Tent - free standing or not?

mad85

Posted: Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 11:02

Hey all, I heard a lot of conflicting information. Some say that you need a free standing tent since the pitching locations can be a bit rocky while others say that a tunnel-style tent would be fine. I am doing the gr20 in around 10 days so I need the lightest options, and it is far easier to find a lightweight (around 1 kg) tunnel style tent than a freestanding one. They are also much cheaper.



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 12:36

I have seen all types of tents used on the GR20.
Knowing the terrain I fix lengths of para cord to each guying point to allow for simply rolling up a stone to each guying point when the pegs won't go in....works fine....no knots required! To be honest these are still attached to my tent guying points. :-)

--

Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 13:27

I used a free-standing tent the first time I was on the GR20 and it was fine. I could get it to fit in tight spaces quite easily. I used a non-free-standing tent last time, and it was pretty awkward to pitch in tight spaces. The only benefit was that it was lighter than my free-standing tent. So, it might be a case of - do you want to carry less weight - or pitch more easily?



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 15:50

I agree with GRRR20. A free-standing tent is a blessing especially if there is no wind (but it's heavier). A tunnel-type is definitely lighter but then you'll have to struggle with pegs and cords and the unforgiving hard soil.

--Michele



rosbif_rebuffat

Posted: Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 20:53

I'm glad I took a free standing tent last summer, however other walker's with more traditional tents seemed to get by ok.
Having said that we had mostly fine weather, I wouldn't like to be caught in a downpour messing about anchoring down with rocks.

There was only one campsite that I can remember with ground that took a peg, Refuge Prati. There may be others that I didn't stay at. Apart from that, as the lads mentioned, your on rock all the way



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Apr 1, 2016, 7:58

Hello,
Without doubt there are several challenging 'overnights' on the GR20 for pitching a tent.
At many stages it depends on what is available at your time of arrival. Basically what is left for you when you arrive and nowadays the tent carrying folks are further squeezed for pitches by the erected tents for hire from the refuge guardians.
Reasonable at d'Ortu di u Piobbu.
Carozzu area is very difficult for traditional tents. On one occasion I pitched my tent over a discarded wooden pallet and anchored the guys to stones.
First time at Haut Ascu it was a struggle to get anchors but on both subsequent times there I pitched the tent further uphill from the services....not far from the chalets which can be seen behind the pines.
At both Tighettu and Vallone I needed my wrap around cords/boulders.
At col Vergio no problems inside the fenced area.
Didn't find a problem at Manganu or at Petra Piana where I have had a good pitch and a poorer one.
At l'Onda you are inside a fenced area with good grass....in June.
Never camped at Vizzavona but the camping there looks challenging.
Capanelle is poor for campers...the last time there in 2013 I stayed in the renovated Renosu refuge.
I have always stayed at col di Verde....good showers and reasonable for tent pitching. Uphill from there Prati has appeared to be rather windswept, has been both a breakfast or late lunch stop depending on what way I am travelling, although it does look have a fine outlook,
Both Usciolu and Asinau are difficult for late arriving tent pitchers.
Paliri is one of my favourite camping places. The outlook is very fine and just around the corner from here is one of the real highlights of the GR20...the towering Punta di l'Anima.
At the start and finish of the route both Calinzana and Conca are good camping sites.

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Apr 1, 2016, 8:33

Just to complement what Roger has just said I'll add that the Vizzavona campsite is hard as rock for pegs and as for Capannelle, the best place to pitch a tent is near refuge Usciolu where there is a large and grassy area.

--Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Apr 1, 2016, 21:24

People keep making odd choices at Capanelle. They mostly pile into the gite and complain how busy it is, or camp on the hard ground nearby and complain about that. For the sake of 5 minutes walking they could be at the nearby Renosu gite, which is always much quieter, or camping on their lovely, comfortable grass.



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 8:33

Hello,
GRRR20...sounds as if Renosu have continued the upgrading of the ski building area which I believe is still used as a ski place in winter. When I was there in 2013 for a night the downstairs area had room for a load of 'goodish quality' ski gear that I assume was for hire in the snow season.
I found the place to be welcoming and I even had a drying area for my camping kit and clothing which had taken a beating during the heavy rain on the stage from Col di Verde to Capanelle.
I stayed that night in the Renosu hostel in the downstairs area where there is a dormitory and wash/shower room. Upstairs has a wood burning stove with a rail around and where clothing could be dried as well as all the comforts of a good grade hostel....there were four of us staying there at the time and as you know the Capanelle area was overburdened with GR20 folks.
I did also check out the refuge which to me is like a better quality Scottish bothy......when I came this way from the North in 2007 the roof was partly off and it did look more that a bit neglected....but now a useful extra place to stay.

--

Gaffr



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 13:50

Hi folks.
I can add a bit on the Renosu refuge from my stay there in August 2013 when we had the camping area to ourselves. It was a bit scruffy but the showers were hot.
There was a bunk room downstairs but it was quite basic. Just a plain room with bunk beds in it.
Upstairs there is a decent bar and restaurant, where we had an excellent meal (2 fresh trout each) and the host was convivial. He passed around a bottle of the local spirits afterwards and plonked what was left on the table for us to finish. Camping plus 3 course meal was 20 Euros.
See: https://tips4travellers.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/day-7-vizzavona-to-refu...
As with all the refuges, they change regularly, so the same welcome can't be guaranteed this year.
The Cappanelle refuge seemed to be absolutely stuffed with big groups in comparison.
The campsite at Vizzavona was reasonable but the surface is rock hard. There are stones all over the place for guy ropes. Trying to peg out a tunnel tent here might be a problem unless you had some six inch nails with you...
Camping at Prati is great if it's calm weather with lovely flat and springy turf.

--

Alan



mad85

Posted: Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 16:13

wow, thanks for all the responses! Since I will be doing it alone, weight is a real issue... but I also dont want to risk not being able to camp. There is also the money issue. The lightest free standing tent I could find is the MSR Freelite. The 2 person version (more space for my kit or if the wife will want to join me in a trek) weighs around 1.1kgs but it would cost me more than 400eur, which is more that i wanted to spend. There are also chinese tents by NatureHIke. A 2 person tent weights around 1.5kg and costs less than 100eur ... not sure how reliable they are though



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 16:31

Mad 85
Weight is fairly critical so don't forget to take a down sleeping bag instead of a synthetic one. The cheaper bags are still pretty good and the weight saving & warmth are great. All the refuges have pop-up tents for rent, which is always an option but I'm not sure I would like to rely on the availability of those. A friend of mine did most of the GR20 in a bivvy bag but I much prefer a tent myself. I'm sure a budget tent will be fine.

--

Alan



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 18:00

I forgot to say that there's no shortage of food you can buy en-route: http://corsica.forhikers.com/forum/p/15568 so you don't need to carry much food.

--

Alan



mad85

Posted: Tue, Apr 5, 2016, 15:31

i agree, staying in a bivy bag for around 10 days is not a good idea. I know about the tents you can hiring, but I would like to keep those as a reserve. I am currently looking for good tent options. Most of them are semi-freestanding ones, like the Rei Dash 2. The one I really like is the MSR Freelite 2 but that's 400+eur :'(



Bruce the Kiwi

Posted: Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 2:57

I am going optimistically in June with, for the first time, an American made Big Sky Wisp 1 person tent that weighs in at 567g.
This is held up by a hiking pole and I hope to secure it with a mixture of pegs and the usual tying to plants and rocks.
My theory is that I will be camped by a refuge and if a storm destroys my tent I can always take cover :-)

--

Kiwi Bruce
"Feeling LOW?
Go on mountains.”
― Prajakta Mhadnak



mad85

Posted: Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 7:03

wow, 567g is a tiny amount of weight - is it double layered? In the end I am going for a REI Dash 2, its a lightweight semi-freestanding (still needs a few guylines to set up properly) tent - but even this is around double the weight of your tent.



Bruce the Kiwi

Posted: Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 7:36

Here is the link

http://bigskyproducts.com/big-sky-wisp-1p-tents.aspx

I got the SuprSil fabric - with Let-it-Por fabric it gets down to just over 300g - but at US$600 this is too costly for me.

This is single skin so I will have to see how it goes with condensation.

--

Kiwi Bruce
"Feeling LOW?
Go on mountains.”
― Prajakta Mhadnak



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 19:44

I have to say I prefer the look of the REI dash 2 tent. Weight is important but not at the expense of enjoying the route. Have fun guys!

--

Alan



spacecadet

Posted: Tue, May 3, 2016, 10:27

Heya,

i am just wondering how you guys handled the storms and freestanding tents?
If i understood correctly especially in june the thunderstorms are quite early. So if i reach the refuge i pitch up my nice freestanding tent on one of the rare spots with almost no possibility to nail it to the ground. Then the thunderstorm rolls in and i'm seeking shelter in the refuge - meanwhile my empty tent is getting blown away with my bag and stuff?

Seems a bit silly, but thats a serious question. I've been looking for some hard soil tent pegs but they seem to be very heavy. I know that my tent is stormproof enough, but without pegs ?!

Whats best practice here?

Thanks and sorry for the almost OT.

spacecadet



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, May 3, 2016, 12:37

Luckily I never found myself in such a spot. I heard of tents blown away and/or being ripped off (especially in the PietraPiana campsite). All tents are built to withstand winds only to certain point. When pitching a freestanding tent you need to secure it to the ground with anything available (cords and rocks). But I guess there is really nothing one can do against strong and persistent winds. When such situation is expected it's best to strike the tent and seek shelter inside the hut before the situation gets worse.

--Michele



spacecadet

Posted: Wed, May 4, 2016, 8:01

Thank you for your reply. I think i'll buy an extra set of pegs and ropes then just to be sure :)



rosbif_rebuffat

Posted: Wed, May 4, 2016, 11:57

Hi Spacecadet, for what it's worth I used the groundhog pegs that came with my MSR Hubba NX, and they were more than up to the job. I had a spare peg in my kit that I didn't even need to use, even after bashing the same pegs into the ground with lumps of granite for 2 weeks, they stood up to it.

I have just this morning decided to have another go at the GR20 next month from May 28th-June 11th, and will use the same tent set up again with 1 spare peg.

Please note, reading through above posts there seems to be some confusion over the definition of a free standing tent. I consider my Hubba NX to be free standing (and is labelled as such) because it stands up when all the poles are inserted, and NOT because it doesnt require any pegs. All free standing tents would still require anchoring down at the corners, to prevent them from just blowing away randomly.



spacecadet

Posted: Thu, May 5, 2016, 20:53

Hey Ho Rosbif_rebuffat,

i'll be there from the 30th May to finish (16th latest) going south to north ;) I'll keep an eye open for an hubba ;)

Of course a freestanding tent shoult be nailed to the ground. I consider a freestanding tent a tent which doesn't necessarily need lines, like domes or geodesics. I was more or less wondering what to do during a thunderstorm. Leaving the tent for the refuge is probably a good idea, but an empty tent is more likely to fly away. The tunnel shaped tents need proper lines to stand and as far as i know they're, set up properly, a little more storm proof but i never had one myself.