Thursday, December 3, 2020

Portable: My Tent


My tent at Arrow Rock State Park, Missouri. May 2018.
My tent at Arrow Rock State Park, Missouri. May 2018.

There's nothing particularly wowza about my tent, but I'm writing about it because Sinh, my Vietnamese student who I met up with in Las Vegas in early 2020, is in the market for tents, and we talked a bit about mine and how I like it. He asked me how long I've had it, and I had to think about that. Years. Years. But how many years?

My daughter and I took a road trip to Alaska in the second half of the 90s, and I did not have the tent then. We borrowed a tent from one of my cousins. 

I did not have the tent when I decided to pass the turn of the millennium in Organ Pipe National Monument in December 1999/January 2000. That tent was a geriatric pup tent, basically. The Y2K trip was my second solo road trip.

I did have the tent on my solo trip out west in September 2007, where I camped near Sedona and at the Grand Canyon. I wrote about this trip here and here

My tent at Grand Canyon. September 2007.
My tent at Grand Canyon. September 2007.

So we'll go with September 2007 - I've had my tent for at least 13 years. It's a Eureka Tetragon 8.

I said there's nothing wowza about my tent, but that doesn't mean I don't love it. Here's why:

  • It's easy and relatively fast for me to put up by myself.
  • Roomy!!!! It's a Law of the Universe that when a manufacturer says a tent is a two-person, three-person, or whatever-person tent, you actually need to subtract at least one human from that count. Unless, of course, you love to sleep in a tent like a pup in a newborn litter, with all of your gear outside. So, I think my tent is supposed to be a four-person tent, but it is ideally built for two. 
  • A lot of pockets that suspend from three walls.
  • A loop at the ceiling peak from which I can hang a lantern or keys or whatever. 
  • The door is off-center - toward the right- so I've got a more spacious living area in the left side of the tent.
  • I can almost completely stand up  in my tent. 

Related posts on tent camping

 2018: Missouri: Arrow Rock Camping, Part 1: Cold Coffee and Some Walks 

2017: Arkansas: Lake Catherine State Park, Part 1: Nostalgia

2017: Texas: Big Bend National Park, including a video of a tarantula checking out my tent

2012: New Mexico: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park: My Temporary Home


Tarantula on my tent, Big Bend National Park, Texas. September 2017.
Tarantula on my tent, Big Bend National Park, Texas. September 2017.

In a post about tents and camping, how can one not include something about ..... bears? 

From A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson, about that night in his tent 

From the hilarious Hairpin interview with Molly Langmuir on her solo hike in the Tetons, where every moment was consumed by the fear of bears. Below, an excerpt: 

"The ranger who gave the canister you’re supposed to keep all your food in and leave 100 yards away from your tent at night explained that even if you drink an Emercen-C in your Nalgene you should put it in your canister, and that was actually what put me over the edge. Because if bears can smell an Emercen-C in a closed Nalgene, they were clearly a sort of advanced supercreature that could definitely sniff out the crumbs I’d likely drop on myself at some point. Plus, for all I remembered the last time I had used my sleeping bag I had been binging on beef jerky right next to a barbecue smoker. Also I didn’t know how far 100 yards was."
I remember solo camping at Padre Island National Seashore over the Christmas-New Year week one year, where I'd looked forward to actually camping on the beach .... until the campground host told me of the recent camper whose tent had been invaded by the local coyotes one night while he slept! That asshole. By whom, I mean, the campground host. 

Although I pitched my tent next to a group of young, robust Russian men, working in Dallas, I slept that night with a knife in my hand, hyper-alert at every tiny snap of my tent wall from a breeze, thinking of those coyotes. 


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