Sunday, April 01, 2007

Finally...a tent that works for me 100%

As with a lot of folks who like to be outside, I have been frustrated with tents as shelters. Sure, they're necessary, especially in buggy and rainy climes, but I always felt like I had gone outside, only to climb in a cocoon of nylon and aluminum every night. My favorite time to camp was early spring and late fall, before bug season here in Wisconsin, when I could sleep under a tarp or just out on a sandbar, watching satellites fly over during a new moon.

Don't get me wrong—I appreciate a good tent when the weather turns nasty or when the bugs come out for a feeding frenzy. It's just that I lose a connection with nature when I an ensconced in a floor-to-ceiling enclosure, which is usually not a color I'd paint my house walls. My old SD Meteor Light was a great design, but it was blue. Spending a rainy day in it was enough to cause major depressive episodes.

Then Dan Cooke from Cooke Custom Sewing sent me a really cool shelter. Called the Lean 2 Plus, it combines the things I love about tents (bug netting) with the things I love about tarps (no floor), plus it's white, so spending time in it is about as cheery as spending an afternoon on a screen porch. You can button it down when the weather gets nasty or create a front porch by staking out the front door flap. I'm still experimenting with it to get the pitch right, but I think I've found tent nirvana.

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