Genryu Fishing of Japan #15

Accommodation in Genryu Tent, Zelt or Tarp?

When you plan to go to Genryu fishing camp with everything in your 60L back-pack, probably the first thing you wonder is accommodation equipment. I was so too when I just started Genryu camping, and I always wanted to take a tent. I felt tent was a complete shelter, and there was a guarded sense, but on the other hand a tent is quite heavy and bulky. In time I also tried a zelt and tarp later.

Today I would like to write little bit about accommodation equipment for Genryu fishing camp.

Firstly, as for tents, of course we should take very compact lightweight tents for Genryu camping. I use a climbing tent for 2 persons that weighs about 2.0kg. We divide the tent set into 2 and carry by 2 persons. Then weight is about 1.0kg per person.

Nowadays we only take a tent in the cold season or when the rain is expected. Tents are very strong against rain or wind. If your tent has mosquito net screen, it is safe to insects such as mosquitos. Japanese maker’s tents are quite strong against rain or humidity because we have much more rain and humidity in comparison with western countries. I recommend Arai Tent’s or Mont-Bell’s lightweight tents. If possible, you should get a tent up to 1.5kg for 1 person tent, 2.0kg for 2 person tents, 3.0kg for person tents, etc. I use Mont-Bell’s climbing tent for 2 person.

Tents promise a good night's sleep as the perfect shelter, but it also has negative aspects. They say if you sleep in a tent, sometimes it is hard to perceive the risk of heavy rain and flooding especially you are exhausted.

Next choice is a zelt. Zelt is a super compact tent for climbing. It is used to accidental camp (bivouac) or intentionally used for weight reduction equipment. Originally bottom of the zelt is opened like bag-shaped, and it was intended to be used to swaddle the body or to suffer from head to surpass the night if you do not put back to camp in bad weather. Current products might have poles & ropes, or using tree branches you can set-up the zelt just like a normal tent.Although it is inferior in comfort as compared to conventional tent, it prevents night dew and shuts off the outside air, but zelts are not strong against rain or wind and not safe to insects.

I use Arai’s zelt. It weighs only about 280g and very compact. I set up it with tree branches and thin ropes. In summer time when there are many mosquitos, I hang mosquito net in the zelt.

The most popular way of accommodating in Genry is using only Tarps. We always use tarps to keep the place dry from the rain or night dew even when we are using tents or zelts. During summer season we often sleep under the tarp. If it rains, the place under the tarp can be cooking place, party place and sleeping place.

Our way is set a tarp and put a blue sheet. That is it. We normally sleep using roll mat, compact sleeping bag and Gore-Tex sleeping bag cover, so that we have no problem iflittle rain blown under the tarp. Some people sleep with only Gore-Tex sleeping bag cover, but it is too cold for me.

For the first time, we feel sense of safety with tents or zelts, but once we get used to sleeping under the tarp it is very comfortable. We can stretch the limbs. When it rains, set the tarp low then rain does not almost blow in.

As I wrote, we always take tarp even we sleep in tents or zelts, so if do not take tents or zelts, it is great reduction of the weight and space in a back-pack.

We use Arai’s or Shuzanso’s light weight tarps. My Arai tarp is good for 3 persons(max for 4 persons) and weighs only 1.2kg.

You might think we have no protection against mosquitos in case using tarps only. We put 4 coils of mosquito coil at the 4 corners and this works very well. Some people wear mosquito net but I do not do it.

Another good point of tarp is we can soon notice the danger like heavy rain or flooding because tarp is half open-air.

You may know or see some Genryu fishers camping with blue color tarps. That is not a tarp actually, that is called “Blue Sheet” and it is basically a material for construction works. Those people use blue sheet because it is very cheap but very tough. 5m x 5m blue sheet cost about only US$5 to $6. It is famous that Yuzo Sebata uses blue sheet always. He set up the sheet like a house. We call it Sebata-san’s Blue Sheet House. They say that they can make bonfire under the blue sheet when it is raining.
So those are the accommodating equipment in Genryu. As my conclusion, I prefer sleeping under the tarp and take zelt just in case.

However each one has advantages and disadvantages, so you can select what you like with necessary and preferences.

P.S. The following photo is the comparison of the size of the zelt(1-2 pesons),tarp(3-4 persons) and tent(2 person). Size of the zelt, yellow one, is 13cm x 10cm.