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Dedicated screen shelter for cooking and relaxing

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Have you taken a screen shelter while remote camping to use solely for insect protection when cooking or relaxing ?

If so do you feel that it was worth taking ?
 
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Nemo Bug Shelter.. Sometimes. It depends on where we are camping. In Liard Hot Springs the skeeters were so bad they sat on the Thermacell and laughed. Everglades insects are also cruel. Boreal forest; usually do not need it. Won't take it on portage canoe trips. Or if the bugs are all done mostly as they are in August.
 
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We've taken the discontinued MEC Mantis and recently a CCS Lean 3. These are for northern Canada and Alaska trips, where bugs can be horrible. For those situations, including with some arduous portages, they are well worth taking.
 
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Yes I do and yes it is worth taking.

To clarify a bit, my "screen" shelters have evolved over the years......

Version One - A large (16'x12') tarp with mesh walls attached with clips and gizmos (a home made version of the Eureka VCS before that existed).
Worked ok but the tarp required heavy poles if you didn't get lucky and have appropriate trees. Not great in wind and rain but ok at keeping bugs out.

shelter1.jpg

Version Two - A tunnel type non-free standing floorless group shelter from Woods, mesh walls and doors, pretty good at keeping the bugs out and roll down covers for the mesh walls. Came with crap fibreglass poles which did not last very long, reasonably good protection from bugs and rain, terrible in windy conditions and a pain to set up securely if the site was not "perfect".

shelter2.jpg

Version Three - A Sierra Designs freestanding floorless shelter (9'x9')with large areas of mesh. Very good for bug protection and pretty dry as well. OK in moderate winds, not so good in high winds. I would still be using this version except the insanely long (6 feet!) zippers eventually failed (pull replacements kept it going for a few more trips), the pole system it came with was excellent and the total weight was manageable (about 10lbs)

shelter3.jpg

Version Four - Haven't acquired this one yet but I have a few options I'm looking at. All the options are heavier and larger......

Future options:

MEC Chowhouse - A friend has one and we have used it for a number of trips the last two years, not too heavy, excellent bug and rain protection, not enough mesh for my liking and just a bit too large (10'x10') to be easily set up in bushwack type camping locations, free standing so works on beaches.

MEC Screenhouse - Similar to above but more basic design, lots of mesh, freestanding but a heavy bugger, all four side have individual roll down covers for rain protection (when using the optional fly).

LL Bean Screenhouse - Similar to the MEC, heavy but cheaper than the MEC, optional full fly not quite a nice as the MEC. Also comes with a removable floor which would be good for mucky situations and/or extra bug protection and possibly better performance in wind.

When I'm travelling in peak bug season (June, July and early August) in northern Canada I don't think I could handle being trapped in a regular tent. I basically live in my shelter, I always have a regular 2P tent but that is only used when the weather is really bad or when a lack of space prevents the use of the shelter.

In early Spring or late Summer/Fall I sometimes trip without the shelter and bring a tarp for rain protection but during bug season I wouldn't trip without a full shelter.
 
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Recently I have been tripping with a dedicated screen shelter in addition to my tent. Sometimes I use the shelter and sometimes it never leaves my backpack. I have used screen tarps and freestanding screen shelters. I prefer the freestanding shelters but am undecided about the design features I want or the necessity of taking the additional shelter.
 

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I’ve used a friend’s screen house a few times on southern trips when the no-see-ums were fierce.

I retreated there to eat, but otherwise did not care for the experience. No-see-um netting is closely woven; any breeze was largely blocked and on warm days it was hot inside. Camped in a beautiful, scenic area the view from inside was hazy blurry indistinct.

I’d retreat inside the screen house to eat, and immediately leave to find some spot to catch a bit of breeze, smoke a cigar and bath my neck with freshwater.

I try to avoid blackfly season, and don’t go on coastal trips from mid-April to mid-November. Salt marsh mosquitoes are hearty, and we’ve been plagued by them on mid-December trips during a spell of unseasonably warm weather.

Camped in intolerable bug conditions I can see the value, but for me being trapped inside a screen house detracts from the enjoyment of the place.
 
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I retreated there to eat, but otherwise did not care for the experience. No-see-um netting is closely woven; any breeze was largely blocked and on warm days it was hot inside. Camped in a beautiful, scenic area the view from inside was hazy blurry indistinct.

I’d retreat inside the screen house to eat, and immediately leave to find some spot to catch a bit of breeze, smoke a cigar and bath my neck with freshwater.

Camped in intolerable bug conditions I can see the value, but for me being trapped inside a screen house detracts from the enjoyment of the place.

This is how I feel and why I am deciding if I want to continue taking the extra shelter. It is basically the tarp or no tarp decision. Some people would not trip with out a tarp. I will most likely continue to take one. The bulk and weight are minimal and the benefits can be significant. It is a personal choice but I am curious about other perspectives.
 
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Camped in intolerable bug conditions I can see the value, but for me being trapped inside a screen house detracts from the enjoyment of the place
I feel the same way as Mike.

Coppermine023.jpg


On our Coppermine River trip, mostly on the Barrens, where the bugs can be horrendous, Carey (seated far left) brought a screen shelter for eating without bugs. Because of strong winds, and rocky ground, he was not able to get it to stand up, and never tried again. That was fine with me. I wouldn't have gone in anyway. I came to be outside, enjoying the scenery. Kathleen and Carey are sitting, facing into the wind, which keeps the bugs out of their faces. With a mosquito jacket, saturated in deet, plus a little bit of deet on our faces and hands, Kathleen and I rarely get many mosquito bites.

On our Snowdrift River trip, Kathleen and I came across a young family from Florida, who invited us into their screen shelter, which also served as their tent, for coffee. It was pleasant, I must say, but not enough for me to bother with.

snowdrift121.jpg

Some of you on this site might know them. From left to right, Eric, Brittany, Sandy and me. The family was from Florida, and I am pretty sure that Eric owned a canoeing related business.

snowdrift120.jpg
 
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The ones we used provided rain, wind, and bug protection. In the Barrens, that's pretty good. For two person trips, like Pitt did, maybe just a tent is adequate. For the four of us, we could all eat, cook, read, etc. out of the elements, with lots of visibility and continue being social. Otherwise, we'd have to retreat to each of our respective tents. Two of the tents were solos. That sounds like fun. Pics: a) MEC Mantis on the Tha Anne River, Nunavut. b) View out the screen of a CCS Lean 3, Noatak River, Alaska.
 

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Took a Eureka VCS tarp with bugscreen on a family trip in NW-Ontario. It was the first wilderness canoeing experience for my partner and our daughter, that was the reason we brought it. The bugs were abundand, the weather pretty wet, the shelter provided comfort. We had to spend one night under the tarp because an evening storm literally destroyed our tent. Glad we had it. On my solotrips I never used it.
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I just ordered the Eureka 13x13 bug screen.
I like the ccs bug screen and I know their quality is top notch but the price savings will be used for something else.
 
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Set up the Eureka No Bug Zone CT13 yesterday and what a downpour we had. I did not stake it out because I figured the winds would rip the webbing or the stakes would become projectiles.
Today I raised it up to app 7 1/2 ft and used trekking poles for the short ends around 40” high. I like it and so does Mrs Coldfeet. The tough part is now waiting to go tripping in August. Best to all.
Oh yea, advertised around $135-140. Somehow I saw it for $105 on Sunny Sports. Free shipping, just paid the tax. Total app $115
 

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we’re loving our Eureka too!
It gets a 10 for comfort in decent weather.


Have you taken a screen shelter while remote camping to use solely for insect protection when cooking or relaxing ?

If so do you feel that it was worth taking ?

As for the OP, Absolutely, and especially if you are introducing new people to the bush/canoe tripping. Peak bugs in the north is a spectacle best seen in camp behind a screen. IMO (talking level 10 bugs) there is nothing enjoyable about being outside in that situation, lathering yourself in deet and hiding inside a bug jacket while inhaling copious amounts of smudge smoke just isn’t appealing. I suppose there are other options, Ive read too many trip reports of groups getting to camp and being forced into their sleeping tents after enduring a most uncomfortable dinner, or others who have to cook dinner in their canoes on the water to escape, or even worse preparing meals in their sleeping tents.
In the fringe bug seasons we still take one and a tarp, it’s just part of the kit, and wether we use it or not it’s good piece of mind as a backup shelter.

We’ve got a few options, a Eureka ct13, a couple of MEC Mantis, and for solo a homemade shelter made from a beach shelter that’s a lot like a mantis.
The mantis style is the only one I’d take far north, they are great in wind, and a few rocks and a paddle and you’re sitting pretty. I begged and pleaded with MEC many times to make them again but it doesn’t seem like many others share my enthusiasm for them. Luckily I found a like new one on Kijiji a year ago and now have a backup! I wouldn’t consider really comfy tho, it’s low and the views suffer because it has to be oriented so the wind can’t get under it.
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Not often and depending upon time of year and location but when the bugs are bad, it makes a trip much more enjoyable. On a potentially buggy trip, sometimes the bugs are not bad at every campsite and sometimes they are not bad at certain times of the day but when they are bad, it allows meal preparation and eating and just visiting to be enjoyable. Very worthwhile on some trips.
It's a NEMO Bugout shelter.
Sometimes you need it.
Waterhen 0010.jpg

And sometimes you don't - but it's nice to have the option.
Waterhen 0011.jpg
 
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Ralph, I'm wondering... could the Nemo Bugout be set up without poles? Perhaps string two corners with a line between trees like a standard tarp, then guy out the other 'wings' (or support with paddles) to the ground? Thanks.
 
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Ralph, I'm wondering... could the Nemo Bugout be set up without poles? Perhaps string two corners with a line between trees like a standard tarp, then guy out the other 'wings' (or support with paddles) to the ground? Thanks.
Hi, Patrick, I believe so. NEMO says:
  • Secure corners with cord to trekking poles, paddles, nearby trees, or optional DAC Adjustable Tarp Poles.
I've not tried that so I can't comment on how well it works.
 
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Thanks Ralph. I hadn't read the NEMO description, but it seems so. Good to know as I have been eyeing one of those screen rooms.
 
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I started carrying a Nemo 9x9 but tarp (aka the comfort castle) and even the most Darius of June trips. It is heavy, but a worthwhile addition. It is possible to setup without poles, but I find it easier to set up with a 12ft breakdown Hayden Canoe Pole and some 1ft extensions.
 

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