DTG: Why Tents Suck


Thoughts on shelter, Part I.


14 responses to “DTG: Why Tents Suck

  1. I am rather a fan of the tent.

    Having lived in one in Africa and Iraq.

    If I was to have to relocate somewhere, a large tent, and buying some cheap bit of land would be immensely preferable to renting.

  2. SemperFi, 0321

    Spent yrs sleeping under poncho hootches (VN issue heavy rubber ponchos M1956, not the newer nylon ALICE shit, they leak like hell), from jungles to stateside and even Europe.They work, are quick to tear down and lightweight. However, you still get wet and bugs eat you alive.
    British military bashas are the next step up, in size (about 7’x9′) and purpose. The Brit bashas also incorporate stretcher handles down the sides. Almost everything you see today is copied from the Brit. military issue basha, (including the new USMC MarPat one). Waterproofing is first rate, doesn’t peel off like the US nylon issue ponchos. Get one on eBay. I’ve got several in both desert DPM and MTP, installed heavy duty black snaps along the long sides, can snap them together to make huge hootch.
    Tents/bivys are top of the line, bugproof and dry. But from a tactical viewpoint, he’s right, you’re blind inside and they take too long to breakdown and haul ass. But nothing is perfect for everyone, figure out what you want to use and then learn to use it, blindfolded. Most of the time you’ll be setting up or breaking down in the dark anyway, and from that standpoint, use the KISS method (basha).

    • Virgil Kane

      The British Basha is a good piece of gear. It’s heavy and will take a beating. Snugpak makes a lightweight version they call the Stasha, but I don’t expect them to last like the Basha. I keep them in the GHB’s.

  3. I have to say I would ‘prefer’ a tent, but having and knowing how to use a tarp to make shelter is a totally necessary skill. Good stuff.
    Peace, until it’s time not to.

  4. Look at the other side of it; bear is tasty! You have both a shelter AND an opportunity to shoot a bear, then it’s bear steak, bear fillet, roast bear, etc.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      Once you’ve seen bears eating on rotten decayed maggot infested carcasses, I don’t think you’ll find it so tasty.
      I know, catfish eat the same thing too.

  5. Anyone planning on taking mom & the kids on a “bug out” in the woods carrying “combat light” (what we called this decades ago) is a sadist and asshole. If you want to enjoy “the suck” that’s on you. But the DERP’s that think its a good thing to take little kids out “for training” on some kind of sadistic hell march, need to be flogged to death in public as a warning to the other assholes. Or job as men is to protect women and children. Not give them rocky mountain spotted fever , west nile virus and snake bite, so that we can feel better about our survivalist/militia/ mountain man/bug out fantasy. “Combat light” is a great Idea IN COMBAT , but is a world class DERP for the family campout

    • outlawpatriot

      Truth be known, not many here or anyplace else could deal with more than a week or two of “combat lite.” Crank in sub-freezing or hundred degree temps, and it would probably be less than that. 😉

  6. Bug-borne diseases include Lyme (incurable, debilitating), West Nile (occassionaly fatal), Zika (causes birth defects), Malaria (incurable, debilitating), Dengue and many others. The exact locations where these exist is fluid, and expanding. Tents are the simplest way to bug proof while sleeping. Tarps don’t help prevent bugs, other equipment needs to be added to do that.

    Tarps become a lot less useful in high-winds, as are often found in the desert. Well designed tents, properly staked will do just fine even in very strong winds.

    Tarps are much less effective in winter for staying warm. I suspect the author lives somewhere without a lot of snow. If you are out in the woods in the snow you want a tent, the only question is whether you want a North Face style mountaineering tent or a “elk camp” style canvas tent. Stoves are commonly used in both.

    OTOH: The article makes a good case for tent being not as good for being a camouflaged ready military position as tarp. The ability to see 360 and even shoot from under it make it more useful for hiding somewhere when you are in a defensive mode.

    Alert recon under tarp, buddy system sleep in tent is probably the most practical combination.

  7. Ray, I took my family out several times for a camp-out, for acclimatization, when they were young, and other than one or two mosquito bites, and a little uneasiness about the whole thing, nobody died. We checked each other all the time for ticks, chiggers, and the like. It’s second nature for them now, since they are grown, and they’ve gotten pretty savvy about going out on their own, to air soft meets and other things. They did destroy one of my tents during a Texas Deluge we sometimes get down here, but no harm done other than to the tent, and it was replaced. The wife doesn’t go for it too much still, but she is pretty much a trooper, and understands necessity when it is due. No one has suggested a public flogging to death for me, for that, anyway, and I believe your assessment and verdict a little harsh. My view about protection is also a little different. My mode of operation is that we are supposed to be mutually protective, and dependent on no one person to carry the day. I even instilled this into my sons when they were as young as six, when they learned to shoot, and they shoot well, and often. They like who they are, and all of them have the attitude of a hog on ice. My family and I have really no illusions, and I myself brook no fantasies regarding the coming Unpleasantness. We may or may not survive, and thrive, but we have taken steps to at least try to survive and thrive. While I most certainly have been an asshole, and will probably wind up an asshole again, I take the time and wisdom of age to avoid these little bumps in the road whenever I can, and I really hate it when some one yells “Asshole!” at me, although it has been a while since some one did that. With a little practice, and fore thought, one could acclimatize his family towards a bit of camping, with an eye towards preparing them for difficult times ahead as a benefit. Haxo, no jews were harmed during the writing of this comment, being they were probably sitting around on sacks of gold anyway.

  8. John Rourke

    Rookies talk tents and tarps, experts talk hammocks :- )

  9. Penny Pincher

    I like hammocks. You can fix your rain fly however you like, you’re above the ground (do remove anything that can impale you if you fall on your butt due to hammock strap fail), and it’s a hella lot more comfortable than sleeping on the hard ground. Also it’s smaller than a tent to pack up. Some come with skeeter nets, I never needed one but I might if I strung up near a swamp. I made my own rain fly but tarps work ok too, if they’re long enough to cover your hammock. There is an art to it, watch some youtubes for ideas but basically you should string it so the bottom is about 16″ from the ground when you lie in it. Make it kind of tight, and lie in it diagonally. Reason for the height is, the rain doesn’t bounce up that high usually but if you fall on your butt you won’t break it. You can suspend a quilt under the hammock if it gets really cold (in addition to your bag)… this keeps it from squishing under your weight and losing its loft.

    BTW you can vat dye a bright colored nylon hammock drab with Rit dye and vinegar. Polyester won’t take dye but nylon does.