Archive for the ‘Tents!’ Category

One more thing…

August 10, 2011

I’m bummed the shoes won’t work.

My calves are too big. They usually are. If these are left totally untied at the top, they’ll work,

but I paid too much for half-assery like that. So who wants to buy a pair of boots! $50, includes shipping! Size 9.

So now I have to find a pair of boots (or just take the Docs I got last year. I used to buy a new dress for Easter every year, now I get a new pair of boots for Burning Man every year…). I went with two different compression sacks from DepartmentofGoods (I also spent a lot of time looking around there at everything, it’s so cheap!). I’d been looking at REI, since that’s the one I have that amazed me so much. However, these are waaaaay cheaper, as much as ten bucks less – and, they come in smaller sizes. I just need to squash clothes, not a whole tent or fat sleeping bag. I’m looking forward to the cyclone bag, as it squashes things cylindrically. IE, it’ll take up even less room in the suitcase (I’m hoping) because it is long and thing, rather than round and fat. The other one is more traditional/like the first one I used.

Unfortunately, this means I have to stave off finishing packing. Which means I need to just go ahead and decide what to get in the mail…if anything. So far it’s really just my fan, for my tent. I could just get another one when we stop at WalMart. I really like it, I got it for ’09. Pretty much slept with it next to my face! Makes a nice quiet white noise and you can suspend it from the top of the tent or prop it up next to you. In…two years and three burns, I’ve not yet had to change the batteries, either.

Now, the decision of today is: should I buy a fancy towel? Mostly to save space. Well, all to save space. The reviews are stellar and address some of my concerns, like paying thirty bucks for a towel (the two I usually use are…I have no idea where I got them from, but I didn’t pay for them).

There’s no way on Earth I’d ever consider spending this kind of money on a towel for my home, but for camping it’s an absolute Godsend. I was skeptical as to how well it would work to really dry off after a shower, but was not disappointed. 

I really, truly need to leave this job (before I run out screaming or get fired) so purchases like that aren’t exactly high on my list of priorities. But…it’d be so convienent! Take up SO much less space! I don’t dig the whole chamois feel of those sorts of towels, but the space saving and quick drying would be great.

Tent Cot Camping – my first guest post!

July 20, 2011

Y’all know Elorrum, she was the first person to place her faith in my imagination and rudimentary talents. Rawr, she’s a dragon! She is also awesome for cruising around BRC on her trike blaring They Might Be Giants. She’s an introvert like me but UNlike me, she keeps camp to a minimal  – and in the walk-in section. I should try to visit there this year. Recently, she tested out a new set-up and here’s her report!

This shade survived two burning mans (men?)   It has nice head room, I hung a lamp from a ring in the very top center… as high as I can reach without standing on something.  I like the shape and design, but the poles have needed repair each time I use it there.  In a low, or no wind situation, it is super!

roll up aluminum table.  great as well.

the tent cot

is heavy, and ends up in a bag about as large as my rei campdome 6, and almost as heavy. but it sets up very quickly. The tent zips to the cot. I didn’t spend time on it this morning.  I think it can be folded up without removing the tent, but the way it velcros under the cot on both ends causes resistance in the folding, so I just unzipped it.  The tent top can also be used as a tent alone.  It also comes with a rain fly, which I haven’t used yet.  I think in cooler weather, with a lot of condensation, the best way to go would be to open all the windows, doors on both sides… have the mesh for breath-ability beneath the rain fly, and this might reduce condensation inside the tent.  I had a little, not a problem, but with the walls being fairly close in, it’s hard to avoid shaking it loose, or soaking it up with the sleeping bag.  Since the weather I was in was hot and dry during the day, it wasn’t a problem.  If I was in a rainy spell, it would be a bit icky I’m thinking. 

size of the sleeping area: 

I kept my shoes at the end, along with my pants, as the last things I took off before getting in the tent.  I’m 5’6″ and could stretch out head to toe and touch both ends if I tried.  I don’t think a tall person would be comfortable.  I do understand width however, being a bit of a wide body… and it’s 24 inches wide, wide enough with slipping room for a regular thermarest. It has a nesty feel, I found it quite cozy.  since the headroom is good, it feels roomy enough.  If I get near the center of the tent, at peak height, I can sit up.  With the doors open, it was a nice daytime resting space.  sometimes relaxing in a chair isn’t relaxed enough, so it was nice to be able to recline and doze a bit.

Clearance from the ground was more than I was expecting.  The cot bottoms out a bit, so the edge is a little higher and it takes a little effort beyond just standing up. 

The little triangle windows gave a nice night time view, to look out and see the sky and stars, and to yell at the kids throwing the frisbee into my tent.

As to the playability of it.  I haven’t decided.  Breathability and playa dust are mutually exclusive.  Would it be comfortable if it was completely closed up on playa?  not sure.  I will bring it for my first and last night sleep space though.  With the car fully loaded, I’ll be able to first camp at Pyramid lake the Sunday before burning man, and use it in the same situation for my last night before leaving.  As my only tent, it was fine for this weekend festival.  I would love it if it would work as well, with my shade stucture at Burning man.  we’ll see.

Size DOES matter!

July 15, 2011

How to get the most crap into the smallest spaces…esp. coats and crinolines. My silver crinoline, just alone, would fill up my carry-on suitcase. SpaceBags as I’ve posted about suck. Assuming they hold the compression, which they rarely do, there’s no way to re-suck it to repack. While looking for river stuff at REI I found this compression dry sack. Several of the reviews highlight how well it smashes down stuff.

“It takes in my sleeping bag, warm clothes and socks and compresses down to the size of a big cantaloupe.”

“Oh yeah, I take one in my suitcase when traveling. Put all the compressable stuff in socks, underwear, towels, fleece, etc. then just sit on it and pull the straps tight. It saves a ton of space. And when you are going home do the same thing with all your dirty clothes and presto – you have enough room for all the new stuff you just bought! Its a vacuum Space Bag without the vacuum!!!”

 I find your ideas interesting…but don’t know if I can afford to subscribe to your newsletter. It’s got a perfect rating on both Amazon and REI. REI is doing free shipping on orders over $50 (until October). I’m also looking at this towel. So much space saving! The one thing I really like to keep clean is my face, otherwise it’s break-out city. I had one of the cheap-o ones

It worked well enough for the price but was too small for showering (too small for just my hair alone). The REI one comes in a pouch with a pocket, too, so I could stick everything in this compact little bag. It’s the smallest one for it’s size that I’m finding.

This tent is also intriguing. No poles.

“When properly inflated, NEMO’s airbeams are considerably stronger than traditional aluminum tent poles. In one test, the Morpho airbeam withstood more than twice the downward force of a standard tent pole. In addition, the airbeam springs back into shape even after you bend it all the way to the ground. More significantly from a backpacker’s perspective, NEMO’s AST is capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures. At its recommended inflation pressure of 7 psi, the Morpho AR withstands dramatic temperature swings between freezing (32 degrees F) and searing heat (120 degrees F), with only a minor change in air pressure (up to 8.2 psi)–not even close to the 20 psi minimum burst pressure. If you start in intense heat (120 degrees F) and drop to the freezing point, the pressure drops to 5.9 psi, a small enough difference that you probably won’t even notice.”

If you have $500 to spare on a tiny tent. They have some pretty neat ones, this one could work as a small shade area. I like this barn.

Camping, community area, play space.

Perusing CampSaver’s outlet…pretty sweet deals. Camelbak from $150 to $90. Mostly serious hiking and rocking climbing stuff, $500 parkas down to $200, $265 women’s hoodie down to $155…here’s a Kelty shadehouse I haven’t seen before, from $225 to $135. And check this out,

Toothpaste tablets. Not much of a space saver over a small tub of regular paste (unless you just tossed in a few).

These coffee slings are kinda fun. I can imagine in a small tent situation that it’d be very handy. Even just to store an empty cup up and out of the way, or your water bottle. This ultralite towel boasts you can filter your coffee through it.

Still thinking about the compression bag and towel. It’s my birthday soon, treat myself, right? I did get some

SPF 30. I knew a guy, on our mission trip to Africa, who sunburned his lips. They were swollen and he had to slather zinc oxide on them. Poor guy, he was already unpopular and mocked without the creamy white clown mouth. I also paused at the small little travel umbrellas, thinking, “Hey….maybe I should get one of these for adventuring…”

It sucks to be stuck out at temple or wherever in the sun sun sun…stick a little umbrella on my belt and I could have shade whenever I needed it. I like this metallic one.


Tall tents

April 22, 2011

Eureka Backcountry

From the reviews (5-stars on Amazon):

I do a couple of bicycle touring trips per year. I wanted a lightweight solo tent that would be easy to carry on the bike, accomodate my 6′ 3″ height and also be easy to put up and take down. I tried the Eureka Solitaire and found it to be a little too confining for me. Also tried a Wenzel Starlite bivy tent that was a little smaller than I’d like. I think the Backcountry 1 is just the right combination of size and weight for carrying on a bike or backpacking. I have used it three times now and am very happy with it.

I am 6’9″. I need a tent to be 8′ (96″) for me to be able to fit and not wake up wet from condensation. I wanted a one-man backpacking tent. And this was the sole tent under $250 that fit the bill. The cross-pole for the rainfly requires putting one end on the ground to get it to fit, but after figuring that out, I have a tent that’s: Light. Long. Durable. Inexpensive. Natural-ish in color. After a trip or two, I am very happy with this purchase.

I am 6’5″ and have a big auto inflating sleeping pad, so this 1 person tent was one of the few that was free standing with the foot print that I needed to accomadate my pad/body.

at 5’10” I find it downright palatial.

I am 6′ 3″ with broad shoulders, and I fit comfortably inside.

I am 6’5″ tall and 250lb, and the tent seemed just barely big enough for me – maybe a couple of inches to spare at each end. There is enough room to sit up to get dressed in the middle of the floor area. There’s not enough room to keep a pack in the tent too unless you want to sleep on top of it.

The color of the tent is very pleasant and blends in nicely with a wooded landscape.

I’m very happy with this tent.

Ten keychain flashlights
for five bucks

84 oz Ounce Omega Style Replacement Bladder Reservoir Hydro
marked down from $50 to $10

clip-on baseball hat light down town to .39 from $12

Glow sticks are stupid. Glow sticks are trash. Unless you buy


“Oglo uses the first and only glow-in-the-dark technology capable of making lots of colors glow in the dark! And not only will Oglo products glow in the dark, but unlike other products of the past, Oglo colors glow SUPER BRIGHT and glow for hours!!! Oglo Mega Glo Stiks will glow with or without batteries. Batteries are included so you can use as a “light” or a “flashing light.” Just hold under any light for 10 minutes and it will glow for hours! You can also use the batteries to charge the Mega Glo Stik if no other light source is available! Package includes Five (5) Glow Stiks.”

Five stars. Marked down from $50 to $13.50.

Illuminator Self Powered 4-in-1 FM Radio / Alarm / 3 White focused LED flashlight / Mobile phone charger Crank Powered – from $40 to $8.50, surprisingly well-reviewed for a hand-cranked flashlight/radio/alarm/cell phone charger…that one’s actually tempting to keep in the glove compartment and junk drawer with the candles for power outages.

At .60 freakin’ cents, these would be a great gift. Darn it. WordPress has been really wonky all week and the link disappeared. Stainless steel flasks, standard, but cheap.

This was new to me, a cooler light:

“A single LED light reflected through an acrylic lens is secured to the underside of the cooler lid with double side adhesive. The light is designed to shine automatically when the lid is raised and to turn off when the cooler is closed. Unlike the typical refrigerator, the Cooler Light will shut off automatically after 20 seconds regardless if the lid is shut completely. Now you can find the right beverage at night. ”

From $10 down to $3.

Y’all know I LOVED my 1L Platypus water bags (though somehow they disappeared between Monday and unpacking when I got home…). Platypus makes a resuable wine carrier,

That’s $34 for a 4-pack, $85 off. These sound like my kind of people, to boot:

“Glass wine bottles are often impractical for backpacking, ski touring, or getting a little boozy at your favorite blues concert. Transport your wine inside the packable Platypus PlatyPreserve, and protect its taste at the same time. Pour your favorite wine into this 5.5 inch by 10.5 inch reservoir, squeeze the air out (air ruins flavor), and seal the airtight cap. Now you can enjoy that just-opened taste days, and even weeks later… and slip past concert security undetected.”

I’m thinking it’d be great for transporting moonshine and other homemade beverages. One burn…my second? Tmus, I took a box of wine, punctured the bag to add fruit and make sangria, taped it back up and wasted a box of wine.

Gear! Mmmm….tents and gadgets…

April 21, 2011

Man-oh-man, how happy I would be to review products for a living…or just for fun…although I can’t say I’d want to actually go camping in a Jak Pak. It’s a jacket! A sleeping bag! A TENT!

…a tent??

More like a face tent. The inventors have a video showing how it works but I could barely hear him:

Perfect for getting beer! The mosquito net cracks me up, how would a mosquito get through all that “urethane coated ripstop nylon polyester body fabric? Here’s a video review

If you can sleep without moving and on anything, it could be a pretty sweet jacket. I’m fascinated by the lightweight minimalist hikey people and their innovations; this is certainly one of them. Also, if you’re into flashlilghts, these seem pretty good, I reckon.

I have a head lamp from Target and a lantern that do me fine – had the lantern a few years, now, no complaints.

Except for batteries. And, it’s a little tricky to unscrew and replace the batteries (which I’ve done…once? in a couple of years) but that’s because it’s waterproof. It’s got a hook that I can clip right onto the frame in my “tent” (the EZ Up) easy-peasy.

Maybe I will go look for a solar one today…problem with that is, it stays in my tent so there’s no solarity to charge it. So nevermind. The UFO light works really well, but it’s kinda cheap so if it breaks, it’s done.

It’s only five or six bucks @WalMart and it’s very bright. I used it more like a flashlight to find stuff in my tent. If you can hang it just right it works great as a lantern. And speaking of lanterns, you can just buy sky lanterns, flame resistant and bio-degradable.

Many will remember Tim Hetherington as a great photographer, but to call him such would be to pigeonhole his contributions. He himself acknowledged the changing topography of media: “If you are interested in mass communication, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a photographer. We live in a post-photographic world. If you are interested in photography, then you are interested in something — in terms of mass communication — that is past. I am interested in reaching as many people as possible.”

And he did. He covered various conflicts in West Africa and contributed to two documentaries on Liberia and Darfur. In 2007, he began a yearlong assignment documenting a battalion of American troops stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley as bait to the Taliban. He published a touching book Infidel, won his fourth World Press Photo of the Year for his coverage, and was nominated for an Oscar for his resulting documentary, apolitical and deeply human Restrepo. His broad experiences were also recorded an ethereal webvideo, “Diary”.Iconic Photos
Which you can watch.
That guy doing the reviews of Fenix flashlights and the JakPak took me to Eagle’s Nest Outfitters – great name for a hammock company. Without trees I’m not sure how practical their tarps and flys would be, but they sure have a variety of them.


April 20, 2011

Mmm..tents! I miss looking for tents (but not the headache of trying to pick one). Outside magazine (mostly for hiking and mountain stuff, far as I know) has 2011 gear awards, and a couple of items apply to Burning Man

– sleeping bag, “…weighing in at less than two pounds…water-repellent, and breathable, yet dense enough to resist rips and punctures. Marmot’s Flow Gate Construction allows body heat to flow evenly while keeping down in position around your body.”
– I’ll stick with bare feet and Doc’s, but a lot of people go more Teva/Keens/hikey, so here’s their pick for best shoe

– Big Agnes was a tent I seriously looked at, but ultimately was out of my price range. If you have $600, you could get Outside’s pick.
– I also never really got into backpacks, since I don’t like wearing them, but their pick for “best of” is $180. Outside just listed the results, nothing about why these products won.
– I do need a new carry-on size suitcase, as BM broke mine. Not paying hundreds of dollars for one, though…and I don’t care about a detachable backpack, since I took one for my “personal” bag. I had everything I needed for the week in my carry-on and personal bag, in case I got seperated from my monstrous, 80+ lb. suitcase – it was a pain to lug it all around but hey, it’s not “easy” self-reliance, now, is it?

I did like this dome,

It’s two grand and pretty much looks like my dome from Mountain Hardware (which retails for 3-5,000). Same pole framework that makes mine impossible to figure out how to erect…I don’t see as many windows and doors – but it’s only 26 pounds, compared to my like…60. For anybody wanting to do the dome thing, that sure seems like a reasonable way to go.

Picture dump

March 17, 2011

The other weekend I went to ATL. It was to be a fantasmic mini-vacation, four days of whatever I wanted and my favorite people. It didn’t quite end up that way…apparently ATL cops have a policy that EVERYbody on the scene gets handcuffed, regardless of if you just pulled up a few minutes prior to their arrival and have not a single thing to do with what’s going on. But oh no, you can still stand there shivering in the cold rain while we figure out what happened with these people you don’t really know…grr. GRR. Fucked up the rest of my weekend mentally and physically – not to mention having to decide how to treat someone who, until this point, you considered a friend (as much of a friend as a social aquaintance can be) after violence and aggression have surfaced.

Me, I have a high threshold for jack-assery. I’ve often said, “Most of my best friends have been assholes.” However, I have a zero tolerance policy for malicious intent and violence. Thankfully it was only my weekend that got hurt, not my antique door or 8year-old best friendship, but still. People never cease to surprise. Back to the favorite people.

A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.  ~Arnold H. Glasgow

  Except for Saturday night when I had to crash out at the scene of the crime, I ended up spending the whole weekend with my adoptive parents you see there. My home-away-from-home, I call their apartment, where “my room” is always there for me underneath the Legos and records. They are some great burners, truly some of my first burner friends.

It was a warm, summer day at Transformus. I was setting up in Camp BDSM (bacon, donuts, sausage, maple syrup – why, what were you thinking?). I wasn’t supposed to be, but I knew them and they were unable to come at the last minute. So, I took their spot! (They ended up coming after all – coolly enough I was working gate when they showed up, so I was able to tell them!). I think this was the very first time I’d camped in the EZ Up.

I had my fancy sign, my flamingos, unicorn shrine, record bowl tree….of course that picture was after I got the damn thing up. How did that happen? Well, there I am all on my lonesome when this lovely couple comes walking by and stops. “Do you need help?” I hesitantly said, “Yes!”

I was new to this thing, not being able to set up my own tent felt HORRIBLY un-radical. Turns out, she’s gluten-free! And loves Morrissey! Fast-forward these many years later, and I truly consider her one of my best friends. They are both painfully smart, LOVE to cook and eat and drink and watch movies all day when they’re hungover- and are gluten-free. So it’s just great knowing that when we visit I don’t have to worry about food (aside from eating too much of it) or planning anything, because we’re so in-synch. AND they have a very good-looking dog. Plus, Nummy is an LNT queen and has helped me really hone my MOOPing skills.

Back to brunch. We arrived to find a couple sitting there, sketching.

Holy moses! She looked up and I had one of those, blink-blink…what the…Sarah!! She and I met Alchemy ’08, the Year of Doom.

This was the summer of unemployment, my big “I’m going to Burning Man and hopefully not coming back…” bliss (see aforementioned post about how I have zero, none, nunca problems with not having a job). She thought she knew a bus I could ride out early on, and some people in DPW to hook up with – that didn’t happen, but it was so random to see her. I hadn’t seen her since that Alchemy. She was in school in Tenn., at the time, and now lives in Brooklyn.

So there was my besties (I hate that word), this random (notice the DPW hoodie, oh yeah, that’s how I roll, L33t!) lady and my other favorite couple (though, now that I am part of a couple, I can’t really hrmph them anymore):

My captain and his first mate – my captain and I were recovering that morning from our bonding experience the night before of being handcuffed together – not together-together. Simultaneously. You decide to go to a small, grown-up house  party in the burbs, call it and early night and look where it gets you. Handcuffed! You never knew your nose could itch so much in your LIFE!

Do you know where PMS and hunger get you at the grocery store! Uh, ice cream.

 – Phish Food in frozen yogurt. Oh sweet Jesus! 20g of fat per pint instead of 80-something. Yes, per PINT. There’s not really THAT muc h ice cream in there…shut up.

-Late Night  Snack – a new flavor I can eat! Usually they have cookies, pie crust, graham crackers or something I can’t eat. I used to like Chubby Hubby, and this is pretty similar. Vanilla with caramel swirls and chocolate-covered potato chips. Yes, that’s right. And it’s delicious.

– Clusterfluff – I can’t recall any peanut butter flavor really being peanut buttery enough to satisfy. Sometimes it starts out good, but then just tastes bland.  So far, this one takes the prize. Peanut butter ice cream with caramel bits, marshmallow sludge and peanut butter swirls. I hope they keep it around.

I went bowling last month.

I hate bowling. I can’t drink beer and it involves exercise. I’m not good at sports of any sort. Except if by “marathon” you mean “binge drinking.” I felt out-of-place (not hard to, surrounded by cammo pants, un-ironic trucker hats and children) and ridiculously uncoordinated. But it was fun. Keith

snuck me in a 6-pack of Redbridge and paid the guy to look the other way. I wouldn’t do it often, but it was pretty fun.

Every Friday a guy in a pick-up truck pulls up outside the funeral home, his bed loaded with produce. I got an

avacado about the size of a softball. It got diced and stirred into tomatos/shrimp/onion/sour cream/hot sauce/cheddar and poured onto tortilla chips.

You’ll remember this shirt,  it has a friend!

Need a rug for your hang out area?

February 12, 2011

Goodwill’s got ya covered (no pun intended until after I realized I’d made one and now it is totally intentional).

Guess I’ll have to be my own tent tester…

May 23, 2010

Dip into my savings, like I did last year, for some test runs of easily available (ie, WalMart and Target) tents.

Coleman 14×9 Stockton 8 Tent – 4.5+ out of 5 stars, out of 53 reviews. That’s pretty solid.

My friend got a couple of these, and they’re awesome.

They’d be perfect for a water container, nightstand knickknacks, etc. They fold up flat, perfect to slide behind your Tetris-ly packed backseat or stack in a bin, etc. – and, when you fold it up, it makes a carrying handle.

Didn’t see anything @ Target. I remember looking at the Bugaboo before (can’t forget that name):

“Cyclone Venting to allow for better air circulation when rainfly is in use” – sounds interesting. Tents are so suffocatey…”Strong winds are no match for the sturdy 9.5mm fiberglass poles.” Well-reviewed on Cabela and Amazon.

Goggles redux

May 23, 2010

I pondered goggles last year (here) and ended up borrowing some – they’re on my must-have list. It was very nice to be able to move freely in a whiteout. I might even wear them more often, just to help my eyes out, this year. I was really, really hoping to get Lasik for the burn season, but hell. Money.

Goggles. Maximum Eyewear even has a “Burning Man” category.

I know I want them big enough to cover my glasses, if need be, and not have crappy foam. These military ones are still looking good, but I’m thinking a fold-up pair would be nice.

Found this nifty-looking dust mask.

This style is exactly what I’m looking for, large area of vision and fold-up. Gonna keep an eye out for something, cheaper, though…I’m not buying stuff like that until AFTER I get necessities taken care of.

Like getting TO BRC…I’m mildly bummed I missed Stag Camp registration, but I bet if I asked pretty please, they’d squeeze me in. My top choice now is smack on the Esp, one factor which manages to negate the otherwise Epic nature of the deal…unfortunately, looking at goggles has led me to tents. More tents. Making me tense. Har har.

I generally avoid more commercial-name tents but here’s a Coleman and Swiss Gear that caught my eye

Coleman Weathermaster Legacy has pretty good reviews, including “easy to set up.” My friend has used her Swiss Gear – from Wal-Mart – for years, now. This one’s kinda cute:

This Cabela one is on the list (ha ha ha, yeah right. My list of 300 domiciles I want to try out…I just need a job as a tent tester!).