Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Carry on Camping, for the love of canvas

You know me dear blog reader, I love camping. 

I've been known to camp in my own garden, and often in campsites less than a mile from my home.
The joy of the birds singing, the sound of the trees creaking in the night (and during one particularly stormy night the sound of a tree crashing to the ground 100 yards from the tent!), the feel of the breeze though a loosely tethered flap... 
But this post is not the convince you that camping is fun, that goes without saying! No one remembers childhood holidays where you stayed in a nameless hotel by a hot beach (well I don't, probably because we never did..but anyway..) but we all remember the joy of a camping holiday, cleaning your teeth in a field, spitting toothpaste into the wind (school boy error), traipsing to a cold shower block at dawn, through cow pats and getting lost amongst unfamiliar tents because you forgot your glasses...ah bliss

 *pause to think of the wild open spaces* 

But this post is to say that modern tents are not the best!! And that canvas tents are not 'terrible canvas Baden-Powell affairs' as a commenter on BBC Radio 4's Today program claimed this morning! 
I own three tents. Two are canvas. One is a Pyramid style, this basically means it has one main pole (steel) that erects the tent. It is the simplest tent in the world to erect and that is why I love it.

There was talk that 'pop up' tents were easier, well that maybe true BUT I have spent many a long hour watching campers trying to re-pack them at the end of a holiday (once I went and got a chair and a glass of wine) and that does not look like a simple job! 

Modern tents vary; but nylon, while waterproof, is thin (not great at keeping cold out or even keeping heat out!) and the sort of tent with the flexible long poles is a nightmare for me, I have CMT and the dexterity required to thread poles without undoing them, and then bending them without hitting a fellow camper is tricky, I usually have DD with me when we use the nylon tent, but my canvas tent I can erect alone, bang in the corners, one yank on the pole and it's up!


The canvas tent smells lovely too, a proper camping smell (I creep up to the loft to sniff it in the winter) and it feels sturdy and safe (it withstood the wind that brought down a tree with barely a ripple to its taught sides. I think that tents coming in all shapes and sizes is a good thing, somewhere there is the right tent for you. But to dismiss canvas as 'terrible' is just silly. It is a tent many campers aspire to, a proper tent, for proper campers. 

 The only downside to a canvas tent is the weight, I confess I need a trolley unless I can park near the car. 

 What sort of tent do you have? Do you have more that one? A favourite? Have you got rid of a tent because it wasn't right for you?

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