The first few times you set up a wall tent with your new metal frame can be intimidating and daunting. But there’s a few tricks that you can use to organize yourself so it will get easier and faster. First, take the angle or joint pieces out of their bag and separate them into corners, ridges,and eaves. I generally like to orient my tent door towards my fire and kitchen. Ten feet back from the fire is a good distance but ultimately depends on your camp site location. So, starting with the door ridge corner there will be three spokes where you want the door to be. The two spokes that will be connected to the corners of the front of the tent will be roughly angled towards your feet the third spoke will head directly to the back of the tent location. Now find to corner ankles, what for the left one for the right placed them about where the corners of the tent will be for the front wall and door. Now place ridge middle pieces and the Accompanying Eve pieces, there might be only one or there could be two depending on how big your mall tent is. Now move onto the back I can place the ridge home three spokes with the two spokes going to the corners towards the back of the tent and the third spoke well now face the front of the tent, place to corner angles. With these angles laid out in a General array appropriate locations I’ll be faster and more concise link the polls out to go with that.
Most often the polls will come with runners stamped on them they should say either leg, ridge, Rafter, or Eve. If you’re Walton is rectangle then you were eaves and you were ridge poles should be the same link. D’s will run front and back, both along the sides Poor Eve and the middle, or ridge. Fit these polls in to eve and ridge holes on your angles. Now get all of the rafters (these should be labeled). Fit them to the rafter holes starting at the front of the tent and moving your way to the back of the tent ,the last angle that gets put together will probably be somewhat tight,that is good, A slightly tight fitting frame will stay together in case of a bad cough has been my experience.
It is now time to get the tent out of the back. Un fold it so one of the long side of the tent frame matches up with the tent, now unfold it so that the bottom of the tent is next to the frame and the ridge of the tent is away from the frame. Grab a mud flap of the top corner steak nearest the frame, pull the tent over the frame until the ridge hole in the tent is settled on the ridge of the frame in both the front and the back of the canvas. Settle the canvas and ropes around the edges. Get the leg pieces positioned at each eve and leg angle, lift HLAF of the tent and insert legs, then the other half.
Now for staking it down, 1st off if you have those silly plastic stakes go get some some good metal ones. Angle the stakes with the bottom of the stake toward the tent center. I generally put 1 steak for 2 ropes and every other stake hole on the bottom unless I am going to be around 1week or more. Of your I. Supper soft ground sometimes it helps to put In a cross stake. Do this by placing the 1st stake as described above, then pound a second stake directly in the ground crossways i. Ground of the 1st stake. Once the stakes are in you may want to install a stove like the mountaineer stove, if your needing a little added warm on those chilling evenings or Rainey afternoons. Once the stove is Intsalled (if you need one) place the floor in the bottom. I recommend digging a trench on the outside of your tent right near the walls, on the down hill side take your trench out away from camp to drain.
Camping air mattresses love and hate. Camping air mattresses has been a long love-hate relationship for me. I grew up using traditional foam roll that was about 1 1/2 inches thick. When I was younger and not as old and stiff as I am now that worked. It has a grown older and my circumstances have changed from single to married and from married to married with kids and two married with several kids and desperately wanting a good nights sleep so I don’t kill everybody in the following day, my needs for appropriate bedding have shifted with them. A few things I have tried that have worked well is an old hide a bed mattress topped with memory foam that I put that on top of a queen cot. I had to start looking at other options that didn’t require so much space packing though. Especially as the size of my family grew. So despite everybody wanting a 3 inch foam roll covered with canvas for durability, once you have six people going and only one car, that becomes an issue. Because of these issues I have been looking for other options for sleeping arrangements on the market. We have used the Hammocks, generally we like hammocks. Some pros for the Hammock is the ease of which to pack them each person gets their own, it is fairly straightforward they fit in a backpack, they’re not terribly heavy. For those two reasons I like them. However it is difficult to find an appropriate grove of trees in every location we go that, can support 6 to 8 hammocks. This complicates even further if it is not warm enough for everyone to be comfortable in the open night air. I have strategized methods to hang them up in some of the tents that we use, you can see my camping in tents blog for more information on those tents. Furthermore, being older and stiffer, Rolling over in a Hammock because of discomfort becomes somewhat obnoxious, and some of us side sleepers like options. As discussed my sleep has become precious to me. So we continue to hunt for bedding options. We have tried air mattresses everything from A Coleman queen both on the ground and on a cot, to the double tall intex memory foam toped air mattress. Honestly my biggest complaint across the board with any air mattress is without fail the second or third time I use them despite my being careful I end up with a leak which is a big problem when you are half the size of your siesta partner, someone always ends up at the bottom of the dog pile with us that generally includes dogs, and kids, it can be a big pile. We have also used the Thurma-rest base camp and Klymit insulated static v and a few others like them, With mixed reviews. I will do a full lineup and review of these other inflatable sleeping pads at a later date. Sufficeeth it me to say, if they are well tended I generally like them in particular when I hiking, The lightweight and compact ability lens itself well when space is limited. However if I have enough space I almost always use this combination, the climate insulated static V on top of a cot with a 2 1/2 inch memory foam topper from Walmart. This keeps my husband who has had five back surgeries at least marginally functional for the whole camp trip. If I do not have room I will use the klymit v static on the ground. Or single klymit v static in the hammocks.
There’s a lot of different ways to care and tend for Dutch oven and cast-iron cookware. I will share a few of my favorites. I almost always cook on cast-iron, weather in the home or out on an adventure. So caring for cast-iron well, will most likely determine how well you like using cast-iron. The first step in caring for cast-iron is taking your new or my Preferred route of used cast-iron and seasoning it well. The next step would be tending it post cooking. We will go through these even though they have a lot of similarities.
How well you can “ season” a cast-iron pot somewhat is determined by the quality of the cast-iron. A supper rough cast iron will never function like no. Stick, seasoning it well more serves as cutting down on cleaning time. my preference is to go around used stores or online to find pre-loved cast-iron. there are a few brands that I like more, however they are harder to find as they’re not necessarily manufactured anymore. If I can find Griswold cast-iron I buy it if I am able, it tends to be exceptionally smooth and well cast on the inside. The brands that I always look for in particular in used stores the Griswold has a big cross stamped on the back they are very well-made. There are others but figureing out the brand can be difficult on old cast iron. But if you end up with some other and they tend to be rough simply find a shop that has a grinder and grind out the inside till it smooth, this has worked well for me. Once you have your pan the way you like it, heat up your oven to 200°. Then place a pan to be seasoned in the oven, leave it in there for 10 to 20 minutes. Now get some oil put it on the pan everywhere inside and outside. People use special types of oil for the cast-iron which is great but I find that whatever I have in the kitchen generally works well enough. Now that you have oil inside and out put it back in the oven for 40 minutes. Repeat this oiling and heating four or five times. Let it cool compleasty, then it should be ready to go.
OK so go ahead and start cooking in your cast-iron either over the fire or on the stove top doesn’t really matter. Depending on what you cook of course will depend on what is left in the pan when you’re done, scrape it clean. a lot of cast-iron‘s come with plastic scrapers which will get off most of the food particles. But to get it really back to where you want it sometimes it requires a little more elbow grease in the form of a scrubbing, I find this is substantially less if you use a Chainmaile scrubber. Also if that’s not available pour some kosher salt into the pan and use it to scrub around over low heat with a wooden spoon, this also cleans them up nicely. Please, please, please do not pour a bunch of soap in it and scrub it down with soap it will undo all of the beautiful seasoning that you have done and you will hate cooking on cast-iron because it will stick to everything. Once you have it food free, heat it back up either in the oven on the fire or stove top, wipe it down with oil and a paper towel. Vuoala it is ready for use.
By way of sidenote if you’re doing this in a fire for cooking or seasoning after cooking I do recommend turning your cast-iron especially just shove them upside down in the fire and really let the fire burn all the food out before you oil it works beautifully.
Cooking on a campfire
Cooking on a campfire can be very rewarding. Now I am not talking about cooking a hotdog over the fire, I mean actually cooking real food over the fire. So let’s start at the top. Make the fire, what I want a fire to be like depends on what I intend to do with it. But 80% of the time what I need from a fire is to cook for at least 6 people. So in order for me to do this, I need a bit of space In the fire. I want a fairly consistent coal that burns long enough that I dont have to feed it every2 minutes to keep it hot enough to cook. I also like a little bit of space because I am most often cooking multiple things at once, so 3 ft min diameter. I often build my fire rings out of larger rocks, 8 lb at least. I like them with some nice size , and at least one or 2 that are flat enough so that I can use them for setting things on. I generally like a fire stake with a griddle and grate pan. Cabelas sells them, called a “mountain man grill” I know other might as well, We made ours. Ok now that our fire is set up the way we ant it, and we have an idea of what we want for a fire, we are ready to cook!
Let’s start with breakfast! One of my families favorite things to have over the fire for breakfast is sausage biscuits and gravy!. So let's take it from the top I generally get the fire going good with 4-5 inch prices of wood. On a level place on the wood, or just on the mountain man grill,I place my 10 inch cast iron Dutch oven. Put the sausage in here and begin to Brown sausage, I prefer a spicy breakfast sausage like Tennessee pride but Jimmy Dean's hot will work, if that's not your thing and you want to use regular breakfast sausage or Maple go for it I usually need at least a pound and a half to feed my family of 6. While the sausage is Browning we're going to mix the biscuits. I generally make buttermilk biscuits from scratch but keep in mind in a pinch Pillsbury biscuits are sufficient. So I will take one of my larger mixing bowls from the dandy camp kitchen. IOften keep all of the pantry items i would need for Making biscuitsIn the dandy kitchen.This alleviates most of my concerns when packing food for camping. Butter is the only thing that doesn't regularly get stored in the dandy kitchen, I always put this in the cooler with the other dairy items when I pack food. So following the recipe below I mix the biscuit dough while the sausage is Browning and the fire is cooking down to Coals. I usually get all of the dry ingredients mixed and the butter ready to cut in when the sausage needs taken off and tended to. So once the sausage is all browned I'm hoping there's still some fat in the pan or we got the pan a little too hot. Assuming we did it right there will be some grease in the pan if not you need to add a little butter to the sausage, then we are going to sprinkle three to four tablespoons a flower over the sausage and stir vigorously.
Set this aside while we get the biscuits on the fire.
OK finish adding the wet ingredients and cutting in the butter to the biscuits. I rarely have a pastry blender with me you can grate the butter and then cut in using a fork this tends to work well enough. You can roll the biscuits out right on top of the dandy kitchen it's a little bit of flour on the work surface I have added a mini rolling pin to my dandy kitchen for this meal ;). Work quickly to roll the biscuits out about 3/4 of an inch thick at this point you can either cut them in squares or if you have a biscuit cutter or a tuna can that is large that works great. I like to butter the bottom of a 12 inch Dutch oven for this next part. Place the cut biscuits in the buttered Dutch oven put the lid on. Get your shovel move all of the flames to one side of the fire pit with your shovel, I use a chopping motion for this to make sure all of the usable coals and chunks will come off of the burning wood. Once all of the burning logs are to one side you should have a bed of coals left underneath make them flat, place your Dutch oven here take a large shovel of coals and place them on the lid of the Dutch oven. A general rule for cooking with Dutch ovens is the three up three down equals 325 formula this gets a little interesting when you're not using actual briquettes so you're going to have to guess coal size.The biscuits will take 12 to 15 minutes to bake at 4:25 I also recommend 3/4 of the coals be on top and at the 9 to 10 minute mark take the biscuits off the fire leaving only the coals on top to finish cooking.
While the coals are doing their magic on your biscuits, let’s finish up the gravy, put your sausage with flour back on the heat. Start pouring in milk, or unsweetened almond milk slowly while you stir, about half 1/3 to ½ gallon. Keep storing, don’t get distracted…. In a few min, it will thicken now salt and pepper is to take, I like a little more pepper than most ;). Pull the plates and the silver Ware out of your dandy kitchen, place both Dutch oven side by side on the dandy kitchen table remove lids and COALS and ring the dinner bell. Cut the Biscuits in half gravy on both sides enjoy.
After you’ve looked up the scraps I recommend making sure your fire stoked so you can get Dutch oven’s upside down in the fire to clean.
The Dutch ovens are cleaned and put away dishes are taken care of, it probably time for lunch! Let’s keep is simple, grilled pork belly sandwiches.! Get that fire going and you're better Kohl's ready you can put your 2 1/2 to 4 inches pieces of wood down while you get the sandwiches ready for grilling. I like to use a nice 9 grain or sometimes even Rye bread, as long as it's hardy whole grain large slices that'll be good. Pork belly in this recipe can certainly be changed out for ham or a sandwich meat of your choice. Pork belly I find to be juicy and satisfying and delicious while up in the mountains when cooked over the fire. For this you want to purchase a pound of fresh pork belly with the skin removed, I prefer center cut, because it has more meat. Slice the pork belly in quarter inch slices. Then you need to season them liberally on both sides and set them aside while your fire cooks down if the the fire is down and coals ready, then but a grill pan on some hot coals.. I really like Tajin or a nice porkbutt rub for this. Get your bread slices out for as many sandwiches are needed and get your cheese into medium and medium thick slices. I prefer doublinger or sometimes coastal cheese for these sandwiches. once the cheese is on one side of the bread I often slather the other side with a small amount of basil pesto when the pork belly is done fried nicely browned the edges and a little bit crisp put it on the sandwich. I’d like to use a nice aïoli or quality mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich and then slap them back on the grill for grilling. On the side In a cast-iron skillet fix a vegetable if your choice possibly asparagus or I really like broccoli with a little bit of butter and a good dash of alpine touch seasoning. Brown a few minutes on each side lunch is ready.
Steak it’s what’s for dinner, let’s get that fire going good again for the stakes I want the fire pretty hot, needs to be coals though, so bigger pieces of wood 3-5 inches and shovels into low flamed coals is perfect. While your fire is getting there, let’s get the side dish prepared, Dutch oven faux-tatted. Yes tonight’s dish is keto! Take two medium large jicama‘s, peel them and then dice them into half inch squares. Throw them in the Dutch oven cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. Once this is done drain the water remove Jicimas. In a 10 or 12 inch Dutch oven fit third of a pound of bacon cut into 1 inch squares crisp the bacon. While it is Chris pink season the jicamas with grandpa Lynn’s seasoning, also great some sharp cheddar cheese. Once the bacon is crisp add the potatoes and put the lid on the Dutch oven put it in one corner of the fire on medium coals with hot coals on top. Your fire should be ready for the steaks at this point.Just addressed your grill to be on medium hot coals grill steaks to desired doneness flipping only once. A tip here would be the grease dripping off of the steaks can cause flare ups just like any other grill be cautious, pay attention. Check the potatoes. I like to use a Dutch oven lid hook if you have one available, if not I find a metal tent stake works well. We want the jicama browned and tender, the bacon will have rendered so delicious Grease in the pot that should be browning everything nicely it is time to add roughly 2 cups of that sharp cheddar cheese put the lid back on with the coals finish the steaks liberally salt and pepper superior jicama dinner is served. Oh wait you wanted Desert you say, and your tires of s’mores me too I do find roasting a marshmallow stress relieving but honestly I don’t like marshmallows. In fact I don’t really like Hershey‘s milk chocolate either. I do occasionally do it with dirty chocolate but honestly I have lots of other desserts I love over a fire besides s’mores. So how about upside down pineapple cake. Tou would want to put this on right after the jicama. And we can try to keep is healthier. Ok line the 12 inch Dutch oven with tinfoil, and grease with butter. Arrange as manny pineapple rings into the bottom of the pan , place a Maraschino cherry in each one. Sprinkle 1/4 Cup of coconut sugar or Brown sugar swerve into the bottom over the pan on top of the pineapple and cherries.Make one recipe for bobs magically moist almond flour cake making the liquid pineapple juice. Pour the batter over the pineapples place in the fire on medium hot coals lots of hot coals on the top for 10 minutes remove from the hot coals leaving the coals on top cook for an additional 10 minutes. You may flip it upside down on one of the plates or the cutting board in the dandy kitchen.
Why sprout wheat? What is the nutrition difference between sprouted wheat and not sprouted? What do I do with sprouted wheat? Where do I buy sprouted grain products? Hopefully I can answer some of these questions.
I have been through hot and cold periods of sprouting wheat. I have often had people who I converse with ask me why I sprout wheat. Their question is often, “ Is it really worth the effort, when you're talking bang for the buck?” In one word , yes; if optimal nutrition is your goal, or if your health requires special dietary considerations. I have had several people who cannot eat wheat based products because of gluten intolerances, IBS or psoriasis who have had great luck with sprouted wheat. Sprouting tends to help the glycemic index. I also happen to LOVE the taste it produces. People complain that it just takes too much time. I have some time saving strategies to help.
Those who normally cannot eat wheat products often can eat sprouted wheat because sprouting wheat changes the gluten which is the protein in the wheat. When the seeds and or other grains are sprouted it changes the protein composition into a complete and usable protein rather than the original protein which is very destructive and hard on digestive systems. It also can potentially lead to leaky gut syndrome. There is something magical that happens to seeds when they are with water; it changes from stored starchy energy into a living energy and if you let it go long enough, a green one. The nutrition you glean from sprouted wheat depends on the point in the sprouting process you eat it. However, at all stages of sprouting the nutrition value is superior compared with before.
Another benefit of sprouting wheat is that it neutralizes the anti-nutrients that are inherent in all seeds as a coating. This coating is particularly potent in legumes and grains. Anti-nutrients are necessary for a seed, in that they keep the seed protected from digestive enzymes as they are consumed and pass through the digestive tract of animals to help “spread” the seeds geographically . This coating is needed so that it is still viable once it is returned to the earth. What this means for us , as eaters of these anti-nutrients, is that it blocks the uptake of vital nutrients not only in the stored energy from the seed but also others that you might be otherwise consuming. Lycopene is one of these blocked nutrients. It is an essential nutrient for the heart. Furthermore, the water you use to sprout the wheat in has health benefits as it is full of probiotics that are the opposite of anti-nutrients and this helps with digestion.
I’ve seen several different methods for sprouting grains and in particular wheat. Some tend to be more complicated than others. I would say my favorite method is very simple. Put the wheat berry in a mason jar with a sprouting screen on the top. Fill the jar almost half full with berries and then top the rest with cool clean water. Let it sit for six hours then pour the water down the drain. I then cover it with freshwater for a day, drain and use this water if you desire as an excellent pro- biotic. I like to use it In shakes and smoothies. Soon you’ll see Little sprouts start to appear after a day or three. Just Rinse the berries with cool water once every morning until you use them. Once the little sprouts start to appear you have several options; you can use them right away or let them grow longer until they start to turn green. If left long enough they will be wheatgrass. I prefer to use my sprouted wheat as soon as the little sprouts start to show a quarter inch or less.
Once those sprouts have appeared there’s a few ways I like to use it; either as wheat berries in stir fry dishes or as cereal. Most often I grind it into fresh sprouted wheat mash and make a number of things with it. You can also dehydrate it and grind it into flour. Probably my favorite way to enjoy sprouted wheat is to make sprouted wheat pancakes out of it, it’s very simple. Once the wheat is sprouted you take the wheat berries, put one cup in the blender, add a quarter teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, a quarter teaspoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon oil or butter, 1 tablespoon unfiltered honey and then blend it. If it is too thick to blend I add a little splash of liquid , about 2-4 tablespoons, depending on thickness.I use either water or my preference is raw milk or occasionally coconut milk or almond milk . Add enough liquid so that it blends into a nice medium pourable batter. Meanwhile, heat up the griddle to just over medium heat. Cook them just like you would other pancakes. They tend to have a very nutty and buttery taste to them with a little bit more texture, kind of like oatmeal pancakes. However, the sprouted wheat pancakes will keep you energized and operating nicely till lunchtime. As an interesting side note, one could more or less live off of raw unfiltered honey and sprouted wheat which is why both are included in this pancake recipe. Serve with real maple syrup or some home made jam for a special treat! By the way, I also make waffles like this, only I add more oil and eggs.
Probably my second favorite way to consume sprouted wheat, in particular for breakfast, is hot cereal. Once the wheat has been sprouted, put the wheat in a crockpot with just enough water to almost cover the berries. Turn the crockpot on WARM and leave overnight. In the morning you will wake up to softly popped sprouted wheat that is warm. Just take a cup, put it in your bowl, pour milk, and a little bit of honey or sweetener of your choice with cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. I like this hot cereal because the seed that has been sprouted has not been exposed to super high temperatures which will kill a lot of the nutrients. By only putting it on warm, we can preserve most of the nutrition. Furthermore, it is tender and juicy and delicious. You can also make your pancakes from this warmed sprouted wheat as the recipe explains above. When I cook it from this partially cooked sprouted wheat I never need extra added liquid. This gently cooked sprouted wheat also makes great stir fry. Use it as you would the fried rice. Just season like rice and vegetables and cook with a little bit of oil.
One thing that I do to help save time, is grind this into what I’ve come to call, sprouted wheat mash, which I make a variety of things from. I keep this mash in the fridge to be used for pancakes, muffins or bread for the next week. Things I make from the mash include; sprouted applesauce muffins and poolish. Poolish is a lightly soured mash used to make sprouted wheat bread after a night of fermenting, which is intensely delicious and nutritious. You can also take the sprouted wheat mash, mix it with raisins and dates and other varieties of sprouted seeds and nuts and bake it into something akin to Ezekiel or manna bread. Both are tasty products and they both have their place. Ezekiel Bread replaces traditional bread. However, they add gluten to their products ; which I feel is a little counter productive. Manna bread is supper yummy, but it is Not like sandwich bread. It does make yummy French toast though. It is more like a muffin or cake.
Another option is to take the wheat right after it sprouts and dry it off on a paper towel, then put it in a dehydrator. It takes a few days to dry. Then you can grind it like flour with most any wheat grinder. However remember that we’ve changed the protein, the gluten content is different so it is different to make bread with. It doesn’t stick together the same and this will affect your rise. But with quick breads, you can’t hardly tell the difference except the butter flavor. If bread is what you're doing, I have had a lot of luck substituting the sprouted flour with regular flour in most bread recipes.
Happy sprouted wheat making! Enjoy life!
Memoirs of Camping and Tents
My earliest memory of a tent was when I was two or three years old. We were in the Rocky Mountains on another beloved family adventure. The fire, smokey and hot, was ringed in by several 10lb pieces of granite. It was wet as I recall, but not wet enough to force us to go home. The soil where we camped was dark and smelled of damp pines. I remember it being all over my hands. There were Coleman lanterns up, one in the tent and one outside over the kitchen panniers. It was getting dark; I was getting cold.
Tents. Tents were always representative of two things in my young mind, FUN and warmth. This night must have started that connection for me, one that would prove to stand the test of time. I was getting cold enough to stop my playing as the fire drew me closer. My mother collected me and told me it was time for my bath. I exclaimed to my mother the wonder at her statement, as there certainly was no bath in the woods. She told me everybody else had already had a bath and it was my turn now. Would I please come into the tent. Through chattering teeth, I obliged my mother's wishes. Our tent was a 4-foot canvas wall tent. I am guessing it was 12 or 14 feet in length .The ropes and stake holes were well worn. My father, a welder by trade, had made us a wood stove, which seemed to be constantly burning.www.robertsonenterprises.net?wref=nfutkqpy This night was no exception. I stepped out of the chilly air into a warm oasis of the glowing lantern. I was assaulted by the smell of 1000 campfires as my mother peeled off my very dirty, wet clothes. She sat me in a number one tub and poured warm water over me, wiping me down with a soapy rag: my first memorable bath in the woods. My teeth quit chattering and my worries melted away as I could hear preparations for s’more‘s being made. All was right in the world in that old tent.
A few years later at the same campground it was wet enough to stop the playing outside. I sat in the tent and listened to the sleet and snow from the late spring storm. It melted onto the hot stove from the hole where the stove pipe exits the tent, making sizzling and rhythmic splashes. A rope had been strung across the tent for drying clothes, however my socks had not merited such a place of honor. They were laid on the wood pile next to the stove. Once my socks started to dry, I could smell the end of their usefulness. Obviously I had put them a little too close to the fire. But, I was warm, and it was fun playing cards in the old tent with my siblings.
On this camping trip I crossed a threshold, the threshold of my being useful in setting up camp. This time I was assigned to take stakes from the bucket to my father and older brother, who were pounding them in the appropriate locations. I quickly got bored and was trying to scurry off into my wooded fairyland. Mother intercepted me, and I was told that I was old enough to stay and help set up camp. It needed to be done first. The work eventually ended, and I was quickly off playing. I came back to camp soaking wet to mothers' dismay. She changed me into dry warm clothes. An hour later I was back again, soaking wet and cold. My dear mother changed me again. After this happened a few times, I had no dry clothes left. Still wet, my older sister and I were drafted to dig a trench around the perimeter of the tent to divert the rainwater from entering. This job turned into an activity more closely related to “muddy puddles” than my mother would have liked. With no more dry clothes to put me in, she reluctantly put me in her own old purple down coat. Oh, I was so warm. Warm enough I could go play in the woods. She quickly found me and banned me from going outside till the following day. Trenching tents is now an art form I study. I was wet enough as a child in the mountains to realize that wet= cold.
Finding poles for wall tents, now this is also an art; I don’t study it though. I remember doing this once. I must have been about 7, but I was blessed with 3 older brothers and an older sister who took the brunt of our task. My Father had made ridge poles specific for that tent but they had been left behind. Finding new ones on the mountain was a little time consuming but the end result was satisfying. I remember feeling proud of our ingenuity.
That same summer we had a family reunion at the homestead. We had a lot of cousins that needed a place to stay. We set up the old reliable wall tent. I begged to sleep out in the tents with all the rest of the children and was granted a bed space there. Late that night a wicked Wyoming wind came up, and so did our tent. The ballooning tent eventually lifted the heavy ridge pole out of its notched posts and nearly laid it back down on my cousin's head. This has happened over the years on a few occasions, which was a catalyst to our new tent frame methodology... enter the brilliant fabricator Brian Robertson of Robertson enterprises. We finally got a new tent, 12x14 with five foot walls. aIt had so much space! It was amazing! Furthermore, Dad made an aluminum tent frame. We could set it up and move it around as much as we wanted before staking it down!!!! You can get placement JUST right. Also, the new tent had some buckles on the door as well as the other door ties. This meant the all-important warm factor of tents could continue in good tradition.
My girlfriends would often come over in the summer and we would go camping near our house. One time they offered to bring their tent,. My sister and I agreed. I was curious how they would work as they looked so cute and easy to set up. It was a family Colman tent. It had 2 rooms and that seemed quite fancy! Long story short, if you're looking for cute and easy, go for it. If you're looking for something durable, warm, roomy and lasting, wall tents are the way to go...and they are fun!
Now that I am older and will take my own children on grand adventures, there are a lot more things that I’m taking into consideration. The durability of the tent and my ability to keep that tent warm are top on my list. I do often consider and reflect on some of the experiences I’ve had with other types of tents. For example, when I was in high school and was able to start elk hunting with my father and brothers, I got to experience the hunting camp tent. It was an old army tent and took a small army to set up. However, our ability to function with the full kitchen and fireplace and cots was remarkable. We did have fully functioning wooden doors with windows. But no matter how comfortable it was, it was difficult to transport and hard to set up, which loses some of the appeal for me. Not to mention I am sure they cost a small fortune. It was however perfect for our large crowd.
I have also spent some time backpacking, so some of the smaller tents which are cute to carry have come into play. I can see the practicality of a cute to carry tent, but I feel like for my general purposes, I must stick with the canvas wall tent. There are many sizes and shapes to consider. There’s the Tipi or the Big Horn wall tent. The Reliable Glacier is a new fun way to go also. I feel like it has a lot to offer a family, with plenty of windows and an easy-to-use zipper door. Furthermore, it also boasts similar square footage as many of the other larger wall tents, yet it doesn’t need an excessively heavy metal frame to withstand the strong winds. I also admire its steep roofs that shed water, snow and ice well. I can set it up myself. I’ve done so on several occasions. My biggest complaint on the Reliable Glacier Tent is that setting up numerous sleeping areas in a pentagon shaped tent with a pole in the middle, can be challenging. I appreciate the waterproof floor, even though I have mastered the art of trenching. Another thing I like is the overhanging eaves to keep the heavy rain from soaking through the tent into whatever may be touching the walls.
Despite my love of a good canvas tent, I also dabble in what my mother calls bivouacking…. I refer to it as “roughing it”. This is the art of building small, impromptu shelters with stuff I have in the truck. There are strategies needed for this though, a lot of which I am still learning. So hopefully in a future post, we can delve into that fun world, so until next time friends….