May 13, 2009 at 9:01 am #1236280
i have made a shaped tarp, similar in design to the patrol shelter from MLD. my original plan was to add a skirt of bug netting around the tarp, but am recently considering a bug bivy such as the meteor trom six mooon designs or possibly a bug canopy like the one from gossamer gear.
i use a down bag and a z-lite 3/4.
my question is: what do you use? what are your thoughts? i usually hike in NM where the bugs are only a real problem for a couple of months a year.May 13, 2009 at 9:30 am #1501001
Are slithery or creepy crawly things a problem as well? Something w/o a sewn on floor would not protect against that. You're probably going to want a ground sheet anyways, so why not get a net with one already attached?
I camp in the Sierra, and right now I'm using a Tigoat bivy with full net hood with an Oware Tarp. I also have an old bug net that I got at Erehwon a good 8-9 years ago. It isn't the nicest/prettiest thing, but it only weights 6 ozs. I'll probably pack it this weekend just to try it out. The one thing with a bivy vs a net tent is that the bivy is more confining if you want to hang out in your tent.May 13, 2009 at 9:46 am #1501007
i don't generally like to hang out in the tent, or tarp, but i do spend a few minutes before going to sleep writing in a journal or looking at photos, so i think a bivy would be ok as far as the confines of space. creepy crawlies haven't been a problem but they generally don't scare me anyways. i do like the idea of the ground protection since i use a down bag, and tend to scoot off my pad at night.
benMay 13, 2009 at 10:37 am #1501029
I've only camped in the Southwest once, and that was in the Grand Canyon 8 years ago, so I don't have any experience with the desert. I just remembered a ranger (or our Frommers gdbk, I can't remember) telling us that if we didn't use a tent, we should at least sleep on a tarp, and have the corners raised so nothing could crawl into bed with us at night (read: rattlesnakes or scorpions). But they could have just been trying to scare us.
I did like the way my bivy kept my pad system securely underneath me.
As far as hanging out in your tent, I was thinking rainstorms, but then bugs wouldn't be an issue when it was raining anyways.May 13, 2009 at 11:58 am #1501051
yeah the grand canyon is a little different as the wildlife has become much more accustommed to humans. i was there a few weeks back and used a tent. i had to hit the sides of the tent to knock the mice off the ridgeline during the night.
ben-May 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm #1501173
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
SW deserts… sleep under the stars. If it rains, then a tarp or poncho overhead.May 14, 2009 at 7:45 am #1501217
from your posts, i gather that you have alot of experience in the SW. last season i mainly used a tyvek tarp that i made and only once had some bug issues, but they went to bed shortly after dark. but i stayed out of the Gila and Pecos during the rainy season. i am hoping to extend my hiking to be year round (or very close to) this year. in the rainy season, do you think ground moisture could be a problem without a bivy or groundsheet?
growing up in the southwest, i have slept under the stars many, many nights and never had a problem with bugs and "creepy-crawly things". i guess i am concerned that the higher elevations and forests might be different during july and august. your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
ben-May 14, 2009 at 8:04 am #1501222
I have the MLD Bug Bivy, which is nice, but a little different as the zippered openning is along the top. The all netting canopy would provide cooler sleeping conditions than the standard type bivy. Although, it would provide less protection, for your sleeeping bag or quilt. I ordered a SMD Meteor bivy, because I like the idea of having the lower 2/3 of the bivy made from nylon and the upper 1/3 with bug netting. Seems like it might be easier to deploy or zip the netting, being the zipper is at ground level.
The MLD would get the nod for hot buggy condtions though, IMHO, anyway.May 14, 2009 at 8:56 am #1501235
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
To me the main purpose of a ground sheet is to protect your sleeping system against abrasion and keep things clean. So, it is a requirement.
Regarding ground moisture. If the ground is sandy, water usually drains well and quickly. However, there are many areas that do not drain well. Look at the picture below, this terrain can get real mushy in a rain.
It looks sandy, but is mostly rock, with some sand. It was very difficult to find a spot big enough that would be comfortable with just a torso sized foam pad.
Insects rarely bother me. But when hiking in deserts that are subject to monsoons in the summer, the flying insects can get as bad as anywhere. A good example would be the high desert in southern AZ in August.
Last item is flash floods. I take the possibility very seriously, and they can happen in an area that is not raining, but somewhere off in the distance. I was fortunate/unfortunate to be hiking during two 100 year floods about 30 years ago. I was safe, and to view the power of a major flash flood up close and personal was mind-boggling, but the damage was devasting to Palm Springs and later Palm Desert. During the first one, I was unable to drive home for several days, as the roads into Palm Springs were impassable. My car was okay where it was parked, but I could not drive on the roads. Fortunately I had water in the car. Nowaday's I always leave a case of bottled water in my vehicle.May 14, 2009 at 9:47 am #1501246
thanks for the thoughts nick.
it seems that maybe just the tarp year round would be fine, and in the rainy months maybe a bug net or bug bivy would be a good idea, so that i could just take the bug protection when necessary. and about the water in the car, i was in the Gila last november when a flood had recently washed out some of the roads making them impassable, having a survival supply in the car is a good idea. i parked in an area that was farther from the trailhead than i would have liked but wanted to be sure i could drive home when i wanted to.
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