This is the Columbia Bugaboo tent…the best tent ever made, in my humble opinion and relatively vast experience. It comfortably sleeps four (with inflatable mattresses, so more fit without them), and we’ve even squeezed a fifth person (albeit a small child) into the space at the front.
I bought this thing after much research, spurred by the fact that we were forced to throw away our previous tent, which was a piece of crap that my husband inherited from an ex-roommate. There’s a hilarious story involved, but I’ll just say that the tent flooded, in spite of Bubbles the Power Puff Girl sacrificing herself by absorbing as much water as she could. Since my daughter and I camped out pretty regularly at that time, I was determined to find a replacement that could be used all year ’round in South Texas, and one that could withstand a substantial rainfall. It also had to be tall enough that I could stand up straight, because I hate changing clothes being hunched over.
The Bugaboo has NEVER leaked, and it has been through a lot of crazy storms (looking outside, this weekend may be another one). The only breakdown we’ve ever had was when a pole snapped during takedown. Fortunately, a new pole was a whopping $12, and well worth it. Aubrey and I love this tent, and it has a lot of great memories attached to it. We had many fantastic camping trips with my best friend and her daughter, who was Aubrey’s best friend (they were born three days apart), and we had many more trips with just the two of us.
Thursday and Friday, we finally have a chance to take a quick trip, culminating in a David Wilcox concert on Friday night. It was pretty miraculous for Aub to get off two days in a row, so we jumped at the opportunity. This morning we went through all of our gear and took out the few things we won’t need, and made sure we had all the stuff that we do need. Aub threw the sleeping bags in the wash, and I cleaned the skewers we use for marshmallows. We found our lights, stove, propane, shower shoes, and other essential gear, made easier by having almost everything on one shelf.
Of course, now we cheat a little. All the state parks have wi-fi, so we bring our computers and tablets. We try to camp in places that have electrical outlets, although we have camped at one park that didn’t have wi-fi, electricity, or showers. Showers are important, especially when it is hot and sticky outside. We ended up washing each other’s hair in the bathroom sink and wiping down with wash cloths. It worked well enough that no one was forced to sleep outside the tent!
Aubrey is a master camper; she can pitch and secure the tent, get a fire going, set up the lights, and string a laundry line all within a half hour. She makes liberal use of her leatherman and her Swiss army knife. She loves being outdoors, as do I. When I was a kid, my parents used to rent a cabin on the Frio River for a week in the summer, and sometimes for a couple of weekend here and there, so tent camping was new to me. It’s much different and way better, I think. Being in a cabin is too much like being at home. When you’re in a tent, you KNOW you are not at home. I like the minimalism that comes with being in a tent.
Although my plan for our cross-country trip was to stay in places that I find on AirBnB, Aubrey wants to camp our way across. I’m considering it. I think it depends on how much crap she has to pack into the station wagon, because there may not be any room for a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, a tarp, and a sterilite tub of gear. We’ll see how much room it takes tomorrow, and that may make the decision for us.
I’m trying to fit a ton of mommy/daughter stuff into the next few months, because I’m not sure how much of that we’ll have from here on out. She’s growing up, and part of that means growing away for a bit, although I feel confident we’ll come back to this place of being best buds eventually.