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Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Family Camping

What I Learned From Our Backyard Tent Camping Test Run- Part 1

May 25, 2010 by · 2 Comments 


After many delays, we finally got to do a camping test run in our backyard.  I don’t remember where I first read that a test run was a good idea, but I am so glad I read it.  We learned a lot from this experience, and this is part 1 of our newfound knowledge. 

  • Always check the weather forecast.  A couple of days before the test run, I checked the weather forecast, and things looked great.  I never checked it again, and that was a mistake. On the intended day of the test run, we set everything up, cooked dinner on our new Coleman grill, and had a wonderful dinner outside on the patio.  I was keeping a list of things that would be convenient to have, but that I hadn’t thought of before we began “camping”.  After dinner, we all went back in the house to tie up some loose ends and get the lights cut off before bed, when my husband said, “What was that flash of light?”  As the words, “What light?” were coming out of my mouth, we heard thunder.  I did a quick check of the weather online, and found out that our area was supposed to have thunderstorms all night and into the next morning.  Much to our son’s dismay, we abandoned camping with plans to resume the next evening when the weather was supposed to be perfect.  The thunderstorms taught me the second lesson:
  • Even tents that are zipped up can leak.  I don’t know why I thought that because we put a tarp under our tent and zipped it up that there was no chance of water getting in the tent, but I was very wrong.  The day after the storms, I asked Dennis to check on the tent to be sure nothing got wet.  I wasn’t expecting anything to be wet – it was really just a precaution.  He told me he looked in the tent, and everything looked fine.  When we went to bed that night, I thought it seemed awfully humid inside the tent compared to outside the tent.  Dennis was in bed, and I was still shuffling some things around when I noticed that underneath the pad our son was supposed to sleep on was soaking wet.  I don’t mean damp. I mean a puddle.  I am still not sure how the water went through the tarp under the tent onto the floor of the tent, but it did.  In Dennis’ defense, he couldn’t see the puddle because the pad was on top of it.
  • Our tent is too small.  Our tent is supposed to sleep 4-5 people, and that has been fine before because we only used sleeping bags.  You might remember when I wrote about doing some research on cots.  Well, I did the research, and I really wanted to get cots, but my husband vetoed them because of the price.  We already owned two twin-sized air mattresses, and he said those would do for now.  I had to agree that his was the most economical route, and that is what we adults planned to use.  We had a sleeping pad we purchased for David to use.  When we got both of the mattresses blown up for the test run, and put David’s sleeping pad in the tent, there was no room left for duffel bags to hold our clothes or anything else for that matter.

 I hope I don’t sound too negative, I really was trying to focus on what we needed to correct for next time.  I just hope Dennis will stick with me while I tweak things.  Stay tuned for part 2.


2 Responses to “What I Learned From Our Backyard Tent Camping Test Run- Part 1”
  1. GK says:

    About the cots: be aware that they can be very, very cold to sleep on if the air temps drop at night. We tried that a few times when I was a kid, and the problem you may find is that, because the air circulates under the cot, when the temperature drops, the cots get very cold. We used air mattresses in the military, and we were always reasonably warm, because you had a contained layer of air that would absorb and retain some heat, since the air couldn’t circulate around you.

    Your mileage may vary.

  2. I am not sure how the water got into your tent, but try sealing all the seams with waterproof sealant. Also, the tarp should be under the tent only, the edges should not poke out on the sides, otherwise the water will flow right under your tent.
    Good luck.

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