Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Family camping 101

The family (dog, babe, husband) and I spent three days and two nights at Shades State Park recently with several friends and three campsites to accomodate the pack. This being Rosemary's first camping trip, we spent most of the week prior to the event researching family tents via the internet and local shops.
Our previous tent had been of a small two-person, lightweight backpacking variety, which was perfect for our 60 mile trek though the Washington mountains a few years back. Ready to purchase a new sleeping abode, we confidently strolled into Sportman's Warehouse (there isn't actually a reputable outdoor store here for hiking and the like, to my dismay; but, hey, if you want guns and reloading gear, they'll hook you up) the night before our trip and were ready to shell out the cash for a 4 person tent. After looking around the tent area for several minutes and a few too many uncomfortable glances at photos on the oversized bulletin board of local folk with bloody deer and turkeys in the back of their pick-ups, we noticed that they were out of the smaller sized tent and we were promptly offered the larger one. Some discussion ensued.

"A 6-person tent for two and a half people, and maybe the dog if she hasn't spent too much time in the creekbed smearing the decay of animal carcasses into her hide? Seems a little large to me."

"Come on, we'll grow into it. How big can it be?"

We purchased the tent; and after setting it up at the campsite and having to stand in the poison ivy ten feet away with tent poles that extended to an embarassing length, I'll still say that I very much prefer an air mattress with fitted sheets and room to stand over pumping and filtering a mud puddle for drinking water and pooping behind a tree.

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