Author Topic: Tent and Southern Tier  (Read 2333 times)

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Offline solsrch

Tent and Southern Tier
« on: April 30, 2012, 08:18:21 pm »
Flying out Friday to start riding the ST with my son on May 6th.  Our intent is to shoot for an average of around 70-80 miles per day and stay in lodging, of any sort, each night.  We had planned to take a tent and two mats as a precaution.  Given the amount of water we need to carry, and the desire to reduce weight as much as possible, we're considering leaving the tent and pads at home.  Any thoughts?  I don't want to be foolhardy but I also don't to carry along anything other than some spare parts and medical stuff that I don't intend/hope to use.

Online Pat Lamb

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 09:19:45 pm »
The western part of the U.S. is kind of sparse.  Unless you've planned your trip and made motel reservations, you might be in for a rude awakening when there's only one small town for 60 miles each way, and everything in it is full.  Ergo, taking camping equipment might be a good idea.

OTOH, by the time you hit central - east Texas, you can probably mail all that stuff home and pick up the pace.

(Reverse if you're riding east to west -- plan to have someone ship camping gear to you in Texas!)


Offline solsrch

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 09:29:39 pm »
We're starting out west, and as you say, that is the part I'm concerned about.  Probably better to take the extra 2-3 pounds per person and not need it than the reverse.  Just hate taking extra ballast on a long trip.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 06:58:13 am »
I think I would chance it without a tent.  The longest stretches without motels had picnic areas with a roof.  I slept in a number of them.  I also slept under a bridge.  Maybe take one of those emergency blanket bivies.

Once you get near Louisiana don't even think about sleeping out without bug protection.  Motels are fairly frequent by then though so you should be OK.

How big/heavy are your sleeping pads?  If they are small and light like the neoair you might consider taking them.  That said my companion on the ST didn't bother with a pad and seemed to do fine, so managing for one night here or there might be doable.  If weight is a the major concern and you can manage some bulk, bubble wrap or one of those car windshield sun shades makes a very light pad.

I started the ST in February and the weather was pretty good.  It would be too hot to suit me in May and June.

Offline solsrch

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 07:20:32 am »
The picinic table would work well.  My main reason to take a tent was to keep anything that crawls or slithers and might seek heat at night away from me.  I think a table could do that just as well as a tent.  I've got a couple medium weight inflatable pads and some light weight (1/4") foam pads, so we'd choose between those.  Just taking the pads might be a reasonable compromise.  Given the time of year, we were planning to leave bags at home, figured we could bundle up in our clothes if it came to this.
Definitely not our primary plan.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 08:40:16 am »
My main reason to take a tent was to keep anything that crawls or slithers and might seek heat at night away from me.
That wouldn't have even registered as a factor for me.  I slept with my bivy zipped wide open or on top of it plenty of nights on my ST.

Offline aggie

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 08:02:19 pm »
There are a couple of spots where the distance between towns and lodging is more than your estimated mileage.  These are Sanford, AZ to Silver city, NM and Sanderson to Comstock/Del Rio, TX.  I had to stop in Langry (between Sanderson and Comstock) and use my tent.  Make sure you take something to eat with you on this stretch.  If you stop in Langtry don't expect to find any food. (Carried a couple of MREs for just this occasion.)

Offline solsrch

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 08:36:29 pm »
The stretch going into Silver City looks the worst, given the climbing required when going east.  The maps make it all look easy but a run from Sanderson to Comstock looks doable from here (given here is a dining room).  Thanks for the food comment too.  We're planning on taking the guts of 6 MREs between the two of us, specifically to get through those stretch days. 

As far as visitors at night, I may just be overly sensitive from walking around the desert/shooting when I was younger.  We were pretty far off the beaten path, but I ran into things I wouldn't want to wake up next to.  Probably not an issue near major roadways.

Offline aggie

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 10:21:37 pm »
Two things really slowed me down going into Langtry.  The first is most of the roads are chipseal and in places it looked like half inch size gravel.  The other was a strong head wind.  The two made for a long day.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 05:43:23 pm »
You need a tent or tarp if you camp. There's no getting around that. You need the insulation pads and some kind of shelter. I have done the ST a number of times in hot summer and cold cold winter with only a tarp for shelter. It works just fine. Unless you can get other shelter, don't even think about going cross country without shelter and pads. I would say it is not doable, or if it is, not in winter, and it would be very uncomfortable in summer with much rain.

Offline ezdoesit

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 07:28:11 pm »
+1 what Westinghouse said.
I would never leave with out a shelter going anywhere for a Long distance.
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tent and Southern Tier
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 07:39:24 am »
Personally I'd advise not getting talked into carrying a lot of extra stuff.  Why do a credit card tour and then load yourself down any way?  I figure the point of going on a credit card tour is to avoid having to carry much camping stuff.  Given that, I would figure that the minimum to get by in an unplanned overnight camp is all that is required.  Since the young man that rode with me for much of the southern tier didn't bring a sleeping pad even though he camped much of the time (and never complained and that was in February), I'd say skip the pad unless maybe you have very light ones.

The places I recall on the route where you will have the longest distances between motels are in the desert and had picnic areas with a roof or some other place to seek shelter here and there.  In Texas you can get by with camping pretty much anywhere.  So a picnic area, or a bridge overpass can provide some shelter in a pinch.  Also, worst case in the desert it is pretty easy to hitch a ride in an emergency, so being stuck out because of a breakdown or injury are very unlikely.