12 May 2012

Motocamping: The Tent

After my last few motocamping excursions, I think I finally know what I want in a tent.  I haven't spent that much money on my camping supplies in the past simply because I wasn't sure whether or not I'd keep doing it.  It's much easier to go to a hotel at the end of the day than it is to setup camp.  However I find peace in an out of the way camp site so I believe I'll stick to motocamping.

The first time I ever motocamped was at the Twisty Sisters Rally way back in 2005 (seems like yesterday).  I went with a friend and we used his tent.  If I can remember it right, it was a 3 or 4 man dome yellow dome tent and was fine for a basically dry weekend.  I had some pictures but that was two or three computers ago through many backups that I can't find.

After that, I bought a larger tent for normal camping.  It's a two room tent with a screen porch that is too big to consider putting on the bike.  I really like that tent because of the screened room.  We usually keep a lot of stuff there that so that we don't have to keep it in the tent with us.  Since that tent was too big, I needed a smaller one to use on the bike.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something when I didn't know what I needed beyond shelter so I got a 4 man tent from Wal-Mart.  I used it the first time during the FJR Camp Meet and again when Cruzman and I went camping later that year.  It's a decent tent but the sides are saggy so the only real useable space is in the middle.  That might not be such a big problem except that I use an air mattress and it takes up a good bit of room inside.  Add that with the saddlebags and other crap I might end up with while camping, there's really limited space inside.  It works pretty good in the rain though.  I didn't find any leaks when it would rain each night during that camp meet.  In the picture you can see where the cooler or something was pushing the sides out.  I was content with it for the limited uses I thought I'd have until the FZ1 Rally last year.

I found a tent in the garage, the REI Half Dome.  It's one of the older ones that has a bit of a vestibule and the rain fly covers the full sides of the tent.  It's not as big as the WalMart tent but it packs about the same size.  It is a little taller and since the rain fly goes all the way to the ground, I don't have to worry about putting stuff too close to the sides and it getting wet.  I figured I'd give it a try to see what it was like to use a more expensive tent.

Like I said in that Ride Report, that thing got HOT!  Probably because I didn't know how to roll the sides up so I could get more air in there.  I really liked the vestibule and used it to dry out some of my gear after the soaking on the ride in.  The problem with it other than the heat and lack of air flow was I needed a larger vestibule.  I had to hide the saddle bags under the picnic table when I'd rather they be in the tent.  On the other hand, the space inside was just right.  I must have been Goldilocks!

After I got home, I started thinking about what I like in a tent now that I had some experience using them.  Both of my tents are really easy to setup alone.  Both have plenty of room inside, one with more useable space than the other.  One has the vestibule while the other has a little cap that helps keep the rain out of the door.  Both didn't let the rain in during some pretty severe storms.

I can probably continue to use either tent but since I know about the sagging sides and I like the vestibule, I started looking at other tents.  This time I'm willing to spend a little more than $30 for it.  I'd like it to have a larger vestibule and a fly that reaches the ground so I don't have to worry about condensation on the sides.  I decided to get the Chinook Trailside Long Star 3 tent.

It is roughly the same size as my WalMart tent and it has all the features I want.  It's in the value line of their tents so it doesn't cost as much as some others with similar features.  This time, I'm pairing it with a ground cloth and/or tarp of some sort to kind of extend the floor into the vestibule area.

It's a little smaller at only 7 x 7 compared to 9 x 8 of the WalMart tent but doesn't feel smaller, likely due to the sides.

The tent body seems to be very breathable and likely useless without the fly.  I can't wait to use it!

On the other hand, lately I've been thinking about an alternative to the tent.  Something with hard sides that doesn't need to be packed on the bike; maybe a camper to pull behind the bike?  I got the idea when I saw a thread on ADVRider about the Idaho Bedroll.  I like the concept but maybe not the shape of the thing.  I'd also like it to be on a single wheel chassis like the Third Wheel or Unigo cargo trailers.  It seems it'd be easier to tow that way.

In the mean time I'm going to enjoy my tent and am looking forward to this year's FZ1 Rally where I'll get to use it for the first time.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Ebony Approved!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog