Shelter. The first order of business in preparing for the upcoming adventures is to find a tent. One that comfortably sleeps two people, keeps us cozy and dry, and won’t weigh us down. It’s a precarious balancing act. I can’t spend a huge amount on a tent because I need to buy pretty much everything, but the tent is of paramount importance.
My criteria; be durable for car camping, but light enough for backpacking. I decided to aim for around five pounds. Erin and I can split the tent, the usual practice for a pair of backpackers. Most tents come in three or four pieces, including the fly, poles, actual tent, and something new to me; a footprint. The footprint replaces the blue plastic tarp I’ve always used instead of putting the tent directly on the ground.
I shopped on Amazon and read the reviews, compared the sizes, features, and two most important elements – weight and price. I notice a big price jump for anything under five pounds, but I can’t make that jump. So 6.2 pounds it is.
I decide on the TETON Sports Mountain Ultra 2 for $ 140. The tent has great reviews and seemed like the best buy that meets my needs. UPS dropped it off two days later and I quickly set up my new tent in my living room. I wanted to make sure I could set it up easily, just in case it happened to be windy or freezing when I actually had to set it up outside. The tent went up with ease, but was bigger than I expected. At least it looked big in my living room. The second time I set up the tent was in Joshua Tree National Park, in early January. (Burr!) Again, it went up very easily.
The verdict; I am very happy with the tent and would definitely buy it again. (This isn’t true of all my purchases, as you’ll see in upcoming posts.) As Erin and I set up our shelter, I had a stunning realization. Even though I’ve backpacked three times and camped more times than I can count, I’ve never set up a tent without a guy around. Each time, a husband, a boyfriend, or even a male friend was there to help me. The one time I took a road trip with another female, we slept in her Subaru.
I shared my realization with Erin; I’d never camped without a guy around. We set up camp, made a fire, and I even made coffee in the morning. I felt proud of us and most important, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.