August 24, 2005

We are Now the Proud Owner of... 8 Man tent. Yup, I bought a tent today. Sports Authority was having a sale, 33% off, so while the rest of Palm Beach County ran around screaming like lunatics that ‘A hurricane is coming! A hurricane is coming! Save me! Save me!’, I was buying a tent.

So I looked at all the tents, with my recommendations from the Boy Scout Dads in hand. I looked at dimensions and what looked like ease of set up. It was a done deal that I was getting a one room tent. The question was… how big?

Now I don’t come from the land of ‘bigger is better’, I'm a girl, remember?, but I had to be practical. There is a possibility my husband will camp with us, however remote it may seem right now. So that gets us to five right there. Then there is the fact I never just have three boys. If I ever take another cub scout along, I now have six people. Then of course, I could always invite my sister Morrigan to come down and camp with us…. Oh, *ahem* right, that’s not happenin’…

I had to plan for more, I just never know, so I did the 8 man, which really is a total frickin’ joke. There could very well be NO men in my tent. It could very well end up 1 WOMAN and a bunch of boys. I guess what I have is a ‘1 woman and a bunch of smelly boys’ tent.

Box in hand, I walk to the counter. As I’m waiting, I’m staring down at the box. What a joke. This box has a couple, tent is together, the weather is probably a cool 68-70 degrees, the weather is beautiful, not a bug in sight, no dirt, no mud, pristine, drinks in hand for each adult, no kids, smiles on their faces, and… they’re clean. Life is good on the Coleman tent box.

On their box was not a man, sweating in the 90 degree Florida heat, swatting mosquitoes, with his wife overlooking his shoulder as he tries to keep the tent from collapsing as he drives a stake into the ground, all the while the wife is holding the directions saying, “Honey, I don’t think that’s the way…” and he’s looking over his shoulder with a look that could kill and saying in return, “Look, if you want to put this frickin’ tent up, have at it!” There does not appear to be any cursing on the Coleman tent box.

I don’t envision the Coleman idyllic picture to be what camping is like for me. Oh no no no, my friends, lest you think I am an optimist just because I don’t own a generator in my ‘prone to be smacked by a hurricane’ home. I am hoping for the best, but am expecting camping hell.

Ten to one says I end up looking like Chevy Chase in some Camping Vacation movie. I’ll get tangled in stakes, poles, and rope, trying to tie down a tent that keeps collapsing, all the while I have kids running around me, kicking up dirt and mud, stopping every once in awhile to say, “He hit me!” or “Mom! Make him shut up and quit bugging me!” I see lots of sweat, bugs, dirt, and noise. Oh… I see a whole lotta noise. And I see swearing. Oh yes I do. Let us just hope I can keep it under my breath.

Needless to day, the Coleman box didn’t make me want to buy their tent. I saw through it all. But… one can hope.

Posted by Boudicca at August 24, 2005 08:52 PM | TrackBack

LOL! When I read the title, I just knew you bought a dog. But PHEW, I was wrong. This ought to be lots more fun to read about. GRIN. Nope, not going tenting with you.

Posted by: vw bug at August 24, 2005 09:18 PM

You say that now, but I have room!!! You, me, my three boys, Tater and Tot! That's ONLY 7! Two Moms, 5 smelly boys. Oh we can SO do this!!!

It's all mental, VW. Just get your mind in the right place and you KNOW we can so do this!!!

Posted by: Bou at August 24, 2005 09:21 PM

A tent in Florida? No frickin' way. Outside will seem like paradise compared to within.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at August 24, 2005 10:22 PM

An eight man tent is really a five person tent plus room for their STUFF.... all over the place! *grin* (You can also forget everything fitting back in the box/bag for the return trip home.)

Oh yes, I can see the 'fodder' building just like one of those cumulus clouds, then, a flood of fodder.

Posted by: cin at August 24, 2005 10:23 PM

TN- Well... we are going in November, February, March and April... I think. I may have to skip April. Blech.

Cin- You know... that 'stuff' is something I gave great thought to. I was picturing us crammed per the picture on the box of 4 across and 1 at the feet thinking, 'They look like mummies and sardines and where in the hell is their stuff?!' And as I put my box in my car I thought, "Yeah, other than the first trip to camp, this is the last time this box will be in my car." Ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Bou at August 24, 2005 10:29 PM

You are right on that one...Mo will not be joining that adventure.

Have fun while I sit in my comfy house watching football and baseball.

Posted by: Morrigan at August 24, 2005 11:02 PM

Rookie campers. I should have written sooner and advised you. First, never, ever sleep with children while camping. They get their own tent. After the first trip, you will know why. Second, take a battery powered hand vac or broom. Think sand. Everywhere. I prefer the vac as brooms can become weapons. I know you don't drink, but after the first trip you will start to consider it. You will realize that the other Dads don't have coke in their cans. There is a reason for this. My boys were once in scouts. Been there. Knew better than to try and lead it. Have fun.

Posted by: Sticks at August 25, 2005 06:24 AM

... 8 man tent?... I'd hate to have to CARRY that thing for a few miles...

Posted by: Eric at August 25, 2005 08:19 AM

Coleman!?!?! You should have gotten a Canvas Wall Tent! My wall tent could sleep 10 MEN and their gear! Of course it is a bit more difficult to set up.

Althought they are right, once kids hit a certain age they should have their own tent. It makes for a less insane weekend.

Posted by: Contagion at August 25, 2005 08:42 AM

8-man in their dreams! my 4-man tent sleeps my husband and I comfortably. Add the 2-year old and we are gasping for air! Take heart, tents these days aren't so bad to set up. I remember "red meets blue and twist, no! wait, that isn't a bottom piece! Arghhhh!"

Posted by: Oddybobo at August 25, 2005 10:28 AM

Whatever you do, just don't pitch it near any utility lines. Please!

My neighbors have a pop-up camper with A/C. I think I'll see if I can borrow it & set up camp next to you when you go tenting. ;-)

Posted by: Marie at August 25, 2005 02:05 PM

Yeah, we've discussed getting a separate tent for the boys maybe next year. Usually our guys are so worn out they fall asleep before we even finish tucking them in. I'm sure that will change as they get older.

You should really encourage your husband to go with you. Don't let other people scare you about camping. You enjoy your kids, so you will find the fun in your trips. We have had some great times. We also have some great families in our Pack. I am SO not an outdoor girl, but we do have a great time doing this as a family.

I do highly suggest that you get an air mattress. It makes sleeping in the tent so much more bearable. Also for those hot campouts, keep a couple of bottles of water and a washcloth by your bed and purchase a battery operated fan. Blow the fan on your face and keep the washcloth wet and keep it on your face or neck. It works wonders. Make sure you open all the flaps and keep up the screens and spray your campsite several times a day with Yard Guard. We live in Texas on the Gulf Coast, so I know heat, mosquitos and gators, too. Oh, and don't forget the extra plastic tarps to put UNDER your tent. It saves the floor and double protects you from wetness and sharp objects. I second the motion for a broom or vacuum. I just have a hand broom and dust pan and that works fine.

Can't wait to hear your stories!

Posted by: Momotrips at August 25, 2005 06:10 PM


I recall "camping" vacations as a child... First one: five children, four adults. That's right. Myself and my siblings, my parents and my dad's parents. All in once tent (my grandfather's--his trailer for all the acoutrements, too). Heavy oiled canvas. Granddaddy was a perfectionist about setting up and striking camp, so things ALWAYS went smoothely in that regard.

My brother now has (had?) the tent—not that he's ever taken that many people out camping at once.

Posted by: David at August 25, 2005 08:24 PM