Tent, tarp or bivvy sac? (1 Viewer)

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Trying to decide on my rough camping options...I'm planning on a hitching trip and I'd previously been really nervous about the idea of getting "stuck" in between towns or rides and having to sleep out in the open. Like, really nervous. But, I'm guessing that it should help a little bit if I just plan for that eventuality even if I never have to go that route. I was thinking initially of just bringing a bedroll and sleeping bag because I want to remain as inconspicuous as possible and I feel like pitching a tent is going to be too visible...but then I thought about it a little more and figured I might feel TOO exposed literally just lying out on the ground in the open air. So now I'm considering small tents, too. Does anyone have any opinions either way? I'm not planning on needing to use it except in cases of absolute necessity so I don't want to splurge on $$$ gear I don't need (and if it's a tent, I would need to make it ultra-lightweight which is always expensive) but I want to feel confident if and when I do need to camp out. So, bivvy sac? Tent? Tarp? ...Any other ideas?
 
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wizehop

Chasing the Darkness
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FUCK TENTS straight up. They are extra weight to carry, they suck to set up, and they really fucking suck to take down and re pack every day. These days even a bivy can be a bitch space wise for me, but they can be nice for keeping things contained. Mind you if its pouring rain and your stuck inside your bivy, its not that great either.
Sleeping in the open is actually not bad, and if you have to move quickly you can, which is a huge bonus depending on what your up too. Personally I would bring the smallest set up you can to start, and as you feel you need it then buy it VS getting all this shit and realising you don't want half of it.
 
S

spectacular

I deleted myself
If u spend enough time outdoors you'll get used to open air sleeping. I started out with a bivy tent by ionosphere, a tarp, and a sleeping bag. After finding it all too heavy I ditched it all and now just carry a couple of blankets and find peices of cardboard wherever I'm at. Cardboard makes a great sleeping pad down to freezing temps. To not feel as exposed I cover my head with the blankets which has the added benefit of keeping me warm with my breathing.

But that's just me. It helps to know that its not that scary to sleep outside no matter what you've been told. Making that transition from indoors to outdoors is tough but worth it and a character builder.
 
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OP
Badly Drawn Girl
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FUCK TENTS straight up. They are extra weight to carry, they suck to set up, and they really fucking suck to take down and re pack every day.
That's a really good point. You're going to look a lot less inconspicuous when you're trying to stuff a tent into your pack at 7AM in broad daylight. Didn't even think of that.

Personally I would bring the smallest set up you can to start, and as you feel you need it then buy it VS getting all this shit and realising you don't want half of it.
Also a really good point. Thanks man.
 

Kal

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I would go with a 8 x 10 or a 10 x 12 tarp all you have to do is roll it up and put it on your pack. I don't have a tarp right at this moment, I have two blankets two cover me and a rain fly from a tent to lay on. I walk every where I go so if I'm out in the middle of nowhere and it decides to rain I'm going to get wet. Tarps do come in handy. The rain fly that I have from the tent is not big enough to cover me plus it has a small hole in it.
 

bazarov

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Lethbridge, Alberta
I'd just go with a waterproof tarp and wrap up in that bitch. Also if it's not exactly a heavy rain but enough to make you uncomfortable, string up that bitch or make a leanto, sit on your mat and enjoy a beer whilst pondering the mysteries of the universe.
 

CrashingHawk

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Just got done with a bivvy. No go for one major reason- they condensate pretty bad and soak you. A tarp can do this too but easier to regulate. Id go tarp and at least a 22 degree bag which still packs ok. I have a "30" and it was cheap, more like 50! It ranged 35-42 in Spokane and Bellingham wa, for reference at night.
 

sean p

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Irondale
Like @wizehop said fuck a tent If you don't mine bugs or snakes or random animal's just sleep on the ground it's warm now just take a blanket or some coveralls bibs something an call it a day.
 

CrashingHawk

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Forgot to mention if you do go with a sleeping bag, dont get down. Despite being lighter, more packable and warmer, the damp will kill it. I only go down tent camping- so pretty much never lol. I'm hard on gear tho so I just dont find it worth it (esp for the $$$).
 

Leap

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I use a tent, this one: https://www.tarptent.com/contrail.html

packs small, smaller then I've ever been able to fold a tarp. and I carry a stick for the main pole. I can put it up or take it down in like 5 minutes not even I've beat every single other person with a tent that I've come across so far lol

a lot of the time I sleep on it if it's nice out or if I'm in a city I don't use it. Been thinking about not taking it and just bringing a saddle blanket I picked up but the tent is only 3lbs and the blanket is like 4-5. I'm gonna have to make a pack list I know there's something that's weighing me down but I can't figure it out.
 

VikingAdventurer

Guardian of the Knowledge of the Wastes
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Personally I would bring the smallest set up you can to start, and as you feel you need it then buy it VS getting all this shit and realising you don't want half of it.
Yeah... When I first started out, I did the opposite of this advice. I had so much shit that I couldn't even carry it. Of course, I went straight from having my own apartment & everything to living out of my pack in one day, no transition phase.

There was definitely a learning curve. ::facepalm::

@Badly Drawn Girl, I would second the advice of @wizehop, and start with less.

I currently carry a sleeping bag, an ultralight inflatable sleeping mat that I traded something to my cousin for, and a small tarp (4x6 maybe? I'm not sure.), and this setup works for me.
 
L

LordGreyWolf

I deleted myself
Been an outdoors person my entire life , I live it , breathe it , and live in the forest , literally. If your going to go lightweight , go TARP, check out a few utubers, they have awesome plans to make a "tarp tent" goes up and down in very short time , open air is not so bright idea to do , especially in the boreal forest , or anywhere in the north , or in desert etc...... find tarp size you need , , blue poly tarp is fine , cheap , get a grommet kit , and a zipper kit (cost 10$ and make it , done for less than 20$ you have a decent shelter
 

Durp

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My vote is tarp! I like the 8 x 12 and have an ll bean mummy bag. I have slept comfortably up in the mtns during 10degree weather with this setup when I go on my cross country ski trips. I just get in the bag, mumify if its real cold, have the tarp under me sleeping on higher ground with my toes pointed on a slope dow . If it gets colder or starts precipitating I just fold the tarp over top of me and use a rock or small log on the edge to keep it from blowing off. You will condinsate but if you are on a slope it will just roll on out the bttm flap. Ll bean is the shit because of there return policy. I have fucked up so many bags and then take it back and they give me a new one no questions asked. I haven't seen any ll beans west of the mississippi, and I don't really care for rei so much.
 
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Tarp, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad all the way. I think y ou COULD do the blanket/cardboard thing if you had to and if you were down south, but unless you got some quality wool blanket or something that stuff could have you freezing your ass off in the night. A decent sleeping bag isn't expensive, just raid the thrift stores once in a while. You can find a decentísh tarp at hardware stores, or chuck out the cash for a nice silnylon one or something (think about how long you'll have these. Long term and pricey vs short term and cheap). A sleeping pad can be had very cheap, even just a yoga mat would be ok... A CCF pad is cheap and found at... Walmart at least (if you want to sell your soul ;D)

The only time I ever wanted a tent was when i was caught out in storms. Having wind and rain rip about you all night in a tarp isn't the funnest thing ever.
 

Anagor

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I started out with a bivy tent by ionosphere, a tarp, and a sleeping bag. After finding it all too heavy I ditched it all and now just carry a couple of blankets and find peices of cardboard wherever I'm at.
What kind of blankets? I always thought a sleeping bag is more compact/lightweight than a few blankets. Also it may dry a lot faster if it gets wet?

Cardboard makes a great sleeping pad down to freezing temps.
I agree, but if you expect to find yourself somewhere in the middle of nowhere, you might not be able to find cardboard in time. In towns/cities not so much of a problem, of course.
 
A

AvgastasVanzetti

I deleted myself
bug net blanket and a old tarp new ones make to much noise once your on the move u wont even care
 

wombatt

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For rain protection I'd say use a bivvy only if it's the military kind with no poles because those can be a pain to set up on a daily basis if not just use a tarp for sleeping bags you deffinately want a synthetic bag that goes to at least 0 degrees (Celsius I don't know Fahrenheit) for padding I'd say just use cardboard. It's free, plentiful and won't take up space in yer pack. Hope this helps.
 

CrashingHawk

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Spokane, WA
For rain protection I'd say use a bivvy only if it's the military kind with no poles because those can be a pain to set up on a daily basis if not just use a tarp for sleeping bags you deffinately want a synthetic bag that goes to at least 0 degrees (Celsius I don't know Fahrenheit) for padding I'd say just use cardboard. It's free, plentiful and won't take up space in yer pack. Hope this helps.
33.8 f is 0 c, easier to find 22 f bags these days it seems though, completely agree. Military used canvas with waterproofing I think, which doesn't soak you like light weight synthetics. But the military carry 40 to 50 lb packs... I don't recommend that and is why I found tarps the best for light fast travel easy on the body. Tarp is so versatile too!
 

CrashingHawk

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33.8 f is 0 c, easier to find 22 f bags these days it seems though, completely agree. Military used canvas with waterproofing I think, which doesn't soak you like light weight synthetics. But the military carry 40 to 50 lb packs... I don't recommend that and is why I found tarps the best for light fast travel easy on the body. Tarp is so versatile too!
Wanted to correct myself here- military seem to use gortex now. A few notes on that stuff, and e-vent style waterproof fabrics:
There are multiple levels of gortex.
basic is a flat looking non-permeable coating inside fabric (usually ripstop nylon)
Pro has a more breathable non-permeable coating with squares in it, only a little less waterproof.
e-vent (rei uses this) is supposed to be more breathable yet, but even less waterproof.

The bivvy I used was rei minimalist bivvy with e-vent. I've owned gortex pro jackets in the past, and e-vent jackets. The gortex pro keeps you dryer, and I never had a problem with sweat soaking myself in it. The only problem is that gortex pro is insanely expensive... to the point of unreachable at this point for me so I go tarp.

The worst part about any of this is that a bivvy condensate from top down, so even a bottom flap doesn't help on its own. You need to elevate the top of the bivvy off your bag so as it condensate and rolls down the inside it has a chance to leave before dripping on your bag. If I were to get another bivvy it would be the Arctic style with one pole, weighs around 2 lbs.

As many have said though, being homeless you need to get up and go, and I almost got run over by a bike before and couldn't get out of the way stuck in my bivvy. In my tarp I can leap out in a hurry.
 

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