Operation Sleep Outside
Because of the balmy December weather in South Dakota we decide to take advantage of the non-snowy ground and take our tent out on it’s maiden voyage.
Objectives – see if the tent leaked, see if our sleeping bag ratings were accurate and see if we fit in the tent.
Weather conditions: low of 32 degrees, rainy (perfect for testing)
In the early afternoon of December 29 we attempted to set up our tent. It took an hour. Oops. Hopefully it won’t take this long on the trail. After an ah-ha moment we got the right poles into the right holes and we took a picture of our achievement. We set the tent up so that it could be seen from the road. We thought it would be a good conversation starter over coffee at the Turkey Ridge Store.
At 10:30pm we grabbed our gear and trudged into the rain to begin our experiment. Once inside we marveled at the fact it was still dry and that we had in fact set the tent up correctly. After some tricky maneuvering we got settled and read for a while before turning out our flashlights.
Fast forward to 2 am. Our dog Sunny was whimpering loudly and licking the rain fly on the tent. The rain had stopped, but the temperatures continued to fall. At this point Alison has not slept at all, and Renee has tried to curl up into a tight ball to stay warm. After a short conversation debating whether to stick it out or retire inside we decided sleep was more important. We fully realize this option will not be available while on the trail, but our test proved 2 things: Renee needs a warmer sleeping bag and our tent is actually waterproof and has enough space.
The really sad part of this story is we left the tent outside too long the next day and Sunny decided Alison’s sleeping pad, book and our tent fly looked appetizing. So there were bits and pieces scattered across the yard when we went to take the tent down. The dog was tied up for the rest of the day and we are now looking for replacements.
Moral of the story: don’t leave anything outside that you may need later.