In January 2012, I posted about whether it’s better to shelter or tent. I’ve reproduced the discussion below. But now there may be a big disadvantage to sleeping in a shelter versus choosing a tent. Hantavirus! This nasty affliction is spread by rodents, especially mice. Mice habituate shelters, and hikers tolerate them.
In the picture above, hikers can hang their food, but hikers are exposed to mice scurrying around during the night. Hantavirus is a severe illness. http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Case-of-hantavirus-in-Adirondacks-confirmed-3973769.php
Most hiking trails don’t provide shelters. The Appalachian Trail and The Long Trail (Vermont) have many shelters.
They are convenient, but a tent, especially for sleeping, has advantages.
Privacy – You aren’t a stuffed sardine when it gets crowded.
Warmth – A tent with a rain-fly is warmer than an open shelter.
Better Sleep – You are not poked, or kicked, or outsnored.
No Mice – Those critters can drive you nuts!
So why choose a shelter to sleep in?
Convenience – Less hassle. No need to unpack and set up a tent; no need to dismantle and re-pack the tent in the morning, possibly in the rain.
Clothesline – Many shelters have them already. Easy to rig up, or simply hang garments from nails and hooks provided. Clothes are protected from outside weather.
Ease – Can sit and lean against a wall to read, journal, contemplate (I’m sore, I’m tired, I wish I had pizza and beer.)
- Johns Hollow Shelter to Brown Mountain Creek Shelter (birts.wordpress.com)
- NPMA Estimates 21 Million Rodents Are Seeking Food & Shelter (blogpestcontrol.com)