Photo credit: Brady Miller
Photo credit: Anthony Wright
The last few seasons I've primarily ran floorless shelters due to their quick set up ability, seasonless capabilities and overall lightweightedness. Since I've started using them, I have certainly learned lessons the hard way. Luckily I have the ability to pass on what I know now to you so you are more comfortable when using your floorless shelter.
Photo credit: Brady Miller
Selecting my stake option is solely dependent on the terrain I choose to occupy. If I know that I won't have to worry about rocks or frozen ground, then I will opt for the ultralight aluminum options. Personally, I've had some issues with these in rocky areas, particularly the head of certain stakes because they can be frail and tend to bend then snap off with any force more than a toe push. I found myself having to carry multiple extras (almost double the allotted amount), which brings me to my not-so-light remedy. For terrain I know will be too harsh for the aluminum stakes, I go with 6" spiral framing nails. Overkill? Probably, but if the ground is frozen or extremely rocky then I know that I can beat these into the ground with a rock and get enough purchase into the earth for whatever Mother Nature has in store. They are no doubt heavy in comparison to the ultralight aluminum versions; however, they give me peace of mind, which makes up for it.
Packing a tarp — mainly in the late season — is beneficial and negligible weight when hunting with another person. One person packs the tipi and the other packs the stove and tarp so weight is evenly distributed. The tarp acts as the rug or even just a dry sleeping area with snow or moist ground. Tyvek is also another waterproof option for a floor print. If weight is a concern, I have a piece of Tyvek that is cut roughly to 36" wide by 78" long, which is large enough for my sleeping pad and weighs ounces. Both also serve the purpose as protection for your sleeping pad from potential punctures and as a clean meat surface when quartering an animal.
I've learned so far that packing a stove in the late season — especially here in Montana — is a game changer. When cold wet conditions show up, I can get it stoked up to help dry clothes or take the chill out of the air. I can also stack damp wood around the stove body, which can put off enough radiant heat to dry the wood out quite a bit. If packing a tarp and a stove together, be sure to cut out a respectable area for the stove. That way you don’t burn through your tarp and have a mess. Taping the stove cut-out edges of the tarp with duct tape will help protect the tarp from ripping with further use.
If you've read some of my previous articles, then you know I'm a fan of 550 cord. In this case, I like to take some cordage and string it through the provided loops up towards the peak (if your shelter has these available). Be sure to do this while the shelter is pitched so it’s not too tight or loose. I prefer not to run then string crossing the doors; that way I'm able to still use the full door and not run into it while entering and exiting the shelter. I like to use this "gear string" for attaching my headlamp for light, hanging socks, gloves or other lighter weight items that may need to be dried.
This is one I haven't had the chance to test yet, but plan to in the upcoming outings. I’m going to place the ultralight emergency foil blanket under my sleeping pad with the reflective surface towards my body, reflecting body heat back up to me instead of transfering into the ground. It may help bump up the R-value of the pad. This blanket can also double as light ground tarp. If you've personally done this, please comment below to let me know your findings!
Let me know what other tips you have come up within the comments below.
Stay safe and hunt hard!