Help choosing Alaska shelter.
Dec 7, 2019 at 5:35 am #3621917
I plan to move to Alaska this coming Summer. The rain snow and cold can be challenging from what I’ve been reading. Is a sil mid strong enough or do I realistically need to get a serious 4 season tent? I currently have a Lightheart Gear Duo and love it but want to get something with more room for winter camping. Any thought?Dec 7, 2019 at 5:58 am #3621919AK GranolaBPL Member
I’m sure the other Alaskans will chime in too, but I’ll offer my experience. I’ve lived in Alaska for 30 years, but I only use a tent in spring, summer and fall. So I can’t speak for winter needs. Friends of mine use an Arctic oven tent with a stove, for winter camping, and like it a lot. You can get reasonably priced custom tents up here for any purpose. I stick to rental cabins with wood stoves in winter!
In other seasons, I have mostly used a variety of cheap tents such as Eureka, Kelty, and other non lightweight tents. 30 years ago I used the Rei half dome 2p for many trips over about 9 years, maybe more. What can I say, I had no spare change for fancy gear. But they all worked, every one. Most recently i have been using the Rei Quarter Dome 3 for my husband and I, and the Tarptent Moment DW when I’m solo. They all work just fine in Alaska weather, from multi day 40 degree downpours, freezing temps and frost buildup on the fly, light snow and high wind, as well as blazing hot sun and thick mosquitoes. What more would you want in paradise?
I will never ever forget mistaking the sound of mosquitoes landing on my half dome for pelting raindrops, at Wonder lake in Denali. We listened for a good five minutes before poking our heads out to confirm that it was definitely not raining. It’s the only time I’ve eaten meals in my tent in grizzly territory. I decided better to be eaten quickly by something large than run off a cliff being pursued by thousands.Dec 7, 2019 at 8:12 am #3621944Luke SchmidtBPL Member
It really depends on where you are but here are some general ideas.
1. Unless you are into backcountry skiing you probably don’t need a 4 season backpacking tent, at least not at first. I don’t really need one. By the time I have serious snow it’s so cold and dark that backpacking or skiing isn’t really worth it.
2. Bugs aren’t always a huge deal. I’ve camped under a pyramid tarp with no bug net and been fine. But it depends.
3. I would think about wind. I doubt your Lightheart would take 50 mph winds. Something like a pyramid tarp or tipi tarp by a reputable company would be a good backpacking choice.
Knowing where you are going would help. There are places where your current shelter would work just fine. The Kenai for example can be pretty mellow especially away from the coast.
One tip, moving to Alaska was expensive for me. I had to winterize my car, get clothing for 40 below, etc. Budget for some of that and don’t blow it all on gear. And if your current system works you can wait to upgrade till you get a feel for things.
Feel free to PM me if you want.Dec 7, 2019 at 6:32 pm #3621977Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@ karen’s comment
“I decided better to be eaten quickly by something large than run off a cliff being pursued by thousands.”
LOLDec 7, 2019 at 9:47 pm #3621992Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I’ve done two Alaska trips (11 days in 2015 and 14 days in 2017) with a MLD Duomid. No need for anything more.Dec 7, 2019 at 10:02 pm #3621994David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We’ve used my Megamid a lot in the Aleutians. In a place where it’s always windy, it does great in the wind and the lack of mosquito netting isn’t a problem. The weight/area is fabulous for 2-3-4 guys, but by yourself, a smaller pyramid could be lighter.
The ground is often very wet in Alaska. Not in a developed campground – they’ll have put some well-drained materials – but on the tundra or taiga, the soil is a big, mossy sponge full of water. You want a larger-than-average ground cloth under a floorless pyramid. Poly-cro is fine – the ground rarely has sharp rocks and never has sharp plants.Dec 7, 2019 at 10:29 pm #3622000
PM sentMar 29, 2020 at 7:10 pm #3638564
I ended up buying a Black Diamond Fitzroy with the additional vestibule. Thank you for all the advice!! I will be moving to a remote village on the SW coast of Alaska, and I wanted to cover all my possibilities.Mar 29, 2020 at 7:19 pm #3638567Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Awesome……I’m jealous. Alaska is a place of seemly endless outdoor recreation opportunities.Apr 6, 2020 at 10:28 pm #3640065
I have been wanting to move there for years. I will be moving in 3 months and living on the edge of the Bristol Bay. The only times I will get a chance to backpack will be summer break, winter break and Thanksgiving, so i want to make the most of it.
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