Sunday, August 7, 2016

Inaugural use of the tent!

Aug 7, 2016

We have now spent a couple nights in our new tent. Not a backpacking venture -- a music festival. Whatever. Baby steps.

Here's our tent, next to others for scale comparison:

It's the "tiny house" in the middle. Our campground neighbors were amused. For some reason I felt compelled to tell them our other tent has two rooms and a sun porch. I don't know why. In the future, there will be no apologies.

The tent goes up super quickly and easily. It's a Himaget, with entrances on both sides, which is a pretty nice feature, so you don't have to climb over your tent mate if you want in or out. The tent structure itself is mostly mesh, and the rainfly covers the whole thing but can be tied back, so you can make it as airy as you want. Our overnight temperatures this past weekend got down in the lower 60s (ahhhh!) but it stayed pretty warm inside the tent, even with the rainfly open. I guess that's the thing about close quarters.

We opted to save a little money and got this tent from Amazon, for 90 bucks. The thought is that we're likely to have more of an opinion about what we want after we get a little more experience, so that might be the point to upgrade to a more expensive tent. This one weighs about 5 pounds and seems like it'll be just fine. We'll find out eventually how it does in rain or wind.

We slept pretty well, and broke in more new equipment, all of these purchased from Amazon as well:
- Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp sleeping pads (~$57) -- these are self inflating, and just take a few extra puffs of air to fill more completely. Easy to inflate and deflate, and they each weigh 2 pounds. Surprisingly comfortable! I'd say they're about 2" thick when inflated.

- Outdoor Vitals OV-Light 40-degree sleeping bags (~$40). These were comfortable and pack down really tightly in their compression bags. Each of them is about 2.5 pounds. It's hard to know how well these will do when it really does turn chilly overnight.

Our main issue was that the bags are somewhat slick, and so are the pads... and our tent really did seem to be on level ground, until we hunkered in for the night... and then experienced an *almost* imperceivable slow slide toward the lower end.

Last but not least...
- Therm-a-Rest compressible pillows (about 0.5 pounds and $12 each). We got the small size, which is 12" x 16" and rolls up pretty tightly. When unrolled, these puffed up and were surprisingly comfortable. When we start backpacking, if we end up needing to ditch things for space, these might not always make the final cut.

Spending the past two nights in the tent has given confidence that we're ready to do a legitimate backpacking overnight. Two weeks from now is the plan!

Oh, and here's last night's headliner, Willie Nelson! Big fun in the rolling hills of southern Iowa.

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