Vacation Report 2: Tents

I’ve decided to return the tents we took to New Hampshire, if I can find the receipt. They leak. Not just from the bottom – all tents do that, if there’s enough water underneath them – but from the roof. As always, you get what you pay for.

I was reminded of two more things I dislike about dome tents this past week. (See this previous entry for more). These are really problems with cheap dome tents, more than anything.

  • They usually comes with tiny nylon napkins for flys, which are totaly insufficient to keep rain out. The fly, for the uninitiated, is the second layer of tent fabric which goes outside the tent itself, keeping rain from strking the tent wall directly. This only works when the inner tent wall is completely covered, and the fly is not in contact with it or with any objects outside the tent. These miniscule flys apparently work on the theory that so long as rain doesn’t hit square on the top of the tent, where the roof is flattest and all the seams come together, it will just run off the sides of the tent. It’s a nice theory.
  • They are staked at the corners, instead of being staked at the ends of guy lines. This means that a) you have far less leeway in finding a rock-free spot for the stakes, once you’ve chosen your spot; and b) the tent is not kept as rigid. I suspect it also makes it easier for stakes to be uprooted.

One of these days I’m going to write up a quick guide to choosing and using a general-purpose tent. The monstrosities I saw this past week, and the misuses they were subjected to, were appalling.

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One Comment

  1. I wondered, aren’t you supposed to have the front zip closed before you stake the thing down when you have one of those straight up and down zip-front-tents? So many of them were left open at the bottom as a result, it appeared.

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