Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Leighlandowling
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Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Leighlandowling » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:13 pm

G'day friends, myself and the girlfriend are nearly ready for our first burn! Lucky enough to join a camp that has plenty of shade, showers and more so we are just trying to work out our sleeping situation. What we have both agreed on is sleeping in a cargo van, just wondering people's thoughts on this;
Line inside of van with plastic to make cleaning easier at the end of the week.
Reflective tape on all the windows.
Bedding in van for zzzzz.
Seperate tent for clothes/drinks/accessories.
10x20ft car canopy that would sit over the top of van and other tent.
Is this doable or is it just a shit idea where we should just go for a tent.
All constructive criticism welcome.
Cheers legends x

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Token
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Token » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:59 pm

Sounds like you have a carport, van and tent already.

So you could sleep in either of those.

You got more options than most already.

I would not decide until I was there and can feel what base frequency the van resonates at. That would be my biggest concern given all the options you have.

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Savannah
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Savannah » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:05 pm

That sounds like a pretty decent set-up. When a friend and I used a cargo van in 2010 we still brought tents and a shade (we weren't a couple, and we wanted the space) and we used the van only for storage. Only the two of you can answer whether sleeping in the van is more cozy vs. cramped. If you have the option, I'd tentatively say just shade the tents and sleep in those.

Lining the van with plastic sounds difficult.

Before my campmate returned the van, she literally just parked the van on an incline and hosed out the back with a high-pressure hose.

You can also put sheets over the upholstery (if they're permeable fabric), and wipe the interior with a spray bottle of vinegar and towels.
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asr9754
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by asr9754 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:12 pm

Dude if you have a cargo van in the shade with a bed in the back, that is a dope setup and you'll be happy. Hard walls are quieter than a tent and stay cooler. Tent for storage and changing. Yeah! Is your 10x20 a popup canopy? Those can be kind of flimsy on the playa FYI.
For inside your cargo van, put a curtain rod, hooks, hanging baskets or over-seat storage thingys. That's nice to keep your earplugs and sunglasses and other crap somewhat organized so you don't kill each other.

OMG if you're sleeping in the Cargo Van get a spare key and stash it somewhere! Non negotiable. Both of my cargo van campmates locked their keys inside TWICE last year b/c they thought the other person had the key.

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GreyCoyote
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:33 pm

You have received advice worth its weight in gold. AS, Token and Savannah speak truth. Heed it.

Enjoy the burn!
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Various
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Various » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:30 pm

I do this every year. The van under the carport is more comfortable than the tent.

If the van is completely inside the carport, leave the doors unlocked and leave the key in the drivers' side door for the week. It will be hidden by the carport walls and make it impossible to lock the key inside. Or zip tie it to the drivers' side front shocks, or the mirror, or anywhere else you can't lose it. If you take a spare key, zip tie that one in a secondary place.

You can also leave the windows open and tape a sheet of plastic over it to keep out dust, allowing you to break through the plastic if necessary to get inside.

Or you can just accept the fact that dust will be everywhere regardless of your attempts, and hose the fucker out before you return the rental.

Oh, one more tip: you may have to physically disconnect the interior lights in the cargo space so they don't stay on while the door is open. Some models have switchable lights, some don't.

golgotha-a-go-go
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by golgotha-a-go-go » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:52 am

Hey There, I sent you an email through your eplaya link. Let me know if you got it. It's a bit long but has lots of info.
homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum est, puto...

Zubeneschamali
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Zubeneschamali » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:58 am

Yeah, done it twice, totally worth it. The inside is surprisingly cavernous....to a fault. I literally lost things the first time because by end of week its an archeological expedition to find anything. 2nd time I strung some lines across the roof supports to hang things and brought cheap shelves to stack shit. Also there is no way to get....errrr.....romantic without those vans rockin and rollin. So own it.

Various
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Various » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:52 am

Zubeneschamali wrote:Yeah, done it twice, totally worth it. The inside is surprisingly cavernous....to a fault. I literally lost things the first time because by end of week its an archeological expedition to find anything. 2nd time I strung some lines across the roof supports to hang things and brought cheap shelves to stack shit.
I use carabiners to clip things like my Camelbak and headlamp to the cage between the cab and the cargo space. They hang right above my head while I sleep, so they're immediately accessible if needed.

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Savannah
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Savannah » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:02 pm

Various wrote:
Zubeneschamali wrote:Yeah, done it twice, totally worth it. The inside is surprisingly cavernous....to a fault. I literally lost things the first time because by end of week its an archeological expedition to find anything. 2nd time I strung some lines across the roof supports to hang things and brought cheap shelves to stack shit.
I use carabiners to clip things like my Camelbak and headlamp to the cage between the cab and the cargo space. They hang right above my head while I sleep, so they're immediately accessible if needed.
And don't forget to heed asr9754's advice:
For inside your cargo van, put a curtain rod, hooks, hanging baskets or over-seat storage thingys. That's nice to keep your earplugs and sunglasses and other crap somewhat organized so you don't kill each other.
In addition to clear over-the-door pockets and whatnot, U also recommend a $15 three-drawer organizer from any housewares section of a grocery/department store like Target or Fred Meyer (et al). I have one such in my tent, and organize things inside with plastic trays and shoeboxes.

A wastebasket or a substitute for one (like a tall box) is also nice, and you can use either one to carry padded bottles of wine/liquor on the way.
*** 2018 Survival Guide ***

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Leighlandowling
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Leighlandowling » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:12 pm

Thank you everybody for your replies! We are going ahead with sleeping in the van under a car canopy. Can't wait, see you all there!

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SpikyKitten
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van. Should I rent one?

Post by SpikyKitten » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:00 pm

This burn, rather than deal with the hassle of setting up tent and shade structure (the older I get, the more of a PITA that is) . . . I was considering renting a U-Haul van to camp in, but I don't have a carport. What say the hivemind here? Is it still worth it, or would I be better off with the usual tent/shade structure setup (and perhaps a new, easier-to-set up tent)?

Thanks!

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paul_bennett
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by paul_bennett » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:49 pm

My plan is to sleep inside a minivan. I'll put all seats down and use and old single person mattress for me, as I'll make it solo to Burning Man. To control heat, I'll tape a reflective sheet on the ceiling and windows, also, to control dust I'll tape some plastic to the semi-open window. I'll cover the inside with plastic sheets. I won't build any shade structures nor tents.

So, if your idea don't work, remember that some idiot out there is cooking inside a minivan.

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Ratty
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Ratty » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:40 pm

How much does it cost to rent something. You can buy a cheap tent and seal up the mesh parts. With the new-found money you save on NOT renting a u-haul van you can buy a canvas sail from REI or some other upscale retailer. they are easy to set up and work great out there. Attach one corner to your tire. The other two have adjustable poles. Under it you can eat, nap, entertain. Or sleep in a box.
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Various
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Various » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:27 am

Ratty wrote:How much does it cost to rent something. You can buy a cheap tent and seal up the mesh parts. With the new-found money you save on NOT renting a u-haul van you can buy a canvas sail from REI or some other upscale retailer. they are easy to set up and work great out there. Attach one corner to your tire. The other two have adjustable poles. Under it you can eat, nap, entertain. Or sleep in a box.
It costs about $500 for the 9' cargo van for the week, but it saves the maintenance costs of taking my own car to the playa.

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silvergirl70
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:05 am

Hi. Found this thread a year later. Curious how the cargo van sleeping was. We are adding another person to our group (now 3). Previous setup was coming to the event in a cargo van; we have a 10X14 Kodiak under modified monkey hut shade. Now with 3 people (cots) in the tent, things are going to get cramped for clothing/changing. (We can stack up 2 of the cots, and may have to, but top person bakes, bottom person gets claustrophobic).
I was thinking about purchasing a small vertical changing room/Cabana to store clothing and for changing, but then realized we have this fucking awesome van and went looking for threads on people's experiences.

In past years, I found that we drained down the van's battery by constantly opening/closing doors for storage use...would consider disconnecting battery terminals for the week for that reason, as long as locks aren't disabled by that action.

Did your cargo van sleep setup work well? Ours will not be in the shade, so will cover all windows etc. To be honest, the more years I come to this event, the more I realize that I will still be spit out semi-whole on the other end regardless of what I do. Ha.
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Canoe
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Canoe » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:37 pm

Can be hard to block the sun/heat from the roof. Reflectix on roof.
You shouldn't be using the cab area, so you just have to be sure that the cargo light is disabled for the duration so you have a battery to start it up with at the end.
Some have built a nice wall across the back cargo door, complete with it's own locking door and a swamp-cooler.

Post a photo of your van and people might be able to offer more specific options.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:59 pm

You could just take the bulb out of the light. Or, pull fuses until you find the one that kills the light.
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iPadAuteur
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by iPadAuteur » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:57 pm

Awesome finding this post as this will be my first burn and this is exactly the kind of info I’m looking for. I own a converted E250 cargo van already, so my primary concerns are keeping the temperature reasonable in the van and dealing with dust. The cab will be curtained off with reflective windshield sunscreen. My van doesn’t have side windows and the rear windows are already blocked with reflective insulation. The cargo area is insulated.

Any feedback or additional ideas welcome. :)
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Jackass
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Jackass » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:21 pm

Just put that thing under some shade, and you're set. It already looks like it's pretty well set up inside. Some burners dream about having something like this, comfortable off the grid dwelling/vehicle.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

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Canoe
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Canoe » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:18 pm

iPadAuteur wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:57 pm
...The cab will be curtained off with reflective windshield sunscreen...
Hopefully that's: cab will be curtained off AND reflective windshield sunscreen. You want to block the heat at the glass, windshield and the glass on the doors. Unless you're planning on baking cookies in the cab area. Really.
And it's significantly more effective when the Reflectix is installed on the outside; use Stucco Tape. So much so it's worth while adding some on the outside of those rear windows.

See the thread on RV tips.

That roof vent will let a huge amount of heat in. Where one layer of Reflectix on the outside will do the job well, if covering the roof vent on the inside (which is very convenient for installation, and for opening for air if conditions will allow that), you want three layers and extended a good six to eight inches out on each side from the side of the vent. If you have a one inch hole in that in the middle, and have a tape hinge for some pieces to cover that, then you can 'open' that to get a temporary light source during the day. Note that an LED light will do the same, but introduces much less heat than that 1" hole... You can do the same trick on the rear window's cover, so you have a way of looking out without opening the door - you don't want to open it if there's a huge dusty wind outside.

The insulation on the inside is good, and its shiny surface will delay heat getting in as it has minimal emittance of the heat as it gets through the insulation (although you still have conductance to the inside air). It would be worthwhile putting some Reflectix on the roof, and the East side, etc.., see the RV thread.

https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic ... 0#p1160522

With the insulation, a DIY bucket-cooler swamp-cooler may be sufficient to cool it well (easy, low cost, low power, all known). One would certainly make it cooler. More so if you can cover the glass on the outside, and add more to the roof (possibly sides); see RV thread.
A swamp-cooler doesn't work like an A/C (cools the air inside), but works by replacing the air inside with cooled fresh dust-free air from the swamp-cooler. Therefore you need both a vent for the cooled air to enter the van (can be vented through an adapter to the front passenger window, then routed low in the van) and an air exhaust path (roof vent works well as higher air is hotter). If the heated air inside can't get out, then the cooled air can't be pushed in.
A unicooler design would do better, or even the box-cooler. If you NEED a cool van, be it for preference or health issues, then a uni or box cooler is for you. Ask in the thread about specifics of installing such for your van.
Start at the back of the thread and move forward to get the latest summary of the three designs. These are playa-tested designs that have a huge amount of use on the playa. Do not vary the designs without checking by posting in that thread, as many have shot themselves in the foot modifying things or substituting parts or materials.
https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic ... start=4110
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Token
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Token » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:38 am

Since you own the van and are presumably not too worried about playafication ...

You can go low-fi ...

Get or build a sturdy roof rack that can be extended a few feet past the front-back of the vehicle once parked. Make it so it’s got about a foot of height above the roof.

Use the roof rack to strap a good shade cloth over the van and down to the ground on the “sun” side of the well parked and positioned van.

Done. Shade all day and none of the fuss.

You can even get creative with some conduit and extend an awning or somesuch and have options to make bigger/grander next year. Lots of threads on that here so go reading.

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Canoe
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Canoe » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:13 am

Token wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:38 am
Since you own the van and are presumably not too worried about playafication ...
You can go low-fi ...
Get or build a sturdy roof rack that can be extended a few feet past the front-back of the vehicle once parked. Make it so it’s got about a foot of height above the roof.
Use the roof rack to strap a good shade cloth over the van and down to the ground on the “sun” side of the well parked and positioned van.
Done. Shade all day and none of the fuss.
You can even get creative with some conduit and extend an awning or somesuch and have options to make bigger/grander next year. Lots of threads on that here so go reading.
  • This. With 90% shade-cloth.
    Stops 90% of the direct solar radiation on shaded surfaces, and radiated from the hot ground on the side with the shade-cloth going to the ground,
    BUT not from the hot air (Reflectix on the outside of the van would - but on the side can bake your neighbours...).
  • Where shaded, it minimizes the sun on the ground near and under the edge of the van, so that's not baking the ground and radiating up, heating the van from below..
  • If you're not a morning person and want to sleep in:
    • Option 1: Position so the side of the van is to to the SE, so the morning sun is also largely blocked (except for immediately after sunrise until it swings up and more to the SE). Less shade on front of van late afternoon.
    • Option 2: Some people position so the side of the van is to the South, then run an additional piece of shade-cloth to the ground to the East, which covers most of the morning sun, except at the corner.
    • Even Better, Option 3: the side to the South, and the back-end to the East, and Reflectix on that rear-end (small area, and you want it over the rear glass anyway).
  • Extend shadecloth to the N (or NW) of the van for a shaded outdoor area during the day. Big plus.
    Can simply go to the ground out a ways from the van, or tie into an EMT structure.
    As Token says, this year or another.
  • Plus reflectix on the glass, outside.
Token: what height should the shade-cloth be up above the van for an air gap? Four inches, six inches, eight inches?

Again, if you NEED a cool van, be it for preference or health issues, then a uni or box cooler is for you, to handle the heat that remains from whatever steps you take to minimize it. Ask in the swamp-cooler thread about specifics of installing such for your van.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Token
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Token » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:18 pm

Air gap depends on type of shade material.

Trial and error is best but if I had to guess:

Tarps, standard knit shade or similar materials with mass - one foot minimum. They radiate quite a bit of IR.

Aluminet or other low mass materials - 6 inches, less should work but scratch factor etc.

I love using Aluminet - double layer but stretched at 90 degree so the filaments intersect orthogonal. You can get near full shade that way with 70% and barely any wind load. You can even stitch it into a tube and just tension it with conduit. Like a wide-ass conveyer belt.

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Canoe
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by Canoe » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:24 pm

I forgot all about the thermal mass, radiating, conducting.
Token wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:18 pm
... Aluminet - double layer but stretched at 90 degree so the filaments intersect orthogonal... You can even stitch it into a tube and just tension it with conduit. Like a wide-ass conveyer belt.
Now that's neat!
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

iPadAuteur
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by iPadAuteur » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:20 pm

Canoe wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:18 pm
iPadAuteur wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:57 pm
...The cab will be curtained off with reflective windshield sunscreen...
Hopefully that's: cab will be curtained off AND reflective windshield sunscreen. You want to block the heat at the glass, windshield and the glass on the doors. Unless you're planning on baking cookies in the cab area. Really.
Yeah, that’s exactly what I meant. Thanks for all the great tips. 🤓

NikonKing
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by NikonKing » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:39 am

paul_bennett wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:49 pm
My plan is to sleep inside a minivan. I'll put all seats down and use and old single person mattress for me, as I'll make it solo to Burning Man. To control heat, I'll tape a reflective sheet on the ceiling and windows, also, to control dust I'll tape some plastic to the semi-open window. I'll cover the inside with plastic sheets. I won't build any shade structures nor tents.

So, if your idea don't work, remember that some idiot out there is cooking inside a minivan.
I'll be camping alone this year inside a minivan. How did this all work out for you last burn? Any tips for a newb? I'm particularly interested on what you'd do differently regarding shading the van.

Thank you!!

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tatonka
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Re: Sleeping in a Cargo Van.

Post by tatonka » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:22 am

I put 4 boxes on top of the camper ,then tarps all the way around , except for the door area just a shade tarp there . The camper door faced East so I seen the sun rise every morning , the wind came from the West, and went right around us. I had all the tarps ,and poles anchored down with 14" lag bolts right to the ground. Great shade ,and with Figjams swamp cooler inside it was very cool :)



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