- May 24, 2019 at 3:37 am #3594343Kevin RBPL Member
I apologize if this is more of a musing, and I don’t expect any grand “solutions”. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been spending my days off doing quick overnight trips generally on the AT in VA and TN. Recently, I’ve been noticing small chew holes on my quilt. It started as one, then I found another while patching the first, and then another, and then another…
Sure, I know there can be shelter mice, I even expect them. My first backpacking trip on the AT 16 years ago, I met a thruhiker who carried a mousetrap with him. In the course of a couple hours, we heard the trap go off three times. While I haven’t completed a thruhike of the AT, I have spent A LOT of time on the trail, including a season of ridgerunning, hiking all of VA, and many other sections. Over that time, I’ve collected about three small chew holes on my food bag, and maybe a tear into another sleeping bag? But just over these past couple months, it seems like my quilt is being turned into swiss cheese! Only two of those nights were actually spent in shelters (or a shelter, which may have been when the incidents actually occurred); the rest of the time I have generally been camping at other sites or (more common) stealth camping. So, what gives??May 24, 2019 at 7:19 am #3594357
I remember one night in an old hut here in Oz where my wife swore the native rodents were using the smooth nylon of her quilt as a slippery dip. She kicked at the right moment and the rodent hit the ceiling.
What to do? Camp away from all huts in a rodent-proof tent.
CheersMay 24, 2019 at 4:06 pm #3594406Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I used to live in the mountains in a garage that had part of the garage converted into an apartment. There was a big gap under the door, plus there were various places where pipes came through the sheetrock with large gaps. This meant that all the outdoor mice could just come right in. I would find evidence they were helping themselves to my bird cages and I would lay awake at night and hear them running around on the other side of my ceiling. I tried mousetraps for a while, but the outdoors provides an unlimited supply of mice. In my case I had to plug all the gaps in the sheetrock (I used steel wool and spackle) and plug the gap under the door. In your case, you either do that to the shelter or you go somewhere the mice haven’t told all their friends about.May 24, 2019 at 4:44 pm #3594414Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Bold mice and high-traffic camp sites go hand in had, but I’ve never had a problem stealth camping. It helps to keep your backpack, trekking pole handles and other salty gear items up off the ground, especially in high traffic sites.May 24, 2019 at 5:21 pm #3594427Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I forgot where I read it, but someone called mice “micro bears”.May 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm #3594429Steve BBPL Member
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
A hammock to the rescue!May 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm #3594443Kevin BuggieBPL Member
@kbugLocale: NW New Mexico
OP, perhaps you’ve been sweating in the quilt more than you realize lately and that’s why lately it’s been getting munched on more.May 24, 2019 at 10:17 pm #3594460
(I used steel wool and spackle
CheersJun 1, 2019 at 11:55 pm #3595822Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Ha, ha! The Animals’ Revenge!
I sleep in a floored tent (Moment DW) and keep my food hanging in a stainless steel mesh bag inside a nylon stuff sack.
So far so good, even in ring-tailed-cat-infested Utah’s Grand Escalante.
BTW, I’ll bet the rodents were looking for nesting material when they chewed into your quilt.Jun 2, 2019 at 12:18 am #3595828Tom KBPL Member
“a rodent-proof tent.”
Surely you speak in jest?
Or maybe something like this?Jun 2, 2019 at 7:49 am #3595864Justin WBPL Member
Yeah, a truly light weight and rodent proof tent would be hard to achieve.
What’s the lightest weight woven, full Spectra or Dyneema fabric (NOT DCF/mylar sandwiched stuff)?
Even if it’s under 2 oz/yd2, it will be ultra air and water permeable.
It’s possible though, that you could take such a fabric and blow dry polycryo on same, bonding it via heat. Thin polycryo film is eve more sensitive to heat than UHMWPE.
They are molecularly similar enough that you probably could heat bond/fuse it.
Conversely, if I remember correct, naphtha fairly aggressively attacks PE (but also evaporates very quickly). You could possibly quickly, lightly wet the surface of one side of the UHMWPE fabric and immediately place the polycryo on top, bonding it that way?
I have some UHMWPE fabric that I could test these on, though I’m somewhat loathe to try, because either method could weaken the material/fibers. It could definitely be done without weakening if extreme precision was involved.
It would be one of the only ways to get a lightweight, flexible, truly rodent proof tent, course the rodent would easily rip into the polycryo part, and that would have to be patched.Jun 5, 2019 at 4:31 am #3596301Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Rodent Proof Tent?? Hmmmm, never had them gnaw into my tent – yet!
If there is no food there why would they try to get in?Jul 5, 2019 at 8:23 pm #3600710Rich GBPL Member
I woke up to a mouse chewing on my finger in the Adirondacks. I hate shelters.Jul 8, 2019 at 3:10 am #3601079Kevin RBPL Member
Dang, that sounds horrible.
I was just thinking back to this post as my brother and I spent a night at Cow Camp Gap shelter in Virginia. Apparently when he was up there last year the mice were so persistent at his campsite (a couple hundred feet from the actual shelter) that they were literally jumping into their cooking pot as they were eating dinner. Thankfully we didn’t have that issue this year, but I did wake up to some fresh holes chewed in my socks (my third pair that have been “swiss-cheesed”). I can’t imagine thru hikers making it through anymore without their clothes and gear pummeled by rodents. I get that they’re just doing their thing, but after $60 worth of socks torn up, I’m a little less understanding.Jul 10, 2019 at 10:07 pm #3601462Christopher WBPL Member
I have nothing constructive to add other than I HATE MICE!!! I sleep with my fly rod so they won’t chew the cork on the handle.Jul 11, 2019 at 2:15 am #3601495Five StarBPL Member
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
One evening my hiking partner and I were the first to arrive at Deer Park Mountain Shelter just south of Hot Springs NC. As we walked up he asked if I thought this shelter had mice. Just then, a LARGE mouse walked up to the edge of the shelter to greet us.
Another night at Hobbs Cabin in Savage Gulf, we awoke to a mouse eating my beef jerky….it chewed through a stuff sack and a ziploc to get it. We were afraid that since it liked flesh it was coming for us next!Jul 13, 2019 at 2:00 am #3601694John McBPL Member
Around 25 years ago my basecamp tent on Mount Baker in Washington State had a hole chewed through it. After coming off the mountain I pulled back the fly and saw the hole. Then I heard the mouse. It didn’t take long for the mouse to runaway. Last year on Mount St. Helens I had the same issue.
Just two weeks ago I crawled early into my tent to avoid the many no-seeum bugs. As I read a book I watched a mouse running around on my new X-mid insect screen.Jul 14, 2019 at 11:28 pm #3601940Tom KBPL Member
“If there is no food there why would they try to get in?”
Indeed. If you don’t build it, they will not come.Jul 15, 2019 at 12:08 am #3601948Ralph BurgessBPL Member
I think the solution is to release millions of ticks to infest the mice and kill them.Jul 15, 2019 at 12:28 am #3601951
A small, very sharp knife and a cunning trap.
Mouse stew. Like the dwarves’ rat stew …
CheersJul 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm #3602155Ron BellBPL Member
SHELTER MICE = SHELTER SNAKES = NIGHTIME GOTTA PEE FUNJul 16, 2019 at 9:46 pm #3602177bradmacmtBPL Member
Shelter Mice? Don’t stay in shelters…
They’ve been alive and well as long as there have been shelters. I did 1,000 miles of the AT by 1977 at age 16. I spent many nights with mice, including one night with one INSIDE my sleeping bag.
It’s the natural world… here in MT we have grizzlies.
Like one person said, get a hammock. Out East, they make particular sense.
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