Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The beginning of camping season

The old tent is gone. I've accepted that now. It will not miraculously appear in a burst of light and snuggle itself into the hybrid's trunk alongside the sleeping bags and the skillet. Nor is anyone going to offer to teleport a canvas tent, already set up, to and from any campsite I happen to choose. Nor can that faithful hybrid haul even an extremely light trailer (though I've found plans for a 400 pound camper - too cool.) And besides, I live in an apartment. The apartment people already have all kinds of new rules about parking. I don't even want to contemplate trying to get them to agree to let me store a trailer.

So, right, a tent... Anyone familiar with tents knows that the guidelines for how many people you can fit in a tent assume that noone has wide shoulders, pointy elbows, or for that matter, any clothing or other gear along with. And I've ruled out most large tents, both because space is at a premium in the car and because in my experience they're a right pain to set up. So the smallest tent I will consider is a 3-person and the absolute largest would be an 8-person, but that tent would have to be essentially the old tent for me to consider it. (The old tent was a 2-room cabin tent that theoretically held 8, but was perfect for setting up a bedroom on one side and a sort of mini living room/changing area on the other. It was also the easiest cabin tent I've ever seen for setup, but I really didn't like that it wasn't easy to pack compactly.)

Realistically speaking, I'm looking at 3-4person tents and not finding any that are calling out, "Oh, me, me! Put me in the back of the hybrid and I will go camping with you for years! I want to head to campgrounds that used to be amusement parks, roadside attractions, and the modern camping areas of reenactments." The cheap tents I won't buy because they're not likely to stand up to solid use and besides, I don't want a sweatshop tent. The higher quality ones I've seen so far are not impressing me either. And no, before someone even thinks about suggesting it, I really don't want to sew my own tent. No.

So if anyone out there knows of the perfect tent for two, let me know. In the meantime, I'm probably going to head to REI again later this week in the hopes that one of the tents there will call out to me.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey dang it, I was going to suggest the sewing! No fair. I wish I knew tents better. We've had a tent camper since 1999 which is when we stopped tenting. Let me know what you find out!

5/09/2007 12:12 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Heh. I'm thinking about it, but there's no way I'd have one done in the time period I want. *sigh* What I may do is get a tent, then begin the modifications when it starts to really bug me.

5/09/2007 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There you go; now you are thinking creatively! Cut the side out and sew in an inflatable bay window...

5/09/2007 12:34 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

My difficulty is I want something more compact and sturdier than the average "family camping" tent, but one which won't end up with me elbowing my husband all night because there really isn't room for the both of us. Backpacking tents are not really designed for much other than to be as lightweight as possible while protecting from bugs and weather. Many family tents seem to be designed for the family that doesn't mind hosting a circus now and again. I want something in between.

The REI basecamp model is okay, but doesn't leave much room for anything beyond the bed, which is understandable, since they mostly cater to backcountry campers, but not precisely what I want.

On the other hand, they do include a gear loft and a vestibule, both of which are well designed and features I like...

If I wind up making a tent, I've got some ideas for a scaled down cabin tent with a built in front porch. Problem is, I'd have to figure out how to do the poles so they could be transported in a Civic.

5/09/2007 1:15 PM  

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