What's your preferred way to camp?

5:27 p.m. on December 11, 2017 (EST)
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My name is Kurt and I'm new here to Trailspace. I've always loved to be outdoors and over the years my preferences have changed for just about every aspect from gear to shelter style. So, what is everyone's preferred way to spend a night outdoors? For me, I switched in the past few years from tents to hammocks. I never thought I would like it so much, especially in the winter months. Currently  for winter weather I use a homemade setup - 10' hammock with whoopie sling/tree strap suspension, no tarp if I can get away with it, but a 12' x 9' silnylon when I need it, and for insulation a combo of a 40 degree set and 10 degree set either individually or layered depending on the temperatures. All of which I made myself. 

How about everyone else? Below is my setup from a couple weeks ago.


7:12 p.m. on December 11, 2017 (EST)
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Sleeping next to my wife, far from the madding crowd.  And yeah, in a tent.  Sorry.

11:28 p.m. on December 11, 2017 (EST)
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Modular set-up of poncho tarp, groundcloth, and bugnet in season. Not a hanger, I'm not a back sleeper and don't know if I could adapt, plus it seems like the fiddle factor runs high with hammocks and the need to carry an underquilt. Though I admit those who do use hammocks usually love 'em.

7:57 a.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace Kurt! I'm a tent and tarp camper. I've used tents for years and started experimenting with a tarp last spring. I would like to try a hammock but haven't had the chance. I don't think they would work for me as I like to sleep on my stomach at least part of the night but if I find a used one at the right price or run into someone that will let me take a test drive I will give it a shot.

10:45 a.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
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For the back country  mostly use a tarp unless it is real wet country.  I still sleep in the backyard on a cot, in an RV, in the back of my truck, in a tent, and in the open.  I love being outside and always have.  I like to sleep outside in every month year around. 

11:35 a.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
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When I was very young, my family was living in Honduras. Standard sleeping was in a hammock. When we moved back to the US, in the middle of the Sonora Desert, we mostly just slept on the ground when camping, though when hunting, we slept in a tent on cots. Since the areas were pretty much all warm, we were covered by a simple blanket.

When I struck out on my own, I and my partners slept on the ground inside "pup tents" (army surplus) and sometimes under a tarp. In my teens, when I was off to college, I was into climbing, which included being up in the Sierra in snow conditions, we used tents, plus digging snow caves. As I wandered farther afield, we started using purpose-made tents for the kind of conditions you encounter at altitude to produce shelter in -40°F and winds sometimes up to 50+ mph winds on mountains like Denali, the Andes, and Antarctica. Sometimes when doing a big wall that took multiple days, we bivied hanging in what you might consider a hammock.

The bottom line is I use a variety of camping tactics that depend on the conditions. You don't use a tarp in polar conditions, and you don't use a tent in moderate conditions under clear skies in the desert under a canopy of a gorgeous starlit sky during one of the regular meteor showers -then you sleep fully out in the open. OTOH when in Alaska in summer with its giant bird-sized mosquitoes or on Kilimanjaro with its swarms of pesky insects, you sleep inside a mesh tent. Oh, yeah, the Sierra Nevada has its share of blood-suckers as well.

Know what the conditions are going to be and set up your sleeping conditions accordingly.

11:59 a.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
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With a whole lot more grizzlies now I gave up Cowboy Camping in Greater Yellowstone years ago. I've never liked hammocks for overnight and they're right at Candy wrapper level for the bruins so I'm in a tent if I can't crash in the back of my truck which is waht I do almost all the time now. 

3:32 a.m. on December 13, 2017 (EST)
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When backpacking I mostly cowboy camp, sleeping under the stars with a personal bug net.  Precipitation will make me retreat to a shelter; currently a pyramid tarp.  I like snow caves and igloos versus tents in winter, as snow shelters are both warmer and quiet.  A hammock set up is not very practical where I usually camp, due to limited acceptable combination of trees and level terrain. 

When car camping I may cowboy camp, but usually avail to a large cabin tent.


10:06 a.m. on December 13, 2017 (EST)
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I go along with Bill S.' thoughts about adjusting sleeping accommodations to suit the environment, my all time favorite shelter is a nice open rock shelter, not uncommon in the American Southwest.  these were often favored by early Native Americans, and after years of digging and working in such rock shelters, I can see why.  The very best face south and east,bringing morning sun and afternoon shade, along with protection from rain. Just look out for the occasional rock fall...

It is wonderful to sleep in a bivvy sack and enjoy a starlit sky, but tents rule in windy, rainy weather....

10:29 a.m. on December 13, 2017 (EST)
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I have often been tempted to sleep in old rock shelters.  I was just talking to a friend that I have know for 30 years that grew up on the Hopi Res.  He knows more about Puebloan Culture than most people and is out hiking around alll year.  He claims he never sleeps in old rock shelters, because it is not only disrespectful but the dust often contains Hantivirus and other pathogens.  Just another point of view.

2:22 p.m. on December 16, 2017 (EST)
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I generally use my tent unless I am trying to go even lighter or the weater is warm. My tent weighs just 4.5 lbs and is a two person tent, but I have never shared it with anyone. 

10:04 a.m. on December 17, 2017 (EST)
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"hantavirus and other pathogens"  - I guess I am screwed then!  During the early 70's I spent four seasons directing a dig at a major site in Canyon del Muerto, not far from the community where hanta virus was first identified.  I understand the first name proposed for the disease was "del Muerto"virus, but PR considerations over ruled...

We wore dust masks regularly but N95's were unknown at the time, and I am positive I sucked up a lot of dirt.   Some years later, an examining physician remarked, "You must have spent a lot of time in a dusty environment."

There are rock shelters that appear to be unoccupied that work fine for a camp, and there are lots of shelters outside of Hopi country (like the Channel Islands).  Interesting comment about camping being disrespectful, because I certainly respect Native American cultures.  If camping overnight is disrespectful, how is facilitating public access within parks and monuments viewed?

7:41 p.m. on December 18, 2017 (EST)
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I have cowboy camped and I carried a tarp or tent...This year I am being given a hammock so I get to experience that way as well...I am doing research on it now

2:24 a.m. on December 22, 2017 (EST)
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I've made my start with a tent, but I've used a hammock and sleeping bag on warmer days of the year. It's definitely not bad. For me, I need the security of some sort of structure. Also because mosquitoes seem to love my blood type and I don't wanna wake up covered in mosquito bites.

8:41 a.m. on December 22, 2017 (EST)
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If I have my preference of campsite it's out in the open away from trees with anywhere from a 180 to 360 degree view.  Therefore hammocks are not my preferred way to camp...I carry a trekking pole supported tent with a separate inner now and set up pieces (tarp, full tarptent, or nothing) depending on the situation.  I hope to slip out for a night tomorrow to Linville Gorge NC - just a sleeping pad on the rocks at the edge of the rim at a favorite campsite with my tarp in tow due to chance of rain.

10:48 a.m. on December 25, 2017 (EST)
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In the mountains, I really like to snuggle in between young trees to provide thermal protection.  It provides a wind break, keeps the frost off and is always warmer. 

10:27 a.m. on December 26, 2017 (EST)
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A good friend is having an outdoor New Year's Eve party on his 42 acre farm.  He likes to use old pallets for the fire.  He recently built a house out of reclaimed materials.  It is 3 stories of timber framing.  The fireplace is made of soapstone and came from Sweden. Two guys flew over here to assemble it.  It has an oven, niches and takes up a whole wall.  A fire in the unit keeps the house warm for three days after it goes out. 

I will be sleeping in the back of my pick-up after the party.  We are in a warm spell and it will probably be about 20-25 degrees at night. 

Happy New Year.

10:56 a.m. on December 26, 2017 (EST)
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I have a tent, a hammock, a bugnet/tarp. The hammock is most comfortable. With the insulated air mattresses, the tent has become more comfortable, but not so much as a good hammock setup.

My observations:

You can sleep any way you want in a hammock that's shaped properly, including on your stomach.

I'm prone to motion sickness, never get it in a hammock.

Side sleeper, but I'm comfortable on my back in the hammock.

Bugs - not if you have a bug net, which I do. Animals -- nope, hammocks are made of the same stuff as tents only breathable, you're not safer in a tent. You're safer from the small critters in a hammock. I've had them run right underneath me and keep going.

Cold - yeah, if I got cold I'd stop using it. Ten years and counting. Not cold. Warmer, actually. The 0 degree setup has a tarp with doors.

Fiddle factor - ha, I'm always the first one done and taking a nap while the tent folk are still putting together poles and trying to get the inner set up. You can have a fiddly setup, or you can have a no-knot, no problem, zip-zip-done. My setup can go between trees 12' to 30' apart. My straps are long enough to go around 10' diameter trees and a couple of closed end amsteel loops for extenders makes those big ol Jeffrey pines workable.

Of course I love the alpine, and my guy, and so I sleep in his tent with him, and take a tent for open granite when he's not around. I can sling the hammock between a couple big boulders with chocks in the straps in cracks, but I still haven't figured out how to get that tarp up when the weather's bad.

Pretty much everything someone who doesn't hammock says about hammocks is just something they don't know how to fix yet.  Fixes are generally pretty easy.

1:18 p.m. on January 3, 2018 (EST)
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Alone, away from it all

2:55 p.m. on January 3, 2018 (EST)
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haha I'm with Old Guide on this one.

October 18, 2019
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