Thursday, May 12, 2005

Promise of Adventure

It has been opined elsewhere that Cheryl and I are a few fries short of a Happy Meal (tm). We don't necessarily agree, seeing as outdoor adventures with a family has been on our checklist of things to do with each other for a very long time. So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that we spent part of our Mother's Day "date" scoping out new equipment for our crew. Nor should it have shaken anyone's tree that we actually brought home a (albeit cheap) 6 man tent.

It fills our living room!
Originally uploaded by Gailontheweb.

It's up with only 2/4 poles.
Originally uploaded by Gailontheweb.

What should surprise you is that this tent actually lives up to its billing as a 6-man tent. It is definitely over twice the area of most mountaineering 3 man tents. This is a direct contradiction to the general camping rule of thumb wherein tent capacities are overstated by a factor of 1.5. Usually "6 man tent" means 6 people corresponding to the stature of your average Asian senior citizen.

Cheryl and I are well aware of what quality looks like in outdoor equipment. I bought my first solo Moss tent over 10 years ago now for $345 - and it was on sale! Our friend Richard gave us a 3 man Moss tent as a wedding present. These tents are probably among the most skookum mountaineering shelters you can get. One reviewer described the current state-of-the-art tents as being "lighter than smoke or the down of unborn geese" and designed by "teams of NASA engineers and witch-doctors". Another reviewer described my Outland as "a portable boulder".

The philosophy behind this tent and our purchase of it is simple: cheap but adequate.

There's no way we are going to let our harum-scarums loose on our high-end equipment. Given our current solvency, we could probably replace either tent about 10 years after Cheryl's retirement date.

A quick tour around our portable Motel 66: The tent floor is made from the same material as most recreational tarps. It's plasticized cloth, and probably not terribly durable, but it is sufficient to the task.

The 4 poles are fibre-glass with aluminum connectors. When I opened the package for the first time, I got a lingering whiff of the resin that holds the glass fibres together. I used to work in a canoe factory so that brought back some memories!

There's no rip-stop or light-weight nylon to be found here, so erecting this tent definitely requires (a) two people, (b) a crane or derrick, or (c) the ability to race around like the road-runner to get all the sides up so no poles snap under the weight of the fabric.

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