I recently returned from a cross-country trip in which a couple nights of camping took place. I am not a huge fan of camping...being warm and comfy are good things in my book, but it is nice every once in a while - the campfire, the roasted marshmallows, the feeling of being close(r) to nature are all pretty cool once in a while.
But I hate tents. Well not tents exactly, I think that tents have come a long ways and every time I set one up I am pretty impressed with how easy it goes and all the improvements they have made over the years - the collapsible poles, the breathable design, sewn-in instructions, pan style floors, etc... all great improvements.
But I hate packing up tents. They give you this carrying case for your tent and you think to yourself "This is going to be awesome, this compact carrying case for this big tent...how convenient and portable." It never works out like that though. The tent will never go into the case. Once used, you can never fold the tent back to a compact enough size to fit in the case. The case has no extra room when the tent is new, so the slightest variation will not allow the tent to fit correctly in the case. You try to fold it on the same folds that the tent came with but in the wild, on an uneven, rocky, dirty area it just doesn't work. That is even if you can tell where you are supposed fold it...the installation instructions are great, but there are no instructions for tearing down and storing the tent, so it is up to your memory from when you unpacked it. Often times, I will find my self setting up a tent after a long day of driving or late at night...the exact times when I am not going to remember how a tent came packaged.
|These two items cannot be made equal.|
I usually can't even get close - I may be able to get the main part of the tent in the storage bag but that leaves no room for the rain fly, the poles, the stakes, etc... Heck even sometimes the main tent will not fit in the bag...and there is just so many times that you can fold and roll it before you just say "fuck it" and throw it in the car. I try, I really do. One tent that I own, I can *almost* get completely in the storage bag...I can get it and all the equipment it, but the storage bag only zips half-way. No matter how many times I have tried to re-fold and re-pack, I can't zip the dang thing...in fact, I have ripped the zipper trying. And this tent packs easier than most. The tents on this trip did not cooperate, neither was close to fitting in it's original storage bag. If the storage bag happened to be twice as large, it would have worked fine. I understand the desire for compactness, but if such compactness is nearly impossible to achieve I would rather have a storage bag that works.