Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gutter Nail Story

It rains a lot on the Appalachian Trail. Its not unusual to wake up to a wet tent, whether from frost, heavy dew, snow or rain. Condensation is common because its just humid on the east coast.

So, a common practice is to dry the shelter while taking a break during the day, before camping. That way, when you get to camp, your shelter is dry and the sleeping bag is less likely to pick up any moisture.

One day, hiking in Pennsylvania, I decided to take a lunch break just off trail, in the woods. I pulled out the gray silnylon tent, laid it over some branches to dry. The stake bag, gray also, lay below the tent fabric, in the weeds.

After eating, I checked the tent. It was dry, so I stuffed it, and looked around to be sure I had everything. Then, I hiked on.
Once I arrived in camp, I went to pitch the tent, but couldn't find my stakes. I went through everything. As an ultralighter, that didn't take long. I thought hard...when was the last time I saw them? Ah, when I dried the tent!

I used the AT shelter, and once I got to town, there were no gear shops, no Walmarts, nothing. I mentioned my delima to another hiker who suggested, " Just get to the hardware store and pick up some gutter nails". I wasn't even sure what they would look like, but the Ace Hardware man knew. I bought 5 and have used them ever since.

In winter, I always bring a regular stake, with a crooked head, so I can get them out of frozen ground.

I also try to use a bright blue stake bag.

No comments:

Post a Comment