Using a Tent



Part 2b: Trailer won't work? How about a tent.

All too often I hear someone say "I remember the time I went camping ..." just to find out it was just one time they went camping. It made me wonder why do people only camp once? Sitting around a camp fire roasting marshmallows and talking. Waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee or making pancakes. These are experiences that are hard to beat. Then I remember the hassle of camping. Loading the car with all the gear and then arriving at my destination just to realize I forgot something. Setting up tents and blowing up air mattresses in the middle of the night when all I really want to do is go to sleep. Even though it gets better once there, this is often what kept me from going in the first place.

When deciding on a tent there are many choices but they basically fall into a couple categories. The most basic is the dome tent. These can be picked up at any sporting goods store. They're inexpensive and fairly simple to set up using bungee corded flexible poles. Besides how inexpensive they are to purchase they also have a very primitive appeal. This primitiveness is also the biggest drawback. Their low ceiling height limits you to sleeping directly on the ground or an air mattress. Sitting out a storm can be quite uncomfortable as they fill with water making everthing wet.

A better solution is a cabin tent. These are large sturdy tents with tall enough ceiling to stand in. This allow you to furnish them with a table chairs and a cot for sleeping getting you up off the ground. If the weather is bad and you are stuck inside it's easy to entertain oneself. The major problem with a cabin tent is their complexity. They are difficult and can take over 30 minutes to setup.

Recently there has been a new invention. It's called a quick set tent. They are very easy to setup, some taking less than a minute. My favorite is the Black Butte by CVT. It can be setup in 30 seconds (longer to stake out the guy wires). Their draw back is in their size. Closed up they are 78 inches long which makes them hard to just through in a trunk. Luckily they come with a heavy duty PVC cover so they can easily be bungeed to a roof rack. Setting them up is a matter of taking it out of the cover and popping them up like an umbrella. The Black Butte has a heavy duty PVC bucket floor that rises part way up the sides to keep the water out. It was designed as an African safari tent so you can be assured to stay dry and comfortable no matter the weather condition.

Tents are a good way to get started in madventuring. Although a trailer is much easier to get you out there, with a little planning and organization old style camping with a tent becomes almost as easy. Get a couple rubber made tubs to store your gear in. When it comes time to go everything is already packed and ready to load. So find your adventure and go enjoy it.

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