I will be making a presentation on “Useful Camp Gear – How to Make a Tent a Home” at the Do It Now Preparedness and Freedom Expo in Orem, Utah, at Utah Valley University. If you are in the area, it will be worthwhile to attend. There are some great speakers and a lot of vendors with some useful products.
I will be sharing several items I have found that improve the quality of life while living in a tent. I’ve learned these things by using our large wall tent and also by observing other experienced campers.
Here is a list of the gear that will be discussed:
Camp Sink – washing station: Of course I will be talking about this - one of the most important camp items we have.
Warm, pressurized shower for inside of tent: I finally figured out how to have a private, hot, pressurized shower in a tent while keeping the water contained and drained outside. In warm weather, it is fine to have your shower enclosure outside, but what about winter? This shower setup is one of my wife’s most treasured camp items.
Cot nightstand: This handy item provides a lot of storage space without taking up any floor space. Space is such a premium in a tent, so anything that one can do to add storage but not take up floor space is a bonus. Plus this is super convenient because it hangs on your cot.
Cot headboard: I am 6’2” tall and found myself, when sleeping on a cot, chasing my pillow all night. Too often my pillow would end up on the floor. There were two results to this problem – I wasn’t sleeping well and my pillow got dirty. So I designed a simple cot headboard that keeps my pillow where it is supposed to be. Plus the headboard is compact, and easy to make.
Tent shelving: Again, trying to provide more storage without taking up precious floor space. I modified closet organizer shelves so they hang from the frame of my wall tent. I put one of these next to each cot so everyone has some personal shelf space.
Coat rack: During our family’s last camp it snowed in June. Fortunately I brought a coat rack along. It came in super handy to hang coats and jackets on. We placed it right inside the door of the tent. This is an inexpensive rack that packs up nicely into a small box about 5”X5”X24”. So it doesn’t take up much space when stored.
Bellows: At the camp in June, it was the first time we used our wood-burning Cylinder Stove. It was cold enough that we heated the tent every night and even one day. I brought along a small, hand-held bellows. It was nice, when stoking the fire to speed along the process with the bellows. I just stuck the point of the bellows through the air vent in the stove’s front door and pumped away. All who visited our tent were impressed and said that they were going to get some for their next camp.
Boot scraper: Mud is one of the things I like least about camping. Although it is important to bring your boots inside the tent, you don’t need to bring mud or dirt if you have a sturdy boot scraper by the door. It is important to secure the boot scraper to a piece of wood so you can stand on the wood with one foot while you scrap the other.
Patio mat: I learned about this gem from another camper. They had this 9’X12” mat outside the door of their RV. It not only looked nice, but also created a clean area, almost like a patio, outside. The next time I went camping, I put this outside my tent door. It was great to not have dirt right outside the tent.
Chuck box on wheels: When I was investigating chuck boxes, I looked at different ones that people had made. I just couldn’t get excited about heavy wooden boxes that would strain my back to lift them. One day when I was in Lowes, I saw a large toolbox on wheels. It had compartments, wheels and a pull-up handle like a piece of luggage. It was perfect for getting kitchen gear to and from camp.
How to make a cot as comfortable as your "Sleep Number Bed": Sleeping is one of the most important parts of camping. We don’t function well if we don’t sleep well. This is one of the main complaints many have about camping – They can’t sleep on the ground, on a cot, in a sleeping bag. In fact a friend of mine who is a big time scouter and has camped many nights told me that he has never slept in a sleeping bag. He has spent a lot of nights in a sleeping bag, but has never slept in one. It took me a few seconds to understand his joke, but sleeping while camping is a real problem for many.
My wife has a difficult time sleeping and loves our sleep number bed. Here is what I learned about making a bed that allows my wife to get a good night’s rest. HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE! First of all I use a cot. You notice how a cot has a dip in the middle. This is bothersome to some. I put a self-inflating sleeping pad on the cot to fill up this space and add a foundation. Next, I use a 3” foam pad. This is bulky to store and transport, but oh, so comfortable. Making sure you sleep well while camping is worth the extra bulk. Now add the cot headboard and a warm sleeping bag and you’ll sleep like a baby. If my wife likes it, you will too.