Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I fought the tent, and the tent won

There I was.

Eureka Creek shack.

In a little slice of heaven, a sandy beach next to the Snake River. There were other backpackers, but they were nestled near the Imnaha River confluence, illegally building a campfire. It's been a sort of cold spring, but at lower elevations it's nearly summer already. Flowers were popping out everywhere, along with the lovely poison ivy. Eureka Bar was, to sum it up, the perfect place to be.

See the sticks with berries? Poison ivy, my friends. Did you know that it can look like this? Beware.

Until I decided to set up the tent. This is the fourth time I have set it up, and I thought I had it down. I smugly grabbed the stakes and went to work. 

A good pitch in the front yard.

Wind +non-freestanding tent + sand=no bueno. The stakes pulled out, the wind blew, the trekking poles fell. I finally got wise and put heavy rocks on the stakes, which helped some. Though abominably pitched, the tent was upright, so I decided to go for a stroll up Eureka Creek.

The tent, just biding its time. But look at the backdrop.

A couple hours of sidestepping poison ivy later, I returned to the beach. My heart sank. There was a collapsed tent. What the..? A friend from town had unexpectedly appeared and I tried to retain a sense of calm. It wouldn't do to see a princess meltdown in the middle of nowhere, not in front of someone who had ridden his bike all 58 miles to get here. (I drove. And hiked six miles to the beach. I know, lame.) 

Tent, you are not going to get the better of me, I declared. Fiddling with the pitch was when disaster struck. The trekking poles fell, tearing small holes in the mesh. I was heartbroken. I had dropped a lot of money on this cuben fiber tent, and I had ruined it already.

Let it be known, though, that I am pretty hard on gear. Two of my other tents have tears in them, not from destructive use, but from just that--use. I use my gear, a lot. Holes? Okay, I could patch those. I glanced enviously at my friend with his waterproof sleeping bag cover. It was a nice night and I could sleep under the stars too.

But once you give a tent the upper hand, you never regain it. The tent was going to go up, like it or not. I was on a mission! I had to show the tent who was boss! Stake out the back. Stake out the front. Put up trekking poles. It's an awful lot of work to be ultralight.

In the end, the tent meekly submitted, though I am sure it's plotting future resistance. I'm ordering sand anchors and a "Bug Mesh Patch Kit". Also, rubber tips for my poles. I have an uneasy feeling that the tent in fact has won this round. It's in its lightweight stuff sack, snickering away.
Eureka Bar is awesome.


  1. Wind plus tent setup = no fun! unless you are into comedy routines and someone is filming it. LOL

    Glad you won Battle #1. I'm sure there will be more to come.

    I too had a recent incident on a windy night with my hiking pole erected as extra support on my Rainbow when a big gust knocked it down. During a middle of the night replacement, yep missed the support ring and shoved it through the mosquito netting.

    Just consider your tent broke in now!

  2. What tent brand/style is this one?

  3. Six moon designs. very expensive, very light.

  4. Skyscraper, right?
    Sand is great to sleep on and tough to pitch a tent on. Driftwood makes it sooooo much easier (as I found on the West Coast trail). I've tied my tie outs on rocks too (like you've done). I say give it a chance on soil and see how it works. I know I improved every night with my Zpacks tent. I'm excited to see your Skyscape. Carol

  5. From where I am sitting, the scenery is a spectacular backdrop to the scenario I am watching and laughing at, as it unfolds.

  6. Love your new brick work. I just can't imagine a tent beating Glad you sorta showed it who was boss. Beautiful scenery.

  7. Or you could say your tent is in a stuff sack "on a timeout". Naughty little thing.


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