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Tent or stars

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by JoshPosh, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Pathfinder

    I've gone camping almost every weekend of my teenage life. Beach locations. Majority of the time I've slept under the stars. No tent needed, lucky me. You can gaze at the stars all night til you fall asleep.

    What do you prefer? Sleep in a tent or under the stars?
  2. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Gazing up at the sky at night can be very peaceful and relaxing but I like to have a little protection against rain and little critters. Besides, it is not like I can see the sky when my eyes are closed and I'm sleeping! I still get some star gazing in but then after I am tired I retreat to my tent to get some shut eye. Another benefit of camping without a tent is that I imagine your pack would be incredible light!! I know when I go camping the tent is always one of the largest and heaviest items.

    Going camping every weekend must mean you have become quite experienced at it. Did you have a favorite location during those times or did you prefer to try out as many new camp sites as you possibly could? I suppose where you live and what is around you might play some role in that.
  3. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Pathfinder

    I am surrounded by ocean water and beaches. What dictated where we went on the weekends was based on the tide level and lunar positioning. Spiny Lobsters would stay hidden if the moon was bright. Also, there were seasonal fishing and known fishing holes. For example there were only certain fish that could be caught from one season, and were off limits the very next.

    My dad and older brother were the actual divers (hunters) and I was the gatherer of the rocky shoreline. I've written several threads on the types of urchins and sea snails that I use to pick off the rocks. Can't have a main course meal without its side dishes.
  4. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Both. My backpack tent comes with a fly [roof covering] that can be removed. The roof of the tent is fine netting - keeping the bugs at bay but allowing me to lay in a comfy sleeping bag and gaze up into the skies until I fall asleep. Great on moon lite nights and even more so when the sky is pitch black and the whole firmament is an array of wonder. Shooting stars skim through the atmosphere in an instant and if you are attentive you can see those bright light movements of the satellites as they make their way around Mother Earth. Ya - I can see it all now.
    2akab9c.jpg 2hhoxgn.jpg

    This is my Coleman Hooligan 2 person tent. One with the fly and one without. [I need the extra space for my dog Reese.]

    23jl3yc.jpg I also have this interior Eagle Scout tent, but as you can see it has no sky opening and it needs a tarp to assure absolute protection against the rain. I do like it though, because it is an easier fold for carrying in a backpack. [And there is room for Reese.]

    Both are comfortable with a sleeping cot.

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  5. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    Most of the time when we went camping we slept out under the stars. If it was supposed to be a rainy weekend , we stayed home. I had a nice air mattress that I would huff and puff and blow up, and it fit in a space under my sleeping bag so that it didn't slide away. My mom always brought along her hammock and she set up her sleeping bag in that, and Daddy and I would put ours on the ground close by.

    After the campfire died down, and we were ready to turn in for the night, then I would burrow down into the sleeping bag and just lay there and watch the stars until I fell asleep. Of course, when there were mosquitoes, that didn't work so good, and then I buried my whole self down into the sleeping bag, and killed any skeeters that managed to get in there with me.

    Sometimes, some little critter would come through the camp and run across my sleeping bag. At that point; I whispered (loudly) to my mom to wake up because there was a big bear in camp and he just walked across my sleeping bag! Eventually, she would convince me that it was only a little pack rat, and I would go back to sleep again, but I still worried, just in case.

    My folks did have a tent, so to speak. It was a huge old army surplus tarp, and they strung a heavy rope from two trees, and put the tarp over the top, and then used stakes to put the sides out away from the center. If we had that then everyone, including mom and the hammock, could fit inside to sleep.
    campforums and Northern Dancer like this.
  6. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Aha...I loved the story...kinda like something from a journal.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2014
    happyflowerlady likes this.
  7. JessiFox

    JessiFox Novice Camper

    Perhaps there's a happy medium there? Some tents having that option, more or less, but still a bit more in the way of protection. Falling asleep directly under the stars does sound lovely and relaxing but I'd be a little anxious about having nothing to protect or shelter me whatsoever.
  8. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...it would depend on the circumstances. One has to decide what one is wanting to be protected or sheltered from. For me it has only been the elements. I have had no cause to be fearful....of anything.
    happyflowerlady likes this.
  9. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    That makes sense to me, too, Dancer. What a tent is designed for is to protect the camper from rain, cold, even those pesky skeeters have a harder time getting at you when you are in a tent with the flaps shut. But if Bigfoot (or maybe a grizzly is more likely....or not) then the tent might not do you a whole lot of good. It just kind of cages you up for the beastie to get you better. Plus, when you are in the tent, you can't see or hear something coming nearly as well as when sleeping out under the stars.

    I always enjoyed seeing the falling stars that streak across the sky late at night. When you are camping out, far from the glare of city lights, there is just SO much more of the sky and the stars that are visible to you, as well.

    One night, I might have even seen flying saucers. Not sure what it was, but there were probably 5 or 6 of them, and they were whizzing across the sky faster than any kind of plane that I have ever seen. Suddenly, they all made a hard right turn, without losing speed, and vanished over the skyline past the mountains. I must have watched for at least a half hour hoping for another glimpse of those amazing UFO's (or whatever they were), but they never came back, and finally I drifted off to sleep.

    You just don't see these kinds of things when you are sleeping inside of a tent....
  10. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...I can identify with what you have shared. When I'm at Red Pine Lake, one of my favourite places, I arrange the sand to fit my bod as if I were at some exotic lake side point. With steaming coffee in one hand and my binoculars in the other I would scan the summer skies. Eric, a friend, would be on one side and Reese would be camped out in the centre. We would watch the shooting stars with delight and see who would be the first to spot the satellites coming across the sky. There is something special in the wee hours of the morning when absent of any kind of human sound; I think they call it peace and tranquility.


    The shores of the camp site at Red Pine Lake


    The Camp Site
    happyflowerlady likes this.
  11. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    That's why you should use the zipper on your tent door to make sure no little buggers come into your tent while you're sleeping. I don't know about you but that would startle the living hell out of me if I woke up and found some unexpected company in the tent.

    Neat, definitely a feature I will have to keep an eye out for next time I buy a new tent or when I start writing reviews. I can sometimes get really stuffy inside especially during summer camping with multiple people in the tent and it would be nice to half a roof to let some cool air in.
  12. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    With my luck if I left the rain fly off the tent to gaze at the stars it would start pouring during the night or the next mornings air would be filled with heavy dew, making me damp and miserable.

    And those big skeeters can be bad in some areas and tiny no-see-m's can come through lots of screens, but if your out in the open you might be begging for mercy before morning.
  13. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    High end range tents do not require a fly. BUT they are great to reduce the rays. If a tent requires a fly it should be right to the ground. If the fly has a bonnet move to the next one for better protection. I can easily show examples but I wouldn't want the manufacturer to come after us.
  14. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Yeah, it is not much use if it doesn't go right to the ground, otherwise anything get just get under it. Examples of manufacturer's products? I think that is okay to share if you want to.
  15. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    The term bonnet is my own expression and it is used to describe the kind of tent protection.

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRRVDnQPafc_k-TnXxG0mqPLnF4hrKWR41NGxqqdE0l-MR1RObO.jpg Bonnet upload_2015-1-3_16-59-34.jpeg Fly/Tent cover

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTR8Dqmtt2GWO-0hUfjANsuqDIwqD5woHTGSn4Row-R3e4rYzoU.jpg and of course...a tent not requiring a fly


    and a Sun/Rain Shelter Tea Lake Algonquin Park

    In the early part of the season I use a full kitchen shelter, later, when the bugs are down considerably I sometimes just use an open shelter
  16. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I like that open shelter, I never really go inside my tent during the day unless it is raining but that looks like something everyone could just gather under during the day and socialize for some time when you need to get out of the sun (or rain for that matter).
  17. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    The thing is, there are numerous quick set up shelters that one can purchase. In the picture I'm using steel poles [because I'm residence for awhile] but sometimes I just use tent tension lines. [But the campers who have knot skills will suggest some great alternatives.]

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQeXDBYCIoAPj_WtdJvoIOETCNPvBB5uGa85Yt7gi1Ogj5mO0VU.jpg images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7OW-8UTzns-J64SLU1B-ykCj4ToCHX6jLT5uiWbrU87xeprhlgQ.jpg
  18. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    When you @Dancer, set up your camp this way are you able to drive up and set up, or do you haul it all into the campsite?
  19. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    The base camp is accessible by van - I just couldn't/wouldn't have that kind of equipment transported into the interior - I would have to have one of those Hudson Bay Company Canoes to do the same.

    When I'm in the interior I have much the same kind of equipment but on a small light weight scale and I'm able to pack it all into a canoe easily and safely.

    Hudson Bay Cargo Canoe...


    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSyd1keWQzOi_m-hWoJxcVj9LyIQ7qEjX-floKLbdPCsfGOPp4_.jpg Souris River Canoe [Prospector Model] That I own
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  20. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Usually I just tie one of these cheap types of tarps between a couple of trees with some rope, steel poles just seem like too much work to me. Although I guess it would make it easier for getting the tarp at just the right level.

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