An introduction and a few simple questions ....

8:37 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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Just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I have been away from hiking/backpacking for around 12 years and have recently decided to return along with my wife and youngest son. I have been an outdoorsman all of my life, hunting and fishing, spent 10 years in the Army Infantry, and then also hiked/backpacked back in the 90's. I continued to hunt and fish but dropped the rest. I wish I hadn't!

Anyhow, I have alot of outdoor knowledge but at the same time alot of it is outdated or does not apply to civilian hiking/backpacking. I have already found this site an extremely valuable source of useful knowledge! I am also currently in the process of updating or replacing equipment. So, hopefully I will not drive everyone crazy when I ask silly questions.

A couple of things I was thinking about while I was out this weekend lead me to seek the thoughts of the members here on these two simple questions: How do you pack your tent? Inside your pack or strapped to the outside? Finally, do you stake the four corners of your tents?

I apologize in advance for asking such trivial questions but would greatly appreciate hearing any and all thoughts on these two subjects.

Thank you very much!

8:49 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace sevensixtwo187

Question 1) I keep my tent strapped on the outside / note I have a external frame pack

Question 2) I stake my tent down sometimes it all depends on the ground.

9:09 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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mike068, thank you for the response. I have an internal frame pack but was very use to external frame via the military. Sometimes I wonder about going back to an external ......

9:57 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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I always stake my tent down and hold it until I have stakes in at least two corners. I didn't until I had to chase it down when a gust came up. I was above treeline so it was quite a run. My pack is large enough(internal frame) so everything fits inside.

10:10 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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First of all, welcome to the site. Ask away. That's the only way to learn. If you haven't been civilian camping for a while, gear has changed dramatically in the last ten years towards lightweight gear. No more 50 lb packs for a weekend. Half that much is common.

As far as the tent-it goes where it fits-depends on the pack. Staking it down-a freestanding tent may not need to be staked down, but if you think it'll be windy, I would. Of course, if the tent isn't freestanding, you have to stake it down to get it to say up.

Gear discussions generate a lot of arguments. Keep that in mind when reading posts here or elsewhere. There are plenty of self-appointed experts around. I'm not one of them. I know about what I own and a few other things, but that's it.

On the other hand, there are some extremely knowledgable campers here with many years of hiking in all kind of environments using all kinds of different stuff. You'll soon figure out who they are.

10:54 p.m. on March 23, 2009 (EDT)
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Hello and Welcome sevensixtwo187.
Its not the silly questions just the silly answers.

Some folks here don’t use tents, at all, others do. With my internal frame pack I pack my tent in the pack. One, it fits in the wet storage area, two, it keeps the pack cleaned up. No or little hanging around on the outside to snag on a branch.

If I think it will rain during the night, I will stake out the corners, keeps the rain fly taught and me dry.

Keep reading the threads, and ask away.

7:58 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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My tarp will go in a pocket on the outside of the pack if it's wet, otherwise it goes inside the pack. Usually near the top so I can deploy it first.

8:36 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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In the winter i tend to stuff the tent last in the pack. If i'm low on space, i don't use a bag and stuff it loose on top of everything to fill all the the empty space in the pack. It makes everything a lot easier with an internal frame.

I aggree with Tom, the changes in the last 10 years have been great! My 3-season kit, minus the food and fuel, weights 10 lbs. Imagine going on a week-long trip with only 25 lbs of gear! It's not for everyone, but I'm lazy when it comes to carrying stuff. ;)

PS: you might want to look into the Leave No Trace ethics. In a few places (national parks) you can't even pick a flower even less make a fire. It makes hiking that much more challenging!

9:29 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I carry a internal frame pack and carry my tent inside it. I have to stake out my tent "the Hex 3" by Golite, which has 6 stake out points plus 6 more in between for better wind holding.

I also would stake down my other tent which is a North Face "Oval Intention" but I have not used it yet. Its a large oval dome that is 34 years old but has never been used.

Without proper weight inside, dome tents make excellent box kites, I had to look for my old NF VE24 tent in the high Sierra once after leaving it set up with just my gear inside. It had blown a half mile across a meadow while I was on a dayhike back in the spring of 1980.

10:30 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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10:47 a.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I too like gary carry an internal frame and pack my tent inside. Actually everthing I have except for my therm a rest and trekking poles is packed inside my pack. I am actually considering getting a therm a rest that is not as wide or as thick to see if I can get it in the pack as well ( the one I have is not really ment for backpacking more of a camp style, but I love my comfort). I help me to keep from getting hung up on branches and other obsticals as I use to with an external fram with stuff strped to the outside. Although, I feel that this like many other things should be based on personal preference.

12:16 p.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Thank you so much for all of the input. Equipment has indeed changed much in the last 10 years. In my opinion, very much for the better. I am not concerned with being ultra light but then again, there is no reason to carry more weight than is really necessary. I think that staking the corners of a dome tent is a very good thing to do. The reason I asked about the tent is that I just purchased a Nemo Losi 3p. It is a great tent with what I think to be a great roll up compression bag for it. It packs down small but still fairly long and for me seems to take up too much vertical space inside my pack.

12:42 p.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Greetings, seven...7--

Feel free to file all comments herein under "FWIW Free Opinion". I carry a large internal frame pack, and so generally put the tent inside. That said, I occasionally do find it handier to strap it to the outside--usually because of the length, as you mention. I'm actually considering a switch to external frame for my next pack, so things could change.

On pitching the tent, I almost always stake the corners (even though it's a "free-standing" tent), simply because it doesn't take much time/effort/weight to do so, and wind and weather in the backcountry have no mercy. As with all rules, there are exceptions, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Finally, may I suggest you don't sell yourself short? Although equipment has changed a bit in the last decade or so, the principles by which one operates in the outdoors haven't. Given your experience and training, I'm sure you're more than satisfactorily prepared to make good decisions about how to get along in the backcountry.

My own primary pack is well more than a decade old, and refuses to quit, and so is one of my two sleeping bags. I've got one tent in that category, as well, though it's now seldom used. So, as you can see, I'm not yet fully converted to the "latest and greatest" when it comes to gear. I generally decide I'd rather spend my money on things I don't have but need, or on travel to a great site, rather than replacing gear that still performs quite well. I'm hoping to become one of those guys that's often pulling out some vintage piece of equipment that others have only read about and putting it to its intended use, and getting the job done.

I try to remember that the objective of any trip is to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the outdoors, not to try to impress camp-mates with my gear. And personally, I'm much more impressed by the guy who still uses good, well-maintained gear than by the one who's always showing off new stuff. Not that I turn up my nose at all that's new, however, either.

Well, I'm sure you get the idea of where I'm coming from. Best wishes, and good luck.

12:59 p.m. on March 24, 2009 (EDT)
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welcome to Trailspace sevensixtwo187,

or maybe 187-SST-NEW to be acronymic about it.

I have an internal frame pack, a Kelty Coyote. I do put my tent inside most times but not always. I personally put it in first then pack stuff (clothing mostly) around the tent. I fold and roll my tent and footprint (ground cloth) so when at camp I can draw it out with one quick pull, yank off the stuff sack & and give it a quick roll across the ground ( like bowling ) holding onto the leading edge. I keep my poles and stakes in the tent roll and can quickly stake out and set the poles up. My tent has 5 corners and I do stake all 5 for the initial set-up, if bad weather or high wind is a possibility I use guy lines and the whole nine yards.

When at home I store my tent loosely in a large duffle bag, storing tents and sleeping bags tightly rolled or stuffed is not good for them. Lots of people stuff their tent instead of folding & rolling it up, this is a fast and easy way to pack and recommended by tent manufacturers.

Another good trick is to teach your family to set up the tent properly so you can go "look for firewood". HaHa

8:25 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
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I appreciate all of the responses and thoughts you all have shared with me. Your responses have confirmed my thoughts. I look forward to learning more from all of you and sharing experiences.

6:08 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Another welcome to sevensixtwo187,
I also did ten years as an 11B and just got out a few years back. I have kept going into the woods for more and seen the gear changes over the past years too. I have been using a good bit of my old field gear until it becomes no longer serviceable and then would look at what to replace it with. I tend agree with Perry on using what you have and replacing as you need it with one exception. I used my old ruck for the longest time and finally replaced it last year. If my back could speak it would have said "Thank you but what took you so long". I was one thing I wish I replaced earlier on even though my ruck was fully functioning.


As to where to put your tent in or outside your pack, I think you've seen above that it depends on you and the type of pack you use. I tended to keep my tent on top of my old ruck. When I replaced the my ruck with an internal frame pack I stick it inside. As to staking... I always do when using a tent because it was only a few seconds to do and I had seen tents get blown over before... So it was better safe than sorry thing for me.

10:22 a.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
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Greetings and Welcome to!

I have both external and internal frame packs.

I pack my tent inside my pack (since it packs quite small after taking the poles out mind you) for protection from thorns and various briars.

I do fully stake out my tent-all four corners plus I stake out all the included guylines. I do this alway.

So what gear are you "updating"? What exactly are you seeking in regards to gear? Maybe I can help. Ask away!

6:01 p.m. on March 30, 2009 (EDT)
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I put my tent into the stuff sack it came with, wrap it up in the ground cloth and then wrap my Ridge Rest pad around that and strap it to the outside of my pack. I use both types of packs but mostly use my Kelty Redwing. It is large enough to carry enough stuff for about a week and too small for me to cram it full of useless, heavy stuff.

1:04 p.m. on April 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Internals--roomy, compact, wear close to body, looks tidy.

--Hard to attach lots on the outside, have to barf contents --bad if it's raining, exposes everything to wet stuff if wet stuff is internally packed.


Externals--easy to handle, very adjustable, can load a rocking chair to it, each pocket is like a room so it's easy to find stuff.

-- stuff hanging on looks like the clampetts, not easy to bushwhack with one, stuff on outside is exposed to weather.

Either way, go with the best as you can afford. Packs and boots should not be picked to slim down cost. It's the two pieces you live in for hours. You are not comfy, you won't keep doing it.

Your son can carry a small pack as young as 4 or 5. He can carry his water, snacks and sweatshirt, and work his way up. Lots of good starter packs are out there.

Sometimes with so much info, you just have to dive in and start looking. Test drive stuff at stores and look on ebay and craigslist.

Good Luck...and have fun!

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