In my many years of set dressing and set decorating in the motion picture industry, I have set up more than my fair share of tents, of every variety, real and imagined.
We've sometimes brought in consultants. They usually owned the tents and hiring them was one of the conditions of renting their tents. They insisted that only an expert specifically trained with their particular tent was qualified to set it up.
On every occasion, within an hour or two I had picked up the "learning curve" as it were and was as good if not better than the "experts".
With that in mind, after reading the instruction manual for the Barebones Safari tent which happened to be 17 pages long and on several instances strongly advised that there be at least two people to set the tent up each capable of lifting 50 lbs, I decided that I would be fine on my own.
I had originally planned to enlist the help of Skye and her friends, but decided to let her have her fun.
I also realized that if I waited for them, the earliest I would be able to start would be around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. So it wasn't pure unadulterated hubris involved in my decision.
I first found about the Barebones Safari Tent from an article in Outside magazine about camping or rather glamping. After some more research, I decided that this rather extravagant tent structure could come in handy in several quite likely scenarios the Danniells/Carr family might be looking at in the next few years.
I've been trying to entice Cindy to come out to Burning Man. Understandably, one of her reservations is the comfort factor. An RV seemed like it might be the best strategy, but I was hoping to find some alternatives and this Safari tent seemed like a very real possibility.
We were going to be camping out for two weeks in Mammoth Lakes, CA for Skye's Shakespeare camp; something we had done the previous year and as likely as not, will do again next year. It seemed like a great testing ground.
The set-up went pretty smoothly. I manage to balance and wrangle the "two-man" procedures without much ado; that is until the final stages of zipping the walls together around the frame. That's when things got a bit dodgy. It was more than a bit snug and took everything I could muster to tug, yank and stretch it into submission.
It may have been operator error and I actually owe Barebones several correspondences in regards to that as well as some other issues. Too banal to get into.
By the time Cindy arrived I had the tent up, complete with an attached awning and a inflatable queen-sized mattress inside, with plenty of room to spare.
It was a big success and completely different than last year's experience of crowding together in a much, much smaller tent.
There were several areas where I could see some improvement on the tent; little non-technical ones not anything major.
Things like labeling some of the parts. And the zippers to the higher windows in the tent are out of reach, so I added a little stick extension.
The following pics are more for my future reference than my audience's amusement. Indulge me.
After almost two weeks of enjoying being able to stretch out and walk around inside our cabin-like tent, I made the strategic decision to break down the campsite on Friday rather than stressing out and rushing around on Saturday morning, which meant I would need somewhere to sleep on Friday night.
I considered a hotel, actually Skye recommended that. But I decided to put that money towards some ultra-light tents for future use on backpacking adventures.
I still ended up stressing and rushing about on Saturday, so I can only imagine what it would have been like if I hadn't taken care of the lion's hare on Friday.
I got Skye a Big Agnes super-light tent and after a couple of days of her loving it, I got one for myself. She ended up setting them both up as well as breaking them down. It seemed like a good division of labor.
I slept out without a rain-fly so I could enjoy the open skies without the bugs.
The night was full of stars and absolutely gorgeous. It felt a lot more like the camping I was used to. And for the first time on the trip I was up before the sunrise.
All in all the tent experiments were a huge success.
On to Burning Man.....