We bought our original tent, the one you see in the picture here, back in 2011. It’s … uh … Eagles Nest? I can’t remember. We bought it with the intention of camping somewhere in Wisconsin or Minnesota, which were both fairly quick jaunts, if four hours is quick to you, from our farmhouse in Iowa. We never got around to doing it. Shortly after we moved to Connecticut.
Luckily, that tent would offer us a home while homeless in 2014.
It had a few little claw holes from Mrs. Marple, (Yeah, I know, Miss, but Brian…) the kitten who visited with us while we were staying at the Bixby Public Access Area, between Glenrock and Douglas, Wyoming, but it was cozy and as safe as a home made of sheets can be. We used it all over Wyoming that summer, and it held up well. Unfortunately, Wyoming can get pretty intense winds, which we didn’t realize at the time, and during one such windstorm, when the guy lines weren’t secured, one of our poles snapped. It was a fairly affordable tent, so we just bought a new one. We kept the old one for spare parts.
Thankfully, after the first insane windstorm experience, we always made certain to secure the guy lines. We never needed the spare poles. We could have done with the original spare tent itself though. A few weeks ago, the door’s zipper started to stick. It wasn’t too bad at first, but by the next camping trip, it was coming off the zipper track, and it became impossible to close the door. I ended up taping the zipper, and we cut a hole through the window portion of the door and used the window cover as our indoor/outdoor access during our last night out.
We immediately ordered a new tent. We researched which style tents would hold up well to wind but would still be the style we were looking for: family camping, i.e. large enough to house two dogs, two people, a queen mattress, a dog bed or two, a few camping boxes, and still offer room to move comfortably. We settled on the NTK Arizona GT 11/12.
This tent is massive!
Here are some of the things that are especially awesome:
- There are two doors. Should we ever have another zipper issue, we will just use the other door.
- There are vents to allow hot air to escape. You can feel a noticeable coolness by them as well, so they work.
- There is a room divider for privacy if you have children you want to sleep slightly apart from, you like to get changed privately, or if you want to designate that side as the relaxing side, since the top of that portion rolls back, transforming it into a nice screened-in room complete with a little shade offered by the silver lining on top.
- The bathtub style floor means you’re never going to get puddles of rain seeping into your tent.
- It’s fit for three season camping. With everything shuttered, it seems to hold heat well enough, especially if you pack a little heater or something.
Also, the customer service offered by NTK is fantastic. We experienced another huge wind go through while we were out of the tent. We returned to find dirt covering every single surface inside the closed up tent, and one of our poles had splintered, despite the guy lines being locked down. When we got home, I wrote to them, explained which replacement part we needed, and they shipped it the very next day, no questions asked. Update: It arrived in less than one week.
My only complaint is that the the door windows are the only windows which you can zipper from the inside. The other windows require you to go out, unroll them, and zip them up from the outside. It’s not a huge deal, our previous tent was the same way, but it means you absolutely must have the fly on for complete privacy.
I thought I’d miss the old tent, having stayed in it for months, and owning it for years, but I don’t. The new tent is incredible. We are running low on camping weekends with the shortening days. It’s not especially easy to set up anything in the dark, and it takes a while to get to our spot from our home in Montana. However, I’m already looking forward to next camping season.
Some People Do
by Ned LeDoux