Recently, we did a short interview with Charlie who is the proud owner of the tent you see above. This tent has seen quite a few adventures and we expect it has many more in it’s future with Charlie’s family.
1. Can you give us a bit of background on how old the tent is and what exactly it is?
My father bought the tent probably about 1965. I know it was after I joined the Navy in 1963. He bought it from the Morsan tent company which I believe was the origin of the Campmor company. The model of the tent was called the Tropical Cabin, I believe, but my father ordered it with a couple of non-standard features including the asbestos chimney stack hole and a cut-away section of the floor where the old “sheepherder” type stove is used. He also got a second ridgepole which we use to support a tarp in front as a kitchen/porch.
2. How and when did you come into possession of it?
My father gave me the tent in 2005. My parents used it for about 40 years taking camping and fishing trips all over the Northeast and eastern Canada. They carried it in their cars, boats and canoes. When they got into their late 80′s they stopped camping and gave my brothers and I various boats, tents, and equipments.
3. What is your favorite feature(s) of the tent?
I like many features of the tent:
- It is a large (10′x12′) wall tent that is high enough to stand erect in – I’ve even used a bunk bed in it for more capacity.
- The stove pipe allows it to be used in cold weather – I have used it at 12 degrees and with 4″ of snow on it.
- It is very sturdy in windy conditions – we usually camp above 8,000′ in Utah and experience lots of severe electrical storms.
- The windows on three sides and the screen door allow a good cross breeze in warm weather.
- Although it is fairly heavy I can erect by myself when necessary.
My parents added Velcro to close the door flaps, but I am thinking of re-installing zippers. It has a couple of patches from errant sparks and we’ve replaced a number of the side poles.
4. What is your fondest memory of the tent? Is there one trip that sticks out to you?
I have used it for at least three camping trips every summer since 2005 as well as some late and early season trips. Every year I take my grandchildren on a camping, fishing, hiking, horse trip and they are all memorable. The first trip was with the oldest when she was nine years old and last summer I took four granddaughters and a grandson. Even as teenagers now the oldest still look forward to the trip and we are already planning for this summer. I also take one trip with a friend each summer that usually involves fishing. And then I sometimes go camping alone – it is very roomy for one/two persons.
We’ve had many adventures from lightning hitting a tree beside the tent to a visiting skunk. We’ve had many experiences with wildlife – coyotes howling nearby, a wolf sighting, swimming beavers, a charging moose, and lots of deer, elk, moose, etc. passing by and fishing, of course.
5. What is next for the tent? Any trips planned?
Yes. We are already planning our camping trip next summer. I am planning on bringing along another adult, one of their parents, to help me keep up with the children (I am 71 years old) so we will use another tent, as well. The children and I like relatively primitive camping so we have plenty of elk venison to cook in our Dutch ovens. Last year I finally learned in my old age that a splitting mall is far superior to a standard axe for splitting firewood so I’ll give the older ones considerable experience with that! We teach them woodsman ship skills like fire making, cooking over a fire, wildlife observation, orienteering, etc. I’m not one of these “preppers” preparing for a Zombie invasion or a meteor strike, but we do want the kids to learn how to avoid getting lost or hurt in the wilderness and how to cope with being lost, bad weather, wild animals, etc.
I don’t have any plans to retire the tent – my wife thinks I shouldn’t be going camping alone (but what does she know..?). The tent is certainly good for many more years. I did buy a new wall tent for this year because we have more people going. It will be a good experience to compare it with a modern tent – I suspect this old tent will be better.