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  1. #21
    Senior Member Boston's Avatar
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    The AT is a fairly unique situation, also. You have more shelter options than what you bring with you, so keep that in mind.

    While you need to be prepared for any weather, you can also stop at a shelter and wait it out, or even stay in the shelter for the night. They're fairly well spaced out, so you can probably hit at least 1 or 2 a day, maybe 3 or 4 depending on your daily mileage, and the area you're in.

    While I personally wouldn't go with a minimalist tarp, I also probably wouldn't take a large tarp with doors either. A WB Edge or Mamajamba would probably do for you. If you carry a poncho, you can also use that to supplement your tarp for coverage.

  2. #22
    Senior Member MDSH's Avatar
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    How is sil repaired on the trail?

    You can tape cuben fiber and be on your way. Keep some patches made up in your repair kit. Or order a length of tape from Zpacks.

    Get the smallest cuben tarp that you dare. Then use your poncho to close an end or sling it under Garlintgon-style for blowing rain or adding warmth.

    Also, make some polycro peak beaks. Polycro is great when used where it's not likely to tear. It's very light.

    (Oops, I see that Boston says not to get a small tarp. His experience may be greater than mine. And I've been a weight nut recently so take it with a grain of salt.)

    .
    Last edited by MDSH; 01-10-2014 at 12:53.
    Mike

    But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)

    He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36 ESV)

    While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3 ESV)

  3. #23
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDSH View Post
    How is sil repaired on the trail?
    I have never had reason to repair any of my sil tarps (or tents), but you can buy a Sil-Fix™ Silnylon Repair Kit - which seems to be a simple tape roll (even comes in different colors). Smaller damages would be fixed with silicone sealer.

    I don't think that I would carry repair tape on my hikes, though. I believe that it's not very likely that my tarps will be damaged; silnylon has proven a pretty tough fabric to me (e.g. my Tarptent floor is silnylon - I have used it a lot, and I can't find any damage. I assume that my tent floor would be more prone to damages than my tarp, unless I'm really unlucky or careless). It's just the same reason why I won't take my complete tool kit on a bicycle tour. Bike tubes, tires and spokes are the most likely things to go on a long trip. If anything else breaks, I'll have to find a bike shop.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston View Post
    The AT is a fairly unique situation, also. You have more shelter options than what you bring with you, so keep that in mind.

    While you need to be prepared for any weather, you can also stop at a shelter and wait it out, or even stay in the shelter for the night. They're fairly well spaced out, so you can probably hit at least 1 or 2 a day, maybe 3 or 4 depending on your daily mileage, and the area you're in.

    While I personally wouldn't go with a minimalist tarp, I also probably wouldn't take a large tarp with doors either. A WB Edge or Mamajamba would probably do for you. If you carry a poncho, you can also use that to supplement your tarp for coverage.
    Boston - I oftentimes worry that AT hikers (or prospective AT hikers) place too much value on the presence (sp?) of shelters. yes you can walk by shelters roughly every 7-14 miles or so but what happens in the event of an injury or other unplanned event. In a 5-6 month hike most hikers can and do get exposed to nasty storms no matter which tear they hike. I am very glad that you went on to say to not take the minimalist tarp in your post.

    This whole lightweight mania is a pet peeve of mine. I did a thru hike a few years back and got tired of the "ultralight' guys wanting to borrow maps, first aid supplies, etc. Weight IS important but I think too many push the edge. I loaned a guy first aid supplies twice (at different times) and had to cut him off. If you need first aid, and most will on a thru, carry the supplies. A decent kit only has to last 4-5 days until the next town and only weighs a few ounces or more.

    Or last year, on a section hike, I set up in Trey Mountain shelter with my wife during a cold rain. At dark, a guy (obviously out of shape and inadequately prepared) straggles in and the shelter was full. HE HAD NO SHELTER...his plan was to hike from shelter to shelter. I loaned the guy my tent out of mercy. his other option would have been to hike another 8 miles in the dark to the next one and hoping that there was room there. He was already travelling at well under a 2 mph pace. suppose he had slipped and broke an ankle between shelters?

    One of the reasons I am switching to the hammock is because I have hiked many times thru storms that I would have rather waited out but didn't because of lack of places to set up the tent.

    OK my rant is off (and not directed at you Boston, I think your advice was solid).

  5. #25
    Senior Member MDSH's Avatar
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    Well said, 4shot. Thank you.

    Yes, in considering weight there is a point of diminishing returns. The UL guy begging off of you -- that's just not responsible of him. You were right to cut him off.

    .
    Mike

    But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)

    He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36 ESV)

    While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3 ESV)

  6. #26
    Senior Member Boston's Avatar
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    4shot - great advise, and good point about shelter's being full, especially during a thru-hike - I hadn't considered that. My only experience on the AT is 1 section hike, and it was in the south late in the season, about 2 weeks or so before SBer's started arriving in the area - so all the shelter's we passed were basically empty.

    I agree with what you're saying.

    There's a reason the Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared".

    I think people get too caught up in being the lightest, sometime's to their detriment. It's important to know your limitations, to know what you should expect, and then expect the unexpected and be prepared to deal with it. The idea behind ultra light really isn't to be light, it's to be smart. It's to be able to deal with any situation presented, while minimizing what you carry. Going out with out that ability, like not carrying first aid supplies, is simply irresponsible.

    As this relates to the OP, I do stand by my original recommendation. Door's aren't necessarily needed. You can be perfectly dry with a normal Hex tarp. There's a reason tarps with doors are referred to as "winter tarps". But again, it's all about what you're comfortable with, and what your skills are.

    From a weight perspective, a Super Fly is about 40% heavier than a Mamajamba. (Which are dimensionally the same, outside the doors on the SF)

    As to the Sil vs cuben, I never really felt the benefit of cuben out weighted the cost.

  7. #27
    Senior Member HammockHunter's Avatar
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    Tarp advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by hutzelbein View Post
    One thing I learned since I got into hammocking: it's highly unlikely that you will just buy one [enter equipment here] and use it until it wears out. There are simply too many exciting choices, and new equipment comes out every year.

    It sounds like you won't be hiking the AT for some time - therefore I would pick a tarp that serves your needs *now*. By the time you're ready to thru-hike, you'll have a much better idea what works for you and what you really need.

    I have never hiked longer than 5 days in a row, so I'm not really qualified to give advice. But with my current knowledge, if I were planning a thru-hike in the near future, I would probably go with a summer-sized Cuben tarp like Hammock Gear's hex tarp and a light hammock sock for the colder sections. When I started out hammocking, I thought I would need doors, but since I only use my hammock in the 3 warmer seasons, I never really had a need for it (apart maybe for the privacy - which you won't get with Cuben anyways).

    If you do winter camping now, by all means, go with a tarp with integrated doors. The Warbonnet Superfly is a great choice - and it is probably more durable than a Cuben tarp. It's also pretty light for a tarp that size (although I would not take it on a thru-hike). If you do the majority of your hanging in the other 3 seasons, I would go with a tarp of the size of the Mamajamba, which is my personal favourite. It offers plenty of coverage for not much weight and money. And you also have the option of getting some doors for it. If you are a fair weather camper most of the time, an Edge-sized tarp (the Tadpole is in the same category, and is a good choice if you want customization) would be perfect. I used the Edge this summer and fall, and it worked great for me.

    If you stick with silnylon for the moment, you could get a Superfly AND an Edge for less than the price of the smallest Cuben tarp - which would serve you well for 4 season camping. And who knows which material will be all the rage by the time you do your thru-hike? Only 2 years ago, Spin was the material of choice for the UL hiker. Now it's Cuben. There'll probably be something new in another 2 years...

    Thanks for that. I only camp 3 season and I have a diamond tarp. I have never had it in really bad wether. So I don't really know what I new as far as coverage. I don't know how well a hex tarp covers because I have never seen one. I have never seen a tarp with doors ether. In fact I don't even know personally another hanger other than my grandad who I converted, so I don't get to experience all the gear options except online. It sucks but I am thinking of maybe just getting a sil hex tarp and in 4 years when I plan to do my hike I will know what I want!
    Keep Calm
    Hike On

  8. #28
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammockHunter View Post
    Thanks for that. I only camp 3 season and I have a diamond tarp. I have never had it in really bad wether. So I don't really know what I new as far as coverage. I don't know how well a hex tarp covers because I have never seen one. I have never seen a tarp with doors ether. In fact I don't even know personally another hanger other than my grandad who I converted, so I don't get to experience all the gear options except online. It sucks but I am thinking of maybe just getting a sil hex tarp and in 4 years when I plan to do my hike I will know what I want!
    If you only get one tarp for 3 seasons, take the Mamajamba. It's not even 3 oz heavier than the Edge (or Tadpole), but it feels like a palace. And should you indeed miss the doors, you can add them later on. I really love this tarp!

  9. #29
    Senior Member HammockHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutzelbein View Post
    If you only get one tarp for 3 seasons, take the Mamajamba. It's not even 3 oz heavier than the Edge (or Tadpole), but it feels like a palace. And should you indeed miss the doors, you can add them later on. I really love this tarp!

    That's what I am leaning toward.
    Keep Calm
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  10. #30
    SwinginIt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HammockHunter View Post
    Thanks for that. I only camp 3 season and I have a diamond tarp. I have never had it in really bad wether. So I don't really know what I new as far as coverage. I don't know how well a hex tarp covers because I have never seen one. I have never seen a tarp with doors ether. In fact I don't even know personally another hanger other than my grandad who I converted, so I don't get to experience all the gear options except online. It sucks but I am thinking of maybe just getting a sil hex tarp and in 4 years when I plan to do my hike I will know what I want!
    You really need to go to a group hang. You will see every possible type of tarp and be able to see just what kind of coverage and bulk you can expect.
    "As a well spent day brings happy sleep, a well spent life brings happy death." -Da Vinci

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