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I'm looking to hike the Grand Canyon (found out that as a single I do have a good shot at securing the permit!), and now I'm trying to make sure I carry as little as possible on said hike. First thing I'm thinking about ditching is a tent.

I figure in May, its definitely not going to needed from a warmth perspective, and I was thinking about just taking a simple tarp to keep out any rain that might fall.

Here's my concern. I'd rather not wake up with any companions in my bag. I do believe if i woke up with a scorpion, snake, or spider in my bag, I would be a bit, well, freaked out.

If I sleep in the open in the desert, am I likely to have an unwelcome guest?

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In the Grand Canyon I'd worry about rain more than animals. Afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon. –  xpda Mar 15 '12 at 18:31

2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I would call it a reasonable risk to camp in the desert without a tent (but with a tarp available if it was to rain!). I've "cowboy" camped 40 or 50 nights in the desert and never had any company try to join me in my sleeping bag :) That being said, I would heartily recommend shaking out your clothes and shoes before putting them on in the morning.

In the desert setting, just be careful where you setup camp - anthills can make your campsite miserable, as can popping your inflatable mat on dried spiky things strewn about canyon floors.

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+1 I've spent countless nights tentless in the GC with no problems. I would add: 1) Don't lay out your sleeping kit until you are ready to crawl in, 2) Secure you belongings, ring-tails are master thieves (and a nuisance in the corridor) 3) Have a bandanna handy to put over your face if the wind starts kicking the sand up. 4) Enjoy the best stars of your life. –  LBell Mar 15 '12 at 15:04
    
Couldn't have said it better... I also have rarely used a tent in the desert and never had problems (aside from once setting up on the above mentioned anthills). –  Greg.Ley Mar 15 '12 at 17:21
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only extreme pesimist takes tarp with him to desert :-) –  Tomas Jan 12 '13 at 11:45

I can only confirm on the experience of Ryley. We've been sleeping in Morocco on a 3 week trip, just pad and sleeping bag (well, sometimes it was so hot that it was almost all open). I was afraid of snakes and scorpions too but I haven't seen one for the whole time there (apart from those presented at the market). So no problem actually! Sometimes I tried to cover holes on the ground with rocks, just to feel better :-) but I don't have any clue if that actually works. And also shaking my shoes before putting them on of course.

As always, the most dangerous animals are humans.

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