One man’s trash….

….is my new (to me) bright, shiny PINK tent.

A friend of mine was looking to borrow a tent for an upcoming camping trip. Like many people in this lovely economy, cash isn’t growing trees and buying a tent was out of the question. Normally I have plenty of extra gear, but since other friends are also flying in for the camping trip, I was all out of tents. I popped onto craigslist and what did I see? Someone was giving away a computer, a printer, and tent. I was out the door 7 minutes after her post went live, hoping I could beat traffic and everyone else and claim my prize. After 40 tense minutes of driving during rush hour, I was VICTORIOUS! I think rush hour helped, no one was home yet to see the ad.

pink tent col

When I got it home I put it up to check that all the pieces were there, that it didn’t have any visible holes, and to spray a layer of tent sealer on the rain fly. Everything looks great. The tent is 6ft by 6ft so only short people, or kids, can use the tent. Not a problem since I’m 5ft2 and my friend is 5ft5. It’ll be perfect for her.

I emailed the previous owner of the tent to let her know I scored it and that it was going to be put to good use by someone who really needed it. This is the response she sent back:

Thanks for sending this note- it made my day and so glad it is being put to good use.  It has good memories for me too as it was the tent I stayed in during one of my Breast Cancer 3day 60 mile walk in remembrance of my aunt.
Thanks again and yeah for things working out!
Could you ask for better JuJu for your tent? I’ll answer that. No, no you could not.

I paired it with my new black anti-gravity chair from Sportsman’s Guide. I grabbed it when it was on sale, but even off sale it’s not a bad price. The quality was better in person than it appeared in photos. Not that it looked bad, it’s just so much better, and more solid, in person. I love anti-gravity chairs when i’m camping. Kick back with a cocktail and if you happen to drift off into a nap, nothing wrong with that.

It’s only 16 days until my next camping trip. I can’t wait!

Shakedown cruise – Rain Fly

New ships generally go on a short, gentle cruise to work out all the kinks and check to make sure everything works and the crew knows what they are doing before they go on a longer, more demanding mission. That’s called a shakedown cruise. It’s also a good idea if you have a new tent or have a good amount of new camping gear. Since it’s such a good idea I didn’t do that and went right for a more demanding camping trip. A full week long, 6 hours from home, at a festival with 1000 other people, and you can’t leave the site the entire time even if you forgot something.  Some of my new gear held up exceptionally well, some … not so well. Some of my old gear surprised me with it’s durability during very challenging conditions.  I’ll do a short series of posts over the next few days detailing the good, the bad, and the muddy (and still good).

tent psg (1)

Old tent, new rain fly.
I finished sewing and sealing my rain fly the day before I headed out the door on my camping trip so my test involved throwing a bucket of water on it and crossing my fingers. Not the smartest thing to do as storms were in the forecast, but hey, I was bringing a tarp so what’s the worst that could happen, right? We’ll get back to that shortly.

The rain fly fit well, but could use a few more gater clips to tie it down. Looked great and each morning I enjoyed seeing the shifting patterns the leaf shadows made on my rain fly. It’s so cheerful, how could you not wake up and go to bed happy?

It got a work out as there were two storms with strong winds that blew through the campground and rain for most of an entire day. The rain fly would have held up but I made a rookie error – I had pushed the storage bin with my clothes in it against one tent wall while I was getting dressed and didn’t move it back when I was done. Not only that, but the tarp I used when the storms came only covered the top and part of the sides of my tent.  UhhOhh. Needless to say, when I checked the tent 45 minutes later, I had water in my tent. Some of my bedding was damp and the filled dirty clothes bag in the corner was soaked. They didn’t dry out for the next 3 days even with hanging up what I could. What a yummy smell!

Despite that, I’m very happy with the rain fly, even with it being a rush job. The errors were user errors that would have hosed any tent and rain fly so I’m calling this a success.

Lessons learned:
1.  Don’t push anything up against your tent wall, even if it’s “just for a moment.” Forgetting to move it back has consequences that can make your camping trip very uncomfortable.

2.  Always bring a tarp for your tent and make sure it covers your entire tent from top to ground. Storms with high winds can drive rain up and under a tarp (or rain fly) that doesn’t have full and complete coverage. Many rain flys collected water and then partially collapsed during this trip. A large tarp would have prevented that.

Trysting tents

I’m so stiff and sore from the all day (and evening) shoot yesterday I can’t hardly move.  It was worth it, the shots are amazing.  The shots are for the chapter on trysting tents, which are pretty much what they sound like.  It’s a “tent” that is all about romance and only has to stay up for a few hours  (That’s what SHE said) so you can get really creative.  Perfect for a special date or special occasion.  Pick a secluded spot, create your love nest, add in some treats and wine and yeah … let the romance begin.


I did 4 different versions of trysting tents to show some of the possibilities and different materials you could use – all while keeping the frame (the 3 poles and clothes wire) the same.  Here’s 2 examples from yesterday:

My lovely niece Nicole, and her husband, Evan.

My lovely niece Nicole, and her husband, Evan.

Just so I can toot my own horn – I made that wine.  It’s a Minnesota version of a Merlot, made it from grapes from my backyard when I lived in Austin, MN.  No more grapes for me, for a while, living in a townhome in the city. And if you’re wondering where the lovely location is that I was shooting at, it’s at my sister’s home in Austin.  The yard was beautiful to begin with, especially with the creek flowing on the back line, but she’s a talented gardener who knows how to make the most of her property.  Her landscaping enhances the natural beauty, it doesn’t fight it or obscure it.

A more primitive version of a trysting tent

A more primitive version of a trysting tent

Let me tell you, the smell of lilacs was pure heaven.  Wouldn’t you love it if your partner made something like that for you?  For a special date or anniversary?

Enough drooling over photos for me, I need to get back to work on the 2nd round of edits for the book.  I removed about 1/3 of the content, added in about 1/3 new content, and revamped the order so it flows so much better.  It’s a much better book than it was even 1 week ago!