Monday, 10 July 2017

Reacquainting ourselves with the tent - with some canine help

 Last year saw my first attempt at camping since I was a child. It went well, and I'd rather hoped we'd get to holiday with the tent a second time, but life and such got in the way, and that one weekend away to Curious Arts Festival was all we managed.

Now it's Curious Arts time again, and all being well we'll be there, so we thought we ought to check the tent out, see if we (or more accurately my husband) could remember how it all went together.

Fortunately, the instructions are sewn into the tent's bag (very handy that!) and we had a canine helper, Dylan, to check things were done properly.

We hadn't really any idea about what we wanted in a tent when we bought this - we just picked one of the cheapest it was possible to stand up in* (though even so, there's only just space to put it on our lawn!). 

It's a fairly simple design - a sleeping section with integral groundsheet that can fit four, and a 'living room' where you could probably sleep more folk or a dog, especially if like us you're very minimalist in your approach.

There'a lot of nifty gear to be bought for tents - folding stoves, bowls that collapse flat, saucepans that stack inside each other, even 'larder' cupboards -  but as we wanted it primarily for a festival where cooking wasn't allowed on site most things didn't seem necessary. Last year we had an inflatable bed and a light. This year we've added a collapsible water carrier, plan on buying a mallet, a chair (just one, as it's unlikely we'll both be sitting around the tent at the same time) and maybe finding some bunting or fairy lights to help mark the guy ropes.

So that's the way out ...

If I were buying again I'd look for a design with more openings/removable sides. In summer it feels a bit airless, and I suspect that in rain it might feel claustrophobic. There are several vents and one clear 'window' but I wish there were more or that I could open a window or something to let a real draft through, without risking Dylan escaping.

Lights gets in, but little air

Also being able to roll up the walls of the 'living room' and turn it into an open-sided area would make it possible to cook in there if we ever tried 'proper' camping. For a couple of weekends a year, it's definitely manageable, so all these things are for some unspecified future time.

For now, the tent is packed away again but ready for its big outing later this month.

* if you're interested, it's a Quechua Arpenaz 4.1 from Decathlon

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