Category Archives: Shelter & Tents

Campfire Tent – Baker Tent Hunt

Here’s the Backyard Test of the fantastic new “Campfire Tent” from Green Outdoor (who also make the “Bush Shelter” tent featured earlier as a ‘lightweight’ campfire tent option). As part of our ongoing “Baker Tent Hunt” series this full size tent looks really promising and is beautifully made – it passed the ‘Backyard Test’ with flying colours, easy to put up, withstood some strong winds and provided great shelter with the all-important open frontage of the classic Campfire or Baker tent. Stay tuned for the full experience in our forthcoming Winter Camp [Update: that report now available here: See Winter Camp ]

And here’s Bill Mason’s original tent from his book “Song Of The Paddle – An Illustrated Guide To Wilderness Camping”:

Inspiration for the Campfire Tent - Bill Mason in Song of The Paddle

Inspiration for the Campfire Tent - Bill Mason in Song of The Paddle

For more information on this tent see the details on the Green Outdoor.co.uk website.

Baker Tent Hunt – The Bush Shelter Lightweight Campfire Tent

Update: See our latest test of a full size Campfire Tent.

The Bush Shelter

Discussed here before as part of our “Baker Tent Hunt” series the Bush Shelter from www.greenoutdoor.co.uk looked like an interesting lightweight “Campfire Tent” option, and is even designed with canoeing in mind in that you can use paddles to hold it up, meaning you don’t need poles, so it’s a tiny package, no bigger than taking a tarp really. Here’s the ‘Backyard Test’!

The tent arrives by courier, from greenoutdoors.co.uk - its a small package for a tent.

The tent arrives by courier, from greenoutdoors.co.uk - its a small package for a tent.

16ft Canoe for scale!

16ft Canoe for scale!

OUt of the bubblewrap.... a new tent in my life... The tent is made of recycled PTFE plastic, from bottles and the like!

OUt of the bubblewrap.... a new tent in my life... The tent is made of recycled PTFE plastic, from bottles and the like!

 

 

Size 10 boot for scale...

Size 10 boot for scale...

The tent laid out on the ground. The useful "pitching guide arrived with the order by email as a word document (to save the environment): very simple but valuableinstructions. 1. Peg out the grounsheet (black) first, but loosely. 2. Insert your uprights - can be paddles if canoeing, or walking poles or just sticks from your campsite.

The tent laid out on the ground. The useful "pitching guide arrived with the order by email as a word document (to save the environment): very simple but valuableinstructions. 1. Peg out the grounsheet (black) first, but loosely. 2. Insert your uprights - can be paddles if canoeing, or walking poles or just sticks from your campsite.

2minutes later it's up and looking good for a modern, small-scale 'campfire tent'!!

2minutes later it's up and looking good for a modern, small-scale 'campfire tent'!!

Depending on the lentgh of your paddles or poles, the groundsheet can be pulled up or lowered, and still pegged in OK.

Depending on the lentgh of your paddles or poles, the groundsheet can be pulled up or lowered, and still pegged in OK.

Nice wide-open front to the tent gives an authentic 'baker tent' feel, even in this small one-man tent, which is a real achievement.

Nice wide-open front to the tent gives an authentic 'baker tent' feel, even in this small one-man tent, which is a real achievement.

Good, useable space inside. I like the recycled material a lot.

Good, useable space inside. I like the recycled material a lot.

 

 

Set a bit lower t his time. Did a wind test at this pitch - facing into probably 20-30mph sou'westerlies up on our hill... it did very well but in the end...(See next!)

Set a bit lower t his time. Did a wind test at this pitch - facing into probably 20-30mph sou'westerlies up on our hill... it did very well but in the end...(See next!)

Did a wind test at this pitch - facing into probably 20-30mph sou'westerlies up on our hill... it did very well but in the end...(See next!)

Did a wind test at this pitch - facing into probably 20-30mph sou'westerlies up on our hill... it did very well but in the end...(See next!)

This happened!!! the air was forced inside and then trapped inside! Wierd. to be very fair though only a dome tent will stay up in this spot in Big Wind, so that's OK: it did very well actually and being able to zip up the front and lower the front canopy meant it lasted for a long time without a problem, only when a full on storm force hit it did this happen...!

This happened!!! the air was forced inside and then trapped inside! Wierd. to be very fair though only a dome tent will stay up in this spot in Big Wind, so that's OK: it did very well actually and being able to zip up the front and lower the front canopy meant it lasted for a long time without a problem, only when a full on storm force hit it did this happen...!

You can't see the wind, but it was there... I collapsed it and forced the air back out!

You can't see the wind, but it was there... I collapsed it and forced the air back out!

The rear view.

The rear view.

Inside. Wow it's cozy, really nice, light and airy but sheltered and cozy too. Very happy with this tent.

Inside. Wow it's cozy, really nice, light and airy but sheltered and cozy too. Very happy with this tent.

So there it is. Proven: this is a great modern, and small/lightweight "Campfire Tent" that really works. Thumbs up and for only £49 that is superb, but even at the previous price of £99 its still great value.  Well done Greenoutdoors.co.uk! You win our Baker Tent Hunt "lightweight Category" competition!

So there it is. Proven: this is a great modern, and small/lightweight "Campfire Tent" that really works. Thumbs up and for only £49 that is superb, but even at the previous price of £99 its still great value. Well done Greenoutdoors.co.uk! You win our Baker Tent Hunt "lightweight Category" competition!

All set up with camp-fire and kelly kettle ready for a first test...

All set up with camp-fire and kelly kettle ready for a first test...

 

 

Ray Mears' Swag Camp

You can catch Ray in his swag bedroll in the Australian desert: on DaveJaVue channel tonight at 7pm if you have Sky TV. Here’s a couple of images of his desert camp from the show:

For more on swag camping, see our main post about “swag” camping here: “Me Ol’ Swagaroo”

Ray waking up in the Desert in a traditional Australian 'Swag Bag'

Ray waking up in the Desert in a traditional Australian 'Swag Bag'

A beautiful desert camp spot for Ray Mears

A beautiful desert camp spot for Ray Mears

Ray packing the Swag back in the 4 x 4.

Ray packing the Swag back in the 4 x 4.

We love swag-camping – if you want to get yourself a swag see our post on “Where to Buy a Swag in the UK” and also see our “Duluth Bedroll” post for a Canadian ‘swag’ option!

For more Ray Mears swag camping see this clip from his DVD from YouTube, showing 4×4 swag camping in places with a lot of biting insects, so a fully enclosed mozzie net features heavily in the swag he uses here – You’ll need to view full screen because there’s an awful lot of split-screen editing gone on in this one!

River Wye – Summer Trip Report

Finally documented our Summer Season Wye trip. We decided to start at The River Lugg – I arrived in daylight (just) and went down the Lugg until it met with the Wye and made camp on the far bank and then waited for a text saying TheRangerD had arrived at Mordiford. That meant I had to cross back over the wye just as it got dark at midnight, and teh bad news the mist suddenly thickened up like gray soup about 5 feet high on the surface of the water – my headtorch did nothing but bounce back in a white-out, so it was torches off and pretty much doing the maneuver blind! Lucky I practiced it a few times in the light eh… But I made across and after walking back to teh main road and meeting with The Ranger at 1am we began the trip in earnest – with a long portage of canoes and gear across the fields near Mordiford as the Lugg wasn’t anywhere near safe to paddle in the dark. Then we loaded up and crossed the Wye in the dark around 1.30am just where it meets the Lugg – the swirling water, mist and perfect bright moonlight made it an incredible start to the trip! Sleep came about 3am just as the sun began to lighten up the sky again. The swags held out the sunlight and we slept pretty well until 6am or so. And so the Summer Trip began…. Enjoy the pictures!

Summer on the River Wye- In Pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Swags – US Forces Bivvy

This is a kind of soldiers’ swag bag: the “Crysalis sleep system” – a US miltary issue bivvy bag made from a goretex-like material. It features a mozzie net built in a wire hoops to raise the cover up. OK it’s expensive at $300 USD but if the taxpayers are footing the bill while you keep them safe from attack then it’s no problem: you deserve to a) be camouflaged b) be safe from attack from any enemies while you rest and c) be comfortable in bad weather when those same tax payers are sitting at home in 3 season feather down duvets surrounded by fluffed up pillows and eating pizza.

more info see: US Elite Forces Gear.com

chrysliasbag

See also: Duluth Bedroll and Me ‘Ol Swaggaroo – the Australian Swag Bag.

duluthbedroll

Campfire Tent Hunt – Latest: The Bush Shelter

Update: See our latest test of the Green Outdoor full size Campfire Tent.

Baker Tent Hunt continues… In our hunt for the perfect Modern “Baker Tent” or camp fire tent we’ve looked at many different options from large heavy tents like the Oztent to simple lightweight tarp rigs and replica versions of the original 19th Century format.

The latest we’ve found is this very interesting design called simply the “Bush Shelter“. As well as the basic properties as a ‘camfire tent’ it has a couple of reasons it’s ideally suited to canoe camping. It’s similar to the MSR Fast & Light tent design we featured earlier in that it’s made of modern lightweight materials with a kind of ‘stretched’ format that creates it’s internal space and it’s essential canopy by clever angle’s of material and guy ropes:

bushsheltercanoetent

Also like the MSR you’ll this one uses trekking poles or ingenioulsy canoe paddles to hold the structure up. Described as “a lightweight, 2 person shelter that can be easily pitched using walking poles or canoe paddles. Front opening to allow maximum connection with the surrounding countryside, with a front canopy over the opening and a sewn in groundsheet for additional protection.” With those advantages for canoists specifically (making use of your paddles, and it’s overall lightwieght and compact design, whilst fulfilling the basic requirements of our Baker Tent Hunt, this is a very promising looking tent and currently a great purchase from www.greenoutdoors.co.uk at only £99 reduced from £149 at time of writing which is fantastic price for an unusual specialist tent like this.

Full details, spec and photo gallery (you need to see this! it all makes sense when you see the photos) here.

Where to Buy An Australian Swag in the UK?

[Update: the new Wynnchester Australian Swags are now available to buy online from www.australianswags.co.uk – see latest post.

It’s surprisingly hard to get hold of a real swag in the UK. I inherited my Razorback swag from my wife’s family when we were living Down Under several years ago: that’s the brown one below and shown in our main post about swag-camping here (and you’ll see it pop up all across this site as it’s been my main outdoor accommodation for ages now – I haven’t used a tent for 7 years…).

There’s a lot of swags available on Ebay, in Australia see here http://shop.ebay.co.uk/i.html?LH_AvailTo=3&_nkw=swag+canvas – worth a look but the postage is pretty heavyweight – but great for looking at the real Aussie swags that are available over there: lots of different shapes and sizes.

Update: Another company based in Devon also sells Australian style swags – they are made in the UK unlike the imported ones above, but are based faithfully on the original Australian designs – see http://www.wruffit.co.uk/ for details:

[Edit: Seems that Wruffit are no longer trading… website has been down for a long time and no answer on their phone number – so one less place to buy a swag now!]

An authentic Australian Swag for sale in the UK by www.wruffit.co.uk

An authentic Australian Swag for sale in the UK by www.wruffit.co.uk

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Baker Tent Hunt: Get Out and Stay Out… in your own Backyard

Update: See our latest test of the Green Outdoor full size Campfire Tent.

The Baker Tent/Campfire Tent search continues… Evening Tea under the Tarp… Kelly Kettle fires up – wish I bought the bigger one though as the small 1pt version is fiddly to light and get going; next choice for me is an Eydon Kettle, the 2pt “Popular” model looks good according to reviews on SOTP (www.songofthepaddle.co.uk). But the Brew is good once it’s ready.

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After tea the light started to dim, chopped some logs and got the firepit going (this is an old chiminea that fell over and broke during a storm: it’s much improved now!

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Saw a Hare dart across the field just before dusk – haven’t seen him all Winter – lovely to see him back: takes the same path every morning and night during the summer – perhaps one of our most beautiful native animals to see in thier natural habitat.
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The wind picked up a bit once the sun went down, giving the tarp a bit of a test as we’re up on a hillside facing the prevailing wind. The campfire tent / tarp rig stood up perfectly as expected, securely anchored to the canoe behind. Such a simple set up too: it’s easy to raise or lower the side walls dependent on the weather, using sticks of the right height to prop up the wings.

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I’m completely happy with this rig now as the perfect Campfire Tent and simple canoe shelter: it packs up tiny with no poles needed ( I hate threading shock-corded poles in the dark ;-), sets up in under 5 mintes nd provides great cover even in storms with the option of rigging it low over the canoe. And as an open camp-fire style tent for one its fantastic, you really feel your open to the elements and the views and sounds of nature around you. Why go outdoors only to lock yourself in inside a little canvas room! My Baker Tent Hunt is over.

As it got dark the Owls came out – I sat listening to their calls for an hour, back and forth between a male and female. At times they were so close I was sure I would see them – I’m convinced now that they’re invisible! They’re Tawny Owls and that classic Twit-Twoo is surely one of the great experiences of being outdoors at night.

Climbed into the swag at 11am and slept soundly with just the gentle flapping of the tarp against the canoe and more owl noises echoing through the air. Tomorrow we work, but felt I made the most of an average evening at home! If you can’t get to the river, at least “Get Out and Stay Out”, even if it’s in your own back yard!

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Baker Tent #1 – In search of the Modern Camp Fire Tent

UPDATE: This tent is no longer available. For a similar modern and ultra lightweight ‘Baker Tent’ tent see our “Bush Shelter” review, part of our “Baker Tent Hunt“.

This looked promising as a lightweight
modern campfire tent: The Mountain Sports Research (MSR) Fast and Light Tent:

Specifications:
* Capacity: 2 people + gear
* Floor + Vestibule Area: 37 + 14 sq. ft./3.4 + 1.3 sq. m
* Interior Peak Height: 42 in./110 cm
* Minimum Weight: 3 lbs./1.3 kg
* Packaged Weight: 3 lbs. 7 oz./1.6 kg

  • Weighs 3.0 pounds, or just 1.5 pounds per person. Spacious: Plenty of interior space, including great headroom, for 2 plus gear.
  • Innovative: Awning provides 180° views and a covered food prep/boot storage area.
  • Easy to Pitch: 1 person can set it up in less than 3 minutes using trekking poles or guy cords tied off to an overhead object.
  • Well-ventilated: High and low vents provide constant airflow to reduce condensation.
  • Two-person Access: Huge front door allows for side-by-side interior access.
  • The MSR Fast and Light Tent is the pioneering single-wall tent provides all the protection and living space of a large tent, plus the ventilation, compactness, and weight savings of a tarp shelter.

    The U.S. made tent is priced at a reasonable £169.00 (special offer) and is available from www.completeoutdoors.com