Ask the Pro's: Float Trip Shelter Advice

Posted by Urs Wehrli on to Ask the Pros Float Trips
  • I have a week long float trip planned through on the Stuyahok, Koktuli, or the Moraine in August and am looking for a common food shelter to eat and cook in.

    I am curious what kind of tent/shelter you used for your food space....I saw in your moraine video with the shelter that was netted for bugs, but was it waterproof as well? What is your recommendation for this piece of equipment?

    Thanks, Connor

  • Moraine Creek Float Trip Video

  • Dear Conner

    I will try to answer, hope you will understand it all (I'm Swiss and my english is not that good):

    We use a Mosquito/Sun Shelter, which is not rainproof as a base. On the River, we cut a small tree and use it to fix the shelter in the middle. To avoid scratches in the roof, we put on top of the cut tree an empty PET-Bottle, which is cut in half. This tree stays in the middle of the tent and on the cut branches, we hang all your stuff to dry up through the night (waders, rainjackets, etc). We take teh tree with us the whole time on the float. If you are too far high up where you can't find trees (alpine region, like the Moraine), you could also use your paddles, tied together with duct tape or cable-benders.

    The tree in the middle of the shelter makes it really stable for the tarps, which we put over and around. The tarps keep the rain off and if you protect three sides of the shelter with them so that inside you have a cosy warm place where there is no wind. If there are a lot of mosquitos, you also have also a nice place to sit in, enjoy the silence and take a shower without being bothered by mosquitos. To fix the tarp at the shelter, we use Clamps/Clips. Throughout the day when we float on the river, we use the tarps as rain protection over the raft and keep everything in the raft together. And if a sleeping tent is leaking, you can put one of them over the tent and you stay safe & dry.

    It's surely a luxury and some extra work is needed to set the shelter up like this...but to be able to sit inside in a dry place, drinking a glass of red wine or whiskey, warming up after a full day of rain, keeps the motivation high and let you enjoy even the worst situation.

    Here a link to a shelter similer to the one we use: Copper River Screenhouse

    Here are some pics with the shelter from our last float on the Kobuk River.

    • Photos Above Used with Permission - © Urs Wehrli

    As well on the Wulik and the Kanketok, you can see, how we used the shelter by viewing the trip reports for each below.

    On the Kanektok, you can see in the first pics, that we used the paddles to stable the roof and hang on our stuff through the night, to dry up. But keep in mind: Don't sleep there where you cook! The place where you sleep can't be the same place where you cook or you store your food. Stay away with your sleeping tents from your kitchen tent. Don't use the same place for cook and sleep. Bears are everywhere and are attracted from the smell of your food, waste and fishing clothes. Keep that all away from your sleeping tent (no fishing-smelling clothes or food, or chocolate or anything else in your sleeping tent). To store the food, use sealed containers and burn down your waste every evening. Place all your clothes in the Kitchen. Then you keep save.

    We rent the shelter and all the rest of our equipment from Alaska Fisherman Club - Carmen understands exactly what we need and has the best prices ☺

    Hope I could gave you an idea how and why we have such a shelter. If you have further questions, just let me know.

    Have a great time

    Urs

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About the Author: Urs Wehrli

Urs lives loves to fly fish and is from Bern, Switzerland. Over the years done many self-planned Alaska float trips with his friends and shares his experiences and advice on his website www.floaters.ch. Urs also has some fantastic videos of his Alaska Float Trips on his Youtube Channel.

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