Monday, November 07, 2011

I Do Not Live in a Tent ...

... but I often sleep in one, outside, even during the winter. I have back problems, and they seem to be best addressed by sleeping on a hard surface with a slight incline -- like my back yard. Also, I've just always liked camping. Back in my Marine Corps days, I often spent weeks living under canvas, and then went camping in my off-time.

My guess is that close to six months out of the year, depending on weather (I'm pretty good down to single digits fahrenheit, but below zero is a little brisk) I spend part or all of the night sleeping outdoors. The bed in the house is just too soft for comfortable all-night sleeping, although it does get used for other things (IYKWIMAITYD).

Anyway, the previous tent has a couple of years' hard use on it, so a couple of weeks ago I received an early birthday present:

Brief review:

About $25 at Wally-World (Ozark Trail is apparently a store brand). Quite nice!

The last tent almost immediately got a pranged zipper. The zippers on this one are sturdy and seem to be double-stitched around so that stuff doesn't tear.

The last tent required four poles, two for the tent and two skinny flimsy ones, which quickly broke, to arch the rain fly. This one only has the two, very sturdy, main frame poles. Exceptionally easy setup. I went ahead and spent a couple of bucks on heavy-duty pegs instead of using the flimsies that come with cheap tents.

I've already slept out in the thing several nights through hard rain. I never got the last tent properly waterproofed. Haven't had a chance to work this one over with seam sealant and waterproofing spray yet, but it's already more leak- and drip-resistant than the last tent at its best.

The tent has a built-in side pocket and a "gear loft" -- a small net that hangs from four hooks in the ceiling. It could be bigger, but it's sufficient to hold my Android tablet (the tent is parked within range of my wifi router, of course), flashlight, smokes, etc., and I've hung a little LED lantern thingie from the ceiling as well for general lighting.

I always considered the previous tent a temporary thing, but this is looking more like a permanent installation. For obvious reasons I don't plan to store valuable stuff in it, but my sleeping arrangement (vapor barrier mat, sleeping bag, pillows, WWII wool military blanket and an old quilt) leaves plenty of room, I think, for a small trunk or foot locker to store a few books and clothes in, a wind-up alarm clock, little floor rug for sitting and shoes, etc. Once I get those things in place and find a welcome mat and a decent camp stool, I really could almost live there if I wanted to.

Unless, of course, I need to eat or use the bathroom. But I have a cooler I could keep next to it, and it's near my little home-built brick barbecue pit. I will resist the urge to dig an outdoor latrine, though.

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