Tent suggestions!?!?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by BBadger » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:17 pm

Some people think that you have to suffer on the playa to really get the full experience. I don't think it's necessary or that the experience is really any better in a tent rather than in the comfort of an RV or something else. It doesn't amplify the experience. It doesn't make the experience more "pure" or pious. It's just a matter of what you're willing to tolerate and pay.

I camp in a tent because it's cheap, I can tolerate it, and I don't have resources (space, money, time, experience) to own and operate something like an RV or trailer for the few trips I go camping or traveling throughout the year. Despite this, my camping arrangements are designed to maximize my comfort as much as possible, and I don't cheap out on what comforts I bring for a single person.

I've stayed in an RV at Burning Man too, after my shit was wrecked in an accident and one of my friends was generous enough to let me stay in his RV (which is not shared with anyone else, so there was ample space). It's nice. Very nice. It's great to be able to essentially not need to pack your stuff up each time you need to leave, to have access to a powered refrigerator and air conditioning if you need it. To be sheltered from the elements by solid doors and walls. To sleep on a bed that isn't inflatable. To sit at a table to eat. To use a sink to wash my hands and contacts. To have an indoor shower.

The next year he offered to let me stay in the RV again, but I declined. I like the independence of bringing my own shit and having my own space (and bringing lots of shit). It doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy using an RV though (and I spent a decent amount of time in that RV for other stuff anyway). I'd love an RV, but can't justify its cost to own or rent, or have space to store it.

My experience at the event was not diminished by my stay in the RV. I'd certainly have preferred something like that my first year. My first year I was in a tent and didn't bring shade (besides draping a tarp over the tents) and it was hot. If I had something nicer I might've felt more refreshed and ready to do stuff during the day. In subsequent years I had some shade, but a small tent and it still wasn't super awesome. This past year was quite nice because I used a much nicer tent and two layers of shade.

I'd say that you should do everything within your power and budget to be as comfortable as you can for your one-week, $425-ticket adventure in the desert made for car-camping. Don't think a tent or hexyurt or RV is beneath or above you. Don't force yourself into some artificial constraint because you think the first experience is supposed to be provided that way. Bring what will make your time there enjoyable. You have only a week!

That said, maybe if you hate it, it's not worth investing so much the first time. Then again, what are the chances of that? Also, maybe you won't hate it if you're more comfortable.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Ratty » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:08 pm

Go Bbadger! Well put. On the other hand... burning Man sucks. Don't go.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:54 pm

Thanks all. I briefly considered an RV for my inaugural Burn, but the cost was insane and it felt like it might be a bit isolating. I backpack, so tents and I get along just fine. I want a larger car-camping tent that could get some wear and tear (for 1/4 the cost) rather than the light and tiny backpacking tents I already have. MH with Coleman tent inside it is!
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by SteveInRealLife » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:09 am

Some items which appear to have been less than addressed:

1. How far away are you from Burning Man?
2. Do you have any friends in Reno/have you made friends with anyone who lives in Reno?
3. Our chain stores (Scheels. Cabellas [which you should be boycotting, anyway], REI, etc.) are geared toward destination campers. Sportsman's Warehouse (I realize it's a chain, too, but they're more location sensitive) in both Reno and Carson City are stocked with the Great Basin in mind.
4. Less important that "what tent" is "how tent". Size and method are more important that which one. No matter what you get, it's going to be hot, dusty, and a disgusting mess by Wednesday. Better that stressing about flaps and mesh (with the exception of NO MESH ROOF) is setting yourself up with effective resilience factors. The Nevada desert can be fucked up; instead of complaining about rain, bring an umbrella and galoshes. The more prepared you are to cope, the happier you'll be.
5. If you're flying in, you're probably not packing the tent out. What's your plan for the tent after use? DON'T plan on returning it. Consider that even if you don't fly it home, your tent doesn't have to be disposable. Burning Man's carbon footprint is FUCKING ATROCIOUS, so if you want to get your virgin trek off on the right foot, think about some of this stuff beforehand.

My suggestion would be to make nice with the Reno-ites you find here. If you don't cozy up to a camp, don't sweat that. Theme camping can be a constraint on your week that a lot of virgins aren't equipped for and don't want. DO, however, see if you can make friends with some extra space and consider asking if you can send them a little money to purchase and take your (preferably aerodynamic) tent out to the Playa along with some long heavy duty stakes. All the bitchin' tent in the world isn't going to make a bit of difference if it blows off to Idaho. I watched a beautiful Mountain Hardware geodesic do just that one year. You're going to need to get water and food out there, too. It's nice to have a buddy.

I suggest a tent big enough for your pack, which I'm guessing (hoping) will be a large frame pack or sea bag, both of which work extremely well as bag, pillow, bed mate, etc., two sleeping bags side by side, tall enough to stand in if you want to change clothes out of the elements, and broad enough to have rowdy sex in (it's a legitimate consideration). Your cot and sleeping gear will provide weight on one side and your stuff will provide weight on the other. The cot will keep you 10 degrees warmer than sleeping on the ground or a pad and that can make the difference between good days 2 and 3 and bad ones. Stake out your tent with eye hook tent stakes (google that: 31" eye hook tent stakes). If your tent has guy ropes, use all of those, too. Learn how to tie a clove hitch and make it your friend.

There are a million tips that could follow: bring carpet, bring towels, bring stuff to make a box frame and set up on that. I'll say that coming from elsewhere, tent camping is the hardest choice because you don't have many options unless you get here early, get a vehicle, and can move some things.

More information about what you've done to prepare and what your other logistic plans are would be helpful.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by claybcook » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:44 pm

I'm lucky enough (?) to be driving from Utah. Planning on trailing a small U-Haul to have a dirty place to put stuff in on the way out in a forlorn plan to keep the inside of the car...well, lets say I hope to avoid actual dust dunes in there.

I'm assembling my goodies now. Planning on a 12' X 15' Monkey Hut with a Coleman tent beneath. I've got a queen sized air mattress to sleep on and the rest will come together. It's actually hard to come up with camping things when I don't have to carry them in on my back. This site has been a God send! I fly for a living, so I'm well aware of nature's unpredictability. No matter how prepared I think I am, the Playa Gods will demonstrate who's really the boss. I expect that. Seriously, though, the raincoat/umbrella/galoshes suggestion was great. My mind has been in desert mode, forgot about the arroyo mode.
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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by DoctorIknow » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:53 pm

[quote="claybcook"]I've got a queen sized air mattress to sleep on [/quote]

Don't forget a thick blanket or moving pad to put UNDER your body, as air mattress's suck the heat right out of you, but, of course, not until you are totally in REM sleep and wake up feeling something is very wrong but not sure what.

Bring a vinyl patch kit, too.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by Leap » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:45 am

I'm very happy to report the Siesta 4 works as advertised. We used two weeks ago and then again this weekend at two VERY hot festivals. It was the only place we could find relief from the heat. I plugged the fans into my solar panel and left them on all day. The tent never got hot. I would say it's like being in the shade with a breeze at any given temperature. It really helps! With my FIgjam cooler, it should be very chill in BRC.

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Re: Tent suggestions!?!?

Post by John86045 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:52 pm

The most important thing for tent choice is used for the trip. As you think using the tents you want to select the weight of the tent and how regularly you will be setting up. If you are touring you want to like a tent that is lightweight, easy to setup and rip down. If you will be staying in a single position and location you will be more troubled with the overall comfort of the tent. If you are touring with a large collection of the group you may think that you need a large tent, but then one person gets fixed carrying a heavy tent vs. everybody carrying lightweight tents.
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