Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Two Tents!

With a tent pole splintered on the tent I took to RAGBRAI the last two times and two failed attempts to repair it because both repair kits had poles that were too big (1 mm in my wife's case, .1 mm in my case - still not close enough for horseshoes) I just gave in and bought a tent at Target.  However, the setup time was excruciatingly slow compared to my little dome tent, and several times it almost blew away while I was setting it up in a light breeze.  That's no good if you're trying to pack up quickly at 5:00 a.m. so you can get riding and avoid at least a few hours of 90 degree temps in the Iowan Outback.

While the footprint is only 9x7, the same as my small dome tent, it's considerably heavier and clunkier and doesn't breathe well without the doors fully open.  As in unzipped and allowing bugs to cohabitate.

Here's the Coleman 4 person tent from the front.

And from the side.  Getting the rain tarp on was a serious challenge.  The height makes it difficult to keep a corner clipped while you're clipping the opposite corner.  It was almost impossible with one person.

My wife was shopping today and stopped to find me an alternate tent at Rick's.  This was what she brought home.  A little more survival than my old dome tent, but incredibly easy to set up with only two poles and a little wind safety is useful during storm season.  Won't protect me from a tornado, but I won't blow away in a thunderstorm which was a possibility the last two RAGBRAIs I was on.

The windfly rolls back on one side to allow a breeze in the tent.  Or a moth, as is currently the case.  Weightwise, it's less than half the weight of the other tent which I really like.  There's a lot of stuff to carry on RAGRAI to make it through a week, so saving weight where you can is useful.  It'll give me some spare capacity to carry an iPhone recharger and extra snacks.

The end result is that my backyard is starting to look like a tent city.  I'm keeping both.  That leaves me with two four person tents, one one to two person survival tent, and a one to two person small dome tent with a busted pole that I'll still repair right after RAGBRAI now that I'm homing in on the pole circumference.  I know there are only three people in my family, but I need a place for my folks to stay when they finally need assisted living and I think they'll want separate tents with a lot of space.  My mom for her sewing.  Dad for his old car parts.  That'll leave the survival tent for me to use for camping.  I'm all about conscientious planning.

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