The 2016 Tifie Camp provided some great lessons about keeping cool, water, parade of tents and a mouse trap.
At the July camp it was in the 90s every day. Most of the tents were in the sun all day long. Fortunately there was a breeze in the morning and evening and sometimes during the day. Since we were in a dry climate, if we were in the shade and there was a breeze we were more comfortable. There were a several factors that helped make the heat bearable.
1. Shade Cloth If needed, have a shade cloth over your tent. Some tents are more comfortable in the heat than others. This has to do with color and the type of fabric. A lighter color tent that breathes will be much cooler than a dark color tent that is plasticized and doesn’t breathe.
There were several campers that put up agricultural shade cloth awnings. These helped provide shade and reduce heat. One camper with an Alaknak tent had such an unbearable camp last year with the heat in their tent, that they put a shade cloth over their entire tent. It made a tremendous difference in the livability of their tent. Shade cloth was also used in several classroom areas.
2. Fans Use fans inside your tent. We had two DC fans in our tent this year and it made a huge difference in our comfort. We positioned the fans either on a table or on the floor depending where we wanted air circulation. Some campers put the fans in the top of their tents and pointed them down like a ceiling fan. I prefer DC fans since they run off my solar system and don’t have to go through an inverter. Whenever you have to convert from DC to AC, you lose about 15% of your energy. I plan on getting more fans.
The 3 speed fans I have use 15-35 watts, depending on the speed. Here is what I have:
3. Spray Bottle When we first arrived at camp, our two little grand children were overheating. Fortunately, a friend shared a small spray bottle filled with water. By spraying the children they were able to cool down and be more comfortable. The oldest one even liked spraying himself.
3. Tent Placement Place your tent in a position to take advantages of the breeze. The breeze went down the canyon in the morning and up the canyon in the evening. We placed our tent so that the breeze could blow through our tent, end to end.
Have plenty of windows in your tent. When I had my tent made, I had the tent company, Cylinder Stoves, put in as many windows as possible. If you are in the market for a tent, don’t just assume that you can only buy the tent that is pictured on the company site. You can add extra windows, screen doors, etc. Add as many windows as possible. I promise that you will be more comfortable if you have extra windows.
Have screen doors in your tent so you can keep the doors open. Fortunately there were very few flying insects, so it was possible to leave your tent doors open all day long. If there were bugs, it would be necessary to either keep your tent doors close or have screen doors on your tents. Once again, if you are considering a tent, add screen doors to both ends.
I learned a helpful tip from my co captain. He has a tent the same as mine. There is a loop on the corner of the screen door that allows one to attach the loop to the door clasp, holding both open at the same time.
By the way, I am a dealer for Cylinder Stoves. They make excellent stoves and tents. If you are in the market for some shelter and heat, let me know if I can help you.
We used so much water during camp. We had to haul it every day. We had three adults and two small children. We used about 25-30 gallons a day. Water was used for washing dishes, hands and clothes, drinking, showering and general cleaning. It is amazing how much water we went through. It seemed like every time I turned around I had to go refill our four, six-gallon containers. I wish I had brought more containers so I didn’t have to get water so often. By the way, if you haven’t yet read my blog about Garden Carts and Flat Free Tires, you should. A heavy-duty cart is a tremendous tool at camp.
Parade of Tents
This is one of the most popular events of camp. On three days we scheduled time to visit two of the six camp areas. It gave us an opportunity to see how other campers have solved long-term camping issues. We also were able to view many different types of shelters, from a tee pee to domes, army tents, canvas wall tents, nylon tents, etc. It was fun visiting with so many people and sharing.
Here I am giving a tour of our kitchen.
A few pictures of my tent.
This is the entrance. Notice the cooking area with the Rocket Stoven/Oven Combo on the left. One day we were cooking a casserole in our sun oven for the pot luck dinner, but the afternoon became partly cloudy. The temperature in the sun oven couldn’t maintain enough heat to cook. We fired up the Rocket Stoven and were able to cook the casserole with no hassle. That is the beauty of the Rocket Stoven/Oven. It can be used cleanly in all weather and uses very little fuel.
You will also notice the patio mat on the ground. This keeps the entrance area clean and avoids bringing so much dirt into the tent. We had a separate "mother-in-law" tent on the right for a friend. The canopy over the entrance was nice for shade. In a real long-term camp situation I will set up a 10x20 carport for an entrance. This is more heavy-duty, has sides, and will provide an area for outdoor cooking in warm weather.
This is our kitchen. From left to right – Deluxe Filtration Camp Sink (I like to have this right by the front door so when someone comes back from potty, before prepping or eating food or brush teeth or wash face), food prep table with fridge. Notice the shelf above the food prep table and the kitchen sink. There is a folding picnic table in middle, Cabelas Deluxe Camp Kitchen, double sink, water system, and a propane stove. There is a step trash can between the camp kitchen and the double sink. This is such a handy item. You open the lid by stepping on a pedal. You don’t have to touch anything as you discard trash. Also notice the fan and ice maker sitting on the counter in the middle of the picture. The ice maker was wonderful. It is AC but worth the energy. My wife loved the ice maker. She called it a "life saver". Having cold drinks was wonderful.
I am going to revise the water system. I don't like having to pump the water from the big barrel to the smaller barrel above the sink. I have purchased a marine foot pump and am going see if it has sufficient volume to pump directly to the sink. This will free up 12 foot shelf above the sink.
This is our bedroom. From left to right – hanging closet organizer for each person, cot night stand on the side of cots provides additional personal storage. Cot headboard for each person keeps pillows on the cot. In the rear, left corner there is a hanging mirror and the shower area where we use the Deluxe Tent Shower. If you didn't know how much my wife and daughter-in-law enjoyed taking a warm pressurized shower in the privacy of our tent, let me tell you - they really enjoyed it!
In the rear, right corner is where the two Pak n' Plays for the two babies’ sleeping area.
We hung a room divider to separate their sleeping area. On the right side is the “kid cage”. This was very helpful to keep the babies contained for a while.
The hanging solar system panel is usually covered. I will be building a cover for the battery and cables.
You will notice in the pictures the two different floor coverings in the kitchen and the bedroom. When I bought my tent several years ago the only floor option was the heavy-duty vinyl that you see in the bedroom. Since then, Cylinder Stoves also offers the mesh floor you see in the kitchen. I like the mesh floor best. It allows dirt to sift through the mess and if something is spilled it also goes down through the floor. Underneath both floors is a used billboard banner. When I set up permanent camp I will use interlocking foam pads between the banner and the tent floor.
One other item I want to mention in this blog and that is rodent control. There were not many flying bugs at this camp. There were a number of crawling insects. But a pest that we need to be concerned about is rodents.
I have long promoted a mouse trap that can catch multiple mice. I brought my mouse trap along on the camp, put a few nuts in it for bait and set it on the floor of our kitchen. After the second day, it had an occupant. I really like this mouse trap and suggest you get something like it. Our food at camp will attract rodents. With this trap you can catch multiple mice. You can see when you have caught one, and you don’t have to touch a dead mouse.
You can find this at: Mouse Trap
In future blogs I will be discussing electricity, conserving water and washing clothes. There is a new clothes washer that I am testing that I am pretty excited about.