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OK, so you're on the move, what do you carry for basic shelter? There are lots of ways you can go here, but I'll tell you what I carry (and why) and hope some of you will share your preferences with us all.

My primary shelter is a 10 x 10 silicon/nylon tarp. (this is shelter for me and my GF) To me, a tarp has many advantages over a tent; it's smaller, lighter, and way more versatile. I can rig it many different ways depending on the situation. In warm weather, I can leave the sides off the ground and take advantage of any breezes to keep me cool. In rainy weather, I can rig a "V" shape cover that allows me to collect water while keeping me and the little woman dry. In colder weather, I can rig it as a totally enclosed tent-like structure to keep the heat in and shield me from frigid winds. Most of my tarp set-ups allow me to see out, which would be a tactical advantage in certain circumstances. (Weight with stakes and cordage, about 2 1/2 pounds)

Both my GF and I also carry 5X7 silicon/nylon tarps. These add many more possibilities. The smaller tarps can be used as sides for the main tarp or they can be used to cover firewood or equipment. They can also be rigged to collect additional rainwater if needed. I keep mine in an outside pack pocket and can wrap it around me if I get caught in a sudden rainstorm. (Weight is about 8 ounces)

We both also carry Catoma Adventure Shelters IBNS bivys. These have full waterproof bathtub bottoms and the rest of the bivy is fine mesh to keep out bugs and snakes. My full size Army-type foam pad fits inside perfectly. I like the Catoma bivies because they have full zippered openings so you don't have to shimmy down a tunnel to get in and out. They also have self-contained fiberglass hoops to keep them erect, and all you need to do is unbag them and throw them to the ground and they set themselves up. These are currently under contract with US Army and Marines and are built to last. If we don't want to set up the bigger tarp, the 5 x 7 tarps can be used as rain flies for the bivys, giving us additional flexibility. (Weight is about 2 pounds)

I recently ditched my old standard "Bag, Extreme Cold Weather" and its cover in favor of a Coleman Traverse 4 in 1 bag. The Army bag has been with me for over 30 years and is starting to show its age. The Army bag was great when I lived in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but is just too warm for Virginia. The Coleman is a big and tall size rectangular bag, and includes a zip in flannel sheet. This lets us add or subtract a few degrees and remain comfortable in a wider range of conditions. It's not a lot lighter than the Army fart sack, but it's much roomier and comfortable. (Weight is just over 4 pounds)

So there you go. It's not the lightest rig in the world, but it's versatile and comfortable.

So what do you use?
 

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I really hate snakes, so my only consideration for my tent was that it be free of holes, have a solid floor and I don't have to worry about em getting in. I got one, a "4 person" about 3 years ago at Big 5 for $29.99. I've put it up twice (training) and put it back - checking it both time for slithering crawl holes - none - I'm good.

I prefer to sleep in the truck, the tent is just in case I'm on a bike instead.
 

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I have tarps, bivies, and tents. In fact, I have enough tents to start a friggin refugee camp if necessary. Everything from 1 man backpacking set ups to a heavy duty canvass 12+ man setup. I seem to have a knack for wandering across silly stupid good deals on great used tents.

I too am snake averse.
 

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We've done quite a LOT of camping all over the east, and are all about the tent! :D Had campers and RV's as well, but to us a tent has been the most fun and practical. Keeps the bugs off! And more often than not at least one wild animal will pass by at night or even stop to investigate the camp site (racoons, possums, coyotes, spiders the size of your fist, even OWLS have landed right outside the tent!). Plus after a good coat of Camp Dry, the tent provides someplace good to keep gear dry and play cards during passing rain storms.

We've tried about every size tent from using a couple "2 man pup tents" up to an "11 man" monster. But found that for two or three people and a dog we like this one best (it's a "4 man", but they'd have to be MIGHTY friendly! :D) It packs up small, and only weighs a few pounds.
Jeep 7' x 7' Sport Dome Tent: Camping : Walmart.com
View attachment 2649

All that said... Last year we bought our "War Wagon" / BOV and have been doing our camping in the back of it because it's 100% weather proof, and we can just throw in our gear and go. Time to sleep? Spread out the sleeping bags in the back and your all set. TOO EASY.
View attachment 2650
 

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I have a tarp and hammock in my BOB. I also have a tent and sleeping bag. If I had to pick 1, I'd take the tarp in a heartbeat in my area. To me, it weighs less than carrying the tent and fiberglass rods you need to construct the frame. The tarp you can just string up a rope between 2 trees and tie down the corners with some more rope.

With a tent, I like to put a tarp both beneath it (preserve the floor) and over it (incase waterproofing fails). That means I'm carrying well over 3 times the weight if I take a tent over a tarp.
 

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I keep two of those mylar solar blankets in my bag at all times. If push comes to shove I can make a cover out of them and they are visible (rescue situations) and keep the weather off my neck. But I prefer a basic 3 man dome that I picked up at Dicks for $40. Best tent I ever bought.
 

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This could well be my not knowing the "trick to using a tarp properly", but I haven't even carried one in my BOB for years now because when I've been in the woods hunting I've tried setting one up for passing rain storms. No matter what I've done spreading the tarp out over me or under me, within minutes of the rain starting the ground is wet. Little streams and puddles start to form, and even if you HAD dry ground under your tarp, wet stuff starts washing in quickly, or the ground around you is just getting so saturated that the ground under you absorbs the water and is now damp. So the tarp only works for about 5 minutes at best, then either I'm wet, or back up on my feet moving / carrying a mess of a muddy tarp so only my boots are in the mud.

I DO keep a rip proof military parka in my hunting pack and BOB because as long as you never have to stop and sit down or anything the parka is GREAT! Keeps ME, my pack, and weapons all as dry as possible while moving about. If there's ANY chance of needing to stop at all, I'll have a tent with a good waterproof floor.
 
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