Advice on earth mat for Death Hollow in Utah......

John Kerby

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I have one......But I am considering ditching it. I will be doing Deaths Hollow from July 11th-14th (15? 13?).....I have my gear all collected, food gathered. I am going to try using a US GI surplus poncho liner instead of a sleeping bag, because all the reviews I have read say that these things will keep you warm or cool, and I can attest that they are extremely light weight. I don't have to have cushion when I sleep, and I'll be on the ground anyway....I don't remember it getting that cold at night the last time I was there.....So is an earth mat really needed? Will I freeze to death without one?
 

Nick

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I've never heard the term earth mat. Do you just mean a sleeping pad? My friend @Ndheiner sometimes goes without a pad, he might have some input. My opinion is that a pad is almost more important than a sleeping bag. I'd leave the bag behind before the pad for sure. Also - its pretty hot out there in July but the bottom of that canyon is wet and doesn't see a lot of sunshine. I'd still pack a pad and bag if I was doing it and be grateful for the extra comfort and peace of mind knowing that you won't potentially have a bunch of miserable nights.
 

John Kerby

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I have only been there in late May, early June. What is it like in mid July? Miserably hot? Good chance there will be a sourse of water?
 

John Mckean

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I think you would be fine as far as the heat. The canyon is pretty cool though out the day and you're always in the water. The Boulder mail trail can be hot and dry but if you start early it wont be bad. I know there is a spring up stream from where you drop in from the BMT and another somewhere I cant remember. You can, of course, filter the clear and cool stream water. I have a thin cheap pad that I cut in half that works great. Seems there are plenty of sandy camping spots that would be fine to sleep on without a pad.
 

John Mckean

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On thing to consider is the poison Ivy. I was there last week and it was so thick and vibrant you could see the urushiol on the plants shinning in the sunlight. At times, its unavoidable so If you're sensitive to it you might want to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt.
 

Bob

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We hiked mostly in the creek, avoided the ivy.......was really thick the year I went thru there. Need water shoes tho, you will destroy boots
 

Ndheiner

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I have one......But I am considering ditching it. I will be doing Deaths Hollow from July 11th-14th (15? 13?).....I have my gear all collected, food gathered. I am going to try using a US GI surplus poncho liner instead of a sleeping bag, because all the reviews I have read say that these things will keep you warm or cool, and I can attest that they are extremely light weight. I don't have to have cushion when I sleep, and I'll be on the ground anyway....I don't remember it getting that cold at night the last time I was there.....So is an earth mat really needed? Will I freeze to death without one?


My non-insulated, 3" inflatable earth mat actually keeps me cooler in the hot desert nights as it allows the heat from my body to dissipate through the air circulating in the pad underneath me. There has been several trips were i deflated it completely during colder than expected nights to use the earth as insulation. With foam earth mat experiences, the summer earth below insulated me just as much as my thinner bulky ridge-rest, if you are able to sleep without the comfort of padding. Remember tho, the insulation in your sleeping bag is squished under your body weight which reduces the insulation factor of the fibers in your bag. If its dry and summertime, and you don't need a pad for comfort, worry about your clothing and sleeping bag rating. Temperatures are usually colder down in those dark narrow canyons than the forecasted temp above, especially if you take a swim.

But going without a pad is easier in the desert as you can conform the sand under you to your body's contours. Just be choosy about your spot, clear what you can underneath, and have a few strong cocktails before bedtime. ZZZZ..
 

John Kerby

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Ok, if the ivy is that bad, wouldn't it soak through long pants? Any suggestions on pants that will not allow the ivy to soak through?
 

John Mckean

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I know there is a poison ivy lotion that helps prevent any problems. Check Walgreens. You can travel in the stream but you might have to swim some. Also, It seems to be concentrated at the upper parts of DH. I went right through it and only got a small patch on my arm. I think the frequent stream crossing washed most my legs and my arms I didn't think to wash off.
 

Nick

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FWIW, I've bene through Death Hollow at least 5 times and we've never had any problems with the poison ivy. Not just me but any of the people I've been with. Not sure if we were just really lucky or what.
 

John Kerby

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I am still trying to find an inflatable raft to use.....Can't find what I want though. All wal mart sells is the cheap and small mats to lay on, which would not keep my gear as dry as I want.

I have never reacted to poison ivy before. I know I've been in it too.

These areas where its thick.....Can you travel the stream instead of walking through it?
 

Nick

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An inflatable raft for Death Hollow? That'll probably just be some dead weight, I can't think of anywhere you would really need it or could use it.

The poison ivy in DH is largely avoidable. Typically the only time the stream isn't walkable is when it's dammed by beavers.
 

John Kerby

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I've seen areas where it seems the trails goes through NARROW canyons that are water filled, and people pushing their packs on small inflatable childrens rafts.....To do the Boulder Mail trail from the airstrip to the highway 12 bridge is 26 miles right? And isn't part of it canyons like I described? I have diabetes gear I need to keep dry.....
 

Nick

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I've seen areas where it seems the trails goes through NARROW canyons that are water filled, and people pushing their packs on small inflatable childrens rafts.....To do the Boulder Mail trail from the airstrip to the highway 12 bridge is 26 miles right? And isn't part of it canyons like I described? I have diabetes gear I need to keep dry.....


That narrow swimming stuff is in the upper part of Death Hollow for people starting from the Hell's Backbone Road. Coming in from the airstrip/BMT then following Death Hollow down to the Escalante and out to Hwy 12 doesn't typically involve any mandatory swimming. Still not a bad idea to have some critical items in splash proof containers in case you take a spill, but definitely no need to float a pack. ***Disclaimer: conditions change. :)
 

John Kerby

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I see. Studying this hike online, you read about and see pics of a lot of different areas. Can be confusing.....Probably still bring a small inflatable raft because it doesn't add much weight, and I'd rather have it and not need it than the opposite. I do appriciate the info though!
 

Nick

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One thought - an inflatable sleeping pad can serve that purpose and also be nice to sleep on. Typically much lighter as well.
 

John Kerby

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I'm kinda poor right now. Too many trips this summer. Seems like all of the inflatable sleeping mats I have seen were 100+....
 

slc_dan

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Klymet had a good pad for around 55 too.....

It's worth it man.
 

nonameiwant

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Klymet had a good pad for around 55 too.....

It's worth it man.

Yes if you can really afford it get the klymit pad it packs small too!
 
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