Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is Your Tent Waterproof?

About two weeks ago I would have said, "Yes". I mean, my wonderful Ozark Trail tent that I purchased years ago from Walmart has a rain cover and has faithfully gone through a few mild drizzling every now and again. This past weekend was our church's yearly picnic. We usually gather down at the local lake and enjoy a time of worship, message and then BBQ Chicken and pot-luck sides and desserts. We try every year to enjoy this retreat time and go camping. So Friday night we set out and enjoyed a great time of fellowship with some of our closest friends. The Bowman's with their 4 children and the Hersey's were out there with us. Saturday, Caleb stopped by to enjoy breakfast with us. Afterword we went for about a mile hike (with 8 kids it was quite far) and then went back to camp for lunch and some rain...

Kenny jinxed us I think because when we told him that we purchased our tent at Walmart he told us that our tent was going to leak. I didn't believe it at first, I figured a tent is a tent and besides, we had the handy rain cover on it. So after the rain had been going for some time we decided that we would go hang out in the tent and try to let the kids take a nap before swim time. As we got into the tent we realized that there was moisture on the inside of the rain cover. Worst yet, it was dripping right along the center line of our tent all the way across. We rolled up all our blankets and pillows into our sleeping bags and placed them in dry spots around the tent. After that we went back to our friends camp and hung out down there until it stopped raining.

We decided to go for the swim and allow some time for the tent to dry out a bit. Katherine, Matt and Grace all loved the water. Matt enjoyed playing in the sand more than actually playing in the water. Katherine was okay in the water as long as her feet touched the ground, and Grace only wanted Daddy to pull her around the lake. After that we went back to camp, grabbed some changes of clothes and went to the shower houses. That part went pretty well except my only pair of shoes I brought also somehow ended up with more water in it than what was coming out of the shower head.

Back to camp we went to check out our tent. At first inspection it looked like it might be salvageable. We started cleaning up a bit but as we unrolled the sleeping bags we realized that our blankets had been wet and it caused everything in the bag to be damp, wet and smelly. During this time frame we also found out that we had forgotten to pack the most important item for the camping trip, food for that night! It was about 8 o clock and I was hungry, my pillow and blanket were wet and the kids were crying. I made the call and told Elizabeth that we would wrap up and sleep at home Saturday night and come back for the tent on Sunday. I think our friends were a little upset at the fact that we were not out there that second night with them. I wished we could have stayed but things just were not working out.

After we got home and ate dinner (the food we forgot to bring with us) the kids fell right asleep. Elizabeth and I unpacked the camping gear and when we sat down for Ice Cream we heard a couple of loud crashes and bright lights flashing. Immediately I thought that the North Korean's were nuking WV! My wonderful wife jumped right up and said "Fireworks!" So we sat on our front porch watching an amazing fireworks show eating Ice Cream, looking forward to sleeping in our nice cushy warm bed while wondering how everyone was doing out at camp. Amazingly enough, the kids never woke up to the thundering boom of the fireworks either!

So that next week I went to Ace Hardware and found some Silicone tent waterproofing in a spray can which I paid around $5.99 for. I sprayed it on the rain cover of the tent and let it sit outside for about 3 days. On the third day it rained and it appears to again be waterproof. We are now set and ready for the next camping trip. Lessons learned on this one was:

A. Always double check the food situation

B. Just because you have a rain cover does not mean that your tent is waterproof. Spend the extra $6 and waterproof the tent.

C. If you have to go home early, you may get to enjoy an amazing Fireworks show and have a quiet evening with the love of your life.

Thanks for camping with us!

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