• 2014
  • Oct
  • 13

JMT - John Muir Trail 2014 - Hiking Hacks - Building a tripod

The Problem

When hiking the John Muir Trail this year - we camped on the Bighorn Plateau - which is a beautiful spot, though camping there is very exposed. So there is not a single tree to be seen.

Now - when at camp we usually hang our water bladder from a tree, and also put up a cloth line but that needs at least one strong fix point.

The Solution

Without a tree we decided to build a tripod.
This is the bill of material:

  • 3x Hiking poles
  • 1x MSR Ultralight Utility Cord Kit

We used a simple tripod lashing:

Start with putting the 3 hiking poles next to each other… leave about 1.5 times the handle width in space between them, and start with a clove hitch.
Go above and below the poles 3 to 5 times.
Finish it up with an additional clove hitch.
Turn the center pole a couple of times until you feel the contraption turn stable

For added stability you can run the line around the poles after standing the tripod up.

To stand the tripod simply put one of the poles at the end between the other two and finally hang the water bladder from the tripod. Very simple, effective, and efficient. It also worked perfectly as the counterpoint for the cloth line (simply by attaching the loose end to the tent).

This is what it looks like in the wild:


  • 2014
  • Oct
  • 6

JMT - John Muir Trail 2014 - Gear Review - Shelter/Tent

For our hike of the John Muir Trail this summer we were carrying a full tent for a shelter.

h2. Before the Hike

After quite some research the tent we picked was a new MSR release.
So this is the pack list we ended up:

On the trail

While on the trail we pitched the tent on granite, sandy ground, forrest grounds, and fairly rocky ground and the the tent got wet and froze. When wet the tent was drying quickly and handled easily.
It is somewhat hard to pitch for single person, since the “double Y” single tent pole while being super handy is somewhat unwieldy for a single person to handle.

But - we also realized that if the Needle stakes hit a root they are extremely hard to extract. On one occasion we did spend about 45 minutes until we got it back - eventually using the trowel we did manage to get our stake back. But on the flip side - the stakes did hold every single day.

The tent comes with an over-sized bag - which opens along the long side - which makes it super easy to put the tent back into its bag. Which makes you wonder why you spent the last decades pushing tightly rolled tent rolls into tiny bags.

The tent has 2 doors, to the side, which makes it way more comfortable than our previous front entry only tadpole tent. It also comes with two vestibules which allowed us to store most our gear during a nightly downpour.


The tent worked out perfectly.
I would wish for the footprint to extend beyond the actual size of the tent floor and allow to keep at least the cloths and some other gear of the ground. Interestingly in the future I will try to hang some things inside the vestibule from the spreader pole.