Friday, March 18, 2011

Outfitting for the AT - Our Shelter System

I have an excellent REI Cirque ASL 2 tent which tips the scales at just over five lbs. It's perfect for one, it's real cozy for two, and it weighs too much. I used it for winter camping when I was pulling a pulk, and for solo motorcycle camping. At our age, we are interested in packing light to keep our bones and joints from screaming in protest, and started looking for something roomier and lighter. I was attracted to some of the sil-nylon tarp tents made in the US of A by cottage industries supporting the ultralight niche, and found Golite's Shangri-La 3.

First thing you learn when looking at tents is that if you're a toss & turning side-sleeper, a "2-Person" tent is really very suitable for one, and a "3-Person" tent is perfect for two. Especially if those two are stuck in it for a few days of sustained nasty weather ... The Shangri-La 3 is a floorless pyramid shaped tent. It weighs 26 ozs if you eliminate the included pole and use an extended hiking pole. At 59 sq ft, and 62 inches high, it is a palace for two.

It has a couple of options - A bathtub style floor, which at 19 ozs will work very well during the shoulder seasons when we are concerned with staying dry, but not so much about keeping bugs out. For buggy summer months we got the Shangri-La 3 nest which combines a bathtub floor with mosquite netting. At the heaviest, we'll be packing 3.81 lbs - which we can split between us.

Timing was perfect as we managed to get these during a sale, and additional savings coupons could be used. The tent normally goes for $275, but I got her for $81 including shipping. Similar deals were available for the nest and floor. 

Can't wait to set her up in the back yard!



"It always rains on tents.  Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent."  Dave Barry