We took the Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo Outfitter for a test ride last night. We set it up a few times since we got it, but had not slept in it. Since we can’t get to the backcountry any time soon we tested it in the front yard.
A little tip for those who will use the Lunar Duo: The guy lines for the trekking poles should run underneath the fabric to provide a defined vestibule area and allow for ventilation. We didn’t do that, because Bailey is paranoid and wants to be closed in. Weird.
This led to the condensation problem inside the tent. Keep this in mind, over an eight hour period you exhale almost a liter of water vapor into the atmosphere. This tent is waterproof. That’s good, water cannot get in. Water also cannot get out. A large amount of that water vapor we exhaled, about two liters, stayed inside. Improper staking of the vestibule created a more confined area for the vapor to settle in, and it took up residence on the interior walls. His bad. My bad for allowing him to make the decision. Here is another tip for those that use single wall tents or tarps: East/west.
Face your doors east and west to allow cross ventilation. We set the thing up in a hurry and laid it out with the doors north and south. The wind generally blows east and west, so we could not take advantage of air movement to keep condensation to a minimum. Live and learn. Also it is better to find this out now, rather than fifteen miles up the trail.
What else did we learn? I, Frankenstein. We watched it on the phone. Netflix may be a thing for some people, but they have all the movies I can go through life never seeing. Many of our neighbors choose to have domestic disputes on Friday nights. Somebody has a kid that “doesn’t do shit” and their room looks like a “God D@!%$ renaissance festival took a dump in it.” That’s two houses down from us, and I’m curious as to what that might look like. The old RidgeRest pad sucks. I’m probably going to go with a Z-Lite, which I gather is the pad of choice on the AT (light, durable, economical). We also gave the alcohol stove another go, just to boil some water. I know they are light. I know everybody uses them. I have used an MSR Pocket Rocket for years now, and I can say with authority alcohol stoves are lame, slow, and fussy. In addition to all this we have decided to get pillows. I’m not sure if we will get the ones you have to blow up, or some sort of stuff sack variation, but I want a pillow. I need a pillow. I must have a pillow.
I think we are both looking forward to the weather turning warmer further up the trail. If for no other reason than switching out to hammocks. Oh how comfortable they are. You can sleep without worries in a hammock. No condensation, swaying, comfort. Hammock. You should get a hammock.
The sleeping bags we have are more than adequate. Bailey even mentioned that he became hot, and had to open it up a time or two. I put a thermometer outside, on the ground leaning next to a tree. It registered 30 degrees at one point. On our last trip we went to the Chestatee WMA, which is where Blood Mountain is located on the AT. We used sleeping pads and a poncho liner under quilt in our hammocks. While we did get kinda/sorta cold underneath it was tolerable, and shifting the insulation brought things back into zen. The temperatures on that trip bottomed out around 30 degrees as well. We were using heavier top insulation though, and heavier clothing. So I think the SMD Lunar Duo, a decent pad, and our bags, will be adequate for the weather we will experience up to Damascus. Hopefully a polar vortex will not spawn as we enter the Smokeys.