Bug Out Gear: Pop-Up Tent

By , April 11, 2018

On the night we bugged out of the homestead to high ground after a tsunami warning (see Tsunami Scramble) we whiled away part of the time analyzing what we did, and brainstorming on how we could do it better. We quickly realized that, as quickly and efficiently as we set up Aly’s tent, we might do it a lot faster with a pop-up tent.

Pop-up or “instant pitch” tents have been around for a long time. In our region, they seem particularly handy in summer, when biting bugs can swarm horribly in the forest and on beaches. Such an instant shelter would also be very handy in an evacuation, where pitching the tent can largely take care of itself, despite the bumbling efforts of shocky, even injured campers.

After the tsunami evacuation, we began looking for a pop-up tent, and settled on the Coleman 4-person expansible tent.

Once it arrived, of course we needed to try it out! We did so on a recent afternoon.

Pop-Up Tent

The new tent, stowed and covered (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Primarily, we wanted to pop it up!

Pop-Up Tent popping up

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Pop-Up Tent popping up

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Pppping up the tent

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

tent popped up

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The sequence of photos above occurred in less than 20 seconds.

I have always subscribed to the theory that capacity figures for tents and lifeboats should be cut in half for practical application. But, this is a big tent! I could lay full stretched across the width of the tent. We can easily fit the three of us, the cat, and all our stuff in this tent on short notice. Perfect for emergency shelter!

Pop-up tent capacity

Mark and Aly test the tent’s roominess (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

Folding the tent took a bit of effort. There’s a trick to it. Michelle and Aly’s first try took a total of three minutes. With practice, we could decrease that time considerably.

Closing pop-up tent

Closing the tent (in a judiciously truncated photo sequence) (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

folding a pop-up tent

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

folding pop-up tent

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

nearly done folding the pop-up tent

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

triumph of the pop-up tent folders!

(Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Luckily, directions for opening and folding the tent are sewn onto the tent cover. We shouldn’t need to search for them.

tent stake stowage

The stakes stow in an inside pocket (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Eventually, we hope to build a hard cover for the tent, possibly a wooden crate or envelope, so we can store it at our rendezvous point. That would prevent it from becoming another thing we’d need to grab before we go evacuate. We want to keep it there indefinitely and securely enough that no voles or other rodents will get at it, and possibly chew it up. I’ll likely build that this summer. In the meantime, it’s set up to grab and go should we have to bug out before it’s stowed to our satisfaction.

(NOTE: we received no consideration from Coleman for this post.)

2 Responses to “Bug Out Gear: Pop-Up Tent”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    for the two of a 6 person Coleman Instant Cabin tent last fall – Goes up and down pretty easy – plenty roomy even with cots for the two of us – Nothing you would want to hustle up a mountain very far-not for the old folks anyway – supposed to handle high winds well – supposed to get 50-60 MPH winds tommorow nite and possible tornadoes so I think we will just opt for the storm shelter – stretch out on the lawn longe shut the door and let it happen

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Linn, we have a “cabin” tent too, one we got years ago, and have actually used a time or two. I forget its capacity; it’s not easy to put up, but not too hard, either, and features actual “rooms”. We threaten to put it up and live in it while doing major renovations in the cabin, but haven’t so far. I like to think of it as emergency living space for large groups of guests. Like you say, I’d never want to haul it up a mountain or anything, more for car camping, but it’s great for the right application. We picked it up for under $100 back when we were making actual money. I call it our ace in the hole.

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