Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tent Survival Guide

Northwest Territory Family Cabin 8 person tent

Today for your reading pleasure, I am going to draw on past experience and craft for you all a tent survival guide.  In the future I will be charging $25.99 for the book, with illustrations.  But for the time being, it is free here. 
This tent is the retirement package, and social safety net package that most conservatives want people to have.  In any event, this entry will be a discussion on how to prepare this type of tent to survive nearly any type of storm.  I survived the Frankenstorm, in a tent similar to this one, with wind gusts up to 70 mph, and heavy snowfall.  More pictures to be included.

The first thing you need to do is go to someplace that sells sheet insulation made of Styrofoam.  Anything more than half an inch think will work, some of this is for the floor, the rest is for the sides of the tent.  You will also need two tarps.  One to set the tent up over, the other to cover the tent in its entirety.  You will also need a roll of plastic to go between the screen in the roof and the top.

You start out by placing the first tarp on the ground.  You will put the insulation on the ground over the tarp.  Remember to get a tarp large enough to wrap the insulation inside of it.  Next you will set up the tent.  The first time you do so, expect it to take about an hour, as tents resembling the one pictured are complicated, and the instructions are lacking.  Before you place the regular roof on the top, you need to take the plastic (or shower curtains if you have them) and place them on top of the screen mesh roof, then place the regular roof on it.  Now I would recommend you get something for the front of the tent, so you have a work area outside the tent (see below).

Ozark Trails 9'x9' Canopy

Now you want to cover both with the tarp, making sure that the tarp covers the ground on all sides of the tent and front.  What makes this canopy ideal is that you can place a picnic table under it, and still have room to move around.  You can now cook outside, with a propane cook stove.  You can also store goods outside, and have outside heat. 

This is what your tent will look like before it is covered with a tarp

At this point you take some PVC tubes, put them into 6-7 inch lengths, drive them into the ground at a 45 degree angle away from the tent.  You will then tie down the tent using truck binders (found at Wal-Mart) and bungee cords.  Doing this will add weight to the tie downs, and give it some ability to flex. 

In the late fall you want to take the insulation and place it on the outside walls of the tent.  You will tape the seems of the insulation, and wrap the tent and canopy with it.  This will cut down on the drafts, and make heating the tent easier.  Also you might consider adding support poles (any scrap lumber that is at least 7 to 8 foot in length will do, this prevents the tarp from laying directly on the roof of the tent, so it will remain dry in the summer and winter.  It will also allow heat to melt the snow off the roof.

If this is done correctly, the tent should maintain a average temperature of 50-70 degrees, even if it is well below 0 outside.
This is what your tent will look like when finished.

Among other items you will need.  A propane powered heater (Lowes and Home Depot have some tank top heaters).  You will also need at least one electrical utility space heater (2 are recommended).  You will also need two heavy duty extension cords that will work with a fifteen amp breaker, and two surge protectors.  This will allow you to operate the heater, a refrigerator, or any other electrical devices you have or need within the tent.  You will also need a jug used for tea or lemonade, at least one large plastic cup, and something called the double duty toilet (with an ice cream bucket, and ample supply of Glad stretch bags) so you do not need to go outside to use the bathroom. 

As for care of the tent, you need to reseal the seems at least once, just to prevent the seems from leaking should your tarp get a hole in it. Every two weeks you need to put Vaseline or Bag Balm on the zipper of the door you are using.  This will lube the zipper, and clean it, causing less separations, and prolonging the life of the door. 

With this short guide you will have yourself a warm, dry shelter, that does not require exit to use the bathroom.  Shortly more survival guides will appear on this blog.