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OK, I have finally decided to make the move to a tarp shelter only. Also picked up a light weight sleeping bag. Should be a very light pack now. :cool:

Any advice? My trip won't be until June so I;m not worried about freezing or anything.
 

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I have gone on 1000's of tentless trips- sometimes they sucked, but I have found items that vastly improve the experience.

a USGI poncho, it replaces rain coat as well, I used to carry two but realized I could use a cheap PVC one as well as my USGI, which can make a bivy- or a tarp. or just use as a ground cloth. then you still have the PVC one for a rain coat or extra shelter like a vestibule and not the wieght

Bug screen, nothing fancyjust something light and durable, and big enough, I had velcro sew onto the edges of mine so I can completely seal it to a piece of Tyvek. the floorless type dont work well if the bugs get thick.

If the bugs get thick the buzzing drives me nuts, earplugs do the trick, I keep a couple pair in my pack.

My thermarest, when Im going real light I dont bring it, but it does make things much better.

usually I bring the USGI poncho, bug screen with homemade tyvek floor, and either a sleeping bag or a poncho liner. If its colder or rain is impending, I also bring the cheap PVC poncho. If I dont have a long walk, I take the thermarest pad.

you may find that a fire will help too, one time I burned a small hole in my bug net about the diameter of a pencil, you wouldnt believe the mosquitos that poured in through this hole, I know bring some tape and a needle and thread, just a few inches of gorrilla tape and about 4 ft of thread will repair most damage.
 

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I guess it depends on where you are.. If I tried camping in my area in June without a tent,
I would want a bugsuit because of the Blackflies and Mosquitoes. Fire or not, you get chewed up pretty bad....
 

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1. Make sure the tarp is big enough. 8x5 will do the job, but 9x6 is better IMO. I'm 6'3", I use a "long" sleeping bag (actually a quilt), so the 9x6 provides enough room for gear and to sit up, move a little bit and not get wet in the rain. In a pinch it will work for 2 persons also, although it can be tight when set up in low profile. If no rain is in the forecast, I may bring the cheapo 7x5 Outdoor Products tarp.

2. Practice a couple of set ups before you go camping. Try the basic lean to, as well as a low profile storm set up. A low A-Frame with a ridge line works well. But practice them a few times before you go out the first time.

I prefer this setup for rain, as there's only one end to close should it be raining and windy, or if you need to put up mosquito netting.



Placing an open umbrella (get a Raines Skinni Mini) at the end works well for those stray raindrops that try to come in unexpectedly.

3. I don't care for using a poncho tarp as my rain gear and shelter, although others have used them successfully. Like Rob said, the problem is that when it starts to rain and you need to set up camp, you have to take off the poncho to set it up as a tarp. Ponchos don't do as well as a jacket in windy rain either. I just keep a cheap, lightweight Dri-Ducks Ultralight II jacket for rain gear and a separate shelter tarp.

These are a good idea. I'm looking at picking up a Sea to Summit net with floor. I will probably place another tie out on the underside of my tarp to hang it from in case I don't use a ridge line. Right now I use a cheap Coghlans flat net that I hang over the front. Only weighs 1.7 oz and works well enough for my area, but if the bugs got thick I want something more "sealed".
 

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I don't do it in the dirt - just too many negatives. I much prefer to "hang out" in a hammock. My current swing is a Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro some 9' long and 5' wide so it really makes for a comfortable sleep. It is a low cost ($55) hang with an attached skeeter net that does an excellent job of beating the bugs. Just did a weekend hang 3 weeks back in 17 degrees weather with a 10 X 12 tarp in a 30 knot wind. Cold weather is my preference for hammock camping and with the addition of a ground pad for insulation and a good bag I sleep toasty. Actually there is a large contingent of hammock campers that can be found at www.hammockforums.net that regularly hang in all seasons, rain or shine. I'm doing a hang 8 Aug on the Buffalo River in Arkansas with 40+ other hammock campers and will bring the kayaks as well for some wetsuit fun. Of course these folks are "real campers" so if you arn't up to swinging from the trees you'd probably be better served as a ground deweller in a manicured state/fed park setting and just take you lumps. Or, maybe you're ready to stretch your envelope to a much better way to camp.
 

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Bivy sack all the way! I only use my tent if it's extremely windy(expedition tent) or if I have a girl with me :)

-Kevin
Hqsurvival.com
 

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I must have been very lucky in my life time. I have gone camping several times without a tent and have not had much trouble with bugs. I'm out on the west coast. Could that be why.

I love laying out under the stars. Especially in August with all the shooting stars that are about.

God bless and keep on prepping.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Going tentless could be a problem in places with black flies, skeeters, and gnats (no see em's). If not a problem, go without a tent....
 
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