There are some pieces of gear that are so absolutely essential for a successful thru hike that people like me stress over them so much that we begin to experience a phenomenon known as “paralysis by analysis,” which is to say we just can’t seem to make up our minds so nothing ever gets done and the gear never gets purchased.
I decided to end my paralysis this very day and commit to a tent for my thru hike. I just hope that the company is still manufacturing these tents by the time I come up with the disposable income required to make the purchase.
When choosing a tent for my upcoming thru hike of the Appalachian Trail there were really only two concerns I had; weight and weather resistance.
Weight is a concern with any piece of gear and while I don’t consider myself an ultra-light hiker I definitely like to keep things as light as humanly possible. The tent I chose comes in at… Weight: 27 oz before seam sealing.
Ok, so here are some of the specs:
- MADE IN AMERICA.
- Rain fly comes down to one inch off the ground.
- Color: Cranberry tent with Pewter floor, or
- Pewter tent with Cranberry floor
- 3500 mm Hydrostatic head 1.1 oz sil-nylon.
- Roomy 1+ person tent.
- Fully double walled tent.
- 3-Season usage.
- 1 large side entry door with 2-way zipper.
- Small vestibule to store your boots.
- Requires seam sealing prior to use.
- Utilizes trekking poles for setup. (optional adjustable aluminum tent poles for those who don’t use 2 trekking poles)
- Reflective tie out cord.
- Velcro tabs for ridge pole.
- Matching stuff sack.
- Made in America
That’s quick overview of this thing and I think it fits in with my simple lifestyle and mantra of ‘less is more.’ I’ve been cultivating a minimalistic lifestyle for many years now, which is why I don’t anticipate any issues when it comes to pack weight. I won’t be carrying a pack stove for one example of how low-maintenance I can be, especially when it comes to food.
Back on point… This tent/shelter/tarp/whatever seems perfect, all reviews have been positive, and the seam sealing option that the company provides is crucial.
The company is Lightheart and the tent is called the Lightheart Solo. The price comes in just under $300 with the seam sealer option and I am happy to spend the cash on a home that I will be living in for 6 months. I plan to spend as little time as possible in the AT shelters because I’m a private person and I have an aversion to mice crawling all over me when I’m trying to sleep. Also, I’m a snorer at the moment but once I lose some weight on the trail that will dissipate.
I hope that helps you to get going on finding the right tent for your adventure. The reason I didn’t focus at all on the hammock option is because it is not an option for me at all. I sleep on my side and I move around a lot during the night so a hammock on the Appalachian Trail would be a living nightmare for me!
Here’s a bit about tent repair from the site… “If you are on a long Thru hike, and your tent needs to be repaired, we can ship a loaner tent to you (for a $200.00 refundable deposit). Once you get the loaner tent, ship your tent to us, we will repair it and then ship it back. Once you receive your tent back, you must then return the loaner within 2 weeks of when your tent was returned to you for a refund (minus the cost of shipping only). If you hold on to the loaner for a longer period of time, you will be charged a rental fee of $15.00/ week. If we are repairing a cuben fiber tent, your loaner tent will be a silnylon tent. Loaner tents are slightly used tents, but will be clean when shipped out.”