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  1. #1
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    Default New section hiker

    I'm an experienced hiker finally having the time to begin a quest to complete the trail in 8-10 years. I'm 62 years old, so reducing weight is a paramount objective. This June, I'll be completing most of Maine SB, God willing. My sleep/shelter plan is to use a cot under the cover of a Sea-to-Summit poncho-tarp setup, thus saving the trouble and reliability problems of a backpack cover, and providing the dual purpose of rain gear and shelter. I'm a small person, so the Poncho-tarp works, at least based on a test in a Floridan rainstorm. Did I overlook any pitfalls? -Dale (trail name to be discovered)

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    At Zero Dark:30 itís pouring down rain. You need to make a head call. Think about it.
    There are people here who swear by the poncho as shelter scheme, but Iím not sold.
    I own a TarpTent StratoSpire 1 and a poncho-tarp. I carry the StratoSpire rain fly as a very storm worthy fitted tarp and keep the poncho handy for rain gear duty. Slightly heavier than your plan, but more versatile in my opinion.
    Did you say COT? And weight is a problem for you?
    Iím missing something.
    Good luck!
    Wayne
    Last edited by Venchka; 03-19-2019 at 00:05.

  3. #3

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    The problem with using combination raingear/shelter, is that your going to get wet setting up, or taking down in rain. Even if you include umbrella for potty runs, its not hands free for pitching/striking shelter.

    Works fine if not raining. But then so does nothing at all.

    Cot???


    And it rains a lot on AT too.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-19-2019 at 01:02.

  4. #4

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    Hiking in Maine in June, you want a real tent. Trust me on this, I live here. There are plenty of light weight tents to choose from, especially if you have a good budget. There's not too much traffic on the trial in Maine in June, so the chances are good you'll end up mostly using the shelters. But having a tent is important and if you hit a spot where the black flies are bad, it will save your sanity.

    And you want a real rain jacket. Much of the trail in Maine is narrow and overgrown. We call those sections "the car wash" when it's raining. June can be a wet month in Maine. A poncho gets snagged on brush and tends to trip you up when going steeply up or down, which is a lot of the time. You need full movement of your arms to hold onto trees, roots and rocks. You'll need the jacket for warmth too. Oh, and bugs can't bite you through the jacket.

    Ponchos are good in the summer when all you need is something to hide under while waiting out a thunder storm. Otherwise, not so much.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Having the privilege of being old, I must concur that separate rain-gear and shelter are needed. I'm also puzzled by the cot concept. Tell us more.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  6. #6
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalekeppley View Post
    ...reducing weight is a paramount objective. ... My sleep/shelter plan is to use a cot under the cover of a Sea-to-Summit poncho-tarp setup...
    Cot and reducing weight? The lightest cot out there is the Thermarest at some 2 1/2 lbs (the Luxurylight is almost 4) but you'll still need a thin pad like from Gossamer gear (+8 oz or so) under your sleeping bag for bottom insulation (even in June the nights can get cold in ME). I'd also have concerns about how one of these cots like the Thermarest or Luxurylight set up on uneven ground. Why not go with just a really comfy Exped 3 1/2 inch thick mat (<2 lbs) while still saving some weight over the cot? Anyway, just a thought for consideration.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Cot and reducing weight? The lightest cot out there is the Thermarest at some 2 1/2 lbs (the Luxurylight is almost 4) but you'll still need a thin pad like from Gossamer gear (+8 oz or so) under your sleeping bag for bottom insulation (even in June the nights can get cold in ME). I'd also have concerns about how one of these cots like the Thermarest or Luxurylight set up on uneven ground. Why not go with just a really comfy Exped 3 1/2 inch thick mat (<2 lbs) while still saving some weight over the cot? Anyway, just a thought for consideration.
    I think this is a good idea, along with all the others...a lot of first hand native experience talking above. I have no experience in maine, But I do have a lot of experience in carrying a light pack. When speaking of numbers in pounds - My setup of the big 4 as most refer to as the big 3 are:
    pack-zpacks arc blast: 21 oz
    tent - zpacks duplex:21 oz (zpacks makes even lighter 1 person tents)
    pad - Exped ul7: 21oz
    sleeping bag: about 21 oz

    cot sounds heavy
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  8. #8
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    What the others said - ditch the cot and get a tent.
    It's all good in the woods.

  9. #9
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    Great tips, you all. The "carwash" problem is definitely something to consider. Weight comparisons using a helinox cot lite and a MSR Hubba solo shakes out like this (in ounces): poncho & cot v. tent & pad
    cot v.pad 40 14.9
    shelter 12.3 48
    jacket 0 7.3
    TOTAL. 52.3 70.2
    Head call in the rain? Got it covered, Wayne: unzip, roll over, and hang over the side. Don't even have to get out of bed. I live in Florida, so it's hard to get excited about bugs, but I have to respect the many horror stories about black flies. Thanks, everyone.

  10. #10

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    SIX POUNDS for a cot? You have to be crazy. $430? Your really crazy. Plus it looks like it will be a challenge to pack and carry. You need to seriously rethink that idea. Great for car camping, horrable for backpacking in Maine.

    You can have a tent, sleeping bag, pad and pack for under 6 pounds.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalekeppley View Post
    Great tips, you all. The "carwash" problem is definitely something to consider. Weight comparisons using a helinox cot lite and a MSR Hubba solo shakes out like this (in ounces): poncho & cot v. tent & pad
    cot v.pad 40 14.9
    shelter 12.3 48
    jacket 0 7.3
    TOTAL. 52.3 70.2
    Head call in the rain? Got it covered, Wayne: unzip, roll over, and hang over the side. Don't even have to get out of bed. I live in Florida, so it's hard to get excited about bugs, but I have to respect the many horror stories about black flies. Thanks, everyone.

    Sounds like you have it figured out, wasn't even really a need for the thread. The frustrating part of this will come when your actually doing it. In most cases, one could consider the smart path to be the path that most people take....A tent and rain jacket. Out of 3500+ trail miles I have not seen a single person sleeping under a poncho, let alone on top of a cot.

    I didn't understand your math, but I know there just isn't much need for me personally to go any lighter that 5.25 lbs for my big 4 when I have the high level of comfort during all aspects of my hike.

    1- The poncho is going to rip, and when it does, now you have even less of a shelter then you did before.
    2-If the poncho is big enough to cover your cot, then it is going to drag on the ground.
    3-You gave a solution for having to pee in the night, what about that big crap that hits ya during a thunderstorm at 2 am? (don't need to know your #2 cycle and if you go every day at 2 pm idc, it can hit ya when ever it likes).
    4- As I love telling people, youll figure it out

  12. #12

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    Okay sorry the lite model is only 2 pounds 13 oz, but still. 5x21" rolled up. Still going to be a pain to attach to a pack.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  13. #13
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    Default

    If you are really into comfort while sleeping, have you thought of a hammock set up?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    If you are really into comfort while sleeping, have you thought of a hammock set up?

    That's a really good idea. Not being a hanger I didn't think about that as a solution.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    That's a really good idea. Not being a hanger I didn't think about that as a solution.
    Hammocks are their own can of worms. I know there are a lot of hammock evangelists out there, but personally I find them a pain to set up and not very comfortable. I guess I've spent too much time sleeping on hard wood floors. I can't sleep on a soft bed or anything which bends me in half.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  16. #16
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    I hike with a "cot" to get me out of the mud. It's called a hammock. LOL (sorry for the poor humor)

    I began section hiking at age 52, with a tent. I finished at age 66 with a hammock. That was based on my own experience and judgment. Each has pros ... and cons.

    I suggest you'll figure it out for yourself.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

    www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker

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  17. #17
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    Yeah, I'll probably take the more traditional approach for my first big bite, but I think the Poncho concept is viable for certain sections. I've tried the hammock, and can't do it overnight. As an afterthought, I expected to get blasted for my head call idea. Obviously, that's an idea for stealth camping and low-traffic areas.

  18. #18
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Have you looked at shaving weight elsewhere? Your pack, cookware, any other junk you typically carry? Throw it up here. I'm sure we could help you shave weight without sacrificing as much as you do with your poncho tent setup.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  19. #19
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    I'm pretty minimalist on all those things except the sleeping bag, but I'm a pretty cold sleeper. I'm going to work on comparing fast pitch to other options when I get a chance. But I'm still a bit hung up on the fact that a rain jacket, pants and a backpack cover seems like a lot of dead weight to carry when it’s not raining. Comments?

  20. #20
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalekeppley View Post
    I'm pretty minimalist on all those things except the sleeping bag, but I'm a pretty cold sleeper. I'm going to work on comparing fast pitch to other options when I get a chance. But I'm still a bit hung up on the fact that a rain jacket, pants and a backpack cover seems like a lot of dead weight to carry when it’s not raining. Comments?
    My rain jacket, pants, and pack cover weigh a total of 8 oz. Worth every gram.
    It's all good in the woods.

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