GoLite Poncho Tarp

Two of my favorite places to hike are along the Appalachian Trail (AT), and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). The thing is, both of these places are literally lined with “shelters” (3 sided buildings, with a roof and a wood floor). These shelters come in various sizes and shapes, and each one will accommodate a different/certain number of people. These shelters make great alternatives to setting up a tent, tarp or a hammock, especially to those exhausted hikers that have hiked all day long and it is now after dark. However, they can also have their downfalls… such as dealing with the other people (strangers) and their habits as well as sleeping next to them while they suck the tin from the roof! As well, mice love to scurry across hikers faces as they lay there, helplessly asleep. Among other things…

(Really, they are not too bad though…some are actually quite nice.)

For the most part, along the AT, hikers have the option of showing up at a shelter and making a decision right then and there whether or not they want to sleep in the shelter or to set up their own shelter. However, in the Smokies, this is not an option. The GSMNP has backcountry rules, and if they are not followed, people can be fined. And when it comes to shelters in the Smokies, first off one must secure a spot inside a shelter through a registration system, then once they arrive at the shelter, they do not have an option of pitching a tent or staying inside a shelter. To help minimize impact to this heavily used park (the GSMNP has been the most visited National Park in the US), the only option is to sleep inside the shelter (and this does not mean setting a tent/hammock up inside the shelter either).

Kephart Shelter (GSMNP)

So, when I go to the Smokies, more times than not, I stay inside the shelters (unless I reserve a spot at one of the campgrounds instead). Because of this, I have been giving a lot of thought about carrying a full size tent (even though it is a super-sweet, super-light ZPacks Hexamid tent) whenever I am hiking in areas that I know I will definitely be staying in shelters for the night…where I really do not need a full size, fully featured tent.

Then my buddy, Gizmo Joe, and I decided that we wanted to attempt to hike the 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail that run through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in only 3 days! (More on this later…)

Now Joe and I have been getting into “UltraLight” weight (< 10 lb BPW) backpacking set-ups for a little while now, but this trip has pushed us to take it to the next level, “Super UltraLight” weight (<5 lb BPW) backpacking! And this trip presents the perfect opportunity for us to do so. We will be going at almost the hottest time of the year, so we can leave behind a lot of cold weather gear. As well, these 3 very high mileage days (at least for us) will only be easier if our packs are lighter. And as I talked about above, we will be staying in shelters for the 2 nights that we will be out on the trail, so this is the perfect opportunity to cut back on shelter weight!

For me, this is where the GoLite Poncho Tarp comes in to play.

I will admit that I have not been a big fan of either ponchos or even more so of poncho tarps. To be honest, I did not like the thought of wearing it as a poncho, ripping a hole in it and then being out not only my rain gear, but also my shelter. Not to mention, the process of coming out of the poncho while it is raining in order to set it up as a shelter…in the rain (which we can get a lot of here in the Southeast). For these reasons, I was fine never owning one of these pieces. But I will admit, I have turned into a bit of a gram weenie lately, and in the right conditions, a poncho tarp now seems to make a lot of sense…

So, I decided that since I do enjoy hiking in places which are littered with shelters, and that in some of these places it is indeed mandatory for me to stay in those shelters over night, I could get away with carrying the poncho tarp. This way, I really don’t have to expect to rely on it as a tarp, although, in a pinch I can. And even better, I can leave behind that fully featured tent and the extra unneeded weight.

As it happened, during this time of strategic thinking, I kept coming across the GoLite Poncho Tarp on just about every backpacking forums I went to. (I think it was being drilled into my head actually.) From what I read, the GoLite Poncho Tarp was lightweight (at a listed 7 oz) and GoLite just happened to be giving them away for only about $45 (+ shipping) on their site. But, by the time I gave in and decided to get one, well, GoLite was all sold out…as well as just about every other retail store on the web (this is due to the fact that GoLite is now selling their products direct to the customer, so the retail stores are not getting restocked with GoLite inventory).

This led me to look for other options. In my search I almost decided on a smaller cuben fiber tarp, but then decided I wanted to spend a little time with such a small tarp before I spent that kind of $$ on one in cuben fiber. As well, I did not feel like I could justify the $$ for the cuben poncho tarps simply because I still was not sure how much I would like or use this piece. However, the other non cuben fiber, non GoLite options that I came across happened to be closer to the 10 oz range which was more weight than I wanted (especially for a piece I was still a bit skeptical about anyway).

Then I came across one of the GoLite Poncho Tarps being sold by a store called UltraLite Outfitters, and at what I felt was a great price too. GoLite was selling theirs for $45 + shipping, where as UltraLite Outfitters was selling one for $59 and free shipping (it equaled out)! However, to be sure that UltraLite Outfitters actually had these, I emailed the store and inquired about whether or not they actually had any in stock (these Poncho Tarps were selling out everywhere!). Within the hour, Travis from UltraLite Outfitters responded back and informed me that yes, they were in stock and ready to ship on the same day as ordered. So I did. Then, 3 days later, the Poncho Tarp was in my hands! (He wasn’t kidding, he got it to me very fast, and even included a LMF spork as a freebie! Great service for sure and a big thumbs up from me.)

So, after playing around with the tarp I decided that I was probably going to like it better than I had imagined I would like it at first. It fit me great as a poncho, and 5×8 actually felt a little bigger than I thought it would. The Poncho Tarp was in great shape with no loose seams or any noticeable defects. To be honest, I was stoked!

So, at this time I decided to weigh it, and to collect all the pieces of the kit to see what my final, total weight would be. I grabbed a sheet of Polycro out of my gear closet, counted out 6 of my shepherd hook titanium tent stakes and grabbed a 50 ft hank of LiteTrail GLine Polyester Dyneema Guyline Cord, then got busy. I cut the Polycro ground sheet to the size of my beloved NeoAir but left a little bit of overhang around the edges. Next I cut the guyline into 6 pieces: 2 pieces about 8 ft long and 4 pieces about 2.5 ft long. Then I put it all on the scales…

  • GoLite Poncho Tarp: 7.1 oz
  • 27×76″ Polycro Ground Sheet: 0.9 oz
  • 6 Shepherd Hook Ti Stakes: 1.5 oz
  • Tent Stake Stuff Sack: 0.1 oz
  • Guy Line: 0.3 oz
  • Total Weight: 9.9 oz

I am pretty very happy with this set-up! The combined weight of my ZPacks Hexamid tent and the Dri Ducks poncho I had planned on carrying was 21.2 oz, but with the GoLite Poncho Tarp, I managed to knock off 11.3 oz! Come on now…that is almost 3/4 of a pound! That is worth being excited about…at least it is too me anyway…  🙂

So, the next obvious thing for me to do was to go out and practice pitching it in different configurations. The nice thing about a flat tarp is that there are so many ways that they can be pitched. There is one small drawback with the Poncho Tarp, and that is the large hole near the center of the tarp, but it can easily be cinched up to be water tight, and then actually be used as a middle tie out kinda point. However, the main pitch I expect to be using with this will probably be a Half Pyramid type pitch (as seen below).

(The first photo in this write-up is me lying under this particular pitch.)

Another popular configuration I have seen this tarp pitched in is kind of a mix between the Half Pyramid and the Lean To. At the front, one side of the tarp is staked out at the ground (as in the Half Pyramid) where as the other side is left up (as in the Lean To). (Sorry, no pics of this one, but it can be seen in the video a little farther down the page.) I also tried the classic A-Frame pitch (which is one of my favorite pitches with my larger, 8×10 OES tarp). However, this is where I noticed the hood affecting the pitch. The hood naturally falls right along the ridgeline which could definitely collect water, so if the A-Frame pitch is used, the hood would have to be guyed out/up one way or another.

Another pitch I have not yet tried is the Flying Diamond which I think may work well being a smaller tarp. I’ll admit, I never seemed to get a good Flying Diamond pitch with my larger 8×10 OES tarp, but I think this was due to the larger size, although from what I understand, this pitch works better with a square tarp than it does with a rectangular shaped tarp. So, all I can say is, I will see.

So, at this point, I am quite happy with the GoLite Poncho Tarp and think that it will fill my particular need quite well, which is to lower my pack weight by using less shelter when I don’t need much shelter. Although, I will admit that I probably wouldn’t take this just yet to rely on as my only means of shelter (especially if I were expecting it to rain). So, for now, check out this video I made earlier today about the GoLite Poncho Tarp.

Thanks for watching/reading!

~Stick~

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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42 Responses to GoLite Poncho Tarp

  1. Pingback: “SUL” Hammock Gear List for 3.25 Day AT Section Hike | Stick's Blog

  2. gcobb1990 says:

    Very cool article! How did you end up reconciling the concern for wearing your shelter (risk for tearing both your rain jacket and then not having a shelter)? I’m considering a poncho tarp for a fast packing trip and am worried about this.

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    • Stick says:

      I have been lucky and haven’t needed to take it from rain shell to shelter. As I mentioned, this has a limited use for me, which is for those trips that I am required to stay inside shelters and not allowed to set-up a shelter (such as in the Smokies). Honestly, since these are the only times I would really carry this, I am pretty confident that I won’t have to make that transition… There are folks that do though… I guess if I knew my forecast was going to be good, I would be ok taking it on other hikes though…

      ~Stick~

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  3. pmoutfitters says:

    We featured this article on our latest blog post “How To Pack Like A Boy Scout.” Thanks for the review!

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  4. Tim says:

    I was browsing over Golite’s website http://www.golite.com/Poncho-Tarp-P885.aspx under the “materials” tab when I learned the fabric of their Poncho/Tarp is rated at only 1200mm of water resistance. While this rating meets the dynamic pressure of normal rain, it’s not adequately rated for heavy rain, which is around 3630mm. Wind driven rain is another matter altogether, as the wind can accelerate the falling water with an additional horizontal component, adding pressure to the two terminal free fall velocities of those two types of rain.

    I was fortunate to always have been in an AT shelter when it rained that heavily, so I can’t offer any experiential advice in that regard. However, I recently read a horror story of one girl in the Pacific NW who was testing a taped 1200mm rated Tyvek tent. She said the material wetted out and filled her tent floor with gallons of water over several hours in a heavy, persistent NW storm. She also added this happened to several other hikers who had sil-nylon tents.

    I’m not criticizing the Golite tarp. It served me well the way I was using it. However, I was unaware of the rating of the tent when I purchased it, and had I known this, I may have searched a little further for a more water resistant tarp, or at least better understood the poncho/tarp’s limitations.

    For anyone who has or is only thinking of buying this poncho/tarp, be aware of not being too zealous tightening up the sheet when staking–it’s rather fragile, as is most ultralight gear. The 7oz, 2010 model I had started pulling away at the seams of several of the loop attachments.

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    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      Good points about the HH on the tarp, which is part of the reason that this is a secondary shelter for me. But to be fair, if I were using this tarp as a shelter in rain such as that, I would be more worried about the size of the tarp than the tarp being 100% waterproof.

      Also, in the few shelters that I have that are made of silnylon, I have noticed misting (or condensation being knocked off…that whole debate) in them in super-heavy rains. Of course, the closer I am to the silnylon wall the more I notice it too. At this point though, I have not been in any rain under the GoLite Poncho.

      As far as the Tyvek TT, here is a Q&A that Henry has on his site concerning the Sublite (the Tyvek tent):

      Q: Can I use this in heavy rain?
      A: The Sublite is water resistant and performs well in medium intensity and moderate duration rains. It is not intended for heavy, long duration rains.

      Henry doesn’t recommend using this tent in heavy or prolonged rain showers simply because Tyvek will eventually let water come through. This is also why I never went with this tent…

      That is great feedback also on the tie outs separating from the shelter. I agree, this is worth noting for anyone interested in this shelter. For me though, I don’t ever plan on using it that often…

      Thanks again for the great feedback!

      ~Stick~

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    • Tim says:

      Yeah, I heard about the “misting” phenomenon. The argument against it implies that moisture from the body and breath of the hiker has been confused for rain seepage, as if there is a group of hikers that have seen lights in the sky and are convinced they are extraterrestrial grey beings from the Zeta Reticuli star system…hehe. In the case of the Golite tarp, I would expect water to weep through its 1200mm tested (in a lab without body moisture present) fabric in a 3630mm heavy rain. I would also expect body moisture under the right conditions to condense on the cooler fabric as I got closer to it. One reality does not preclude the existence of the other!

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  5. Tim says:

    The poncho/tarp did the job for me, and you can’t beat the weight and versatility of the Golite. It also eliminates the need for a 3 oz pack cover. It’s a great option for ultralight AT hiking. I’ve seen the belt idea used before, and I think it’s a great idea.

    My only regret with the system is, I love bivy camping near loud water and on open vistas–oftentimes you can’t stake anything here due to the solid rock ground. In this case, I just needed something to get me through those nights at 2am when a light, unexpected shower pelted my face. How many times then I wished I could have been in a waterproof bivy and just reached beside me for the instant protection of a trail umbrella!

    In my case, a trail umbrella, SOL Escape Bivy and something akin to the OR 34L Drysack backpack might work. You can’t beat the turnaround time and breathability of a trail umbrella. I’ve seen a trail umbrella used with an SOL Escape bivy as a rain-cover for the face.

    Sure, umbrellas don’t work well on windy balds, but where I hike, that usually means lightning, and I wouldn’t be there in the first place unless I was taken by surprise. Then I’d use the temporary rain capacity of my hooded DWR wind jacket (which would probably already be on) to make a bee line for treeline cover.

    People have different expectations and needs for the outdoors. No gear system is a silver bullet for everyone. Weather and terrain varies from place to place. Metabolisms are different requiring more layers and bigger bags. Ankles can require heightened stability. Knees and arches can need special boots and insoles. Extra weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The optimal standard for hiking should be changed to “ultra-right” not ultra light, haha.

    It was at the beginning of my AT thru-hike where I first heard the expression “hike your own hike”. After 2179 miles of a few rude hikers criticizing my pack (“4 pairs of socks, are you crazy?”), I understood why I heard it being quoted so often.

    I’m always looking for something with my personal needs in mind, and I expect that is what other people are doing, too. Therefore my hike is no criticism of another’s hike. If anyone likes the way I hike, I’m glad my hiking profile could help you out.

    To “Stick” I say, thank you for offering yours and improving the quality of my hike.

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    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      Wow…thanks very much for that comment. I greatly appreciate it.

      As far as the umbrella, I have really been wanting to pick one of the GoLite umbrellas to carry with me and try. It certainly has its advantages, but as you allude to, it really comes down to what fits our own specific needs.

      Also, I recently picked up a Borah bivy, and to be honest, I have been tossing around the idea of carrying it in conjunction with the GoLite poncho tarp so that I could use it when the weather is bad, to make up for the small size of the tarp. This would also solve the issue of not having a place to stake out the tarp. Then as you say, the umbrella could be used here also if needed…but I will admit, that would be odd the first time using an umbrella to shelter me from the rain while sleeping… Not saying I wouldn’t try it though! 🙂

      Anyway, I really enjoyed your comment, and feel like it is a great contribution, so thank you very much for taking the time to post it!

      ~Stick~

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  6. Tim says:

    I used a Golite poncho on my AT thru-hike. One poster here had issues with it that I also had, but there are ways to compensate. On steep inclines and roots, I pulled the lower back and front corners of the poncho up to my waist and tied them in front, then I could see where I was stepping and not step on the hem. My shorts and underwear were quick dry nylon and polyester so I wasn’t worried if they got a little wet. I would pick a tenting location that offered some protection from wind, and if rain still got in, it was only a matter of rolling the over-sized waterproof ground cloth I was using over my bag to keep what little spray was getting in, off. This gear served mostly as a poncho and not as a tarp. Like you, I used it as a fall back in case I couldn’t get in a shelter when it rained. Out of 4 months, I think I only encountered two days of rain with this as a tarp. It can be hard to get the back material over a large pack, but some afterthought made me realize I could cover myself with it, pull the pack up inside, put it on, then pull the hood opening down to my neck. It can be hot and annoying during intermittent summer rain, but to ventilate without disrobing when the rain temporarily stops, it seems you could tie the back bottom corners at your waist, bring the front up to your neck and tuck it behind you so you end up with something that looks like a pack cover held by the neck and waist.

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    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like your entire system did pretty good for you on your thru-hike?

      Anyway, I have thought about just carrying a small piece of shock cord with me that I can put over the poncho around my waist. This should seal it off pretty good and give me visual clearance…at least in theory. I haven’t had to use it in any rain yet…

      Anyway, I still like the poncho tarp for what it is, and for certain trips it will still make it’s way into my pack.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

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  7. Nathan says:

    Stick,

    What are the actual dimensions of the poncho?

    Nathan

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  8. michael says:

    Great Review Stick, but look closely at the seam around the hood, is it not taped from the factory?

    The wealth of information you provide is amazing, with some input from you I bought a cuben fiber / M50 Borah bivy.

    I originally bought a STS poncho tarp (12oz 30d) but I might go with this 15D Golite…

    That will give me full rain and bug protection for around 12 ounces.

    Not to mention the poncho doubles as well, a poncho, and a pack cover…

    My current baseweight is 6.69 pounds and I hope to cut that down to sub 6 soon.

    Next on the list is a lighter backpack (current one is 21.5 oz) and probably make the switch to alchy stoves from canister! GL.

    Michael W.

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    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      Glad that I could help you with your bivy purchase. Based on my own bivy, I think that you will find the quality of the Borah Bivy to meet your expectation.

      As far as the GoLite Poncho Tarp, no, it did not come taped from the factory. TBH, I am not sure if any of them have, but I have read alot of accounts of others having to seam seal there’s, so I imagine that they don’t come taped/sealed. Sine making this video/post though I have seam sealed it, and it added 0.1 oz to the weight, however, I only seam sealed the circle where the hood is actually attached to the tarp. I did not seal the seam that goes up the center of the hood.

      Good luck getting the rest of your pack weight down, although it sounds like you are well on your way. I will admit, it sure is fun going out with a sub 4 lb base weight and it actually keeping me safe and comfortable for the entire hike…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

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  9. Steve Scarborough says:

    Hello. Just want to say thanks for posting your blog and putting up the video on the poncho tarp. Well done! As a father of 3 daughters, I also liked that you had your daughter in it.

    I have been researching some poncho-tarp options as a back-up solution. This would mostly be in my role as a volunteer for mountain search and rescue out here in New Mexico. I had worked up a list that included the GoLite, Campmor (which is really Equinox), Exped Bivy-Poncho, Sea to Summit, and a few more. But, your blog got me going on the GoLite. I just ordered and have already received a shipment notification via email! To be honest I had thought this option was off the table — since they were not in stock at most internet places.

    I already have various tents and tarps, but figure I needed another ultralight option for SAR callouts. While I can hike pretty good, I am 65 now and less weight is much appreciated for me. When you get called, you do not know if you are hiking 1 mile or 16 in a day.

    Again, thanks for your blog and video,

    Regards,

    Steve

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    • Stick says:

      Steve,

      Glad that you liked the video! And I love including my kids in the videos…even when they are not planned to be in them, when I am editing them later on I will notice that she squeezes in the background on some of them… I love it though…

      I also looked at some of the others that you mentioned, and while I cannot recall the weights, it seemed like the GoLite beat them out. And the price was not too bad either…

      Anyway, I hope that you enjoy your new tarp once you get it. And if you would like, feel free to come back and include any input you may have on it as well. I love others feedback…that is the best way for me to learn. It seems like I usually look over something, but then others point it out… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  10. Nathan says:

    Stick,

    When are you headed out on the 3 day assault of the Smokies?

    My buddy and I are thinking of heading down to the Smokies to hike for a couple days on the AT in August. What recommendations do you have for getting reservations for the shelters?

    Nathan

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    • Stick says:

      Nathan,

      It will be later this month! I can’t wait…

      As far as tips on getting shelters, I always plan out my schedule and have at least one alternate schedule, even if it is doing the planned schedule backwards (at least if it is a loop). Reservations can be made 30 days in advance from your first night planned. Figure out the 30 day prior to date and that morning start calling as soon as you can. Have your dates and a pencil and paper ready. Be prepared to possibly get a lot of busy signals, but don’t give up. If I am able I am the obnoxious type to hang up and hit redial, over and over…but it pays off.

      Also, March of last year, my wife and I, along with my buddy Troy did a nice loop at the south end of the Smokies. Here is a link to it with some info if you are interested:

      https://sticksblog.com/2011/03/16/march-gsmnp-hike/

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

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    • Nathan says:

      What will the bug situation be like? Will you be taking or recommend taking a bug bivy or headnet for in the shelters?

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    • Stick says:

      Nathan,

      No, I will not be taking a bug bivy or a head net for the June trip. However, depending on how it goes will determine whether or hot I carry a head net on our July trip…

      Really though, I can’t recall having too much of a bug problem up high in the Smokies. Then again, I have always treated my clothes before hikes too…

      ~Stick~

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  11. Bryce says:

    Doh, didn’t see the video on my smartphone or take enough time to read about just a secondary shelter. Yeah, I’m that guy spouting off and not reading. :p (But I reading your post about pad thai now, love that stuff!)

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    • Stick says:

      No problem man! For the most part, I love how my smart phone allows me to stay connected when not behind my computer, but at the same time, I realize I miss things too because of it…

      And yeah, I love the Pad Thai stuff. Actually, I quit using the oil though and started adding in 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. In doing so I lost about 50 calories (down to 1100 calories) but it still taste awesome and I don’t have to fool with making the oil, transporting it and then splitting it up in my meals.

      Like

    • Bryce says:

      That’s always been a PIA for me with olive oil. I’m not willing to spend on individual packets and any container adds weight. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Stick says:

      I made up the Spiced Olive Oil that is in Mike Clelland’s book “Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips”. I admit, it makes the food quite tasty, but after eating it a few times, it kind of made my stomach a little sour. Maybe I should have refrigerated the mixture after making it, or maybe 1 oz per meal was a bit much for me. I dunno. But, like I said, I tried it with the sunflower seeds and the peanuts and it is really good. Plus, at 1100 calories, I am happy with it!

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  12. scott says:

    Stick
    Thanks for a great blog ! Have used your gear reviews to purchase some great gear ie,event gaiters,bear bag system and titanium pot thanks for the honest reviews! You have helped me lighten my load. I have a question in todays review you talk about only being able to use shelters in GSMNP only no hammock or tent use at the shelters? Trying to sort this out because I am planing to hike the AT for 50 miles in Aug this year in the smokies.

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    • Stick says:

      Scott,

      Glad that my blog could be of help to you! And thanks for letting me know so! I appreciate that.

      In the GSMNP, reservations are required at all shelters and at most of the campsites. (There is a listing on the official GSMNP page.) If you reserve a shelter, you must sleep inside the shelter and pitching a tent outside the shelter is against the rules. If a ranger sees this you can be fined. Their are exceptions for thru hikers along the AT though (if they show up at a full shelter, they can pitch a tent). As far as Hammocks, I am not sure of the rules on them, but have witnessed a ranger telling 2 guys to take theirs down at the Mt LeConte shelter. To be fair, they did have them hanging inside the shelter though. However, I feel like they would still not be allowed outside the shelters either.

      I would advise you to call and talk with a ranger about the rules concerning hammocking. Also, for a good book, get the little brown book…

      Good luck on your hike, and if you have anymore questions feel free to contact me.

      ~Stick~

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    • scott says:

      Stick
      Thanks for the info have to admit its a bummer probably will hike another section of AT that allows hammocks and does not force you into shelters.

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    • Stick says:

      Scott,

      I figure that hammocks would be allowed at the campsites, but not 100% sure about that. However, as far as I know, there is only 1 campsite on the AT that runs through the Smokies, and that is very near the southern end (near Fontana Dam).

      Hope that you can get something worked out!

      ~Stick~

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  13. jessesleeper says:

    I’m gonna have to go with Bryce on this one. I’ve sat through the remnance of a tropical storm last year in the White Mountains with an A-frame tarp set up and a polycro ground sheet. I stayed bone dry all night. I was using a SilTarp 2 and could easily lighten that up from 14 to 4 oz by upgrading to CF (which I plan on).

    I will say that the price to wight ratio is appealing but the frustration of setting it up in the rain and with more weight and less coverage is more than I’m willing to endure. God love ya for trying and good luck with it. Definitely try it out in the pouring rain (setting up).

    Sounds like a great trip though. Can’t wait to see the posts?

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    • Stick says:

      Jesse,

      As I mentioned, I am not using this as a primary shelter, but rather as a back-up shelter for when I go hiking in areas in which I plan to (or are required) to stay inside the shelters. I do plan to get a rectangular cuben tarp eventually, but I want to figure out which size I want first. I will use my Cloudkilt as a back/foot wall so I need to do some figuring…

      And I will have a post write up on the trip after I get back for sure! I am not taking my camera though (weight savings you know… 🙂 ) but I will be using my Android phone as a camera/video recorder so I should still have some.

      Thanks again for stopping and commenting!

      ~Stick~

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    • Bryce says:

      I tried the clip things from the office used to keep a bunch of papers together to hang my rain jacket (in your case, your kilt) up in the opening on the half-pyramid pitch, but I couldn’t work it out w/out adding too much weight. Maybe you can find a better way to rig it. Certainly you could drape the kilt over your feet in an A-frame pitch though.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Bryce,

      With the kilt, I would pitch the tarp in an A-Frame pitch and then secure the 2 bottom corners to the back 2 stakes and the top of the kilt to the top of the “A”… This will work fine with a smaller tarp, but I have issues with it being to short when using my 8×10 tarp. This should allow me to pitch the tarp the same height at the foot end as I do at the head end but then cram down towards the foot end since it will be closed up. However, I just need to see if a 6 or 7 foot wide tarp will work better with the kilt.

      I am also considering to order one of the 2 sizes and then some extra cuben. I can then pitch the tent and make another kilt the exact measurements.

      I need to get some painters plastic and play around with it for a while first though…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Bryce says:

      Don’t kill me, still haven’t watched the video, but have you sealed the stitching around the hood yet with some diluted Silicone? I forgot….but only once hehe. 😉

      Like

    • Stick says:

      No problem. but no, I have not yet seam sealed the neck. I need to do that sometime, will probably do it next week. But I can clearly see that I would be happier that I did when I needed it… 🙂

      Like

  14. Nathan says:

    Great post! Backpacking around the Rockies I’ve only come across two shelters (Pikes Peak and Monarch Pass on the Colorado Trail), so we always carry a fast fly setup (already owned the Big Agnes lightweight tents so it’s the most cost/weight effective option) for two people and two big dogs. I’d like to get out into other areas of the country and try a few segments on the AT when visiting family out east at some point so this is an option I’d consider.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Nathan,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad that you enjoyed the post. As far as the shelters, there are a number of them around here! I like the idea of being able to choose if I want to stay in one or not, but I also understand the policies and rules that are established in the GSMNP, and I am fine by adhering to those rules. However, I like the idea of having an emergency shelter just in case, which is what I am planning the poncho tarp to be.

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Robert G. says:

    Very cool post, thanks. We had the same concept when I was in the Army Infantry. The only difference was we snapped two ponchos together with a buddy and used parachute cord to hold everything up. This is much better and lighter
    Again, thanks for the info!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Robert,

      I have read in a few other places about people using two of them together in the military. But I could imagine they were a little heavier than 7 oz… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting and glad that you enjoyed the post.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  16. Bryce says:

    GL on your hike. My base weight is 4lbs for 3 seasons, but I got there with Driducks and a CF tarp bigger than the Golite. I found I was getting lucky with the GoLite and precipitation. I am 5-9 and there just wasn’t a whole lot of coverage in A-frame or half-pyramid. With the pyramid there is great protection on all three sides, but if weather down there is like the NE, the winds can shift at any moment during a storm (especially at elevation) and start blowing rain into that exposed side. With my 7 x 9 CF tarp (and with poncho too) I used a trash compactor bag (nylofume bag if u can get one is lighter) as a pack liner while hiking and then slipped it over the foot end of the sleeping bag while resting at night to give me some extra coverage from precipitation in A-frame config. In the end it was a jack of all trades, master of none for me so I went the dedicated rain jacket and CF tarp. While hiking it was difficult to wear the poncho (use guy line as a belt to keep it from whipping around in the wind) and see where I was placing my feet on rooty trails as well. I look fwd to your feedback, GL!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Bryce,

      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting. Always enjoy your comments!

      I agree with you about the small amount of coverage under the poncho tarp and admitted to it in the video. As of now, I do not plan on using the poncho tarp as my primary shelter on any of my trips, but rather take it with me when I am staying at designated shelters to have as a back up plan.

      I eventually do want to get a rectangular cuben fiber tarp (and almost did so), but I wasn’t ready to drop the money on one just yet, and I felt like the GoLite Poncho would fill the need that I had pretty well. When I get one though I plan to incorporate my CloudKilt as a back wall on the tarp, so I am still up in the air about the size.

      As far as a Poncho, I obviously have not used it yet, but in playing around with it, I can use a short loop of elastic cord to cinch the poncho closed around the front of me. This seems to do a good job of pulling up the slack, but leaving enough at the bottom in order for me to take steps without pulling on the poncho.

      Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to using/carrying it on this upcoming trip!

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

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