Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:08 pm Posts: 147 Location: Squamish, BC
I'm picking up a BD Beta Light and don't have any experience with floorless tents in winter.
I'm looking for tips on setup, staying comfortable, etc. Particularly, do you use a tarp/groundsheet under your sleeping pad? What type? What's your sleeping setup, and how do you stay dry? What sleeping pad and bag do you use?
Hope this thread may be useful for many members to share tips on camping on snow.
Most winter campers prefer the Megalight. It's only slightly heavier, but MUCH bigger in terms of floor space. You can use the big pole that comes with it and dig out underneath for even more room or use multiple adjustable ski poles strapped together. HINT: You can stand up in it, beta light, not so much.
I leave the floor at home in winter. Get the biggest closed cell foam sleeping pad you can find. Then bring a Big Agnes or Exped airmattress for comfort if needed. Some people will recommend a bivy but I'm claustrophobic and just like a breathable, warm, down bag.
Last helpful hint: Use your stuff sacks stuffed with snow for anchors (maybe even bring a few extra). Don't use the stuff you are going to need for touring, ie: poles, skis, shovel, axe, ect.
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:27 pm Posts: 561 Location: Rainier Beach
Take this with a grain of salt... I was super stoked on the idea of a light floorless shelter, and picked up a Beta Light for last season. Holy crap it's loud in the wind. I'm sure if I had done a better job setting it up (get that shit TIGHT) it might not have flapped as much. I used it twice, and both times I had earplugs and still had a hard time sleeping due to the noise. I ended up selling it, and the floor I bought for it.
What I decided was... if I'm going to spend the time to dig out a floor/walls for the Beta shelter, I may as well spend the time to build a proper wind shelter. Most of the time I want to camp in the alpine, it's in the spring/summer with good/clear weather, then all you need is to keep the wind off you. No need for nylon over you. For camping below treeline, I think a simple trench would be good if there's no precip, or maybe a simple tarp over the top of the trench, weighted down with some of your gear or board so it doesn't flap in the wind. In my mind, either of those 2 above/below treeline scenarios is preferable (for me) to the experience I had with the flapping-ass Beta Light.
Just like camping anywhere on the snow, I liked the Zrest on the snow, then a thick inflatable pad on that, then my normal down sleeping bag.
Again, grain of salt. There are a ton of good reviews out there for these shelters, just keep in mind that it will take a while to set up and get it tight. Bring earplugs!
you might look into getting a titanium goat stove, adds entertainment to the evening and helps dry out your stuff. I prefer to make a snow shelter and sleep in that and then use the floorless tent with stove to hang out in. Takes more time that's for sure but if you can get out to the zone that you want to camp in and build the shelter before hand....I agree that if you put it in a windy spot you won't get much sleep. Something about wind gusts at night that gets the adrenaline going.
I dig down about 24" for the floorless tent, then your back has something to lean against. Take blue shipping bubble rap for cheap floor insulation then a really good pad, either the new high r value ones or two foam.
take some newspaper and a few hand warmers. Throw the handwarmers in your boots and stuff newspaper in the top. The paper will help absorb moisture
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:15 pm Posts: 294 Location: Washington
I've used a beta light mid-winter with some success on calm nights. It is loud in the wind. Bailed home in the middle of the night one time because of the noise and cold. Like Jefe009 said, building a trench/ wind shelter will help and then use the beta light as a roof. I try to plan overnight trips for periods of clear weather. Moonlight riding etc. Snow caves are best and warmest but taking the time to build one isn't in my plans.
As for sleep systems... still getting that dialed. I'm a cold sleeper. Current set-up is Neo-air 4 season pad, 0 degree Marmot down bag, OR alpine bivy AND beta light tarp. Highly recommend a cush air pad with a high R value. Merino wool long drawers and a puffy!!!
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:08 pm Posts: 147 Location: Squamish, BC
Cool thanks. I am hoping to avoid the tarp tent / bivy combo as a weight savings. I guess. Big closed cell pad under my Neo-air would be sufficient protection from the snow? Anyone use a super light groundsheet? I've heard of using tyvek or even the plastic used for covering windows in the winter.
Any other setup tips aside from the stuff sack anchors and digging down?
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm Posts: 458 Location: Meyers, CA
Last few years I've used a 3/4 z rest with a 3/4 neo and that has worked fine. Throw the pack down by the feet. In dead of winter, either a 0 bag or a 20 and then a 20 or 30 for spring stuff.
I generally don't use a ground cover in the snow but tyvek works great if you want one.
Betalight is nice for a tour w 1 or 2. Digging down even a few inches adds a significant amount of usable space inside. If I'm near any trees I usually just grab twigs and use those as deadmen. Retrieving stuff sacks in refrozen snow is not fun. If I'm in the alpine then I usually get creative with random gear...extra pole sections, ice axes, someone else's split, whatever. I find all tents to be noisy in the wind and can't say the betalight seems any worse than others.
If I'm near any trees I usually just grab twigs and use those as deadmen. Retrieving stuff sacks in refrozen snow is not fun.
Definitely true, especially in wetter climates where the snow turns to cement after you bury them. Twigs work too, if you can find any, if you are below treeline.
80$ for a betalight is awesome. I was just saying that I prefer the megalight. A friend has a beta light and it definitely rocks for summer hiking excursions. Get the tension and pole setup right, maybe even build a small snow wall on the windward side and the wind is usually not much of a factor. I got 6 inches of hail and massive winds in my mega one summer and it didn't flinch.
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 4:53 pm Posts: 27 Location: San Francisco
The Beta is a good shelter if your going solo, But really shy on room with two because of the poles. I really like my Megamid. It's a little heavier than the Megalight but tougher and quieter. There's plenty of room for three plus gear, or it's a palace for two. spending a little time to perfect the pitch and wind break is time well spent. Though it's got a large profile, mine weathered 50+ mph winds on shasta with a good pitch. Floorless is really the way to go with no ground sheet, because you will track snow all over the place with floors or ground sheets and spend a lot of time cleaning it up. I will say that a more traditional mountaineering tent is preferable if your going to stick around for a while. The Mids have good ventilation and I like to dig out a channel at the the entrance (like an igloo) for extra venting so I can cook. Never had any condensation issues, even with three guys in the Mid. We each had a platform around the perimeter with our packs around the pole in the center. Save 15 0z. and just use your trekking poles (practice this first). In all save the $80 bucks and put it towards a Mega, you wont regret it.
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