A Tent with Walls

When I first got into the hobby, I – like many other single ‘skinners – did most of my camping with a diamond fly. If the weather was bad, the diamond fly was set-up like a lean-to, helping to keep the rain off of ‘skinner and gear. If the weather was good – sometimes the fly just acted like a regular tarp – something more or less like a sleeping bag cover.

The first time I brought Otter Woman with me to rendezvous, we did our camping in that same diamond fly. We went through a few camps, a serious thunderstorm, and the usual hassle of changing clothes in such a privacy-challenged set-up. It was after she had been coming out for about a year that she looked around at the other camps and asked the question that strikes fear into the heart of ‘skinners everywhere . . .

Why does their tent have walls?

It was an innocent enough question, and the one that got us into our first wedge tent. Being a stickler for authenticity, there is nothing easier to prove then the ubiquitous wedge tent. I went to my Panther Primitives catalog and ordered the smallest one they had – 6′ x 6′ x 4′.

To Otter Woman, this tent was a huge improvement over our previous lodge. Not only could she change in privacy (even if comfort left something to be desired), it would also keep all of our gear hidden and dry, and could almost fit two cots – almost.

Everything was fine and dandy until a few camps down the trail when again I found her looking into my eyes with longing and desire. Then she spoke those fateful words to me . . .

Why is their tent so much bigger?

Not to be undone by the size of another man’s lodge, I begrudgingly went back to the Panther catalog looking at their bigger wedge tents. There was the Monster Wedge, surely the Cadillac of lodges, but way too big for any event I could imagine – short of actually having all of those folks you are constantly inviting to rendezvous actually show-up. I finally settled on a wedge tent a few sizes up – 7’x8’x6′. Now we could actually stand up inside the lodge (better for changing) and could have a camp bed (canvas mattress on the ground) – which was much better for those colder nights during winter camps.

It’s been a few years now and the larger wedge has worked out fine. I still use the diamond fly when I am packing-in or set-up as a “gear shed” or an extra lodge when I have the occasional pilgrim come out and camp with us. We now have a camp box, a few chairs, and a table – which Otter Woman assured me she needed for making meals. I was hesitant to buy one, but since she won ours in a shooting contest – what can I do? But I truly am all about supporting what keeps us well-fed in the woods. It’s a hell of a lot better than the hard tack and jerky I used to bring out when I packed-in to all of my rendezvous.

So our camp is definitely a little heavier, but certainly no worse than some other camps I have seen. I thought that we were more or less settled until last April when Otter Woman was sitting in our camp, introspectively looking across at the other camps at the event. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked innocently enough . . .

Why does their tent have an awning?

Oh, here we go again.

– Many Rifles

One thought on “A Tent with Walls

  1. Its a lot like life in general. Buy your first house, and it is just fine and holds all of your things quite well. And then you accumulate more stuff and decide you want a bigger yard or a deck or something. And you find a new place. I started out with a diamond fly too, and only the gear that I could pack in easily would come with me, (mainly because all the gear I had starting out I could pack in) and then I aquired some new toys that just couldn’t be left behind so I upgraded to a 14′ tipi and that was more work than pleasure unless it was a week long event, so I went to a 10×10 pyramid, and eventually a 16×16 and then a enclosed trailer to be my pack mule. I do still occasionally use the diamond fly for those extremly authentic events or when its just me and I don’t feel like packing up all of my “stuff.” Most often I just use the 10×10 it is room enough for me and my gear, easy to set up and it will hold another person if needed. When the woman comes with or I have multiple pilgrims or just those who don’t have a camp yet I bring the 16×16. I don’t know its a constant battle between doing it right and being comfortable.

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