Camper? Tent? Bivy? All three?

bdg848

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May 6, 2019
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108
How many shelter types do you have and how much do you actually use any particular one? I'm trying to narrow down exactly what kind of shelter I should invest in. If I had pack animals, I would get a canvas wall tent and stay really comfortable back in there a few miles. Unfortunately, I can only take what I can carry on my back or where I can get my vehicle. I can easily set up my vehicle for sleeping in at the trail head and leaning towards just using that method over a wall tent or similar shelter because I can't get a wall tent in much further than my vehicle anyway so whats the point of spending the extra $1800. The extra space of a wall tent would be awesome but is it worth it if you are near your vehicle anyway?

I liked the idea of a tipi and lightweight stove for cold weather and packing in on foot but with getting up several times to keep the fire going, at what point are you better off going with a traditional 4 season tent even if it's a bit heavier? Say you don't bring the stove in conjunction with the tipi, is the 4 season tent (double wall type) warmer then? Pros or Cons? I would use the tent mostly in the fall but a little in the spring too. Is a 4 season tent overkill and way heavier to pack in than what you need in the spring? A tipi with or without stove may be a better all around choice?

Lastly, for those who use a bivy, do you go out planning on only using a bivy to be ultra light weight or you use it in conjunction with a base camp and have the bivy in case you find the game you're after and don't want to leave them?
 

Athame

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Apr 30, 2019
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Alaska
Well, ..... here's a couple pics of two bivouacs and a view from inside my Feathered Friends 10 degree bag
from two weeks ago. Also, here's where I was basing myself out of while I was gone for 8 days.

Having a tarp, sleeping pad and a bag in your pack will give you lot's of options you just have
to be willing. Bear in mind that tarp bivouacs are kind of Spartan and if you're good with that they
can be pretty cool, no pun intended.
 

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Fatcamp

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Sleeping in a vehicle is in no way as comfortable as a decent tent.

We have a Cabela's Guide Series some with a vestibule, a Kodiak canvas with a vestibule, and a lightweight 3 person. All have their place. We sleep in our 4runner when moving quick as well.

By far the Kodiak is the most comfortable and most times worth the effort.
 

East2WestHunts

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Mar 31, 2020
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183
Location
Michigan
I think you are going to get lots of different answers here because of personal preference.


I’ve done both in regards to using a wall tent where my truck is and also using a 3 season tent where my truck is. In my opinion, is it worth having the wall tent by the truck?
Yes! The room, temp in your tent, feeling of safety and the enjoyment with the group is great. We set up 2-3 sometimes and have 2 for sleeping quarters and 1 as a food tent where we end up camping and it becomes like an outfitter camp for us.

So why would I then use a 4 season tent if I liked using a wall tent?

A: well, I have had the wall tent when I know I have a base camp and I really plan on staying there the whole time. I will still have my 4 season tent in my truck and if I need it, I’ll leave base camp and spike out elsewhere. This is when I have a group of 4-6 of us hunting out of the same camp daily.

If as a group, we are moving camp daily, starting out from the truck, we will have our tents pitched, hunt for the day and then there will be a different game plan the next day, which could include leaving the trucks there and backpacking deeper where we saw or feel would be better for hunting. This is purely to be lighter al together and bot worrying about the wall tent camp being up or having to be taken down. In this scenario, nobody would be left back at that camp which would mean, it’s a pain to take the other camp down, loss of time and stuff could get stolen if we are all gone for days. Just not worth it then.


Having a Bivy is nice if you are setting up camp deep in the backcountry and then you see an animal bed down late and you want to get closer for the morning. You can head that way, get close to what you feel would be a good spot to find the animals in the morning and just toss your bivy out and get some rest. In the AM, you don’t have to worry about hiking in far and boogering up the area and potentially spooking the animals you left to bed at night, in the case they are right there in the morning again.


The different types of camping is all preference and you can use them all. I use all 3 but I don’t have a camper. I have tossed the idea around but it’s a lot of work to have the camper and extra expense + weight that I’m personally bot willing to take on but I know many do and love it.
 

FlyGuy

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Aug 13, 2016
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The Woodlands, TX
I hate sleeping in my truck, but I’ve had to do it several times. My truck is not “set up” for sleeping in tho. If I had a camper shell where I could stretch out I think I would use that fairly often. That would be perfect for those evenings when you are are relocating to a new area and arrive well after dark, or if you will only be in that spot for one night. Seems like I end up sleeping in the drivers seat at least once on each hunt for me reason or another but I never sleep well in that position. So, My next vehicle will be better set up for light camping in higher comfort.

Otherwise, if I’ll be camped there at a vehicle accessible location for extended periods, or even if only for a night but I arrive with enough daylight left to do so, I will set up a basecamp.

I like the “idea” of wall tent, but if you are solo then I personally don’t think it is worth the hassle. Those things are HEAVY. They take up a ton of space, and can take a mountain of time and effort to get pitched - especially on your own.

So, Basecamp for me (and up to one partner) is a Kifaru Tut. I have the stove as well but if I’m near the truck then I just use a little buddy heater to knock the chill off. I’ve never packed the Tut in. I think that any of the tipi style tarps would do you better than a heavy canvas tent. Much lighter weight, fast to pitch even with one person, and take up far less room in your vehicle.

If We are packing in for a long stretch, then I use my kifaru supertarp as my primary shelter. Gives me plenty of room for me and gear. I started using a OR bivy sack inside it to house my sleeping pad, bag and pillow.

And if I want to spike out for 1 - 3 nights away from that main camp I will just pop open the it valves on my sleeping pad and pillow, and roll up that entire bedroll complete intact as it lays. Then stuff it all into one of those Kifaru sacks with the draw strings on it. The bivy is waterproof but I will also pitch my Kifaru sheep tarp over it to give me a little more protection and cover my gear/pack as well. I keep the sheep tarp with me almost 100% of the time when hunting so this spike camp system is sort of built into my system.

Good luck. You will get lots of opinions but this is the fun part.




You can’t cheat the mountain
 

Wrench

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Aug 23, 2018
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WA
I drag my travel trailer as a base. If I'm within 10ish miles of it I ride a tw200 to the launch point. If its more, I take my truck and my truck has a tent in it. I'm rarely over 2 hours from my rig if I hustle and I fear busting myself due to scent control more than I do pushing crutters aside while I double time out in the dark.

When it's a non motorized area and things are more than a couple of hours I take a mega light and a bag which gives me space to fire my stove and capture the heat.

One has to consider the ramifications of staying close with changing winds and thermals.....things are never a constant.
 

Yooper

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Jul 18, 2016
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Upper Michigan
I love the idea of being mobile and somewhat flexible. I've stayed in a wall tent elk hunting and while it was comfortable as all hell, there weren't many animals around that particular area and we ended up staying because nobody wanted to tear down and relocate that tent.

Now I like to carry a tipi and stove combo for truck camping. But as someone mentioned above I'll ditch the stove for a buddy heater if close to truck. Easy to set up/take down and be more mobile.

The one thing I want to do for next year is add a small, ultralight tent to the mix. While the tipi isn't very heavy, it takes up more room and is a bit heavier than I'd like for longer bc hunts. I think having the option of the tipi/stove and a true UL setup will be a great combo for my style of hunting.
 

Newtosavage

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Sep 20, 2018
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In someone's favorite spot
10x10 Kodiak Canvas tent, and a 1-person backpacking tent are the two shelters I take out West each year. I mostly hunt from the Canvas tent, either straight hiking from camp, or driving a short distance to a spot and hiking in for the day. A few times (not as often as I thought) I will overnight a couple miles in, if the weather allows and I want to save myself from some hiking in the evening or the following morning.

But I mostly hunt within 2 miles of the truck because frankly, I am always concerned about getting the meat back to the truck.

The Kodiak canvas tent is a great option. I've moved it as many as 3 times on a 7-day hunt. It only takes me about 30-45 minutes to pack it all up to the point I can drive down the highway if need be, then another 30 min or so to set it back up again.
 

Voyageur

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Feb 12, 2020
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For two or three years I pulled a 7X14 enclosed trailer that was insulated, wired, and modified for sleeping (queen size bed). I got tired of the hassle of pulling the trailer and last February sold the trailer and bought a fiberglass shell for my truck. I also installed a BedRug bed mat. So far I like this set up much better as it's much simpler.
For tents I've got several ranging from a light weight backpacking tent all the way up to a canvas wall tent.
For me to only time it really makes sense to use the tipi is when I also use the stove.
As @East2WestHunts said, there will be lots of personal preferences in these responses, mine being one of them.
 

Jbehredt

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Mar 4, 2017
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Colorado
I’ve got a topper and bedrug on the pickup for pulling in to late to hike in. A seek outside Redcliffe with a stove for cold basecamps. Mobile hunting is done with a seek outside Silvertip. Anything outside of those three options usually requires a room key.
 

j33

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Jun 11, 2020
Messages
91
Location
Calgary, AB
I ran a truck camperette over the last year, nice to sleep at basecamp but a pain to load/unload at home so sold that. Buying an enclosed for my side by side and camping with kids, so this will be my luxurious basecamp option.

As mentioned I think the easiest base camp luxury is putting a fiberglass topper on a truck. Room for storage and easily set up a bed in there for a night, my hunting partner rocked this Elk hunting.

Borah Bivy is 6oz and a tarp is about 6-8oz so that's the lightest combo at 12-14oz
Seek Outside Silex floorless shelter is 17oz... early season with bugs may be an issues but I think is the best option for bad weather and room for stuff
 

TheGDog

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Jun 12, 2020
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OC, CA
Ugh... thinking about the main area I go into. I don't know HOW you guys do the bivvy only thing. Out there buncha big ol' ants come out at night. Not to mention the flying insects which don't go to bed. Now, those bivvy's that have a pole and hold a mesh cloth zippered closing wall up and away from your face, those maybe. I LOVE all the room inside my MSR Hubba 2! And I can fit all my sh*t inside!
 

Wmmichael20

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May 9, 2019
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I would think a roof top ten setup on either a pickup topper or on a ladder rack over a truck bed with a locking storage drawer set would be killer for truck camping and a small tunnel style tent for spiking out wold have you covered,and no trailer to tow or to worry about maintaining.
 

swampthing

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Mar 9, 2019
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prince george british columbia
Its good to have lots of options! I have 5 tents and a truck camper as well. You mentioned getting up to stoke the stove in a small tipi tent. My experience with those is you only use them twice a day. Morning to get the frost off and evening to warm up at bedtime. My backpack tents use a candle lantern for heat. My cabelas guide tent rolls a mr buddy for takin the edge off. The wall tent of course has the luxury of the wood stove!
 

Nathan K

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Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
11
Sleeping in a vehicle is in no way as comfortable as a decent tent.

We have a Cabela's Guide Series some with a vestibule, a Kodiak canvas with a vestibule, and a lightweight 3 person. All have their place. We sleep in our 4runner when moving quick as well.

By far the Kodiak is the most comfortable and most times worth the effort.
Kodia
Sleeping in a vehicle is in no way as comfortable as a decent tent.

We have a Cabela's Guide Series some with a vestibule, a Kodiak canvas with a vestibule, and a lightweight 3 person. All have their place. We sleep in our 4runner when moving quick as well.

By far the Kodiak is the most comfortable and most times worth the effort.
Kodiak is the best, just spent 8 days in one in Wyoming
 

rbljack

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Dec 5, 2014
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812
Location
Snyder Texas
So many options here. For a quick set up next to the truck ive considered buying one of those canvas cutter bivys to set out next to the truck. BUT...if I had a pickup with topper, I think a sleep system in the back of the truck would be ideal for a mobile set up. For a base camp set up, I have the Alaskan Guide tent (8 person with deluxe vestibule). BUT...to be honest, its not something id want to set up and take down multiple times in a hunt. So...if we camp in one location for 5 to 7 days...that's the choice if we can drive to the spot. For quicker mobility, my option is the Kifaru sawtooth with stove or Mr Buddy heater at basecamp. Having a 10x10 easy up is nice for extra space at a base camp for, cooking area. Moving to backcountry hunts, ive used the Supertarp and have an E-vent bivy that goes inside to house the bag and mat. Like was mentioned above, the supertarp and my stove can stay at a spike camp location, and I can bivy even further in for an overnighter by rolling up the bag and mat inside the bivy and take off. With the lightweight stoves, you wont get much sleep trying to keep one going overnight. Its more of a constant feeding every 10 to 20 minutes to keep the heat going (in the smaller stoves at least).

Now all that said, I just upgraded to a mega tarp so I have more room when the wife joins me. I mention that for an important reason.....what you will need depends on the type of hunting and who/ how many plan to join you. SO many options, but hope this info helps. Roads tend to be "not so good" during hunting seasons, so towing trailers can present additional issues depending on the road system and national forest.

For a trailer option....the Jumping Jack folding tent trailers that can carry an ATV on top look pretty slick! But they are pricey too.
 

FlyGuy

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Aug 13, 2016
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The Woodlands, TX
Good point. Those jumping jack trailers are pretty neat. Basically a small canvas wall tent that goes up in a couple of minutes; and you can still haul your ATV around.

Downsides, to me, would be worrying about fuel/oil leaks from the ATV dripping onto the living quarters. And you definitely have to know the roads where you are going before you get there. The area we were in a few weeks ago had signs saying “no trailers beyond this point” in several areas and It was a 3 hour loop to come back in from the other direction. Not a killer, but you would really want to know all that ahead of time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like “no trailers allowed” indicated on a MV use map(?).

As far as trailers go, I’ve always been really interested in those small overlanding camper trailers. The ones that are all jacked up and gnarly looking with high clearance rear ends, big tires, roof racks, pull out kitchens and tarp awning extensions. I could look at images of those damn things all day like I was a kid staring at the Sears catalog before Christmas (showing my age there with that one!). I don’t know why they appeal to me so much, but I’d love to try one for a year or so.




You can’t cheat the mountain
 
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