The Backyard Tent Test

On Sunday, September 28th, Skot and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful weekend together, and took the day before to escape all alone to jaunt around Colorado Springs to do some shopping, bowling, and dining. We left Peanut with my mom and headed to the outlet shops at Castle Rock. As we neared Under Armour, our first intended stop, we spotted a tent sale set up outside of the Coleman outlet.

Now we had just finished up our camping season, but the tent we have doesn’t do well for us. It would work well for the family who only camps at low elevation and wants a tent that will keep them cool. But we camp at high elevation, and need a tent that keeps us WARM – and our tent doesn’t. Lately we have taken to safety-pinning blankets to the mesh to keep the blasting cold out, and we rely heavily on our trusty catalytic heater just to keep from waking up with frost on our noses.

So when we saw tents set up, we knew where we were going first. We wandered through tiny tents, expensive tents, and undesirable tents. Then we stepped into the tent: A well-made, mid-priced tent with ample space. It had much less mesh than our other one and a good rain fly that completely covered what mesh it had. We picked up a couple of other items and laid down the cash.

Two weeks later, we still have no plans to go on another camping trip, but we were dying to set up our new toy and play with it! So we decided to set it up in our back yard Sunday night and camp out at home. After the Broncos game (we won! 😉 ), Skot masterfully put poles, canvas, stakes, and rain fly together. Our last tent was a 10 x 10 square, and this one is a 7 x 13 rectangle. I don’t remember it looking SO BIG when it was lined up on an outlet store lawn next to other similar-sized monstrosities, but in our back yard, it resembled a small yacht.






The day was terribly windy, quite rainy, and very cold, but we were determined. We had hoped to have a “camp” fire in our backyard fire pit to complete the camping experience, but chose to forgo that part of camping. So after the Sunday night “funnies” (America’s Funniest Home Videos), Skot, Peanut, and I piled into our new canvas home for the night.

Now our normal camping experience may have little homey conveniences here and there, such as an air mattress and the catalytic heater mentioned earlier, but we never, ever take movies with us. But camping in the back yard does have a few perks not experienced in the mountains, and since we weren’t having a fire anyway, we took my laptop and popped in a Mary Poppins DVD.





The movie lasted an hour and a half past Peanut’s bed time, so when it was over, I took her into the house to potty (why take a portable toddler potty when you’re 50 steps from a real toilet?!) and then tucked her into her warm sleeping bag. Since there was no fire, we snuggled down into our sleeping bag as well, and soon we were all sound asleep.

Skot and I awoke about 7 AM as the sun was just peeking over the housetops. Our sweet girl woke up not too much later, looked at me and said, “Mama, we’re camping!” Sort of, baby, sort of.





Soon enough, it was time to go inside for breakfast and to start the normal Monday morning routines. We unzipped the tent door, and I have to say, the view from our “camp spot” wasn’t half bad.





When I was a kid, my family would set our tent in this same backyard, and now we’re carrying on the tradition with our little one. But I still can’t wait to get up to the mountains and really try the new tent out!

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