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Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question

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Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 09:38AM
I was curious to find out how many people prefer to sleep outside while camping.
While on a backpacking trip many years ago with a group of friends, I was in my 3 person tent. I got up in the middle of the night with a claustrophobic-type feeling. I moved my sleeping pad and bag outside. It was a clear, dark of the moon night with a billion stars out. It was like an epiphany. Ever since then, the only time that I go in a tent is when there seems to be a good chance of rain. I even get my boys to sleep outside.
I don't see anyone else doing it (in Kings Canyon this past weekend), so just wondering how rare it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2014 09:39AM by snorkus.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 09:42AM
I do it all the time. Probably 75% of the time when I sleep outside. The exceptions are if it's really windy, about to storm, or lots of mosquitoes. I find it's much nicer than sleeping in a tent... you just stand up and you're outside. You see a lot more nature (birds, small animals, shooting stars, ...) that way. Sleeping in a tent makes me claustrophobic now.
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 10:41AM
What Andrew said. Spot on. Even in winter.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 12:25PM
To add to the chorus, me too. I love falling asleep looking up at all the stars in the sky.

Makes packing up in the morning much quicker too.
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
July 03, 2014 03:38AM
I've always preferred sleeping w/o a tent, but my wife "needs" one. Now that she doesn't go with me anymore (bad knees) I'm going tentless most of the time.

Got caught w/ mosquitoes one night but it wasn't as big a problem as I'd anticipated. Just put on some DEET. Mosquitoes aren't out all night, just in the evening.

Jon
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 10:47AM
I didn't own a tent the first few years I backpacked but rather carried a tube tent in case it rained. Then after it did rain hard on a trip to Ten Lakes decided it was time to buy a tent. So that is the way I started.

Then not long after bought my first Gortex bivy to lighten my loads and since then have used bivy's more often than tents. Actually on my fourth generation of bivys though now tend to take a Big Agnes UL1. I've owned a list of tents over the years. The two main issue with no tents are rain and mosquitoes. Tents make both of them considerably less unpleasant. However beyond mosquito season am fine using the bivy as I do enjoy waking up and seeing the universe of stars. I'm a light sleeper that wakes up a few times each night. Some places mice are also an issue. If they are about, I zip up the bivy. At times I've always used tents like bivys without poles installed in order to sleep under the stars with an option to put the poles in if necessary.

Using a bivy besides just a sleeping bag has advantages. One can unzip a down bag sleeping atop a pad while using the bag as a blanket with the temperature more moderated than if doing so without. I normally have a military mosquito head net ready in case a squeet does visit.



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 23, 2014 08:30PM
When car camping in a campground I prefer a big tent. One I can stand in and move around in. And change in without displaying skin to public.

When backpacking, I prefer bivy sacks alone and w/shelter, if possible rain/strong wind. (MLD Trailstar current favorite). If buggy, tent with lots of mesh, so I can still see sky, and my own door, no fly unless rain might happen, at which point I will probably get claustrophobic and wish we had the shelter instead.

Changing in backcountry, I just stand on rock, if tent/buggy, change inside tent. Since I am with people I know, not concerned with privacy.

If cold and no bugs, so using bivy sack, change inside bivy & bag to stay warm. And I'll probably crawl out wearing my quilt.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 12:56PM
I have read various threads on these boards that mentioned bivy sacks, but I guess I haven't paid that much attention. After looking at various websites, bivies seem like personal tents. Don't you get claustrophobic with the tent fabric/material right above your face?
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 02:34PM
Those of you "cowboy camping" do you not have bugs crawling on you or do they just not bother you?
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 03:00PM
Have found some high altitude spiders squished in between bivy and bag at times. But never been bitten, afaik, and I generally have bad reactions... I don't like bugs on me, but never had problems in bivy sack.
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 06:25PM
Never had bugs as a problem (other than skeeters and then I am usually in a tent). Once at Guitar Lake I had mice or voles running around all night, that was kind of creepy. And with no tent you can better shine a light on the other stuff that makes noise in the night. Is it better to know that it is a bear in your camp or is it better to sit inside your tent and wonder....
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 08:50PM
Quote
Hitech
Those of you "cowboy camping" do you not have bugs crawling on you or do they just not bother you?

Crawling isn't a problem; it's the biting I object to.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 10:03PM
I was sitting around a campfire in Pate Valley once about to go to bed and a scorpion crawled over my foot. Still slept out in the open that night 15' away though I did shake my sleeping bag out before I got in grinning smiley Maybe be careful listening to me when I give advice. Grinning Devil
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 10:09PM
Yes indeedy there are scorpions in Yosemite and they come out at night. I'm not sure what the max elevation of their habitat is though.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 25, 2014 06:37AM
I would greatly worry about the scorpions. Can cause ear damage.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 02:58PM
Years ago started getting claustrophobic in tents. Never had that problem with bivy sack. Don't always zip up, and if windy/buggy and I do zip, I have a large mesh panel and can see...
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 06:00PM
I donut get claustrophobic or arachnophobic ... tongue sticking out smiley


* 1.5 miles from the Curry Village Pizzer Deck ... not on any Too-pay



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 08:53PM
Quote
chick-on
I donut get claustrophobic or arachnophobic ... tongue sticking out smiley

Nor do you sleep walk.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 25, 2014 12:13PM
Quote
chick-on

* 1.5 miles from the Curry Village Pizzer Deck ... not on any Too-pay

I'll post a picture later...but how fast do you think you could get down to that pizza joint if it had a trail like Mt. Marathon in Seward, AK?

I am running the Mt. Marathon July 4th and this past weekend completed my practice trip. The race is 3-3.5 miles--3,000 ft. climb. Winners take just over 30 minutes up, and roughly 10 minutes down. I've never been on such a soft scree trail before that allows such speed.

The race started as a bar bet many years ago. As they drank they started arguing about how long it would take to run to the top of the mountain and back. The guy said he could do it in 1 hour. He finished in 63 minutes and lost the bet.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 05:12PM
In the High Sierra with a sleeping bag inside a bivy sack (have use several generations of 16-18 ounce OR standard gortex bivys), one normally does not close the zipper at the head end unless it rains or there are mosquitoes or mice. And if one does zip, I tend to use a short fiberglass pole bent over the head to keep the fabric away. The fancy heavier bivy's with several poles etc are actually more like tents. So sleeping is usually similar to having no bivy, just a sleeping bag out in the open. Compared to lower elevations there are far less species of arthropods and most have evolved to only come out during day hours because even in mid summer temps below freezing are common with considerable infrared heat lost to the thin atmosphere in clear air. Thus when chilly even mosquitoes tend to retire by late in the evening. So except for the ubiquitous big black ants that are like robots that MUST crawl over ever square cm of surfaces, one does really not have to worry about creeping crawling things at night except as noted mice. And mice are really not common but when one does camp in their areas, they are much like the large black ants and readily will go inside a sleeping bag.

Now below mid forest elevations, below average winter snow levels, a whole lot more species of arthropods are about. If camping in such areas, am likely to use a tent because yeah many of those species are night crawlers and creepers. Note not many backpacking areas down low as that is more about car camping. But then in the winter and early spring our Mojave and Sonora desert areas which are low elevation have again few arthropods during the night so if out in the desert on one of my photography wildflower trips often bivy under the stars.





http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2014 05:15PM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 24, 2014 07:54PM
I camp out on my hammock in the open quite a lot. Just a quilt over and a quilt under.

On the ground, I do the same only with a pad. Only put up the tarp in rain.

Bivies are too confining, sleeping bags too confining, tents - meh. Claustrophobic and only needed if it's raining or horribly crazy buggy.
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 25, 2014 08:10AM
As a teenager I spent many a night outdoors exploring the rural area I came from. Most of that time we simply slept under the stars and took our chances regarding weather. Skeeters were an issue but I was more tolerant and indestructible back then. At the house I had a canvas pup tent set up under an apple tree almost all summer and spent many a night out there just because I enjoyed it. Over the many years since then I did very little camping and then only in large family sized tents.

After a long spell of no camping at all, I suddenly took on Yosemite in 2009 with a brand new 1-person tent and ran into the dreaded claustrophobia problem. I recall someone saying that telling about this on this forum brought a wave of denigrating comments on some other forum I never visited. Now I'm seeing a number of other folks here admit to this very real problem. Yes, I got rid of that tent. Now, despite the extra weight, I do carry a so-called 2-person tent (REI) along with its rain fly. If there is no expected rain or really cool nights I will still use the tent because it's basically a huge mosquito net. Mosquitos don't have to bite to keep me awake. Their incessant whining flight anywhere close to my ears is enough to drive me nuts. The rain fly will often be kept nearby or partially deployed if I think I might need it later in the night. If nights are cool enough I will put it all the way on. As for the claustrophobia, I will take half a Xanax before bedtime to relax sufficiently to get to sleep but this is not an issue unless using the rain fly. I know; it's a shame to have to drug myself just to get to sleep but that's often true even at home.

I've hiked with others on this forum who use either a large tent like bivy or nothing at all. I do envy their ability to travel lighter in this regard but also know they have lower temperature rated sleeping bags than I do. I've been using a 30 degree down bag without liner. As to the claustrophobia problem, another thing that contributes to that is wearing multiple layers of upper torso clothing inside a sleeping bag trying to keep warm. Breathing smoke at night from 223,000 acre fires will also do it!
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 25, 2014 08:30AM
Quote
tomdisco
I've hiked with others on this forum who use either a large tent like bivy or nothing at all. I do envy their ability to travel lighter in this regard but also know they have lower temperature rated sleeping bags than I do. I've been using a 30 degree down bag without liner. As to the claustrophobia problem, another thing that contributes to that is wearing multiple layers of upper torso clothing inside a sleeping bag trying to keep warm. Breathing smoke at night from 223,000 acre fires will also do it!

Yup, I like a warm quilt. I can't zip myself into a bag anymore. I can't wear balaclavas at night that go down over my neck. I can't zip up too many layers around my neck period. I've found the claustrophobia thing gets worse if I miscalculate and get too warm/hot. I'll wake with a start and immediately start ripping off hats, unzipping, getting cold air on me as fast as possible. I often sit up for a few minutes to convince myself I can still breathe. After a bit of cooling, I'm often fine the rest of the night. The worst smoke-filled night was seriously difficult for me. I realized that if future nights were going to be like that, I'd have to exit. There was no way I could find to make breathing easier in that mess. Ugh.
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
June 25, 2014 08:22AM
Quote
AlmostThere
Bivies are too confining...

I agree, most bivy sacks are too confining for me. I sleep on my side on a thick (but light) mattress pad, and I like a lot of room inside so my quilt can loft fully. I ended up getting a "wide" model. The extra girth is not confining, blocks wind, bug barrier as needed and keeps my stuff from sprawling about at night. With all the puffies on me, if zipped, the mesh doesn't really touch my face, I don't bother trying to keep it up/away, though it has a tie loop for that purpose (no poles).
Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
July 03, 2014 09:37AM
All this sounds great, but I just sleep better in a tent. After being outside in the wind and sun all day, retreating into the tent is my little luxury.
avatar Re: Sleeping outside (not in a tent) question
July 05, 2014 07:46AM
Quote
lschaaf
All this sounds great, but I just sleep better in a tent. After being outside in the wind and sun all day, retreating into the tent is my little luxury.

Different strokes for different folks. smiling smiley
It's what you enjoy.

This time of year when go with wife I bring 2 person tent and we set it up for naptime around noon
and have breffy and din din in it. It's worth it's weight in gold. I know for certain we would have
both bailed on this last 6 day trip we took together last weekend if I hadn't carried the tent.
(she hammocks it). The mosquitos were absolutlely brutal. I knew The Emigrant blew w/r
to all the little pondlettes... but didn't think it would be THAT bad. Can't recall ever having to
hike so long and so far with headnets.
Even atop Bigelow Peak it was a downer b/c we just climbed up from Twin and were gonna
enjoy a snack and the view and it was just not possible.
Of course it's always "location location location" .. ran into the only person we saw for 3 days
at Bigelow Lake... a "I don't ever take a tent" guy .. pretty much told him "that's nice ...
yeah I have one of those little bitty mesh head domey things too... but you'd be crying if
you would have camped down at Upper Twin... we'll enjoy dinner in the tent smiling smiley "
(you know you got bad mosquitos when 20 decide they want to have din din with you
and come on in)
Ran into so many peeps on way out thinking gonna be no mosquitos... and also a nice
couple with their kids at Woods Lake who thought the same and said "August or later
from now on" .
Anywho. Tent or no tent.... have fun
Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: This may sound weird, but...
July 07, 2014 07:19AM
Even though that I prefer to sleep outside at night, I prefer to take an afternoon nap (after a morning / afternoon hike, maybe a swim as well) inside a tent. There is something about the little bit of extra shade that gets me nice and cozy for a great nap.

I always bring a tent. If the wife is along, definitely a must. My boys switch off between sleeping outside or in the tent. Depends how cold that it is at night.
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