I spent the last few months looking for a tent for cold weather camping. The criteria I had for the tent were a little vague in my mind, but basically it didn’t have to be something I had to carry, it had to be durable and it had to be warm, which got me thinking of the ten man tents we used when we were training in Minnesota and Norway. Heavy as hell, but rugged and it had a hole for a stove pipe. We used to pull them around on sleds called ahkios and I recall that the tent kept us pretty warm with the stove running even when the temperature got down to about -40 F .
That’s cold, ya’ll.
So I found a five man arctic tent at a military surplus outlet and had it delivered last week. It’s heavy – probably 40 or 50 pounds, and the liner weighs almost t as much as the tent. There’s one center pole that’s about 8 1/2 feet high and the outside of the tent is staked down – and that’s it for hardware.
The liner is attached to the tent by small clips and it when I decide to hook it up it’ll be at least an hour’s work by myself, which is why I’ll probably get a few friends to help me out.
I couldn’t remember exactly how to set it up, but I remembered that in the military everything from tents to rocket launchers come with instructions, so I started looking on the tent and found them on the inside flap. After reading them it was a breeze to set it up even by myself. Of course my three-year old helper was there making sure things went smoothly.
After setting it up I found that the tent was in pretty decent shape. It had been repaired a few times and there were a few pinholes that I’ll have to patch up, but over all I was pleased with it.
Here are a few things to look for if you ever decide to get a tent like this:
1. Make sure the tent pole has the pins needed to set it up.
2. Don’t bother with plastic stakes – get the metal kind.
3. Make sure you stake the bottom down as well as the guy lines. I didn’t and one day when it was windy I thought the tent was going to turn into a parachute.
4. You can set this tent up by yourself, but it is designed for a team. Three or more guys would be ideal for this size tent for a quick set up.
After it was set up I had a friend come over with his kids and I invited my nephew over and we all camped out in the back yard. My buddy and I wound up sleeping in the tipi while the boys took the tent. Man, I’d forgotten how much ten and twelve year old boys can talk!
I’ll write another post about this tent next winter after I’ve had a chance to sleep in it with the stove going. Scroll down for a few more pictures.
Anybody else out there have any experience with these types of tents? The ten man tent we used for our cold weather training was like this – just bigger. I’m looking forward to next winter already!