Contributors to this thread:
Spike Tent...floor or no floor
After reading some threads, I’m trying to decide whether to get a backcountry tent with a floor or without. Is there any reason other than weight to go floorless? Thx.
I run Kifaru shelters. They are floorless. I really enjoy floorless and will never go back to a floored tent.
It’s nice not having to take your shoes off. You can chop up piece of wood in your tent for you wood burning stove!
Go floorless and get yourself a couple 3x7 tyvek sheets. They're light and fold down to nothin. Then you've got something to put your meat on when your cutting up your elk!
I've only done one floorless trip with a stove and I frankly didn't like it. Many guys with lots more experience seem to love floorless w/ stove (see Ermine's post above), but I found it kind of annoying. I imagine there's a learning curve to the stove part of it and I just haven't done it enough. I prefer a floor and I love getting my boots off and letting my feet breath a little when I get a chance. My feet take a beating on hunting trips, so giving them a break, letting them dry out, and getting my socks and shoes off is very welcome.
I have a floorless shelter from seek outside. The LBO. There are 3 reasons other than weight that I prefer the floorless. 1 is the tent packs smaller without the extra fabric 2. without a floor I don't have to worry about bringing in dirt mud snow etc. 3. floorless shelters tend to be bigger allowing one to actually be comfortable inside. with my helinox backpacking chair, I can sit inside with relative comfort once the sun goes down early in the winter. I put a small backpacking lantern on the top of the pitch inside the tent and I can drink coffee and read. Im not going to claim it is like sitting in your living room but it is comfortable.
Another reason I chose a floorless shelter is because I also wanted a titanium stove for winter hunting. Although one doesn't have to have a floorless to run a stove, I wanted a floorless for the random sparks and ashes from the stove without having to place a fire barrier under neath the stove.
There are downfalls to floorless but I feel they are minor. In areas where dust might start to kick up, I place pine boughs at the entrance and where I put my feet while sitting. This makes the dust problem non existent and makes a really pleasant smell inside the tent lol. Bugs are another problem, but its not like they come in droves just because they see a shelter. I live in Southern New Mexico and I take it out year round. Ive never had a problem with too many bugs or other creepy crawlers. If that is a concern, Seek outside makes a nest that has a floor and complete netting in the sleeping area. I planned on purchasing one of these for when my wife and I go out in the summer, but bugs really are not a problem. At least not where I have been in Southern New Mexico.
If you are packing in, I would go floorless. Camping next to a car and bugs and dirt are a major concern maybe get a conventional tent but I use mine car camping as well.
My one person backpacking tent has a floor cuz I'm scared of mice. My wall tents don't cuz I'm not scared in them. I do put plastic or tarp down in them to keep things a little cleaner. Can easily sweep them out and helps keep it drier if you get a lot of rain, or snow. Actually, the backpack tent with floor and zippered closures is pretty nice when I've camped in the Arizona desert to keep various little critters out.
I recently asked my son his thoughts on a floor-less shelter advertised on camofire. It was half the weight of our two man tent. He quickly reminded me that during our all-night pack out with our elk this fall that we must have seen 100 spiders crossing the trail in our headlamps. This is not an exaggeration. He then asked me what keeps out the spiders on a floor-less shelter, "nothing", and he said that he would carry a heavier tent to have the peace of mind that spiders wouldn't be crawling into our tent all night.
Your mileage may vary but I f'ing hate spiders and his comments were enough for me.
I have been thinking about this too. I recently ran across Tarptents Stratospire 1. You can run it as just a tarp (21oz) or tarp with interior mesh and floor (36oz). It is crazy light and really roomy.
If you want to carry a Ti stove then floorless is the way to go.
There are spiders where I hunt and for some reason they like to hide in my stuff and bite me. Big brown ones that cause swelling and sometimes a mild fever. Honestly that's the primary reason I prefer floored tents.
Another reason is because I major hailstorms have come through (when I was out) and when the melting started the water ran through my tent and soaked everything. Hailstorms are not uncommon in our part of NoCo in summer and early fall. Same thing happened with a downpour in the middle of the night once.
Went floorless for many years, even just camped under a piece of visqueen on a rope between two trees for a week at a time. But now that I've grown up, for more than a night or two I'll carry the extra pound or so to have a bathtub floor. I'm not a big fan of condensation either.
I'm looking at a Shires Double Rainbow as a lightweight compromise. Only weighs 2.5 lbs.
Yup spiders, I'll carry the extra weight. Sitting in my tent one morning in Montana putting my boots on and a "huge to me anyway" spider came crawling out from under me. Yup I squealed like a girl. A few days later cut a bunch of pine bows down that were under the snow to put under my tent. Climbed in for supper and spider started crawling all over the outside of the mesh of the tent. If I wouldn't have been so tired I would have relocated. Spiders in the snow. Thats just wrong. I'll be keeping my floor.
It gives you a better space to weight ratio, packs better because there is less material, ability to bring a stove to warm up or dry things out, more versatility in how you set up the shelter, can walk in and out without removing your shoes, in some cases you can walk in the shelter vs. crawling in a tent, doesn't trap junk (vegetation/dirt etc.) in the shelter material........that's about all I can think of off the top of my head.
Well, the spider argument pushed me solidly into the floor tent. I’ll pack along my Winchester Super X3 to shoot them. Now to decide which one. Here’s a pretty good review.
Seek Outside makes a thing called the Nest which is basically a mesh/tub floor insert that takes up one side of the tipi. You can still run your wood stove on the floorless side, and you won't have spiders crawling up your nose while you sleep in the nest...
I've done it both ways and I prefer a floor. I'm not scared of mice or spiders but I don't like them sharing my sleeping bag with me. I had a floorless camp in an area that was so infested with mice that I could not sleep at night. The were scampering all over my Tyvek ground cloth and even crawling across my sleeping bag all night. One brushed against my face and I almost came unglued. My buddy was laughing his head off next to me in his tent with a floor.
Also one night a spider crawled onto my neck and he bit me when I smashed him. I reacted pretty strongly to the bite and got a big red swollen welt and it made me worry a little. Also, spider will crawl into your clothes, boots, etc. and you have to shake everything out before you put it on.
I like the ability to get out of the dirt too.
Jaquomo, I've been using the Shires Double Rainbow for about 8 years and I like it.
I've done both....and like them both.
My HS Tarptent [2# 4oz complete] with full floor and bug mesh is a bit less hassle- which is nice on hunts where you get in after dark and just don't want to deal with stuff.
Summer backpacking is a different deal...I like tinkering around on those trips.
no floor for me/us. Like having the option of a stove if needed, and you can get a bigger tent for the weight.
Thanks, Mike. Good to know. What is the real weight of your Double Rainbow?
I like the option of having both. One without a floor and another with a floor. In backcountry situations, floorless is the way to go. I bought a Seek Outside after coming home from a hunt in AK. Tent got so full of sand we could have made sand traps. The TI stove is great too. I live in TX. I like a floor when i camp in southern areas. We have a lot of rattlesnakes down here as well as copperheads. It just give me a bit of added security to be able to zip completely up in the South. I know they can still get in but I am not gonna make it easy for them.
On our moose hunt there were so many mice we were stepping on em. You could hear them on the outside of the tent, but if that was the inside....ugh I just shiver at the thought.
It all depends on where I hunt. One area I hunt has lots of mice and large spiders so I use my tent with a floor but when I am hunting in the high mountains I am comfortable with floorless shelter.
Here it is with the rainfly from my Hennessey Hammock for a little more rain protection over the door.
Here it is with the rainfly from my Hennessey Hammock for a little more rain protection over the door.
I'll dig it out and weigh it this weekend Lou...
I read the review that starbux posted and as far as ease of setting up goes, I don't know how it could get much easier or faster. I can set mine up in about 5 minutes. Also, they failed to read the instructions and they blamed the tent. That being said, you do have to make sure you have the bathtub floor clipped up correctly or rain will splash in through the mesh ends. I've been in some pretty heavy rainstorms and it kept me dry and it never blew over, but it might not hurt to upgrade the stakes; I don't even remember what kind of stakes mine came with. It does get a fair amount of condensation if you have it completely zipped up but that's a fact of life with most single wall tents. I usually pack a lightweight Shamwow with me and I use it to wipe up any condensation drips on the floor or if any rain splashes in the ends.
Have lived in a tent (GP medium) No floor, sandbags around the perimeter seemed to keep out the vermin. Had a nice piece of rug next to my cot that I could just shake out when it got dirty. Nice to put your feet on when you got up in the morning.
I'm in the floorless camp!
I'm also in the floorless camp. Like a stove for winter camping.
My last trip to WY, elk hunting at 9000' the mice were F'n horrible, never again with a floor less, and never in AZ! too many things that make you ouch or worse! Yes, even in winter!
Floor guy here! Waaaaay worth the little extra weight! The few hours of sleep I get per night hunting are too valuable to risk being ran over by mice, spiders or anything else. And no I’m not afraid of spiders... I just reeeealy hate them! ;-)
If your thinking about floorless you could consider a hammock with a tarp for cover. Lots seem to like that setup.
I have both and agree, mice can be a pain in the ass. Bugs don't bother me to much.. I just hate when ur trying to sleep and u can hear them (mice) scurrying around. Ed
Mice and spiders are nothin'..... centipedes eat spiders and mice.... scorpions are only second to ants..... those little biting bastards can ruin you day real fast..... like dozens of bites all at once..... peeds are like little rattlesnake bites.....
Floor in most cases. I don't do winter and a stove is too much to pack or fly with. Vestibules and Crocs keep the tent clean. Yeah I know "the holes they put in Crocs are to let your self respect drain out....."
Moisture comes out of the ground and I hate that clamy feeling....mice equals snakes. That`s why my tent is always closed....I would have a stroke if I crawled in my bag with a "pet". 16 oz.s doesn`t bother me.
When I hunted with buddies in Australia if I'd suggested sleeping in a floorless shelter they would have laughed themselves silly. Between the poisonous spiders, scorpions, deadly snakes, leeches, and God knows what other nasty creatures trying to bite us, an enclosed tent with a TIGHT zipper was a requirement. One guy refused to sleep on the ground at all, opting for the back of a truck bed instead.
My big tent is canvass and floorless, but it gets tarps put down to keep the dirt and moisture on the opposite side as me.
Back packing is always with a tub floor. The ground is usually wet and the weather changes constantly, and I don't need a little river running right where I set my clothes for the morning. Nothing poisonous here but bugs can be relentless and mice a filthy, snack wrecking nuisance!
I’ll never go back to a tent with a floor. From our Alaskan moose hunt to elk here in Colorado and Wyoming. The stove option is killer.. i have never once regretted it. Just need to be confidant if where you put the tent
Mule Power's Link
You can still use a stove in a floored shelter. You can do it with rocks or gravel making a little ring and keeping legs off the floor.
The floorless guys exaggerate the advantages, IMO.
We did floorless Tipi in Ak this year...problem; no dry ground within 50 miles to set the tipi. Moose were down in the swampy lowlands. We built up marshy ground with branches, then brush then grass. Had to cut 18" long sticks for stakes. Tarp under my matt...but still we have small critters bugs and spider galore crawling up out of that mess...it was a PITA.
I’m about to push the button on a Megahorn teepee from Luce Gear. Awesome setup with or without stove jack at a super reasonable price. For around $30 they have a bathtub half floor that fits the outline of the walls. Check it out I think you’ll be really impressed.
We take tyvek or a space all weather blanket (see red) that is/are really lightweight to put under thermarest cot or pad and you’ll be fine.. I’ve done both many times and will never go back..
I wish I could find a couple pictures of nasty spider bites from inside my sleeping bag....
Like others, I'm not scared of them, just hate them, especially when I feel one crawling around in there in the night.
I just got the heebie-jeebies after reading Jac’s Post. I’ll carry a couple extra lbs.
I’ve had more bugs in floored tents than without a floor. Bugs get in floor tent and they can’t escape.
You can take your boots off in a floorless tent I carry a small piece of tyvek to sit on and lay on.
but earlier in the season in better weather I will use the green tarp for a lean too. no floor except pine limbs
but earlier in the season in better weather I will use the green tarp for a lean too. no floor except pine limbs
I like a tent with a floor especially when the weather gets cooler with moisture.
Most of the time floor less with a stove during the back part of season. Early just depends on the bugs in the area.
Of course you want a floor, you don’t want to sleep in a puddle of water do you.
I have a 4 season bomberproof Hilleberg Nallo that I use year-round. If I want to go super light (around 2 lbs) I'll use the fly plus painters plastic. There often is dirt, mud, snow, etc and the plastic keeps my gear clean and dry. The fly used by itself is bomber-proof. I was in a blizzard on a recent Wyo elk hunt and the fly did great. I had to overlap the plastic on the edge of the tent so the snow didn't blow inside. If I wouldn't have had plastic it would have been a nightmare!
On extended length Alaska trips I use the same tent plus fly plus footprint. It's incredibly assuring returning from hunting all day in horrible conditions knowing I have a secure and dry shelter waiting for me! In those conditions my life often depends upon it! I've found this is essential when there is lots of rain, wind, and snow to keep my gear dry. I'm usually with someone else on these trips so it's possible to split up the weight/bulk.
In regard to bugs....if you keep a tent with floor's door closed the bugs don't come in. The large vestibule area in my Nallo is floorless so I use that area to cook and store boots, bow/rifle, gear, etc. It's super nice having all the room.
I have never use a fire or wood burning stove while hunting. I don't like the smell of smoke on my clothes and gear! Gas/propane stoves are quick and easy!
When the weather turns bad in the backcountry. I prefer a floorless tent and a lightweight wood stove
I've never hunted with a stove but I can see where it would be nice with a floorless shelter. I bet the mice are really attracted to that nice warm tent...
All of the comments about water inside of and mice attracted to make me question how much a floorless shelter has been used.
Cheesehead Mike's Link
I'm not sure I understand your comment Backpack Hunter...?
Here's a cheap floorless shelter that I made and it worked pretty well.
Follow my link for instructions and a parts list...
You can see his hand bandaged up in this photo. Death to the spiders in my camp!
You can see his hand bandaged up in this photo. Death to the spiders in my camp!
Jaq's post about photos of spider bites reminded me of the first year my son and I got into hunting. We had collected a big pile of wood for the week and on the second day he went to grab some of the wood pieces and a spider bit him while carrying wood to the fire. His finger swelled up like a balloon and I was afraid we might have to leave camp to find the urgent care. Thankfully, the Benadryl worked and the swelling came down but the skin peeled like a bad burn for a few weeks afterward. I never led on how worried I was but I hadn't seen a spider bite do that ever before. I will stick to the floored shelters (which BTW, I've never had spiders get into).
Yep, I'll take a floor 100% of the time! In wall tents we add a nice floor to those as well. If a hunter doesn't feel he needs one that's cool, but when a hunter says his deciding factor is the extra 1 or 2lb for the floor, that's just nuts! (grin)
Mule Power, let us know how that shelter works out! Their products look very interesting and well priced.
Cheesehead Mike: While I understand some comments are made in jest it really amazes me the number of people who really think that a floorless shelter will have a river running thru it when it rains. Or that mice will flock to the shelter.
Yeah, I've used a floorless shelters enough to know they have they're advantages and I'm sure I'll continue to use them in the future, but most of the time I prefer to have a floor...
I've only spent maybe 60 nights or so floorless, and still do for an occasional overnight when the forecast is good. So not as much experience as some. But it only took a couple times of waking up with a wet sleeping bag (or returning to camp to one) to eventually cure me. Mice aren't a concern although I have had holes chewed in clothes, packs, and gear. Spiders are another story where I hunt.
Here's an example of the kind of hailstorms we commonly get here in the NoCo mountains in July-September. This one was on August 28th, the day before elk season opener, at 9000 feet. Then the sun comes out and it melts quickly and all hell breaks loose. Look at Mike's photo and then imagine this outside. Not sure what conditions you have in N. Carolina but out here I'll deal with an extra pound to have a waterproof bathtub floor.
I thought it was just a simple question....didn’t realize it would elicit this many replies. I’ll carry a lot more than 2 extra lbs to not have to deal with the spiders. I was bit by a brown recluse when I was a kid so I don’t wanna be near them anytime...especially when I wake up at 3AM. I’m really liking the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGlo.
Well, after Mule's post, I sold my Jimmy Tarps tipi, bought a luxe 2 man tipi, and put almost $200 in the elk fund for this fall. I just received it today and it is about 7 ounces heavier and smaller with no stove jack. But, the material feels much stronger and it appears very much like top shelf. Hope to set it up and see this weekend. It's floor less and so far, I like that. But, Lou's spiders are likely to get me this September. :^)
Starbux - I've been bitten twice by Brown Recluse spiders. Looked like someone took a melon-baller to my leg. Throw in ticks and mosquitoes and those stinky Chinese beetles and I use a nest or a floored tent in the Midwest and Northern Ontario. Don't think I'd like a Fisher Spider joining me on a canoe trip either.
Factor in what kind of hunting you're going to be doing, where, with who, when and how high and that'll point you in a direction. Share those parameters and lots of guys here will be glad to offer their reasoning for their shelter preference.
Ive been in a floorless tent in Wyoming and when the wind blew so hard that everything inside was covered with dirt and dust.
At least we didnt have to worry about spiders :)
Floor preferred here, but go ahead, do what you want
cnelk - My buddies were in one of those cheap Sportsman's Guide tepees in WY and the wind kicked up. It ate the tepee. Duct tape and the webbing from some ratchet straps were employed for emergency repairs and it held, but everybody and their gear was completely "dusted".
Orionsbrother...I agree and kind of enjoy reading opinions and experiences on here. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing. I’ll be the first to admit....People that are cool with a spider walking across their forehead at 4AM or sharing a sleeping bag with a mouse are a lot tougher than me.
I have always wondered whether those that use floorless with a wood stove are concerned that all that their clothes and gear smell like smoke? It seems like deer and elk could smell you coming from a mile away? For that reason I never use a fire while hunting.
Painters plastic comes in different thickness. If you are concerned about weight the thinner, lighter version weighs a lot less than 1 lb for most tents. It certainly is nice having clean and dry sleeping bag, gear, boots, etc. You can always roll up plastic in a corner for a cooking stove when desired.
If using a tent similar to Cheesehead Mikes last photo I would have a lot more assurance that things would remain dry with a large piece of plastic that is a lot wider than the tent floor so it would overlap the edges if the weather turned sour. I can't imagine what it would be like inside Cheesehead Mike's tent/fly if it was raining and snowing with the wind blowing 20-30 mph in the Wyoming or Colorado high country with gaps on the bottom of the tent! What would it be like on a week hunt in those conditions? That paricular setup would be fantastic if the forecast was blue skies and no wind on a short trip but it would still be nice having assurance of thin plastic that overlaps the sides and only weighs a few ounces!
Knock on wood, I have never had problems with mice or spikers but mosquitos, no-see-ums, and knats could pose a problem with floorless....especially on early hunts in Alaska and elsewhere! You may not believe me but once here in Colo I had a black bear steal my rolled up sleeping bag (in it's pouch) in my floorless fly. You can imagine my shock when I returned to my tent after an evening of scouting for elk and it was gone! I saw bear running tracks and followed them a couple hundred yards to where he finally dropped it! I didn't sleep very well that night!
Smelling like smoke doesn't deter animals. Smelling like a carnivore does. Also, if you have a floorless tent with a stove in it, it has a chimney. You smell about as much smoke as lighting your fire place. There's some, but it's not like standing around a camp fire.
As far as the tent, I've gone both ways. I've never considered spiders or snakes at all in my tent choice. I've also never been bit by a spider or snake. What matters to me is water and I have had wind and rain come into my tent.
I prefer a floor. Under certain circumstances, floorless is great, like when you're going to spike for 2 nights and you know the forecast. That said, my Thermarest has spent a lot of days on pine needles without incident.
Ike did you just say you’ve gone both ways in a tent? I think I saw that movie! Lmao
WV Mountaineer glad to hear you found something you like from Luxe Gear. Compared to the other high tech camping gear companies their prices are sure down to earth huh!
Jim, Mike's setup where I hunted this year would have sent the hunter slogging out of the woods and on a nasty drive to Pinedale to buy a real tent. He probably would have stayed a night in a motel to dry his stuff out. That happened with a father-son who parked near me before heading in ahead of the first wave. Wet spots in down bags don't dry out in that stuff.
If that hunter was driving one of the little urban automobile "hunting vehicles" like on the other thread, he would have walked down the rutted, frozen mud road until he found me, then would have offered to pay me to drive him to Pinedale in my 4WD truck....
Jaquomo, I have used both floorless and floored shelters in northern and southern Colorado although I must say it has probably been 15 years since I have used a floored tent there.
As far as the weather in my area of NC..well it is more rain......somewhere around 56 or so inches a year if I remember right. In all of my travels, I can say I have never had a river running thru my shelter floored or floorless.
"In all of my travels, I can say I have never had a river running thru my shelter floored or floorless."
Did you hunt Colorado in 2013? lol! Wow, that was a wet one
Backpack hunter, understood. I have, several times, and know others who've had soaked gear, mostly from rapidly melting hailstorms like the one in the photo. You can see one of the "rivers" flowing from that one and the melting hasn't even started yet. We get several like that every year in late summer/early fall in our area. The second time cured me. The first time was a Biblical downpour in the night and I got hypothermia, had a half-soaked down bag and no way to dry it out in the night.
To each his own. Good luck on your adventures!
2013? Hmmmm.. This was a little 2 foot wide creek I could step across three hours before. Think it was about Sept 12. Got worse the next day but we got out of there that night before all the roads washed out and we would be cut off and marooned for over a week.
To be fair, a floored tent wouldn't have helped much then.
It only takes one miserable trip as a stark reminder of what mother nature can throw at you. It's sometimes better to be prepared for the worse conditions rather than risking an otherwise great trip. I guess it's the old boy scout in me! It may not matter on short duration trips in great weather but for extended trips it isn't worth the risk of being miserable.
Floorless can be pretty dry.... IF you have the luxury of the perfect place to pitch a tent when the sun is going down and your choices are few and far between. Can be rare property on a spike camp in places. And doesn't take into account when it's pretty wet already before hand. But in nasty weather.... floor or no floor it can be..... nasty.
If I were pitching up a wall tent or bigger teepee with a stove I'd likely be floorless with some tyvek or some such "throw rugs". But for a backpack spike camp these days the better floored shelters are just oz more than a tarp. Well worth it IMO. If no stove they are warmer as well IMO, you get no draft along the edges. In hot weather my go too floored tent has screen sided "awnings". Great ventilation and STILL great pest protection be it mosquitoes, spiders, ants or mice.
The argument for "no floor" is nonsense...it has virtually no weight and when you throw the stove into the equation it`s all over. I assume we are talking about a "back country" hunt. If so the "stove" is out of the question anyway....so we are left with a tent with 16 oz of more weight vs. a floorless. So weight is NOT a issue.
So it boils down to personal preference of hunting with bare essentials such as a Whelen shelter or a tent. So lets call a spade a spade....are you a minimalist or semi- minimalist or are you a glamper.
Jim’s- you don’t smell like smoke when using a tent and small stove. The stoves are basically smoke free in the tent as the smoke is going out the chimney and not near you. Now if you hang out around a campfire then yea you will really Smell smoky
I’ve camped in some torrential down pours in a floorless. Had it when water was washin away roads and hillsides and I was dry in the tent. It’s all location of pitch. If you camp in a depression you might get some Water in there.
If you worried about water and bugs you haven’t spent time in a floorless tent. Which is fine. But don’t knock it if you haven’t used it. Once I went floorless I’ll never go back.
Just want to say this is a great debate and both sides have the masses thoroughly confused,please continue.....seems "it depends" is the answer and I think Lou is telling us that in his last photo of his backside!
"Once I went floorless I’ll never go back."
All I know is 'never' is a loooong time - lol!
"The argument for "no floor" is nonsense"
I guess the discussion is over, Franklin says so! But, I think I'll keep my tipi and my sheet of tyvek, with a hot stove, that I can stand up in, and dry my clothes in, and all that other nonsense...
Here's a different twist to the debate. I'm hunting until dark each day then throwing the tent up where ever I end up for the night. Eat, sleep, and back up before dawn. Put the tent back in the pack, eat breakfast, then start hunting again.
Do you guys running floorless with a stove hunting like this or hauling it all to a spot and return there each night?
I really like no floor when elk hunting, I run a big agnes seedhouse with just the foot print. It seems to stay drier inside as well as lighter.
Now mule deer hunting in the badlands I'm terrified that a snake will curl up with me so I want something more reptile proof!
Scrappy, depending on the weather I'd probably just ditch the stove for that application, or not set it up unless I need to dry out, as it is the most time consuming piece of the puzzle to set up. The tipi by itself can be set up or torn down in just a couple minutes though.
Floorless gets the nod from me for what i use it for.
Base camp at the car. Floored every time as long as it isn’t a wall type tent.
My wife dropped a bombshell two weeks ago. She wants to go to CO with me bowhunting this fall I told her my plans are to move until I find them. It wasn’t going to be a glamor trip. It’s going to be a dirty camp, move every night kinda thing until I find them. So, flourless no stove it is. Which is why I sold my Hudson tipi for the luxe gear. No stove jack.
Guys who hunt late season out there no doubt could benefit from a stove. But, 10 our there feels like 30 here. Being cold in the Rocky Mountains isn’t an issue coming from a cold wet climate. as long as it doesn’t rain heavily, I have no need for the stove. I can curl up in my synthetic bag with my polyester long Johns and be dry in the morning.
Genesis, that was my wife standing there by the flood, debating whether we should try to drive across. I quickly nixed that idea!
Debate...what debate? (ha-ha) Both "camps" make good points. I'm in the one with a floor for all the same reasons given. In the spike tent, the Jetboil provides 25 hot coffee & meals, from a 4 oz can. A spare can gives up a fair amount of auxiliary heat. It weighs maybe 1/4 that of the folding wood burner, and is more compact. Having a floor doesn't preclude staying warm just because you don't have a wood burner. We all have our reasons. All of them seem to be valid. Can't we just get along? We can share a camp. Just stay the heck out of my tent, with your muddy boots, unless it's an emergency! (ha-ha...)
One night floorless on a nest of ants cured me... I was still finding them in my bag 2 weeks later!!
Jet boil, ColoBull you just made me have a very unpleasant flashback. Did you know 16oz's of water in a jet boil spilled on the floor of your tent will absolutely soak everything in that tent. No not a fun night at all.
Don't cook in the tent, Cook under a light tarp. Floor every time for me no matter how far in I go. I pass on black widows wandering at night or Brown Recluses and hate Hobos. As to mice . If they want the just eat the floor and come in anyway. I have a tent with a taped up hole to prove that one. LOL. Why in the world take a chance of a bad spider bite/. Look up Hobo or Brown Recluse if you don't know about flesh eating poison/ God bless, Steve
I know more than I want to know about Brown Recluse bites. They aren't out West now, are they?
Kansas is the brown recluse capitol of the world.........I would kill 10 per trip before I got my trim put up in my cabin
'Sorry about the Jetboil flashback, Kev. We've had a few mishaps, but never that bad. Mostly boiling over 'cause they boil so fast. We have brown recluse in Colorado. 'Never seen one in camp - lucky, I guess? All this talk about elk hunting has me hungering for another elk burger (excuse me, while I put one on)
Yep, Brown recluse and Hobos in CO. My wife was bitten by a Hobo and got really sick, spent the night in the hospital. When I was a Park Ranger and patrolled NF below RMNP we used to entertain ourselves off-hours, by lifting up rocks and killing Black Widows along the kids nature trail.
Thanks Lou. I was perfectly happy in my ignorance matching the range maps showing that Brown Recluse don't go that far West and Hobos don't go that far East. And Black Widows exist here, but are pretty dang rare. You can just wander around, finding and smashing them as you choose? Cripes!
"Did you hunt Colorado in 2013? lol! Wow, that was a wet one"
No, I was in MT in '13. Probably the worst weather I hunted in was during Hurricanes Ivan in western NC. Horrible time to get stuck in the mountains. Mudslides, roads and houses completely under water. We stayed dry in a Supertarp, but wouldn't want to do it again in any shelter.
Speaking of smoke; A total of 3 weeks in my tipi with stove and I can't get the smell of smoke out of the thing. Set it on the lawn and scrubbed with a dish soap mix- nuthin
I think the damp wood in Alaska didn't help my cause any, we had a couple times smoke rolled out the front of the stove...and though I put a big vent in the tipi...you always seem to get some smoke.
Native Americans discovered that smoke is a natural way to preserve the pliability in hides. 'Ever try brain tanning ? The upside is that the hide doesn't revert to stiff after it gets wet & then dry again. The downside is that it smells like smoke for the longest time, and the beautiful almost white color becomes tan.
I used a Nemo Spike 2P last year. It has a 1/4 floor in the foot box but otherwise floorless. Weighs just over a pound. Great for hiking in to bivy.
I liked the air flow as I tend to be hot in a tent and bag. I had no real issues with critters when I was inside. I did have a mouse decide my sleeping bag was better than pine needles and set up house one day. Used it for a place to poop as well. I evicted him and his turds then always rolled up the bag when I left for the day. Never had another problem and he didn't chew anything. I do lay down a 5x8 tarp to keep ground moisture and dirt at bay.
This was for a 2-3 mile in bivy. Truck camp is a floored tent for sure.
Just remember the weather in September can go either way. A good rule of thumb is hope for the best but plan for the worst. I’ve seen 6 inches of wet slushy snow dump on the ground. It melts during the day. You’ll want some type of floor for a moisture barrier if that happens.
I like a floor, but I take a lot of naps,,,,,, I am a hard core hunter, but I pace myself,,,, but I have nothing but time,,, ha ha,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I did not like floor less, too damp for me,,,,,and when it rains, there is an issue....... My tent goes up, and is cinched tight enough to keep out rain and snow, and bugs,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I keep it closed all the time
Does a tarp, tyvek or heavy plastic sheet really weigh less than a sewn in floor? Not sure I see the advantage on a lightweight back pack tent, though it probably depends a lot on where you hunt. I do carry a 8' X 10' Siltarp that I pitch for a quick camp or unexpected overnight'er. But it's nearly always cold enough, windy enough and wet enough to want a bathtub floor and draft proof.
In regard to a wood stove.....the last thing I want to deal with at the end of a day is gathering firewood in the dark, if it's wet finding dry firewood may be an additional chore that I don't want to deal with at the end of a long, grueling day. I hunt from before daylight to after dark to take full advantage of the magical hours when game are active. If I want to go ultra-light I bring food that doesn't require a stove and fuel (less weight and bulk). For extended trips a warm meal (even freeze-dried) is essential for long term energy and endurance.
My Hilliberg Nallo has both a vestibule that is floorless and the inner tent with a floor....so the best of both worlds! In Alaska or winter camping in snow I often add painters plastic to the vestibule area.
I either truck camp or hunt from a spike camp. I think you may find that it is pretty impossible to hunt effectively with camp on your back (true bivy hunting)! Try to glass and stalk quietly while hunting with a 50 lb pack on your back is nearly impossible. It's nice having a spike camp already set up when you get done for the day rather than hunting after dark and trying to figure out where to camp. I would rather be hunting than worrying about setting up a bivy camp each night! Bivy hunting may sound ideal but it is a nightmare....at least for me! You may find that carrying a 50 lb pack all day while bivy hunting is a tough proposition. I found myself constantly taking off my pack and figuring out a place to stash it during the day....not fun! I'm pretty tough and stay in incredible shape and it's not for me! My preference is hunting from a spike camp with super light pack each day.
Everyone's hunting style is a little different. If you are a greenhorn I would recommend taking a trip or 2 in the summer to try things out!
I agree jims. True bivy hunting is a PIA. I used to do a lot of recreational long-distance backpacking which was similar to bivy hunting. I can walk 3x as far and feel better with a 10lb pack than I can with a 30-40 lb pack.
I'd rather hike in a circle and only have 2-3 miles to get back to my spike or base camp. If I find elk, I can back out and move my spike camp and the only time I lose is the less-productive time from 11AM-5PM or the few dark hours before midnight. I'd rather hike lighter and farther.
And if it rains? I don't get cold in the rain so long as I'm walking with rain gear on. With modern gadgetry, you know when there's a possibility of it getting really bad and can prepare.
It's interesting that we don't hear much about true "bivy hunting" from highly experienced, consistently successful elk bowhunters. Spike camping a few miles from a base is a totally different concept. It's a romantic dream, mostly envisioned by inexperienced flatlanders.
I used to do a lot of long distance recreational backpacking too, minimalist treks for 5-10 days. The idea of doing that with elk hunting/processing gear, then getting a camp and all the meat and antlers out of there is beyond the comprehension of anyone who hasn't experienced it.
As Jim suggests, a "bivy-hunting" test run in the summer that truly mimics elk hunting (packing up everything in the dark cold in the morning, dealing with a pack all day while hunting, pitching camp after dark, repeat until burnout sets in) should cure the dream.
Lmao are you telling me that Big Dan doesn’t spend September living in a 1 man bivy sack? Who knew! I’ve spike camped but even in the early years never saw the need for or the enjoyment in bivying. I think romantic dream hits the nail on the head.
Funny thing here ermine and jaqueomo are the real deal.. first like their posts above and you get two different perspectives. I LOVE floorless And won’t go back.. u till spiders bite me ??
BigDan doesn't even use a sleeping bag. He just curls up under a tree and covers himself with pine needles. Then in the morning he picks ants and bugs off the duff and eats them for breakfast, washing them down with a bottle of his own urine from the night before.
I, on the other hand, prefer to hit the Piezo igniter on the Buddy heater and light the stove burner. When coffee starts to perk the camp is warm, and by the time I'm dressed coffee is done and I'm eating breakfast, well-rested, ready to strap on the hunting pack and walk a couple miles in the dark to get to the elk I left the night before. Or maybe only a half mile..
When I started, I took all of my equipment outside, and tested and worked with it,,,,, I like to be well fed and rested, and I can hunt all day,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I have used a tube tent, when staying out in a spike camp for a day or two,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Bivy hunting for one or 2 nights from a packed in base camp has worked for years for me and weight is less than 25 lbs with freeze-dried meals. I've done a 5 night bivouac in the gila, but that is past my preferred limit. I don't bivy unless elk are further from camp at last light than I prefer to walk. But it is a viable option in a wilderness area with no vehicle to relocate.
As for floorless and stove, If bivy hunting solo, I don't take stove. I take my floorless seek outside (because thats what I already have) and use my poncho for a floor. But a tent with a floor would work slightly better. If hunting with a buddy, I take stove because 2 persons can more than handle the weight. Stove is titanium.
" It's a romantic dream, mostly envisioned by inexperienced flatlanders."
Lou - I'm hurt that you'd use the pejorative "flatlander". "Contour-Line-Challenged" is a more appropriate descriptor. Perhaps "Altitude Impaired"... "Horizontally Habituated"
Just 'cause you've got elevation doesn't mean you have to look down on us.
Well, figuratively. 'Cause literally the elevation means you gotta look down on us.
I'm not a bivy romanticist, but I do prefer to camp away from roads, trailheads and campgrounds. I don't care for ATV traffic etc. More of, ummmm... a Goldilocks hunter?
Crap! I gotta go back to work. At least I wasn't eating bugs and drinking urine for my lunch.
Every time someone posts something about being a new elk hunter and wanting to "bivy hunt", get "way back away from everybody else", "in great shape", etc., I check their profile to see where they live.
I've done that too, until I actually stood over a dead elk on the back side of a big deadfall-covered mountain miles from a road. Hell, I used to do true bivy hunts for mountain Merriams (floorless, BTW, LOL) but a turkey is a different creature to manage in the backcountry than an 850 lb bull elk...
I know a USFS timber cruiser who did a solo bivy hunt in wilderness last year (floorless shelter) in September. He got too far away from the trailhead before killing his bull..3/4 of his elk meat spoiled and he spent (EDIT) 40 hours of packing time dealing with it.
Yeah. It's a Goldilocks thing. I don't want to bivy hunt six miles of deadfall from a road, kill myself trying to get the packout done and lose meat. Yet, I passed on a mule deer standing on the road next to our base camp.
One year, a buddy brought out some giant, Taj Mahal trailer to hunt out of. It had three slide-outs, granite counter tops, full kitchen and bath, multiple large, flat-screen TVs, a killer stereo and lights on dimmers. I could've broken down my tent and stayed in the extra bedroom. I slept in my tent.
So, maybe I have a romantic vision that isn't romantic enough to bivy hunt, eat bugs and drink urine.
OB, I resisted creature comforts in elk camp for a long time. Even in 2013 when we rented a cabin for our NW CO unit 2 hunt, I slept outside in my tent.
What cured me was when we got a big snowstorm and trees were falling, big aspen branches breaking everywhere. A huge branch broke off and the sharp end speared right through my Alaskan Guide tent, into where I'd been sitting just a few minutes before. I now base camp in a small camper, but still have six tents in various iterations, ranging in size from a Kifaru Paratarp up to another Alaskan Guide 6 man. Something about sleeping in a tent still takes me back.......
I think your camper is cool and covet your "Bow Chick" ad. I've spent several hunts in another buddy's pop-up camper shoved back on a logging road. I'm not anti-trailer. I'm not anti comfort. I just felt that the "Taj Mahal" was too much. I wanted to climb under my quilt, think about the day, plan for the next and drift off. I didn't want to watch a movie and microwave popcorn.
I've got a stable of tents too. My wife has spent a good amount of time busting my chops about the numerous variations. I was exceptionally smug last year when she expressed that she wanted me to take advantage of a sale and purchase a car-camping/basecamp tent for her.
And while some may think that it's ridiculous for you to sleep in a tent outside of a cabin, I don't. I enjoy sleeping in a tent with the sound of the breeze (Assuming that breeze is not a 70mph gale) and wildlife. (bulls bugling, coyotes... not a grizzly huffing) Especially if there's the prospect of a snoring hunting partner.
I sleep well in my tents. Of course, I use thicker, more comfortable pads. I have a buddy who uses a 1/2" thick, folding, closed-cell pad only for his torso. But he's a lunatic.
I think the biggest difference between 'Ermine floorless' & 'Jaquomo floor'... is..... ohhhh.... about... 30 yrs :>)
^^ that’s true. Lou has some years on me.
So all you guys who are preaching floored tents. Do you ever use wall tents?
I've been in Bigdan' camp...... one of the few you can have a chocolate cake warm out of the oven and a dollop of ice cream out of the propane freezer on top..... pretty awesome..... or at least when he had the toy trailer..... =D
I've done the floorless tarp thing. (remember "bivy bags"?) Crawling into it across the dirt and crap to get into your bag.... Area and environment has a great deal to do with it. A stand up walk in tent..... floorless is easy, and very convenient not having to take off your boots and such. Just walk in and walk out. But IMO most "spike" tents.... crawling into a tent on your hands and knees.... floor all the way. I've camped in a good many places you'd be crawling in powder talcum dust and not the soft bedding of pine needles. Bugs and vermin notwithstanding.... not good. And completely unnecessary.
In regard to the comments about the pics of the floorless shelter I posted back on the 24th, that shelter can be pitched with the sides pulled down tight to the ground with no air gap, or it can be pitched with a gap for better ventilation.
I spent 9 days/nights in it back in '09 and it rained everyday, sometimes very heavily and I never got wet in it.
Justin, we had a wall tent in our elk camp for about 25 years, as a cooking-dining-hanging out place. We used an old swimming pool cover for a floor that came up a little on the sides. Couldn't leave anything chewable on the floor because mice would get into it. The season I slept in it (after my Alaskan Guide tent was speared with the big broken aspen branch after the massive snow dump) I had mice running around all night, even with a trapline going, had to shake out my sleeping bag every night before getting in to make sure some nasty hairy brown spider hadn't taken up shop. If I ever use a wall tent for a sleeping quarter again I'll have a cot.
Well, I know you were talking with Ermine. It got me to thinking though. And I decided on some form of a positive note, if things go like that this fall, it’ll be the last time the wife asks to go with me. :^)
I love my wife. She’s a tough gal. But, she’s going to get an edumication.
Ha! I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get some early cold weather Justin.
Thanks to our friends, my wife and I had a honeymoon a few months after our wedding. We went dog sledding and ice fishing in the Boundary Waters.
The colder it is, the better looking I get. Hope it works for you too.
Wall tents are not without their own stories - with or without a floor, Ive had both
2006 - Archery Elk Camp
Throughout the week, every night in the middle of the night we would hear scurrying in the wall tents [We had 2 tents set up]
We all thought it was a pine marten hopping around
One night, the 'critter' jumped on my buddies sleeping bag while he was sleeping, it woke him up, so he punched the sleeping bag from inside to knock the critter off...
The next night, my son had come up for the weekend. In the middle of the night, I heard scurrying in my wall tent between the cots...
I reached over to get my head lamp to see what the hell it was.
As the bright beam landed on the 'critter' all I saw was a small, weird looking black and white skunk!!!
Holy Crap!!! That tent got real small, real quick
The skunk ran out of my tent, and over to my buddies tent....
I quickly got dressed and went over and thumped on their wall tent and said "HEY! There's a skunk in your tent!"
That tent also shrunk in size in a hurry....
The skunk dashed from tent to tent.... we tried to scare it off but all it would do it bury under the gear
By this time its about 4am. We had had enough. I went to my truck and got my handgun and intercepted that bastard.
Did you know that a Western Spotted Skunk does handstands before it sprays???
But the bullet went thru its head before that happened
Kevin Dill is pretty big on the floorless for his solo Alaskan trips and he's survived some pretty serious weather.
Elk camp trapline double...
LMAO at cnelk...........that was awesome!!! Patrick McManus could not do better telling that story.
I am not successful in the same way as many.......for example I have yet to kill an elk after 11 some odd years of trying......but I have had alot of success finding elk and having opportunities. I've gone pretty lux to pretty damn minimalist. This last year was my longest stretch of minimalist and it did wear me down......to the point I graduated to a hammock in camp for comfort......damn was that a sweet upgrade. I've had a full floored and wall tents for drying, cooking, and sleeping.....all separate. I must say I like both. Prefer to mix them up during a hunt when possible.
Find a method that allows you to focus on hunting and not on camping.....that is always the slippery slope. There are certain chores required each day no matter what you do.....find what works and work it.
I have camped all my life in the southeast US. Always a car camp in warm weather that needed little in the way of shelter. More of a privacy consideration. About 15 years ago (at age 51), I made my first elk hunt. I had the romantic dream of a back country spike camp. We did that for a few years. Then for a few years we used the same small tents and pads for truck camping. Our group has grown to a maximum of 7 and we have evolved to wall tents and cots. I and at least 1 other hunter sleep in a 10x14 Kodiak Canvas tent. It does have a floor. Some of the group sleeps in a 12x16 floorless wall tent. We also have a 10x20 floorless walled canopy that we use for a cook tent. The cook tent has a stove jack and we have a wood stove for heat. The cook tent is a great place to cook, eat, dry wet clothes and tell the stories of the day. One of our guys did the back country routine this year with some new romantic dreamer (young) elk hunters. I think he appreciates the wall tent, cook tent, etc. of our truck camp more now.
Heres is a link to a podcast all about Q and A for floorless shelters!