Dreaming of Camping in the Boundary Waters

     I dream every night and almost every morning I could tell you about a dozen different stories of my nightly escapades. Last night I was camping in the BWCA for a portion of the evening. I wish I could say all went well but when I went to set up my tent it wasn’t in the best of conditions.

     I’m sure this dream was inspired by an article about tents I read on Backpacker’s Magazine online.  To summarize proper tent care there are a few rules to follow.

Store your tent clean & dry.- Do not put your tent into a washing machine or use harsh detergents on it. Instead sweep or shake out as much dirt & debris as you can and if there is a big mess inside use hot water & a damp cloth to wipe out or spray wash the tent making sure to focus on zippers. Let the tent air dry completely.

Keep the tent out of direct sunlight.- Sunlight has damaging rays that can affect your tent material. Set your tent up in the shade and never leave your tent set up for days on end in your backyard. As soon as it is dry pack it away.

Attend to repairs immediately.– Whether it’s a hole in the screen, faulty zipper or broken pole be sure to repair your tent as soon as possible. The longer you leave a problem alone the bigger it will get.  When out camping bring along a repair kit so you can take care of it in the field.

Here’s how to repair shock cord from the Backpacker site.
Loose cord Cold weather and repeated yanking can cause a shock cord to lose its elasticity. If that happens, pry off the cap from one end using a multi-tool, cut off about 5 inches of slack cord, re-knot the end, and replace the cap. Incurable limpness or severing requires manufacturer attention.


pole Here’s how to repair a broken shaft.
Broken shaft You can avoid most malfunctions by gently setting up and taking down tents cautions McGowan. "Operator error is the cause of 99 percent of our tent failures." When a break occurs, repair broken and cracked poles promptly to prevent the rough edges from severing the elastic cord. Split the broken pole by sliding an aluminum pole sleeve over the damaged area and taping both ends in place. (Sleeves are 4-inch tubes included with most new tents; you can also purchase them separately.) Back home, contact the manufacturer for a replacement section or mail-in repair.

     There’s also a good paragraph about how to make your own tent footprint or ground cloth. Using a tarp or ground cloth helps protect the floor of your tent from sharp rocks or roots and also keeps the bottom of your tent much cleaner.

     Maybe you aren’t thinking about camping in the Boundary Waters yet, but I sure am. And I’m going to make sure my tent is in proper repair before I get out to my first campsite in the BWCA at least in real life when I can control it. In dreamland, anything goes.