Hey, I've been lurking for a while but just registered with some questions...I've got a Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter (ultralight version) which I love. There's no comparison to sleeping on the ground...in a hammock I'm awake and ready to roll at the first light; on the ground I have trouble getting up before 8 thanks to all the time I spend waking up at night.
Anyway, I'm getting ready to do the Israel National Trail, probably one of the coolest long distance hikes in the world. But the first 40% or so of the trail is in the Negev desert and there aren't going to be trees. I'm going to go with just a tarp and groundsheet in the desert and then pick up the hammock in Jerusalem for the second half.
So I need treeless setup ideas for three to four weeks of desert trekking. My tarp is 2x3 meters (6 and a half by 10 feet) and I'll probably be taking a wooden hiking stick but not trekking poles. I'm not expecting much if any rain in the desert, but I am expecting a solid amount of wind, and freak rainstorms are not unheard of at all.
The combination of having one stick to use as a support, rather than two, and wanting to leave as few openings to the weather as possible, makes me incline to setups that have only one opening. But an A-frame is definitely the simplest. Some possibilities for that include using my stick as one support, and running the other line to a hiking partner's tent. Or shelling out the money for trekking poles, but I still prefer the sturdiness of a wood stick for walking.
So, the questions/issues:
1. Any good suggestions of simple treeless ground setups? Preferably with one opening only?
2. When pitching an A-frame, I find that even with the corners fastened, the fact that the line isn't attached to the tarp the whole way along makes it somewhat unstable even in a medium breeze. Any tips on dealing with this?
3. The tarp has four corners tabs or loops for attaching lines, plus ones in the middle along the longer (10 ft) side. No extra loops in the center of the shorter side, which would be really handy for tying it to the center line. I'd like to add my own loops if possible since it seems better than just stuffing a rock in and tying the rope around that. How might I go about adding some?
4. What are some good knots I should use for tying corner guylines and for attaching the center support line? In the latter case it'd be nice to have something that would give me some flexibility with moving the tarp back and forth on the line in an A-frame situation.
5. Possibly the biggest issue is that I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've found ground here that's soft enough to get some stakes into. I don't think even if I had two trekking poles that I could count on being able to get them firmly into the ground, to say nothing of putting down 4-8 stakes! Any ideas on dealing with hard ground?
Thanks for any help!