Canopy/Shelter for Winter trips? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-04-2010   #1
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Canopy/Shelter for Winter trips?


A few years ago I went on a weeklong Thanksgiving trip down the lower San Juan. One of the members in our group brought along a standard pop-up type canopy set-up and used tarps to create walls for the structure. Complete with with a collapsable wood-stove, it kept us all toasty each night with temps dropping down to the teens.

I am looking to do a similar thing for this winter's season. I want to purchase a pop-up canopy unit, about 10x 10 with sidewalls to make it warm and ideal place for kitchen, chairs, and even a firepan part of the way in to be warm, dry and protected from the wind on a winter trip with uncertain weather conditions.

Do any of you Buzzards out there have any experience with a set-up like this? Is there a type of canopy that holds up better than the rest? I am looking for something lower in weight and cost but stable enough to hold up to conditions that may be present on a winter river. Any other types of rigs that would provide similar protection with-out a full canopy with side-walls. Any help or suggestions would be great. Thanks.


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Old 11-04-2010   #2
Redstone, CO
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 135
I would check Cabelas or similar for an outfitter tent. I'm not sure if you'll find one that's much cheaper than a pop-up canopy, but it will likely be lighter and some come with a chimney opening for the stove.
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Old 11-04-2010   #3
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95


I looked all over those sites, cabellas, gander mountain, bass pro, etc.) but didn't find anything that really fit my bill. I think I have decided on a semi-cheap canopy with side-walls and will jsut hope it holds up to the river. We are looking at it for a commonroom not just for sleeping purposes and frankly those outfitter tents are too cumbersome and expensive...

Any other ideas?

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Old 11-04-2010   #4
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,722
Check out cabelas dot com as they have a lot of them and sometimes on sale. overstock dot com also has a lot of the cheaper ones on sale I recommend you spend extra and get at least a semi commercial unit. The serious commercial units are very hi dollar.

I do not have one of these units, but camp with a lot of folks who do. the snap in side curtains are the way to go as without them rain will easily blow thru. For car camping these units are very nice - most do fold up nicely but are bulky and heavy.

I have seen the el cheapo units work and the more expensive commercial grade ones work as well.

My take for a GC trip would be to buy a commercial grade and test it out before taking it on the trip. The weak points are the frame setup and the quality of the canvas. The el cheapo canvas is usually pretty thin and tears easy which could be bad on the GC. Same for the el cheapo frames rivets will pop out and the complicated series of braces gets bent or jammed.

These things are heavy. But do a awesome job on sand beaches.

Be sure to stake them down well as they lift up and fly away easily. I have seen some of the newer heavy duty models with a sort of relief cap on top to reduce wind blow aways. However, some good sand stakes would be critical in any sort of wind.

On cost I have seen el cheapo units on overstock dot com around a hundred bucks but for the GC I would expect hundreds of dollars more and it would be worth it for the quality and durability.

I have my Moss outfitter tarp for kitchen use and it works great but takes a lot of stakes. I also have a Moss parawing which goes up fast with four stakes - just not as big. This is great for lunch stops. These two tarps have served well on a lot of trips and the weight factor is much less than the frame canopy dealies. This is not to take away from the situations where the canopy units especially with side walls are the way to go.
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Old 11-04-2010   #5
Redstone, CO
Paddling Since: 2000
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No other ideas here, but I am curious...

How do you deal with the chimney while using the pop up? Is the smoke routed outside somehow?

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Old 11-04-2010   #6
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Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,064
Walmart has one that you can get side walls for $30.00 and the pop up is @$100.00
The first one i got got mangled by the hurricane sustainted winds at radium and the fact that some peolple in the group thought it would be a good idea to hang the large colapisable wash buckets from the cross scisscors that make the outside square combine that with wind and it broke the arms. I did get another one with the walls and some big old plastic beverage buckets to do the washing in so I don't have to deal with the old wash buckets that could'nt hack standing up. Be sure to get the 10" long nail stakes for keeping the legs on the ground also
Who's your monkey?
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Old 11-04-2010   #7
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I do not have a collapsable stove, but a friend of mine had one we used 3 or 4 years back on a Thanksgiving had a whole chimney unit that we set up outside of the wall. We basically used 3 of the walls fully and 1 wall partially to allow the chimney its room. When the nights were down into the teens or single digits we had it nice and toasty in the "blue room" as it was called.

My set-up wont be as elaborate, as I dont have the stove, i am just going to plan on positioning my firepan right on the leeward side edge of the unit with 3 of the 4 walls closed down...

Here is what I am thinking right now...thoughts?

EZ UP Canopy 10 x 10 Tent Encore 2 White -Awning - 4 Zipper sidewalls -
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Old 11-04-2010   #8
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little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 447
One of the 10x10 popups should hold up okay. They're not prohibitively expensive, so even replacing one every other year wouldn't be a big deal. You can buy sidewall kits that are brand specific, and I would think they'd hold up longer than the canopy and frame. I'd be a little concerned about using a fire pan close enough to provide warmth inside the canopy though. Your call of course, but one of those buddy heaters that runs off a big propane bottle should keep your "room" comfy.
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Old 11-04-2010   #9
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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I just got one of those 10 x10's at the Evil Empire (Mal-Wart), and it is a pretty good unit. It packs small (much smaller than others of comparable size) and seems pretty beefy. I'd make sure to bring extra hardware. It also has some small vents in the top, they won't do anything in big wind but at least let a little through so it's not as susceptible or shaky with breezes. I aquasealed the upper seams also, one I saw dripped pretty easily and mine is for Lochsa deluge-rain season. I think it was $99.

There are also nylon teepee's you can buy, with collapsible stoves in them, flue hole included. They are reallly sweet, but don't breathe so you have to manage a bit of ventilation to let things dry out. Lots of space, but not as much as the awning, but smaller packing overall if you compare it to an awning with tarps.
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 11-04-2010   #10
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 280
here's my two cents worth from a heating and cooling pro.

don't go killing yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning.
it is pretty sneeky stuff. can's see it, smell it or taste it.
it will give you some pretty nasty headaches too.

we have a "party tent" that we have used on march grand trips and winter camping.
we use the larger 'chickie pails' for dish washing.
we would fill the buckets with some large rocks and top one off with water.
then boil one of them for a bit on the stove.
pour the water from the hot bucket into the other bucket (filled with large rocks too) and start that one to boil.
bring the steaming bucket of rocks in the enclosure and enjoy nice steamy heat.
when it cools down, the other bucket was warm by then and repeat,
sometimes its nice to put one of the rocks in your lap (of course after it has cooled a bit).

yes it's a bit labor (and fuel) intensive but with short days and longer nights, but what else do you have to do besides drinking and telling lies.

it's a lot safer!

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