Feb 18, 2008 at 4:35 am #1227351
Yes, in the winter last weekend. Mt Rogers (highest in VA) is notorious for high winds (60+) and extreme weather shifts (temp drops of 30ºF in a couple of hours). Lots of news stories of people getting in serious trouble up there in prevous winters including a couple of entire scout troups ending up in the hospital.
This weekend, it was forecast to be quite mild by Mt Rogers winter standards, so several of us decided to take our lightweight shelters. I had my new MLD SuperFly, one person had a Golite Shangri-La 1, and two had TT Rainbows. The rest took heavier double-wall tents. I had my Superfly pitched down to the ground and used all the optional tie-outs.
Friday night was quite mild. We were at 4500 ft in the valley below Scales, so were a bit sheltered. We had winds 15-20 mph gusting to 30 mph and a low of 35. The SuperFly hardly moved and none of the others had any problems as well.
Saturday night was much more of an extreme test. We were on the highest ridge line at 5400 ft and a storm system was approaching (the same one that caused a bunch of tornados in the Southeast yesterday) and conditions deteriorated during the night. Around 8 pm the clouds lowered so that we were inside them and the wind began to kick up. Most of the night we had winds of 30-40 with gusts in the 50-60 mph range and bursts of horizontal freezing rain and ice, which sounded like machinegun fire hitting the spinnaker at high speed. The SuperFly definitely had some deflection under the high gusts (looked like about 4" at the ridge line), but never so much that I was worried about it. In the morning, the poles were not quite at the same angle as when I set it up, but it was still solid and all the stakes held. It was very nice to be able to pack up completelty inside the shelter before heading out into the storm and pull up the shelter and stick it into the back pocket of my Starlight. The Shangri-La 1 also made it throught the night without any significant problems (just a little misting, normal for silnylon). The two people in the Rainbows had a significant amount of water get in, however. They believe the high-speed horizontal freezing rain got in through the mesh.
When we were hiking out in the morning (packed up at 6:30 and hit the trail at 7 so we could get off the mountain before it got even worse since the main body of storm hadnt arrived yet), the wind gusts were strong enough that you sometimes got staggered sideways a step or two before you could recover and visibility was about 20 ft. All in all, it was definitely an experience and I was very happy with how the SuperFly performed.
TimFeb 18, 2008 at 6:35 am #1420999Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I was up on Mt Rogers this past weekend as well using my Seedhouse SL1. The winds were worse where I was at on Friday night, but both nights had considerable winds. We also cut our trip off early and headed out early Sunday morning. We were going to go the long way to Massey Gap and check out part of the Pine Mountain trail, but we wouldn't have seen anything anyways, the fog was getting pretty thick.Feb 18, 2008 at 6:53 am #1421001
Yeah, we were up on the AT near Thomas Knob Saturday night and it got pretty rough. Once we got down off Pine Mtn to near the VA horse trail it was not anywhere near as bad. Amazing how much difference 500 ft can make.
You guys hear to pack of coyotes Fri night (sounded like they were down in the Wilson Creek valley). They were really going after something!Feb 18, 2008 at 10:17 am #1421028Tom ClarkBPL Member
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
I made the mistake of trying to set up my 8×10 tarp in a ~0.5 mile south of Massie Gap while camping with my 6 yr. old daughter. This was the first time that I had used my tarp outside of my backyard on sunny calm days. It was a windy, gusty day…lesson learned.Feb 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm #1421047Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Yes we did. We also saw what looked like a coyote den just off the spring trail.Feb 18, 2008 at 9:19 pm #1421092Chris JacksonMember
Hey Tim, it sounds as though the MLD Superfly held up well in harsh conditions. Care to post a mini-review? Here's a few questions: Was the headroom OK? Did the poles get in your way? Did the side walls touch your sleeping bag? Overall, how would you rate it for liveability?Feb 19, 2008 at 3:09 am #1421102
1) Was the headroom OK?
Due to the weather conditions, I had it pitched as low as it can go so the perimeter was down to the ground. My poles were set at 115 cm (45.3"). The 45" of headroom down the center was as much or more headroom as other tents I have used and this is as low as it goes. I could easily sit up or kneel in the middle without hitting my head. For good weather 3-season use, I would have it pitched at least 6" higher than that so there would be even more headroom.
2) Did the poles get in the way?
The first time I used it, I did occasionally roll into the poles during the night and get confused for a second. This trip was the second use and I had no such problems. I think it is just a matter of getting used to your environment and movement restrictions.
3) Did the side walls touch your sleeping bag?
As long as I was near the center, no. If I rolled to the outside so that I was more than 6" from the poles, then yes it was possible. With it pitched higher for summer use there should be much more room to roll around.
4) Overall Livability?
For one person plus gear, it is a palace. There was lots of room to do anything I needed. With the dual roof vents, I had good ventilation despite pitching it low and had very little condensation.
I havent used it in warm conditions yet, but based on two winter uses I am very happy with it.Feb 19, 2008 at 12:55 pm #1421156Lapsley HopeMember
Having had a bad experience in Glacier Natl Park one year in the back country with a tent being blown into the MIDDLE of an alpine lake with all my gear inside, and watching it sink, and since I too enjoy Mt.Rogers during the "off season" I would definitely not try an overnighter, or more, in anything less than a 4 season tent on a notoriously windy ridge as in Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers area. Right now I'm eyeing a Hilleberg, to complement my Hennessy Hammock, for those times that hanging in a hammock under a tarp would be a bit of a challenge. Anybody with a Hilleberg?Feb 19, 2008 at 8:31 pm #1421197Michael FebboSpectator
Great questions and answers, this is exactly the information I was looking for as I have been debating the winter-worthiness of this shelter.
One more quick question- any problems with the tieout stitching- is everything still undamaged?
Again, thanks for the geat review, I may now be sold on this shelter for winter.Feb 19, 2008 at 11:44 pm #1421206Chris JacksonMember
Tim, thanks for your answers, they're very helpful. Since no good deed goes unpunished, here are two more questions. First, did you need to use a bivy for warmth when the winds hit 40+ mph? Second, although 45" sounds like lots of headroom, the usable headroom is somewhat less since the A-frame shape narrows towards the apex. Could you estimate how tall a person could sit up when the edges are pitched to the ground?Feb 20, 2008 at 2:08 am #1421209
>One more quick question- any problems with the tieout stitching- is everything still undamaged?
Undamaged. Note that the coldest of my two winter trips was highs around 40 and lows in the mid 20s and there was no snow involved. I don't go out if it is worse than that. I bought this primarily for 3-season use and mild winter use in the Appalachians and it seems well suited for that. Winter in other places like the Rockies are a whole different ballgame.
>First, did you need to use a bivy for warmth when the winds hit 40+ mph?
I used one. There was some breeze inside, but it was not too bad. Low was only around 30, so it was not that cold. I roasted under my JRB Old Rag Mtn quilt.
>Could you estimate how tall a person could sit up when the edges are pitched to the ground?
At least 6' Im sure. I'm 5'7" and have a large amount of headroom:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2273842001/in/set-72157603932148050/Feb 20, 2008 at 9:55 am #1421258Matthew SwierkowskiMember
Good info, thanks for the report. I hike up in that area from time to time, and I have a DR. I would never use it in those conditions though…that's what I have a Hilleberg Akto for. I could definitely see rain blowing in the sides of the DR through the mesh. I have actually had this happen myself. That's why I typically like using my Tarpents in sheltered areas.
By the way, where exactly where you the second night?Feb 20, 2008 at 11:22 am #1421271
As you head south on the AT from Rhododendron Gap, you go though a long pine-forrested saddle with many campsites. We were in the southernmost of these sites, just before you go over the next knob on the ridge. It was 0.5 mi north of the Thomas Knob shelter.Feb 21, 2008 at 9:53 am #1421415Matthew SwierkowskiMember
Cool. I've camped in that area a bunch of times. It's one of my favorite places. Definitely an area where the wind could easily whip up too.Feb 21, 2008 at 7:26 pm #1421490David StenbergBPL Member
Could you post some pictures of your superfly shelter in use?
Thanks!Feb 22, 2008 at 1:38 am #1421521
The one in a previous post is the only one I have so far.
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