Our new tent…

So we went to the store to look at tents in person today, and Cactus Killer and I came back with our backcountry tent. A 3-man Quechua 2 second tent. (The base tent of the same brand was just not practical in the end, because it had a separate floor, and there was a huge gap where water could get in, if there was much rain/flooding….)

And when we got home, Silly Squirrel was anxious to try it out… and so we took it out of the bag and started setting it up in the middle of the living room, but then decided to take it out to the terrace, and truthfully the set up WAS quick and easy! The two of us went inside to check out the space and comfort, and it seems like a fine tent for the hike-in days! Cactus Killer was “practicing” for the hike-in by carrying the tent with us all over Paris as we did some other errands as well…

Anyway, getting the tent back down and in its bag was a bit more complicated, but i think with a little bit of practice we will be able to do it all pretty quickly…

So a toast to the new tent!!!!!

And after buying the tent we headed up to Barbes to look at fabric… We wanted to get some very light comfortable fabric to transform into camp bedding for those hot nights when the sleeping bags will be way too hot… And so we did a tour of the fabric shops, and spent a really nice afternoon looking at different options, both in terms of colors and fabric types. I had originally wanted some kind of camo pattern, but after looking at the fabrics in that pattern I switched to a lighter, more comfortable batik, and chose a psychedelic green/pink combo that looks fun and feels inviting… Cactus Killer choose some very light weight cottons in the blue purple shade for Silly Squirrel and a beautiful desert color combo African pattern for herself…

We left Barbes with smiles on our faces and packages in our arms… It was a really good day!

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The tent dilemma…

Things seem more concrete every day. A few days ago we receive our first shipment of camp-related equipment: the cots which we got on a very good sale, as well as other miscellaneous items from our list. However, the search for a solution to the tent dilemma continues…

The problem we are trying to resolve remains the same. We need a big roomy tent that is quick to assemble and disassemble, is sturdy, and quite waterproof. But we also want something light enough to carry for those hike-in days.

The two tents we are currently considering definitely meet our requirements for jeep camping, but on those days when we have to hike-in with our gear, they are really too heavy. So we are still looking for a more portable solution that is not going to be super expensive (the ideal would be for us each to have one of those personal back-pack tents, that weight next to nothing and roll up smaller than a sleeping bag. The problem with those is that they are expensive — the best price I saw was around $90 each — and as we need 3, and only for a few days of the journey, it seemed like it’s not really a viable option.)

By chance the other day I was talking to a friend about the trip, and she suggested Quechua tents, which you basically can just toss out on the ground and they pitch themselves. And they are very inexpensive! And so I followed her advice and checked them out at the Decathlon store in Paris, where they had this amazing Base 4.2 tent, and then online I saw this interesting Base seconds tent. But also this super practical “2 Second” tent. There is the “one-man” version, which is very light, or a larger “two-man” and “three-man” versions which become heavier (though still not that heavy), however, these tents fold into big round discs, which isn’t really practical in terms of carrying them on a hike, when you have other gear as well.

Wanted to find out a bit more from people who had actually used these tents in the field, and found this Gear Junkie review useful, also the comments from folks at ukcampsite were quite helpful, as they had used the bigger version of the tent.

Hopefully on Monday Cactus Killer will take a short trip to this store with me to look at them, and maybe we will make some decisions after seeing them.

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Narrowing down the tent choices

The all important tent question is still lingering on…

Today we ordered the cots and some other miscellaneous camp gear from Cabela’s (had to get them before the sale ends, and while the free shipping offer is still good), but am still hesitating on the tent. Looking around a bit more at tents, am wondering if there is a better choice in the same category (in fact by the same manufacturer)…

Here are the two tents under consideration and the issues with each of them as far as i can see:

The Eureka Copper Canyon – here is the description from the manufactuer’s site. We have already been looking at this tent and in fact had pretty much decided to purchase it here at the amazon site (which seems to have the best price). This tent has had excellent reviews. It will fit the 3 of us with the 3 cots:

COPPER CANYON10DIMENSIONS:

tent = 10 ft x 10 ft
(tent weight is 26 lbs 8 oz. / center H is 7 ft)

cot = 25″ W x 75″ L x 16″ H  =  approx. 2.5 ft W x 7.5 ft L each
(cot weight is 15 lbs / it packs into carry case at 8″ W x 38″ L x 4″ H)

we can fit the 3 cots inside with about a foot of space between us.

The only “negative” or “concern” we had about this tent is related to its weight (if we decided to use it for the Hike-In sites) at almost 27 pounds it is relatively heavy (can be carried by one person, but that person couldn’t carry anything else, so we would have to split remaining gear between two of us).

The Eureka Tetragon 1210 – here is the description from the manufactuer’s site.  I started to look at it because it was on the same website where we bought the cots, and was well-recommended there. The reason I thought we should consider and compare it with the Copper Canyon is the weight. According to the site’s specs, this tent  is quite a bit lighter… It seems like it is a little cheaper (or about the same price as the Copper Canyon) here at the amazon site (which seems to have the best price). This tent has also had excellent reviews. It will also fit the 3 of us with the 3 cots:

80DIMENSIONS:

tent = 12 ft x 10 ft
(tent weight is 17 lbs 11 oz. / center H is 6 ft 4 inches)

cot = 25″ W x 75″ L x 16″ H  =  approx. 2.5 ft W x 7.5 ft L each
(cot weight is 15 lbs / it packs into carry case at 8″ W x 38″ L x 4″ H)

we can fit the 3 cots inside with about a foot and a half of space between us.

This tent is lighter than the Copper Canyon… even though it is a tiny bit bigger…. Not sure what that means… One concern I had related to reviews. Seems some reviewers complained about leaks. Whereas the Copper Canyon reviews spoke about “no leaks”… not sure if it is just a difference in people’s experience or if there is some difference between the quality of the tents…

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Lists… shopping… packing… and more…

We now have a rough list of what we will need to take on the trip, and looking it over, there is also a fair-sized list of things we will need to buy. And another list of things we need to confirm we have, and test out to make sure they still work!

All this with the idea of making a master packing list, and eventually a series of checklists so that we will be able to try to keep our gear organized and lose as little as possible along the journey.

Am also beginning to look online to find the best price on the items we need to buy…

For the moment am getting ready to order the tent, and some cots…

After a long discussion with Cactus Killer, we decided that the cots made sense because we will be living out of the jeep for a long time, and it might be worth having a more comfortable sleeping arrangement than sleeping bags, as it will be hot, and we might not actually want to sleep inside the sleeping bags anyway…

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Tents, cots, snakes and scorpions…

Today we had an interesting discussion about tent choices, and the specific conditions we will be camping in… basically we looked again at the issues we are facing in terms of our needs for a tent in the context of the conditions and length of time we will be camping…

Some thoughts:

MAIN TENT: the main tent needs to be sturdy and quick to put up… we are still looking at this tent choice, a Eureka Copper Canyon five person tent. It seems like a solid enough tent, cool enough, and water-tight enough for our needs. Additionally, reviewers say it is relatively quick to put up… and there is space for us to be comfortable, as well as to sit/stand if needed on a rainy day…

BACK COUNTRY WALK IN SITES: we were looking at picking up two small/cheap tents to take along for the backcountry nights… this small tent, is similar to the kind i used as a kid in the scouts… but should be fine for those walk in nights, when we need quick and light… it weighs about 4 pounds (3.6 lbs) with its stakes and carry bag.

In our discussion we got onto the subject of heat and desert campsites… and the inevitable creepy crawly critters that live out there… and the idea that it might be better to be “elevated” if possible… and so we started to speak about military cots… which might be a very good solution for a trip of this length (minimum of 23 days camping), keeping us safe from creepy crawly critters and also from the back problems that can come from pitching our tent in varied terrains where we may not always be able to find the best “rock-free” ground… we found some decent in-expensive cots that don’t take up that much space in the jeep, and are not excruciatingly heavy…

The discussion is to be continued…

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Time to think about a new tent…

We should probably start talking about what kind of tent or tents we should bring.

After outlining our basic itinerary, it looks like we will be camping out for about 21-28 days, more or less, depending on if we choose motels or campgrounds along some parts of the route. And the camping will vary from well-equipped campgrounds to truly remote, primitive backcountry camping with zero facilities. In some cases we will be able to camp right next to our jeep, and in a few cases we may have to hike in, carrying our gear, to interior backcountry campsites.

Another important consideration is that we will be constantly on the move, almost never spending more than one night at the same campsite. (HINT: ease of set-up/breakdown is probably important to us)

Additional things to think about… It will be HOT… extremely HOT… in many of the locations where we will be camping. There is also a chance of windy conditions in the canyons. And likelihood of violent thunderstorms (meaning heavy rain), in a number of the western locations. And the certainty of rain somewhere…

We also need to think about whether we get one BIG tent (which would necessarily be heavier) or two smaller tents (which will be lighter, and give us some additional space, but require double set-up).

I have just started looking around online, and at first glance am favoring the idea of getting two tents.

The “main” tent, will be one of the bigger ones that is really solid, and in which we could actually stand, or where the 3 of us could sit comfortably inside if  we find ourselves stuck in the rain for a stretch. It should be well-made, really water-proof and with a profile that will not easily be blown over. However, this would not be something we could easily carry to “backpack” hike-in sites. and I doubt it would be really quick to put up and take down.

The “second” tent would be a smaller, lighter one, similar to the kind we have always used. This “second” tent is easy to put up and down (as we know from experience) and light enough to carry. The drawbacks with the small tent are: first,  it is a “tight fit” as we are three full size people now… (remember it is going to be really HOT out there); second, in heavy rain it is not likely to be so good (remember how we always had to “flee” to motels when there was a big storm… and think about the locations where we will really be in the middle of nowhere with no motels to flee to… and at 100+ degrees it is out of the question that we hole up in the jeep…); third, the zippers on those tents were pretty bad, if i recall, and we are going to be using it pretty regularly for 6 weeks… Of course, as this smaller tent would only serve as a “second” tent, maybe we don’t need to deploy it “every” night…

Of course, the problem with two tents is they take up more space in the jeep…

Here are some relevant links on tents:

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