Tents: More Than Just A Temporary Shelter

Filed in Uncategorized by on July 25, 2006 0 Comments

       Tents: More Than Just A Temporary Shelter

Tents are usually thought in terms of a skin teepee or a military pup tent. Today’s breed of temporary shelters, also called tents, are much more than those sort of temporary shelters. A buffalo skin teepee weighs, without the poles some several hundred pounds. The poles weigh in at approximately 20+ pounds each. Usually 12-16 poles are used to support a buffalo skin teepee. That makes such a tent very heavy & very cumbersome albeit that they are comfortable & snug shelters. Military pup tents are in 2 pieces with 2 3-sectioned poles plus some tent pegs. One soldier carries 1 pole, 4 pegs & ½ of what is called in military jargon, tent shelter half cotton canvas 1each. This piece of gear weighs in at about 8 pounds. Still not light when compared to today’s tents.

Today’s tent for 4 people is a pop-up, ultra-light weight rip-stop nylon over a graphite flexible frame. It weighs in at approximately 3 ½ pounds with stakes, has a built-in floor, usually has a weather-fly, zippered screens & is something that is considered high-tech.

For campers, hikers, kayakers & canoeists the weight is a major factor. Large tents that can shelter 8-12 people weigh in at about 15-18 pounds again a much lighter weight than their predecessors. Modern tents are waterproofed by a chemical treatment that is non-toxic to either the user or the environment. They can be insulated, can be set up to withstand harsh weather conditions & can be transported easily.

There are number of manufacturers of light weight tents in the world today. Some of the more prominent names are Coleman, Bibler, Black-Diamond, MSR, Columbia, Eastman, Northface, Mountain Guide, & more.  Bibler makes a particularly nice, spacious & easy-to-setup tent. It is the:

Bibler Fitzroy
Bibler’s strongest, most stable shelter 2-door, with 4 interior mesh pockets, spectacular space-to-weight ratio, this design is a roomy Pole-supported awnings and three-point equalizing guylines add stability. It is fire retardant & meets C.P.A.I.-84 specifications. Total weight is 4 lbs 14 oz. It is made of rip-stop, weather-proof nylon with a double floor with insulation 1/8″ layer of flex-foam between the layers. This tent w/pegs & poles all packs into a 23″ long  x 4 1/4″ tube sack That is easily stored on a ruck-sack, a kayak deck a canoe pack or ina corner of an SUV’s cargo-deck.

Another very fine tent is made by MSR. Their All Season® line of tents are epitome of light-weight, roomy, easy to set-up & well made temporary shelters. The AS-2 weighs in at 2 ½ pounds, is a pop-up with pegs that can be setup in about 3 minutes. I carry one of these in my kayak at all times, along with a “Space Blanket, an Army entrenching tool, a small hatchet, a 50 ft. coil of 3/9″ braided nylon rope & a 7 ft. x 9 ft. poly tarp in a waterproof Otter bag that all weigh in at total of 11 lbs 9 oz.

Columbia has a line of tents that are good investments. One of my all time favorites is:

Columbia’s “Lost-Lake”
A roomy 2-door, 2-vestibule tent for 2. Each of the 2 vestibules are great for storing gear and feature clear windows for visibility. The durable shock-corded aluminum frame keeps the tent stable in the worst weather. The factory sealed full coverage polyester fly gives complete shelter from the elements. All sides have mesh for great ventilation and so does the roof so you can gaze at the stars on clear nights. Comes with an oxford nylon compression carry bag, gear loft and 2 mesh gear pockets.
The following make this an excellent buy in a tent:
Main fly and floor seams are factory taped for extreme weather protection.
Polyester fly won’t stretch and has better UV resistance.
Bathtub Floor raises seams high off ground.
Shock corded aluminum poles are sturdy and for quick reliable set up.
Sleeps 2
Combo clips and sleeves for fast sturdy set up
No see-um mesh on all 4 sides of the tent and roof for venting.
2 mesh interior pockets for organization and gear storage.
2 large zippered ‘D’ doors for easy access.
Post and grommet assembly for fast reliable set up.
Flashlight loop
Woven reflective zipper pull
Tent, pole and stake bags included.
Tent bag is durable oxford nylon and has compression straps
Fire retardant & meets C.P.A.I.-84 specifications.

A quick, easy to carry, beach-shelter that is sturdy enough to be a canoe/kayak tent is called by the name of:

Solo Cabana®
Take a break from the sun in this 9′x 7′x 55″ h. Heavy-duty polyurethane coated taffeta back wall and roof. Durable removable polyethylene floor. 6-pole pin & ring frame system with shock-corded fiberglass poles. Complete with stakes, carry/storage bag & set up instructions. It is flame retardant & meets C.P.A.I.-84 specifications. Comes in a brilliant Blue/Aspen Gold. This shelter takes about 3 minutes to set up & peg down. It weighs in at a total of 2 lbs 4 oz. I carry one these sometimes for beach fishing, a kayaking & canoeing.

Temporary shelters can be a joy or they can be a nightmare. One must look closely at how they are setup, how much they weigh, how they are made waterproof/fire retardant & if they are made using quality materials. Durable *2-way” zippers are a must. Sealed seams & reinforced floor seams are also a must. All shelters that are worth buying come with a durable carrying/storage bag. Being able to set the shelter up quickly & take it down quickly are qualities are also a must.

Emergency shelters can be made easily out of poly tarps, some parachute cord, light rope, some limbs cut to be pegs. These are easy to make. Poly tarps are inexpensive, as is parachute cord or light weight 3/8″ nylon rope. These shelters are actually more like wind-breaks than tents.  Using a 2nd poly tarp as a floor makes sense. I use 2 poly tarps for this type of shelter. A 10 ft. x 16 ft. & a 12 ft. x 20 ft. make me a nice shelter. I use a 25 foot long piece of 3/8″ braided nylon anchor line, some 6 foot lengths of parachute cord, & limbs cut & trimmed to be pegs.

Temporary shelters, also called tents, are one of the oldest forms of shelter after the proverbial cave in our human heritage. If you have a hankering for adventure then try out some of the new breed of tents on the market today. You can usually rent one from any good outdoors outfitter & thus try out several before you settle on the 1 or 2 that will serve your specific needs.





About the Author ()

Viet Nam vet with the usual baggage but mine is now packed away. Public health specialist & medical anthropologist have worked all over the globe, most recent work since 1988 in the former Soviet Union (now the CIS/NIS) & based out of Flo

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