Saturday, October 22, 2011

My New Tent

My first time truly backpacking, I was 20 years old and alone in the wilds of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. I'd hitchhiked for two days to get there after my car broke near Dayton, Ohio. I carried a ridiculously heavy pack, since everything I needed while hitching rides and camping were in it, but the one thing I didn't have was a tent. I slept on a groundcloth and as a result, I got chewed alive by mosquitoes at night, and soaked to the skin in heavy thunderstorms. Before I went on another trip, I bought a great tent that lasted decades until I made the mistake of loaning it to my son.

When I went backpacking up the Priest a year ago, I borrowed a friend's tent, and didn't much care for it. It was very difficult to get in and out of, and you could not sit up in it. So that made me realize that I wanted a tent with an entrance on the side, and more head room. After a lot of searching, I bought an Eastern Mountain Sports Velocity 1 last spring. The idea was that I would join a friend for a few days while he hiked the southern half of the Appalachian Trail. Then I developed bad plantar fasciitis, and he broke his ankle, which pretty well knocked those plans for a loop. So for five months, the tent has sat in my closet, unpacked.

Well, that changed today. I am planning on a three day backpacking trip next month. Hopefully, it won't be as cold as a year ago. And I figured I'd better learn how to put the tent up under dry and sunny conditions so that I might have a chance getting it set up if it is dark and/or raining. So I took the tent out on the patio, and spent a good half hour learning how to set it up. Then I took it all down, packed it up, and set it up again. This time, it only took about six minutes, not counting staking down the tent (the stakes are not going to go into a concrete patio real well). I think I will like this tent. It is light weight, about two pounds 14 oz. I also bought the "footprint," which adds a few ounces but will extend the life of the tent. It is not nearly as roomy as my pink tent that I slept in for two nights during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, but it doesn't need to be.

Why get just a one person tent? Well, it saves a couple of pounds, and even if I go camping with a friend, it is more comfortable to sleep in your own tent. Two people in a two person tent - roughly 6.5 by 4 feet - have to be two very friendly people. My wife is as likely to join me on a backpacking trip as I am to wear a pink dress to work and spray paint "My Boss is an Idiot" all over my workplace. In fact, she is even less likely to go backpacking. So a one person tent should fit the bill.

Here are some photos as I set it up, starting with a picture of the "foot print" on the patio and everything else still bundled up.
The pole system is really cool. It is one assembly, all shock-corded together. There are little balls at the end of each pole that snap into an assembly at each corner of the tent. And there are things on the tent that snap on to various parts of the poles to make the tent open up. It is very easy, once you learn how it works.
Here is the tent set up without the fly. If there was a zero percent chance of rain at night, and it was a warm night, this would not be a bad way to sleep.
All set up and showing the side entrance with the vestibule pulled back.
View with the rain fly on and pulled out as well as I could without staking it down.
Inside view towards my feet.


  1. We had to say goodbye to our tent this summer at Sherando. It had a terminal zipper failure, but fortunately we have a backup tent. Your wife and mine have lots in common.

  2. Great looking little tent you got there. Looks nice and cozy.

  3. It's always sad to say goodbye to a faithful outdoor companion, Les. Sherando is sure a pretty spot. It reminds me a bit of New England here in Virginia. Yeah, you will never catch my wife backpacking. Never.

  4. It should be cozy, Karen. It got a great review from Backpacker. I like that it is wide at the top where you need it to be and narrow where your feet go. It will be a challenge to fit a pack under the little vestibule, but it should work out. I'll have a field report soon enough.

  5. Looks pretty cool. Hopefully that vestibule does pull out some. It should be fine. You don't have to put your pack under it if you put your pack in a trash bag each night. That has worked well for me. It really only needs to have room for your boots.
    Looking forward to our hike next month.

  6. Me too, Hawkeye. The trip will be a good test of my new tent. I'll bring a trashbag or two just in case the vestibule is not roomy enough. I thought if nothing else, there is plenty of room in the tent for my boots, a bottle of water, and to store all the food. Nothing frustrates a bear more than food stored in a tent because they don't have the manual dexterity to open a zipper and they can't figure out how to get to the food. ;^) Art
    PS: I still need to think of a good trail name. And if I really did store my food in a tent, "Moron" might be a good one.

  7. We might have to call your Artwich, or even Fiesta Artritto.