Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Igloo

This is a lengthy post.

Let’s just say that tent technology has changed dramatically since I was a kid and had one of those pup tent thingies with the two poles sticking up at either end, blew over in the wind and held more water than my bathtub.

I knew I wanted something bigger than a single person tent, specifically to have extra room for gear storage and not feel like I was going from one “Coffin” to another at the end of the day, want to at least move around a little or sit up comfortably. I looked at both 2 person and 3 person tents, in the end I went with a 2 person because it’s smaller, provides enough room and easier to put up and tear down once a day by myself.

Picked the Marmot Limelight 2 Person, 3 Season. They have a 3 person tent of the same model and the only difference is size obviously and the 3P has a door on either side vs. just one in the 2P. I went with the Marmot because it also came with a tent footprint, full waterproof floor, built in storage pockets inside, a hanging hammock to store items, window to see out of, lots of ventilation, zippers that are silent in the wind and won’t snag. Simple design and very light, 5 pounds. 32 sq/ft floor space and 9 sq/ft vestibule for covered storage outside.

When they say simple design (not cheap design) they weren’t kidding, I can put up the full tent in less than 5 minutes and the way it goes together makes it easy to do in the wind, which I might have to do at some point.
Now when I said I can put it up in under 5 minutes, that’s after spending close to an hour the first time, why? Because it doesn’t come with instructions (or so I thought) and not being familiar with everything, no clue what went first and in some cases, no idea what something was for.

First I opened up the package and pulled everything out of the nice nylon bag, looked inside to make sure it was empty then tossed to the side. Everything was rolled up together so once I unrolled that it includes Tent, Footprint, Fly, Gear Hammock, 1 smaller nylon bag that has all the poles and another nylon bag that has pegs, rope and a bunch of plastic thingies with 3 holes in them and a 4” piece of tent pole, huh.

I spread out the footprint and the four sides have straight forward places to insert the poles and one half of a belt buckle locking attachment at the end, at least I know where the poles go now. Staked the footprint to the ground (was a windy day) then laid out the tent over top of the footprint and wouldn’t you know it, four matching tie down straps with the same buckle locking thing, doesn’t connect with the one on the footprint.

So far so good, I pick up the bag of poles which are broken down into 18” pieces, turn the bag over and over and don’t see any clue whether it matters which one goes into which, uh oh. Take them out of the bag undo the elastic holding them all together.

It’s actually two long poles joined together in the middle with a little adapter thing and there is stretch rope going through each pole. Just pull and insert each piece in order and voila, tent poles assembled, to attach to the tent you just adjust the poles to form an X over the tent then just slip each pole into the appropriate notch where the tent is pegged to the ground, forms a nice arch. Tent itself has a bunch of connector things on it and you just grab and clip onto the bar everywhere you find one and the tent is up, very simple.

Now for the fly, there were two left over poles about 18” each and curved, snap together and put over the top of the tent where the two other poles meet, each end pops into a little nylon pocket to hold them in place and there are two more connectors on the tent that you attach to the cross pole. Drape the fly over the poles and there are connectors at the four ends that snap into the belt buckle on either the tent or the footprint. I attached to the footprint but I guess if I wasn’t using it that’s what the buckle on the tent as well is for. All that’s left is to tie down the fly so it expands out around the tent. I didn’t go through the trouble of doing that but fairly easy, tie down spots are there where they need to be.

Ok, now for my IKEA moment, parts left over and I don’t know what to do with them, I search all over the tent and can’t find any spot that looks like it might need a 4” piece of tube attached to it, scratch my head and give up. Figure the plastic things are for the ropes somehow so turn my attention to Google. I find out the ropes are actually called Guy Lines and the plastic things are called Guy Line Tension Adjusters, nowhere can I find out how they actually work. I finally come across a picture of one and play around a bit until I figure it out. Basically you weave the string through the 3 holes, over, under, over and tie a knot at the end of the string when it comes out the last hole. Then you pull the string between the second and third hole to make a loop and that goes around the peg. Now you can move the plastic thing up which shortens the line causing more tension, simple once you know what it does and it allows you to adjust the tension without having to retie knots all over the place. Neat.

I finally come across an obscure article where another guy was just as confused as to what that little pole is for, he said nearest he can tell it’s for pulling the pegs out of the ground, I try it and it works like a charm. Whether what it’s for or not, that’s what it’s going to be used for. The guy also mentioned the instruction in the bag were text only and didn’t say what it was for. Instructions, what instructions? I look back in the bag and yep, sewn into the side of the bag are in fact instructions, didn’t see them the first time because of the angle I was looking into it. Read through them and they might as well be IKEA instructions, useless.  UPDATE (Have later found out that the 4"tube is actually a repair tube in case a pole breaks, you can use it to place over the break and save the day)

I get in and check out my newly erected tent, hang the little storage hammock (four hook clips) and looks perfect. Now can I get it back in the bag? Very simple, just detached everything, folded up the poles, laid the tent on the footprint, fly on the tent, folded it all so it was about 18” wide, put the poles at the end and rolled it all up. Slide back into the bag with minimal effort, hate when you can never get it back in the way it came out so happy about that.

Did it all again and was a snap, up in just under 5 minutes now that I know how it all works. Very impressed and think it will serve me well on my trip.

UPDATE:  After 2 years the tent is still like brand new.   Bought the 3 Person (same brand) as well for when not solo.

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