Published on Sep 11, 2011
The AT has shelters every 10-20 miles. A shelter is a three sided shack. Some are very elaborate, and some are just a box in the woods. Most of the time they have picnic tables and fire pits which make life more convenient.
The downside to sleeping in shelters is animals. Since humans congregate around these places, so do animals. Mice are a huge problem as are squirrels, and in very rare cases, bears. More annoying are the biting insects that swarm around human trash. This leads me to my preferred campsite- a spring or stream.
If you're lucky there will be rocks around a stream that take the place of a picnic table. The area is usually less impacted, so there are less problems with nusiance animals biting you or trying to steal your food. The stream provides fresh water. If you can find a place like I describe, life is good.
Currently, I sleep in a hammock. When it gets colder, I'll move to a small tent. The hammock is comfortable and can be set up anywhere I can find two trees approximately 9 feet apart...which is pretty much anywhere in the woods. A rain fly keeps me dry if it does rain. Once you get practiced, you can pretty much do anything from a hammock and in a sleeping bag. The hammock also provides a nice spot for a mid-day nap if needed.