Contributors to this thread:
Camp for DIY Alaska
So your weight limit is 55 lbs. (lowest I've been quoted so far). What are you taking for your camp shelter and sleep system for 2 guys?
I would take my Sawtooth tipi and no stove. I would bring a lightweight silnylon tarp (I'm not talking about a tarp shelter) to place over excess gear outside. I would bring my Western Mountaineering TerraLite bag (or maybe a Kifaru Slick 20 degree) and a decent pad. I think I would cut a piece of Tyvek to use between the ground and my pad.
Early trip.......North Face VE-24 tent and pad and bag of your choice
late trip.......tipi tent and stove and pad and bag of your choice.
When are you going and how long do you plan on staying?
Late August/early Sept. 7-10 days hunting.
Bill, Down or synthetic?
Late August in Fortymile can be interesting....
The Sawtooth big enough for 2 guys, Kevin?
Got a small tent? Get used to 'Nuts to Butts'
Midwest...yes easily. One man on each side. Leave center aisle open. Room for food and gear storage at the rear, plus some vestibule space up front just inside the entrance. Not saying it's big-time roomy, but it's a ton better (for me) than a crawl-in/out tent.
Cnelk.....hole to hole or pole to pole but NEVER pole to hole.
I like down stuffed in a Kuiu dry bag. Nothing wrong with synthetic as long as it's not too heavy.
Prince of Wales Island, Whale Pass, Black Bear & Deer Hunting
Prince of Wales Island, Whale Pass, Black Bear & Deer Hunting
Kodiak Island, Bumble Bay, Deer, Mountain Goat, Brown Bear Hunting
Kodiak Island, Bumble Bay, Deer, Mountain Goat, Brown Bear Hunting
Unalakleet River, Grizzly Bear Hunting
Unalakleet River, Grizzly Bear Hunting
Lisa Lake, Moose Hunting
Lisa Lake, Moose Hunting
In my old age, I prefer one of these for my Alaska hunts.
I would hate to go without a floor. I've had water flowing under the tent for 5 days while we lay in the fog. Can't imagine being without a floor, but some have done it. I've put it on here before, but 40 Mile's areas are in COLD country.
Fill your pockets with everything that's heavy and will fit on your person. Wear your six gun on your belt and fill your pockets with bullets. Whiskey should be in plastic bottles to cut down on weight. Cut your tooth brush in half, drill holes in the front half to cut down the weight. Have a great hunt! When we went in we were very "heavy" but our bags made weight:)
I used a Cabelas Alaskan Guide two man tent on our caribou drop and it worked out fine. Floor got wet by the end of nine days but it held up to the wind and kept me dry. I also brought light weight collapsible cot to keep me off the floor. Small aluminum frame that breaks down and light fabric. Not much too it but keeps you two inches off the wet floor.
"Got a small tent? Get used to 'Nuts to Butts' "
I get to be the big spoon!
Dang Blacktail Bob she at Wale Pass is looking gorgeous!!!
When you pick a tent, we seem to emphasize the bigger sizes have all the advantages. One of the things some might not have experienced is how hard it is to find a place for even a 2 man tent. On my first goat hunt in PW Sound, my buddy and I spent several hours finding and clearing a spot big enough to put an 8x8 tent in the rain forest. Almost every square foot has a rock, deadfall or substantial growth. It wasn't the last time I've had to work a while to put up a 2 man tent.
I know I'm in the minority, but when i used a tent on Kodiak, I cut the floor out of it. Mostly what a floor does is hold in water.
Great points to consider!
Nick, if you weren't so ripped, they wouldn't have to limit you to 55 lbs...
Bob so where do you shoot the arrows into the tree from since you enclosed the porch for success arrows
One two man tent per person-eliminates snoring and the other guy's stink!
We used a six man Cabelas Alaskan Guide tent on both caribou hunts. The first hunt, we were transported via float plane with a generous weight limit per person....so no weight issues on a two man hunt. The second hunt, super cub with restricted weight limit and it was difficult to make weight with a 30lb+ tent....even with three hunters to share the load. Unless you are willing to pay extra $$$ for a gear drop, I would opt for something much lighter weight than Cabelas Alaskan Guide. Great tents...just heavy.
Jimmysharpstick, That was my original idea...1 tent each and a couple tarps.
midwest....that will work but a separate shelter for each man is a weight-eating luxury when you're limited to 55 pounds of gear. I don't know if you've ever had to pack that light for a 7-10 day hunt but you would be pinching ounces and leaving behind things you'd like to bring. 70 pounds is pretty serious...55 is getting critical and into the realm of ultralight minimalist backpacking when you account for the days, food, stove fuel, potential snow, kill kit, meat bags, optics etc.
Pay for an extra gear flight if you can. Be comfortable. It may be awhile before you do it again. It will be money well spent.
We were restricted to 50 lbs. each, 8 day hunt. We made weight with 10 days of food ,fuel and 17lbs. of salt for capes. You will need a couple tarps to cover meat, backpacks, capes at night for rain. Fill pockets with everything heavy as Charlie said. The idea is to keep the hunter "heavy" and the load light to keep weight off the tail section of the Supercub for landings and take-offs.
"Nick, if you weren't so ripped, they wouldn't have to limit you to 55 lbs... "
Haha...Ike, I'm in marathon training so I'm at fly weight right now. I'm so skinny, I can wear KUIU!
One thing you can do on the Cabela's tents is get rid of the steel stakes and use plastic. That will save you about ten pounds.
By the way, if anybody wants to buy some steel stakes, I have a butt lode of them cheap.
Kevin, liner or no liner on the Sawtooth? Do you think there would be condensation issues with 2 people?
I have used the Cabelas Alaskan four person with aluminum poles and plastic stakes on most of my hunts... around 25#. I recently sealed the tub and on my last wet Kodiak trip I did not have one drop of water in the tent. I use a sil tarp 1# for my gear shelter. A 55# limit is doable but is bare minimum. Don't skimp on your tent, sleeping bag and rain gear... they might save your life. Is a gear load an option on your hunt? Well worth the money... to have a comfortable and safe hunt. Ed F
I like the advice of keeping the gear light and the hunter heavy but last year they weighed our gear and both of us hunters as we were leaving Fairbanks. First time I ever had a bush plane outfit weigh us!
midwest...I'm not sure if you happened across my caribou survival story I did here a few months ago. Basically I went into the Fortymile country alone on a ten day caribou hunt. It turned into a survival situation when something akin to a 5+ day tropical storm rolled through the mountains. I had the Sawtooth and it performed extremely well through the whole ordeal. What I didn't put into the story was this little liner tidbit...
I brought the Sawtooth liner with me but hadn't ever installed it for the first time. I figured to do it sometime early in the hunt but the weather caught me before I got it done. The inside of the Sawtooth body was drenched with condensation from the ground, me and the 100% humidity. The wind was screaming and water was spraying everywhere. In the middle of this chaos I was trying to figure out the liner attachments and get it installed. It was NOT fun and I told myself I would never be that stupidly unprepared again in the future. Without the liner everything in my tipi would have been subjected to spray...the liner immediately solved that problem and definitely saved me from a bunch of soaked gear. I will never go there without the liner. Period.
I had no option to burn a woodstove as wood was a long, long ways away and 100% water soaked. Once nice thing about the tipi was the floorless aspect. When condensation formed and ran down the inside it simply dripped off and was absorbed into the tundra. In that storm I believe a bathtub floor would have been just that...a wet tub.
"I brought the Sawtooth liner with me but hadn't ever installed it for the first time."
DOUGH! That's a mistake you won't make twice! The first time you use a tipi or tipi-style tent you realize that no liner is not a good idea.
Man.... I might be old school but I see the opposite happening. I have no experience with a floorless tent. Last year I set my tent up on soaking wet tundra with standing water. Then spent 2 1/2 days in that tent with torrential down pours and driving wind, nonstop. No water inside and no condensation issues. Vented the tent by keeping two windows half open. The rainfly did its job. Had I used a floor less tent we would have been dealing with a wet mess for 11 days, that's certain... A floor liner would have been a pain in the ass. I think Kevin and Bob are the Alaskan wilderness kings and two of many I look up to for this type of stuff... but I can't grasp the idea. Ed F
I use a Cabela's Denali, which is their knock off of a Bomb Shelter. Its a great tent for the money. Never had any issues with their new models and I've used them in hurricane force winds for many years.
I cut the floor out because I use roll-a-cots in them to sleep on. That keeps you up off the ground. Its Alaska, so its going to rain. All the guys I hunt with want to wear their modern high price rain gear and it all holds a ton of water. When they come in the tent there is water everywhere from their rain gear. Over the years, 30 plus, at least one trip per year sometimes two or three, I learned it was just way easier to let the water run out rather than have the floor hold it in. A pair of crocs is all you need to move around in the tent and to go out and pee. No water bottle peeing in the tent!
I also cook in my tent, but all I do is boil water for oat meal, freeze dried meals and coffee. Any spillage is way easier to deal with on the grass than on a floor. In that regard, I also keep my meat under the rain fly. Do like the experts tell you and the bears will have it all for sure. When its that close to human scent, they for the most part leave it alone.
"A pair of crocs is all you need to move around in the tent and to go out and pee" Missing n the true beauty of a floorless tent, no need to go outside! "No water bottle peeing in the tent!" That is what empty Mountain House bags are for!
I've written on the door of the Buck Shack, "be a man, go outside to pee". Nothing drives be crazy like guys who want to pee in a tent or my cabin. Those damn Mountain House foil bags spill every time someone uses them!!! This was the only issue I ever had with Roy; he was always peeing all over everything!!!
ps. I did feel kind of bad when a couple gals hunted there with me. They both read the door and made sure they followed all the rules including being a certain distance from the cabin for a morning constitutional. I think exceptions can be made for the gals.
I've been to two of Bobs camps, they're very nice! And I did "go" outside, I swear I did. If I hadn't drawn Kodiak for bears, Id be in Unalakleet this fall!.
This is the teepee we used in '15. No floor, carbon pole and room for two plus gear. Very light weight. I think its made by glacier goat. We did have a collapsible stove that was very welcome to dry out but there was hardly any wood other than blown out beaver dam chews.
Inside the tent, you can see the rain dripping off the rain gear and how wet my legs are through waders(sweat). Nice to dry off! It had the vapor fly for condensation which kept water from dripping in our faces.
I can see a no floor tent in some cases, especially a wet potentially nasty place like AK. My tents have floors though, because in most places I've used them they have creepy crawly stinging biting things all over the ground. Set up in peed land or on an ant hill you didn't notice, scorpions, mice/rats, even snakes....(HI has everything there and more but the snakes) nope. Even if there were some water I'd deal with that and sleep well. Wet clothes and stuff, that's what vestibules are for. A big fan of a sil-nylon tarp for many uses too.
WRT crocs in camp, love em. And the pee outside thing..... I'd even take it step farther..... several steps really, I've had guys just stand in the doorway and let fly..... no crocs and didn't want to go to all the trouble of putting their boots back on..... flippin' nasty animals....
Good stuff here, like gold. Thanks to all for the info. More.... please.
What's the little cots you guys are using to keep you off the floor/ground?
Bob, I don't get the no pee rule in your flourless tent. Seems like that would be one of the big advantages of no floor, just pee anywhere!!!!!!
Larry is a true Alaskan Sourdough; he has a sled dog team living in the house with him.
I guess its just a personal hygiene issue, peeing in a bag and sticking it in the corner of the tent is uncivilized. Peeing in the corner, well that takes Neanderthal genetics.
Don’t get me started on those two nimrods in the teepee.
I like a tent with a floor and a vestibule. Best of both worlds. A vestibule to take off rain gear and wet packs, cook, and pee if you must, but also a sealed off place to sleep. I think floored shelters are warmer. I know when I leave my inside tent door unzipped to expose the floorless vestibule, the main tent gets a lot colder. Hilleberg tents are good about providing a nice sized vestibule and still remaining light weight. But ultimately, I also agree on an extra gear load. It's worth it!
Bob, what's up with all the ratchet straps on the Buckshack? I always wonder when you post that pic.
Some hold the shack to the side of the hill. Some hold it straight down and some hold it from twisting. It really is nothing for winds to be well over 50 mph there and without being very securely fastened to the side of the slope; it would be in the ocean in a heartbeat. I was told Kodiak pilots had bets going as to how long it would stay there when we built it. So far so good. I've back filled the back side into the hill so its way more stable than when it was finished. I had the straps available when we finished it so that’s what I used. I’ve been gradually replacing them with chain.
Bob, if I had to go outside and pee, instead on peeing in my pee bottle in a tent, I would NEVER get any sleep! Just ask Blake Patton or Mike Zupancic. But, I will say, I am an experienced pee bottle user and am accident free for as long as I can remember. I definitely don't use ziplock bags or Mountain house bags! On Muskox and Polar bear hunts especially, a good pee bottle is a must for me! The same goes for flying long time periods in the Supercub, a good pee bottle is a must, or I would be looking for a place to land all the time! A good pee bottle packed in my arsenal of hunting gear is as important as my release (well, maybe not quiet as important).
And also, I prefer a Bombshelter tent with a floor for sure too.
I've been exclusively floorless-tipi for a decade now. I suppose I could afford to stay in any tent of my choosing, and I know enough about them to understand the advantages and disadvantages of most. I came to floorless grudgingly. I wanted a woodstove (capability) and that wasn't happening in a conventional floored tent. I had a lot of questions and major concerns about floorless camping, and as I did my research I found basically 95% of floorless users told me the same things. A consistent message was they all preferred floorless to other styles and that most of my seemingly logical concerns would turn out to be either no issue or a minor one. They were right.
Boots on or off in the tent doesn't matter. Stove and wood debris doesn't matter. Food spills don't matter. I've had zero ground water issues and often the ground in there dries to the point of near dust. Even in the wettest weather ever encountered I had no mud at all. I cook in my shelter and have no floor to be watchful of. Pests? A mouse one year and that's it. Flies and mosquitoes seem to automatically gravitate to the peak of the tipi where it's warmest. If I decide to burn the stove the heat kills them. A flypaper strip works too when the stove isn't used. I sleep above the ground on my old LuxuryLite Ultralight Cot. I can level it and my body never touches ground. I jam some unused small things under the cot to save space. My cot, an Exped Downmat and a Western Mountaineering bag make for one really cozy-comfortable bed and I can justify it. One-third of my hunting trip is spent in the sack...not to mention the shelter.
I would certainly go hunt in a floored tent...no question. I wouldn't buy a Sawtooth and some of the stuff I own if I was going there one-and-done. I had a plan to keep going every year and I needed gear for that plan. So now I'm one of those guys who wouldn't give up my dirty old floorless rig for one of those tents that make me think I'm back home. You know what I mean: "Take your dirty boots off before you come in here!"
Of course when, you get to be Frank's age a guy really does need to use a pee bottle. No way I'm using one, couldn't find one large enough anyway.
Kevin, Does the Sawtooth come with extra arrows for emergency center pole support or are those extra? ;-)
"Kevin, Does the Sawtooth come with extra arrows for emergency center pole support or are those extra? ;-) "
Man...does that picture ever put me in a spot....in my mind. I recall thinking I was glad I hadn't sprung for one of those ultra-snazzy carbon fiber poles. You just had to be there to see the amount of abuse the weather put on the pole and fabric. I guess being a bowhunter had it's advantages that day.
Wow! 3 giants of the field giving different opinions on hunting the backcountry! You guys make my head hurt lol. I see the merits of each opinion though. Thanks for the info, I know my comfort level increases whenever I see what the pros use. I hunted the Chugach in 14, my guide still talks about the weather we survived and he has hunted Alaska for over 20 years. Thank God we were in a Hilberg! I'm as cheap as they come but I'll NEVER take a chance in Alaska in a cheap tent! Mike
FL Mike, I hunted the Chugach that same year too. Sweet Jesus did it rain. I was in a Hilleberg too fortunately, but even it leaked pretty bad with that kind of rain. Looking back, I have a good story to tell, but I will be just fine if I see my grave without ever having experienced weather like that again.
We used an Alaskan 6 man. It held up well but we had good cover from the wind. We were limited to 50 lbs per man for 3 guys. Our packs weighed 49, 44, 37. A high dollar ultra light sleeping bag is where you can really cut weight.
FYI, a Hilleberg Saitaris 4 man is 14.5 lbs, has a big vestibule, spacious main tent with ample room for 2, 3 if you had to, and is built like the proverbial brick crapper.
Cabela's Alaskan 4 man weighs 23 lbs and the vestibule is much smaller.
Yes, I realize there is a huge price difference, but like others have said here, a tent in the AK bush is one thing I won't pinch pennies on. Personally, I also sleep better at night knowing I have the best shelter option available.
"I guess its just a personal hygiene issue, peeing in a bag and sticking it in the corner of the tent is uncivilized." Mountain House bags shine when in the wet, on the side of the mountain, in a very small tent. Pee and give it a gentle toss a few feet from the tent. Dump and rinse in the daylight...
Peeing in the corner, well that takes Neanderthal genetics. Well, since ALL non-sub-Saharan Africans have Neanderthal genes....
Midwest. If you look close at the inside picture of the tent, Im sitting on a Thermarest cot and a Big Agnes inflatable mat.(too many back surgeries, I need the right sleeping arrangement). The cot I used was not very good for soft ground, moss, tussocks. It sunk in and had I not had the mat, I would have been on the ground. My brother uses a Helinox cot that worked much better. You can get them both on Amazon. Both are very light weight, but certainly could put you over the 50lb limit in a cub.
Note to self, Bob called me a nimrod and never share a tent with Frank.
Generally, I prefer floorless. I think there would be many places where that could be a bit disastrous like the side of THIS mountain. Notice the rock slope. The rock is covered with a thin layer of heather and soil only a few inches deep. When rain falls and the heather/soil become supersaturated, the waster flows thru those couple of inches and flows down gradient in SHEETS. The water was a non-stop sheet of water and a quality bathtub floor bought us enough time that after FIVE DAYS we caught a partial break and were able to bail off the mountain, just as everything was getting fully soaked. In generic Alaska (non-goat/sheep country) that I think the initial question was regarding, I would still opt for floorless.
I agree with Steve on this and the tent he's using in the above photo is the best one I've come across for a mountain, backpack hunt. Its what I use for a goat hunt.
Of course, my old, old friend Frank uses an actual Bomb Shelter versus the poor man's Cabela's knock off version I use. I think the Bomb Shelter is a better tent, but unlike Frank, I can’t afford them.
ps. The Arctic Oven is also a great tent.
Absolutely would go with the tent in Steve's image when chasing goats or sheep up high. I just have to wonder what it was like to wake up with 2 guys all scrunched up in the lower end after sliding all night. :^D
Really appreciate all the input. Also, extra thanks to the guys who pm'd and offered me their tents and other gear.
I'm leaning towards the Sawtooth now. Being able to stand up sounds like a big plus as well as having the option of a stove. Something I could use out west as well. I already know this won't be AK one and done for me. I'm not getting any younger and I've got other stuff I want to hunt.
Midwest, I got my ultra light cot at Cabelas but it was over a dozen years ago. Probably more choices now. They pack down pretty small and are well worth having. Try REI also.
Really the floorless isn't floorless, it's a liner you attach. Otherwise, as others have noted, if you get any kind of sheet flow situation through the tent you are hosed. What if the ground is already soaked when you get there? A cot sounds great but what do those weigh? With a 50- or 55-lbs limit it seems a luxury. I'm not calling bs on guys who've been there done that, but you undoubtedly account for things most folks aren't even aware of (such as minor differences in ground elevation between a prospective tentsite and surroundings) that would make a huge difference between comfortable and wet/miserable. Agree that a decent vestibule on a tub tent is a must in extended really bad weather. I also spend several hours over several days ahead of time seam sealing everything on a new tent (twice) to enhance waterproofness. Another good thing to do is a shakedown trip in snotty weather so you're not guessing or hoping your tent is waterproof, you know, and you learn the erection procedure by heart. Love my Cabelas Alaskan but not the most intuitive to erect in a hurry. Pissbottles, a 32-oz Gatorade works pretty well. When I was younger I didn't know those things existed, now I wonder how I'd get by without.
Actually the floorless shelters I've owned and seen are 100% without any type of floor or fabric on the ground at all. Liner (in my case) refers to a condensation liner which prevents interior moisture from dripping on to gear and people.
"I just have to wonder what it was like to wake up with 2 guys all scrunched up in the lower end after sliding all night." That setup is ever so slightly more level than it appears.
That tent is a Helleberg Nallo 3.
This is starting to read like a great trip !
Enjoy it all
Good luck, Robb
I will say, I was really impressed with Kuiu's Stormstar this past fall. I know they catch a bad rap as a company with some guys, but for the price point it was IMO near Hilleberg quality for half the cost. Used it for 2 weeks in the Brooks and a week on Kodiak in October... won't hesitate to use it again this year.
That said, If trees are around to help me break from the wind, I still like my Kifaru Supertarp and Luxury Lite Cot for the same weight as the equivalent sized tent. More comfort and slightly more room for the same weight.
All depends on bugs, moisture, and wind exposure you should expect for where and time of year you are hunting.