Nov 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm #1265602
How to tell which way the tent floor is sloped on a level site?
I read somewhere a few years ago in a thread that someone had a way of figuring this out, but they just alluded to it. I should have asked how then, but I guess my pride got in the way (at my age I thought I should have known this and didn’t want to look stupid for asking).
Where I hike I usually find a fairly level campsite, so level that it is hard to tell which way is up.
Yes, it does matter to me, the slightest grade, if I'm facing the wrong way can mean frustration until I figure it out. The blood movement to my head is unexcitable. I will switch the ends of my sleeping bags sometimes 3 or 4 time until I get it right. If camping with my wife she really gets frustrated because she could care less! Someone has to have an easy way to figure this out without laying both ways until you either guess or figure it out.
And no, I am not going to bring a marble with me to check. I also don’t want to pour water to see which way it drains (I like to keep a dry site)
Let see what solutions you can come up with.Nov 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm #1665295
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
You could always lay down on the foot print and test it out first. Otherwise, you could try fill up a water bottle and lay that on the ground. If it rolls its too steep, if it doesn't roll the water level might be higher at one end (the low side). Not sure if the water level application would actually work, but you could give it a try.Nov 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm #1665302
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Try a larger pillow? It will get your head up.
CheersNov 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm #1665306
@Eric, the water bottle (or platy) is a good idea, but most sites need something a little longer to be truly accurate.
@Roger– A bigger pillow- yeah that might work but then that opens a whole new can of worms; how big, how heavy, where do I get it, will it fit the kit I have now.
I tried looking for some foam to make the pillow you did with the holes; but I couldn't find any decent foam around here for a reasonable cost (shipped in wouldn't be much better then buying a down one from WM) and I would have to buy almost a mattress full as a minimum.
It is still as good easy solution if I can find a UL larger pillowNov 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm #1665325
I always goof this up. I'm >.< close to bringing one of those laser levels sold at home improvement stores. Lately I've been building myself a small pit for my body to rest in so I don't slide down hill. They would probably be a terrible idea in the rain, but I haven't slept in the rain at all this year…even when I tried.
I wonder if a spectra line is slick enough that you could tie it between two stakes and put a bead in the middle to see which way it slides…Nov 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm #1665331
@hechoendetroitLocale: South Kak
If you use a freestanding shelter, you could hang a string from the apex and paint a mark on the floor where the string should touch when level. Of course many sites don't have a uniform slope and head-area may end up below the middle of the floor in any case.
A thicker mattress will compensate for your issue. I use a BA Clearview and a large pillow with great success.Nov 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm #1665342
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"If you use a freestanding shelter, you could hang a string from the apex and paint a mark on the floor where the string should touch when level."
Even easier, set a half full water bottle on the floor and interpret as you would a level.Nov 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1665351
clinometer on a compass … get one with one if your going anywhere with snow hazards
everyone should have a compass anyways right ;)Nov 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm #1665425
Steve, not a bad idea with the plumb bob. I just don't know what I could use that is heavy enough to be accurate and multi-use (I don't want to carry a bob from work- they weigh about a pound or more).
I don't think the thicker mattress will help compensate. I might be wrong in my thinking, but if it is placed backwards it might exacerbate the problem because your upper body is heavier than your legs thus sinking deeper into the mattress at that end, making the problem worse.
Eric, a "clinometer on a compass" might be a little small given that I've never seen a site that is on a perfectly flat plane that a small "4 inch" base would give accuracy.
Tom, same as above the half full water bottle might give the wrong reading given where it is placed.
Good ideas everyone, these are what I'm looking for.Nov 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm #1665438
tad … if you use tent poles …. or some other stiff flat surface … lay those down and then put the clinometre on top for a level plane
i do the same in snow with my poles …
of course if all yr looking for is a 1-2 deg slope … good luck with any system ;)Nov 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm #1665447
Eric, I guess my "head" is looking for a tight tolerance (under 2 degrees)Nov 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm #1665458
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Tom, same as above the half full water bottle might give the wrong reading given where it is placed."
I should have added: move it around and take readings at various locations; a front to back and side to side pattern should do the trick.Nov 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm #1665497
Tom, we you are right, great idea.Nov 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm #1665529
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
At home fill a water bottle with water until there is a bubble of air left. Lay the bottle on its side so that it is level. Mark the center point on the side of the bottle with a marker. When out in the field, lay the bottle on its side. Where the air bubble shifts away from the center mark is the degree to which the site slopes. And, as Tom suggested, since a site may have different slopes, just take the measurement at different points in the site.
Another thing you can do to see where a site dishes or mounds is peg a long length of cord to one end of the site, draw it across the site, and then look beneath it and take note of the amount of space under the cord.Nov 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm #1665544
Ah, I'm sorry, I'm a JackA$$.Nov 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm #1665546
Miguel, I like the mark on the bottle. I think 2 mark on either side of the bubble could be even better, that way if there is less water you can use both marks like a level as a reference point
Travis- I have been helping my high schooler with his geometry for the last hour, very funny.Nov 17, 2010 at 9:34 pm #1665550Nov 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm #1665557
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
My phone has a level app, works OK, but seems like it isn't that difficult to figure out if it slopes and which way it does.Nov 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm #1665559
Eugene, though they don't weigh much I would prefer not to have to carry anything extra nor do a engineering survey of the tent site just to go to sleep. Just kidding.
BTW, I have a few of those laying around the shop, they are not very accurate, in fact I have never found one worth using for the kind of work I do.Nov 18, 2010 at 1:02 am #1665570
I wouldn't carry one either, at least not if I can take advantage of a lighter method. Like the plumb level inside a tent wouldn't work for me because I don't use a free standing tent. The water bottle wouldn't work either because I use a suitable water bottle. Laying down on the ground sheet should work, but I usually forget this because I'm almost always in a rush to get my tarp put over my ground sheet so it doesn't blow away. I'm not in a big rush. Using rocks or a pit is enough to keep me from sliding, and that's my main goal. The pit could be bad if it rains, but I live in southern California….a dry location already, and we're expecting an unusually dry winter.Nov 18, 2010 at 3:21 am #1665574
When I read the question I can't help but ask, is this a joke?
"which way the tent floor is sloped on a level site"
Doesn't level imply no slope?Nov 18, 2010 at 4:29 am #1665580
Maybe you can flip the problem a bit. Instead of looking for a campsite level to within 1-2 degrees and fighting it when you don't, you can come up with a pad system that allows you to adjust as needed.
Or try a hammock. :-)Nov 18, 2010 at 4:42 am #1665581
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Spit, then see which way the dribble slides across the nylon.Nov 18, 2010 at 6:11 am #1665596
Most I hike with either eyeball it or lay down on top of their ground sheet to see which direction feels best.Nov 18, 2010 at 8:16 am #1665623
@hechoendetroitLocale: South Kak
"I don't think the thicker mattress will help compensate. I might be wrong in my thinking, but if it is placed backwards it might exacerbate the problem because your upper body is heavier than your legs thus sinking deeper into the mattress at that end, making the problem worse."
You have a point, in that your legs may be above your head without the use of a pillow. Looking at it from another angle, a thicker mattress will allow you torso to sink deeper and thus, should be less likely that blood should inundate your head. On a slight slope it helps me quite a bit.
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