Sep 2, 2009 at 11:49 am #1239018
The more I get outdoors the more I shed the non essentials and lighten up, every trip is a metamorphis.
I really like the idea of an ultralight tarp instead of tent *but* how do you guys deal with scorpions, rattlesnakes and centipedes. Waking up to a centipede about ready to dig into your carotid artery is no fun! So what is the trick to using an open tarp and dealing with these hazards?Sep 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm #1524583
te – waParticipant
i made the best choice of my life when i started sleeping under tarps.
above the ground that is..
if flying bugs are not an issue, for the weight of a UL bivy you can get a Warbonnet Traveler.
for the weight of a Prolite short you can get a te-wa underquilt (13oz, in stuff sack, down to high twenties)
'round here there's plenty of scorpions, rattlers, gila monster, large spiders, ants, centipedes and so on.. im not going to be lunch!
visit the hammockforums and expand your horizons 10,000%
or, dont. ymmv.Sep 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm #1524630
@kenknightLocale: SE Michigan
The only time I've been bit/stung by something was during the day – not when asleep under a tarp. I've not done nearly as much desert camping as some here but I've no real worries about creepy crawlies when I sleep. Check your shoes and sleeping bag before putting the shoes on or crawling inside. That's good to do anywhere.
The times I've been attacked by something I was out and about. I have no idea what hit me in the Grand Canyon as I rested on a rock (15 minutes there) not bothering anything. Whatever it was had a very pronounced affect on me. I did consider a clinic visit but by the time I had showered and gotten my stuff together for the ride back to Flagstaff the worst of it was definitely passing.
The flying stinging thing, probably a yellow jacket, that got me on Sequoia a couple weeks ago just hit me, stung me, and flew off. Darn thing hurt for the rest of the day and throughout the night (no big swelling though). My point is that in both cases I was nowhere near a shelter of any sort.
If you're really nervous about such things take a long look at shelters like Henry Shires Tarptents.Sep 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm #1525268
I take the same precautions I'd take if I had a tent. I shake out my clothes, shoes, sleeping bag and pretty much everything else before I put it on. I check my backpack crevices for scorpions before I put it on. I've spent hundreds on nights tarp camping in the desert with hundreds of different people. Total that up to a few thousand use nights of desert tarp camping. While scorpions and rattlers are quite common, we don't have problems with them. But i've met people that have been stung by scorpions hiding on their back panel and a woman who had a black widow crawl in to her laid out sleeping bag. So if you put your sleeping bag out before you go to bed, be sure to turn it inside out before you go to bed. I those thousands of nights, not once have I heard of a scorpion or snake crawling inside someone's sleeping bag while they were in it. I've frequently found scorpions under my sleeping pad when I've woken up though. No biggie in my mind. You could lay out a tarp to sleep on and have an extra layer between you and the scorpion. They'll also crawl under tents.Sep 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm #1525280
@socalpackerLocale: Southern California
Mike, Jack and Ken,
Thanks for your posts. I've never done any desert camping, but really want to when it cools down a little. I'm sure you both know that Southern Cal is rattler and scorpion country. I was a little nervous about desert camping 'til you guys posted your experiences here.
KendallSep 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm #1525283
I have yet to find a scorpion in the wild, but I sure can find them in my house. I can say they hurt worse than anything that has stung me before, so I'm a little paranoid.Sep 8, 2009 at 12:12 am #1525887
@monstertruck-2Locale: Almost Yosemite
I had a scorpion crawl out from under my sleeping pad at Cloud's Rest Junction in Yosemite of all places. I pitched my duomid next to a big rotting log and laid out the bag and pad before I cooked dinner. This was my second trip with a floorless shelter and I will definitely be more careful to check shoes and all in the future.Sep 8, 2009 at 9:23 am #1525955
Yep, scorpions are quite common in the Sierra.Sep 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm #1526592
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
The only bad things I have seen are the red velvet ants. They are supposed to hurt really bad. But they seem to crawl under my polycro rather that over it, so I don't worry. I've never seen a scorpion in the wild and rarely seen a centipede. I don't worry too much about them cuddling up to me. It's good to shake your shoes out before you put them on, though. If I worried too much about them, I'd just bring a tent and sleep soundly rather than subject myself to sleepless nights over a few ounces of weight.Sep 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm #1528425
One night here in Texas my son and I pitched our Tarptent and climbed in to sleep … in the morning I looked out and the ground looked like it was moving …
I've never seen so many spiders in my whole life, let alone in one place. THOUSANDS of em.
Another night in OK we ran into the 7 year walking stick hatch. The ground crunched when we walked.
Thank goodness for Tarptents …. I use a bivy, a bivy with a tarp or a Hennessy Hammock now … or my trusty tarptent.Sep 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm #1528445
Mark, that's pretty awesome. Closets I've come was a bridge that had tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of lady bugs covering it. It was my second backpacking trip, and I was so young that it's a memory that almost seems dreamed or made up, but my father confirms it. Amazing.Sep 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm #1528458
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Ah yes, bugs.
I do remember one lunch time in poor weather. We were sitting on a large rock (the ground was wet), and I had my stove out to make tea and coffee. The stove radiates infra-red of course. After a while we realised that the ground around the rock was covered in leeches, all heading for the stove. And for us.
Another time, we were camped in mid-winter at a place called Thunder Bend. It was freezing cold and there was snow in some places; we just had freezing rain. I got the tent up and us inside and even dried out (and stopped shivering), and started cooking in the vestibule. Every time I put my hand on the ground next to the stove for balance while stirring the pot with the other hand, I collected about two leeches. So, lean, stir, remove leeches … repeat.
CheersSep 18, 2009 at 2:46 am #1528507
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
Yeah, I'm in desert country and I can't stand centipedes, rattlers, scorpions, or even potato bugs. They are probably much more common here than anywhere else though. That being said, sometimes I get a paranoid that they would somehow manage to get in my tent (single-wall) and then I'd be stuck in there struggling with the tent zipper trying to get out, lmao. That is one of the reasons why I rarely go about the deserts.Sep 18, 2009 at 10:51 am #1528576
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Most annoying are the giant ants. It seems anytime you sit down they all say, ooh, what have we here? And start exploring all my stuff and me, too. Gotta have a tent just to get some peace from them.Sep 18, 2009 at 11:04 am #1528581
"I had a scorpion crawl out from under my sleeping pad at Cloud's Rest Junction in Yosemite of all places. I pitched my duomid next to a big rotting log and laid out the bag and pad before I cooked dinner."
I've frequently found scorpions in the Sierras in or around rotten logs. Seems like the logs attract just the right bugs for them to eat.
I've yet to be stung by one, but I don't think I'd spend the night next to a rotting log in the Sierras!Sep 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm #1530868
I really like the minimalist idea so that is why I ask for comments on this specific problem. I woke up one time in the Big Island of Hawaii with a 6" centipide just about to dig into my jugular vein! I flicked it off just in time I could feel the burning of my skin, a scary experience. After that experience and seeing emergency room snake bite victims I really appreciate safe sleeping quarters. I don't think I could trust anything that didn't zip up and provide a complete seal.Sep 26, 2009 at 5:58 pm #1530873
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I've frequently found scorpions in the Sierras in or around rotten logs. Seems like the logs attract just the right bugs for them to eat."
What part of the Sierra and what elevation range?Sep 27, 2009 at 8:27 am #1530972
"What part of the Sierra and what elevation range?"
Goodness! You're asking about over 5 decades of encounters!
Okay, I've found scorpions in association with rotten logs from just north of the Tahoe area south, most frequently at the level where sequoias grow +/-. Also in the coast range in or near redwood zone. (Sorry, I think more in terms of ecological zone than altitude.)
Does that help?Sep 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm #1531047
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Goodness! You're asking about over 5 decades of encounters"
I didn't mean to put you on the spot; sorry. You info answered my question just fine. The zones you mention are relatively low from my perspective. I haven't camped below 8,000' in 25 years so, based on your data, I can relax.
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