going from three pounds to two pounds isn't a lot of weight at all; it's the difference of another midlayer fleece + a pair of socks.

Here's my response:

As I see it, 3 pounds and a bit (these days) is perfectly fine for a tent for a long journey where there are a lot of varied conditions. Dropping from 3 pounds down to 2 pounds is just half a liter of water weight--for some that's not a lot of difference, but for me it's giving up a fair bit of comfort.

I decided just yesterday that I'm not going to live for five months in some extreme ultralight shelterthingy with my gear and food out in the cold and rain and snow and insects and rodents seeping in. When I'm out on the trail I want a reliable shelter; I won't have the luxury of selecting the perfect campsite for my tent (it was getting damn dark, and who knew that meadow just over there had so many mozzies, and yes, the wind did blow in overnight from uphill and I didn't quite tighten my poletarp thingy or stake out the sides to some bush or rock because there was this thin half inch of dirt on top of hard granite.)

I'll suck up the extra five or six ounces, particularly if I have to literally camp out a day or two until the weather blows through. People take far heavier luxury items with them than comfortable shelters (multi-pound DSLR camera kits are my personal "uh, what are you thinking?" bafflement). But if it makes them feel good, who am I to judge? It's their own journey not mine, and you should decide yours and what you want to carry.


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