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#40653 - 10/14/14 11:05 PM Tarp Camping On Whitney
NV-1 Offline


Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 2
Loc: nevada
MY troop and I are planning to Backpack from Onion Valley to Whitney Portal on a 7 day trip in late july. I am an avid ultra light backpacker and am look to know how a 5x7 tarp will do on the trail as a shelter. Also I would like to know the avg. temps for this time of year too. I will be using an 45 li pack. will this be enough?

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#40665 - 10/15/14 08:04 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Trenton
Also I would like to know the avg. temps for this time of year too.


Here is some info from the CA Dept of Water Resources/Snow Surveys station @ 10150' located at Cottonwood lakes:

2014
2013
2012

As you can see dipping down into the 30s isn't uncommon. Throw a little wind & rain in there and it could be a chilly night.

This year, Whitney got some snow during the first week of August:
Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#40666 - 10/15/14 08:05 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Have fun with the skeeters.

There is always the possibility of high winds and rain in the Sierra. You had best be a highly skilled ultralight backpacker, if you run into these conditions.

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#40668 - 10/15/14 08:19 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I went up Whitney Memorial Day 2013 with a shaped tarp (Golite Shangri-La) that can be set with trekking poles. Worked fine for me, was too early for mosquitoes. It all depends on how taut a pitch you can get with your gear since the winds can be high (and assume no trees for pitching). I was pre-mosquito season...you may not be. The last two years, toward the end of July, I encountered very few mosquitoes at altitude, but they tend to ignore me anyway.

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#40671 - 10/15/14 09:41 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
The last two years are not normal. Most years there will be skeeters in to August. Would think from Kearsarge Lakes to Forester Pass could be really bad, if we have a wet winter.

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#40672 - 10/15/14 10:02 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: wbtravis]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
And here I thought drought was the new normal.

wink

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#40683 - 10/16/14 09:04 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
4 years ago, the Boy Scout monument on Mt. Baden-Powell was covered with snow, 5 years ago the 20' snag next to it was covered. Based on those winters, I could say that was the new normal. After each of those winters, the skeeter season was long in the Sierra.

Weather patterns come and go.

New normal my...;-)

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#40995 - 11/15/14 05:22 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
WB, I guess you didn't see Akichow's wink smiley wink . I think what she meant is that the more years of drought we experience, the more it seems "normal." This one we're in now is on the verge of being historically rare, but long droughts in the western US are nothing new.

From NOAA Paleoclimatology:
The paleoclimatic record also indicates that droughts of a much greater duration than any in 20th century have occurred in parts of North American as recently as 500 years ago. These data indicate that we should be aware of the possibility of such droughts occurring in the future as well.

The climate change models tend to diverge on this one, as the CO2 levels rise, we may get more rain from warmer oceans just as likely as more drought. What's for sure is we'll have more thermal energy in our atmosphere and oceans, so extremes in either direction are more likely. The pendulum will probably swing like it does now, but a little further in both directions from longer droughts to more severe floods.

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#40996 - 11/16/14 07:40 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Trenton
MY troop and I are planning to Backpack from Onion Valley to Whitney Portal on a 7 day trip in late july. I am an avid ultra light backpacker and am look to know how a 5x7 tarp will do on the trail as a shelter. Also I would like to know the avg. temps for this time of year too. I will be using an 45 li pack. will this be enough?

Just asking these questions implies that you need to gain more experience with ultralight backpacking before taking it up to the High Sierra for 7 days. Think about developing your skills and refining your gear on more forgiving terrain with less consequence, but with challenging weather, and you'll figure this out for yourself. Your 45L pack size depends on the whole of your gear, so there's no way for people on a forum to help with that. I'd guess that 45L is a bit small and you probably can't fit a bear canister.

Stakes will be difficult in many places and you'll need to rely on tying off to rocks. Good chance you'll still get wet from wind-blown rain under a 5x7 tarp so you should have a second level of protection like a light bivy. By the time you add that up, you might consider a tarptent with a real floor and netting to keep the bugs out.

Bottom line, it seems that you might be pushing things a bit too far. There's a good chance you'll squeak through in late July, but you need to be prepared for some nasty weather such as monsoonal rains. You cant' rely on forecasts over a 7-day trip into the high country.

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#40997 - 11/16/14 09:23 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
Rico Offline


Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 6
Loc: 805
Apologies for the cynicism, but why would an avid ultra-lighter be inquiring about the adequacy of a cheap Walmart tent for a week-long Whitney trek just a few days ago? And whether that tent should be guyed-out? Super useful information provided by Zoners in reply to this and the other post, but it strikes me as odd. Just sayin'

Carry on.

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#41000 - 11/16/14 12:57 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: NV-1]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
It looks like the original poster may be accustomed to packing light and quick, so his own shelter in the past has been just the 5x7 tarp. That works for one person making short trips where the weather forecast can be checked just before leaving. For one person going light, there are options if weather gets bad -- hiking out, heading someplace with more shelter, etc.

But on this trip, it looks like a "troop" is going, so I am guessing a group of scouts. ...and they are taking 7 days for a ~40-mile trip. Slow and steady.

In this situation, Trenton should probably skip the ultra-light mode. Since the troop is moving so slowly, a better and heavier tent would be welcome in case of bad weather. If Trenton has an ultralight bag, using the tent adds warmth, so what was ok under a tarp or under the stars, will probably work on chilly nights inside an enclosed tent.

As for mosquitoes, he didn't ask, but I'll add this: Just take along an ounce or two of full-concentration deet. Using it sparingly, even if the bugs are bad, it works. For overnight, all you need is to apply a little to the face and maybe hands, since those are the only exposed parts. That works, even sleeping out in the open ...which is what I always do except in foul weather.

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#41003 - 11/16/14 07:23 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 427
Loc: Reno, NV
Just take along an ounce or two of full-concentration deet. Using it sparingly, even if the bugs are bad, it works.

Where can I get full-concentrate deet?

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#41004 - 11/16/14 08:12 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: RenoFrank]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Hello. So, according to a talk I recently heard by a vector borne disease scientist at the California Department of Public Health:

1. Full strength DEET is unnecessary. Regular DEET is fine.

2. Oil of lemon of eucalyptus is also an effective repellent.

If folks bring DEET, the rangers do not recommend that you put it in your BearVault. It destroys plastics, polycarbonate, etc.

Here are some links.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/health.htm

http://westnile.ca.gov/wnv_faqs_basics.php (focused on West Nile)

http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html (same)


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#41005 - 11/16/14 11:00 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Akichow]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Seems like a bit of a drift to focus on skeeters for a guy trying to find the right shelter and pack, but I'll bite. What's "regular" DEET? Is it better to put on a lot of 87 Octane or a little less of 92 Octane? I think its more important to avoid skin contact and spray it on clothes, hats, and bandanas and cover up as much as possible. A 1 oz head net is a sanity saver.

What the heck is your Yosemite link talking about, Akichow, "oil of lemon of eucalyptus?" Is that lemon or eucalyptus? I might be confused, but a determined Sierra mosquito won't really care, it will bite through any fruit or vegetable offered, in my experience anyway.


Edited by SierraNevada (11/16/14 11:03 PM)

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#41007 - 11/17/14 02:27 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: SierraNevada]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
It's a naturally derived insect repellent although you don't want to get in your eyes or ingest it, and like DEET based repellant, you're supposed to wash it off your skin once you get inside. It's also in Vicks vaporub, by the way. Like I said, I heard about it from a public health professional who works with vectorborne diseases. If you Google it, you'll see it's identified by the CDC, the California Department of Public health, and the National Park Service, and others, as effective deterrent. It's the ingredient that's in REPEL brand repellant.

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#41009 - 11/17/14 07:43 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Akichow]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Hey, Akichow, thanks for the tip, this formula looks like it might actually work. We tried their other Natural Repel version by the same company and I think it attracted mosquitoes. Repel brand also makes a good 100% DEET spray, which is what we use lightly on clothes, and exposed legs or arms. This formula might hit the sweet spot in between. Consumer Research compiles reviews and they seem to be positive, except for the strong smell. Comparable in effectiveness to 25% DEET, apparently.

Not sure how natural the natural ingredient is p-menthane 3,8 diol - don't use on kids under 3, only apply twice a day, and don't get it in your eyes. But it's got to be safer than DEET. I'm surprised my wife hasn't found this already. I see lemons and eucalyptus in my future.

There's some (1.2%) eucalyptus oil in Vicks vapor rub, but the main ingredient is camphor, which is also found in Tiger balm and other muscle analgesics. This p-menthane 3,8 diol in Repel is a different chemical. I'm still unsure about the combined term "lemon eucalyptus." I think its a specific fruit of a specific type of eucalyptus tree. I don't think there's any lemon in this product, but it might be a lemon if it doesn't work.



Edited by SierraNevada (11/17/14 07:51 AM)

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#41010 - 11/17/14 08:37 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

I guess you missed my :-).

As for repellent...the only thing I have found that is effective is DEET.

I use 100% because of lasts longer. I prefer to use nothing and will put up with a few bites in the locals at the start of the skeeter season but in the Sierra...if you ain't got it God help you.

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#41011 - 11/17/14 09:27 AM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: RenoFrank]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7554
Loc: Fresno, CA
(Apologies to the OP about the thread hijack.)
Originally Posted By: RenoFrank
Just take along an ounce or two of full-concentration deet. Using it sparingly, even if the bugs are bad, it works.

Where can I get full-concentrate deet?

Frank, REI has it. I have an older tube, like the "Coleman Pen Spray" in the REI page, but it contains nearly 100% DEET. I like the high concentration because it is less total weight.

To use it sparingly, I just spray one pulse on my hand, then rub the hand where I need the protection.

DEET is really strong stuff. It dissolves paint and labels from cameras, and makes hiking pole handles sticky. So wash the hands after using it!

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#41014 - 11/17/14 05:42 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
The pump spray is nice because you can mist your clothes, legs, arms, hat and not get it on your hands at all. With a head net on, you don't need repellant on your neck or face either.

The OP should consider the lack of bug protection with regard to tarp camping, so I guess its not all that far off topic.

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#41015 - 11/17/14 05:45 PM Re: Tarp Camping On Whitney [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

I guess you missed my :-).

WB, you're right, it didn't come across as an emoticon when you typed:

New normal my...;-)

It came across as "New normal my a$$"

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