Despite our success camping without a tent, we decided this year that we would buy a new tent. A significant motivating factor was the fact that we were planning to visit a particular campsite that does not have any lean-tos. DH has a couple of very small tents, but for family camping they are just too small. (I snuck one of them into the car last year, but much to my surprise we didn't end up using it.)
I think the new tent is probably similar in size to the one we used in Europe when I was growing up. As DH and I put it up for the first time in our backyard, he kept muttering to himself about how huge it is. The advertising blurb claims that it sleeps 10. Hmm - not if you use it the way we planned to, it doesn't. It sleeps 10 with no room for anything else. We planned on using half the tent as a sleeping area, and the other half with a table and chairs and a kitchen setup would be more like a screenhouse.
We tried out the lilos (air mattresses) in the tent the first time we put it up. Two singles and a double fill one half of the tent. So much for there being room for 10 people! The lilos were wider than I remember the ones we had when I was growing up though.
In the end, the children slept in one half of the tent and DH and I slept in the other. We did set up a table in the tent the first night we were away as we ate dinner rather late and the mosquitoes were ferocious, but the rest of the time we used the wooden picnic table provided at the campsite. Even a tarp over the table couldn't keep it dry at night though. The dew was amazing! The stove was on the picnic table, and the other kitchen stuff was set up just beyond it (out of sight in this photo) on a table we'd brought with us.
DH is an Eagle Scout, which is a good thing. As we put the tent up the first night we managed to break one of the poles. He, of course, was prepared for such an eventuality with a roll of fiberglass-reinforced packing tape. We discovered when it rained on Day Three that perhaps we really did get what we paid for with such a cheap tent. Luckily, the bags of clothes absorbed most of the rain that got in through the leaky seams. The Eagle Scout was prepared for this too with a bottle of seam sealer. We don't know whether it did the trick or not though as it only rained the once . . . We will have to put the tent up in the backyard before we go camping again and spray it with the garden hose. Personally, I think the fact that the tent didn't look entirely taut had something to do with the leaks too.
I thought the liberal provision of trash cans implied no worries about wild critters on the campsite, only to be told after a few days that there was a momma and baby bear who regularly wandered through looking for food! At that point I realized that the dog I'd been looking for (and failing to find) that was shedding clumps of brown fur was, in fact, a bear. Fortunately, I never found it. Nor did she find us, or our food.
This was the site on (by far) the busiest night we were there:
It was a very peaceful place. Quite a contrast to Queechee, where we were serenaded by loud stereos from the surrounding campers and woken in the middle of the night by drunken yahoos. Here everyone was asleep early, and we woke to the sound of loons, seagulls, and lobster boats. I'm looking forward to going back next year!
8 hours ago