I bought a new tent yesterday from a guy who listed it on Craigslist. I think it was a pretty good deal. The tent is a four-season, two-person model that had never been used, but it was ten years old. He bought it for an expedition to Baffin Island, but he lost his job just before they were to set out.

The first thing I did when I saw the tent was open it, jam my face into the fabric, and inhale deeply. I needed to know that there was no mold, and that is really the best test I know of for detecting that. It was clean. It had all the (important) parts. It was perfect. So I bought it. New tents with these specs start at about $500, and I paid a quarter of that.

I set it up in the living room when I got home, and am still very pleased with the purchase. It is missing a couple of guy lines (which are easily replaced), and the bottle of seam sealer was empty (but that’s also easily replaced), so I am pretty stoked about this. Though it’s billed as a two-person tent, I think it’s about the same size as the three-person tents we’ve been using. It looks to be plenty roomy for two people anyhow.

I’ve probably written here before about why I am switching the Pathfinder Club over to three-person tents, but that won’t stop me from enumerating those reasons again!

Kids today refuse to change clothes in view of other kids of the same sex. So when we’re at a Camporee and we have to get into full dress uniform, they each take turns getting dressed. Each kid takes at least five minutes to do this, so if I have six kids in a tent, there goes thirty minutes. With two kids per tent (even in three-person tents), that only takes ten minutes.

It’s a lot easier to find four small tent sites in the woods than it is to find one large tent site.

Small tents are better for backpacking trips. Large tents are still very heavy even when divided into three packages. Kids just can’t handle the additional weight in a backpack.

Kids take ownership more readily if it’s just them and one other person in a tent. They take better care of their quarters that way too.

Before an inspection at a Camporee, I do my own inspection. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a stray pair of tighty-whities in the middle of a tent floor, that no one will claim. With two kids per tent, that’s a more tractable problem to solve. It’s either yours or yours. Deal with it.

Eight two-person tents are more easily allocated among 16 kids than two eight-person tents. If I have eight girls and eight boys it doesn’t matter, but if I have six boys and ten girls, I have a problem. With eight small tents that problem goes away.

So there it is, probably for the second or third time. I’ve got three more tents on order from L.L. Bean too, so I think we’re finished with big tents now. The three on order are two-person, three-season tents. I expect them to ship next month sometime. Too bad we aren’t scheduled to camp again until April!

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