Saturday, October 23, 2010

Size Does Matter...

Does size matter? That has been a long debated question and depending on who you ask and when you do it depends on the answer you get. I will have to say size does matter when it comes to tents. Tents you ask. Well of course tents. What were you thinking?

I love camping. I always have. I prefer the rugged style camping where it is just you, a sleeping bag, a tent, a fire and Mother Nature. No hot shower is required. Living on the West Coast of Florida kind of limits you in your camping options for day trips. You have Ft Desoto, Hillsborough River State Park and Best Buy.

I have two daughters and wanted to take them camping. Kind of break them in easy. Our first trip was when they were 7 and 4. Where would you take kids camping in Florida. Well what do you know. There is a campground at Disney World. The Fort Wilderness Campground which is only an hour away.

I had recently purchased a five person tent from the sports store. I figured there was only four of us so a five person tent would be fine. Two adults. Two kids. Plenty of room. But wait. I was also told that blow up mattresses would be required. What? Blow up mattresses. That's not camping. Suppose I was the one to be broken in easy.

The girls were always excited to go to DW. This time they were especially excited because we were going to camp. I had made them forts in the living room many times but this time the fort was outside. We checked in and found our plot of land. We were next to a large RV/bus. This thing was probably the size of our house.

Now it's show time. Daddy has to set up camp. I take the tent out and begin to set it up. I had the tent up in less than ten minutes. Now did I mention the blow up mattresses. When I say blow up, they were literally blow up mattresses. I am looking for the electric air pump. I was then told these could only be blown up by hand or mouth. And for some reason they could only be blown up by the on-site male. I spent the next hour and a half blowing up these two twin mattresses. All the while I am sure there was some guy standing in the mansion on wheels next to us looking out the tinted window with a glass of bourbon on the rocks saying look at the common folks.

One thing I began to notice was that these mattresses side by side were larger than the tent. This was going to be interesting. The mattresses were put in the tent but not side by side. We just wanted to walk around the campground before it got too late. It was also dinner time.

Now it was bed time and everyone was ready for bed. This is when we realized that the mattresses did not fit in the tent. When put side by side, the mattresses curved up along the tent walls. Thank goodness the tent was staked down. The sleeping arrangements? Should the adults be on the outside weighing down the mattresses. But would we roll on to the kids and have a tragic event. We decided to have the adults sleep in the middle and the little ones would sleep on the edge of the mattresses. About every hour we would have a ball of family meeting in the middle. After the third time we just kept on sleeping.

The next morning all was well. The experience was one of those family things that you talk about later. A character breakfast always helps. I had a different take. I neatly folded the tent. Placed it back in the box and returned it to the sports store that Monday. I bought an 8 person tent and have had no issues since. The first tent would probably have been plenty of room for 5 but when you have to put air mattresses inside, size does matter.