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I am considering a solo three-day trip in the Uinta Mountains in Utah in August. I have lots of experience backpacking but I've never soloed before and so am thinking of ways to shed some weight. My tent especially could be an issue; I have a mountain hardwear lightwedge 3-person tent.

I'm wondering if I could leave the tent body behind and just plan on the groundcloth / rainfly fast setup. I realize this will make me marginally more vulnerable to windy rainstorms and critters, but it'll cut out a lot of weight. Is there something else I need to consider? Should I roll the dice with ticks / mosquitoes and the weather?

  • Agree with Charlie. I have normally camped in the Wind River Range above treeline with just a DIY tarp. You need to know your skill level and your tarp's limits. If you are willing to bail if needed then it isn't a huge issue, and I can't imagine just a 3-day trip being that difficult a decision. I did use an UL tent during my eclipse trip since I wasn't walling to bail from the Divide. – topshot Jun 11 at 12:24
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The tent is probably not strictly necessary, a tarp or just the fast setup should probably work fine unless it seriously rains or you are above treeline while it rains or it gets really windy. At the point in the year, the number of ticks/mosquitos should be greatly reduced.

Not taking the whole tent will increase your chances of getting soaked and being miserable but that's a risk that's you will have to weigh the options on. Every trip I have ever done has always included that type of balance where one decides is the extra weight worth the extra comfort or not. Sometimes leaving gear behind let me go faster and sometimes I paid the price for leaving gear behind.

Personally, in the summer of 2017, I solo backpacked the Highline Trail across the Uintas from Hayden Pass to the Leidy Peak trailhead and back over 13 days and all I carried for shelter was a ground tarp and one 4ft-8ft tarp. I had one night where I had to sleep under it due to the rain and there were plenty of times were I slept without it above treeline.

In this case, I was glad that I used the tarp and didn't bring a tent, it would have been hard to do as many miles as I did with the extra weight.

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