I love my tent. It’s a pretty little thing. A tunnel-shaped blue Macpac Minaret. We’ve been together for a long time and, as you can probably guess, I’ve grown rather attached to it. I’ve had it now for more than 10 years and it’s never let me down. It’s kept the weather, insects and furry creatures that want to eat my food out, and me cosy and comfy in. It’s also given me the chance to see some of Australia’s most spectacular wilderness.
I bought it for my first, non-guided walk. My friend Matt and I were doing the Overland Track in Tasmania. It’s a two-man tent, but when it came time to sleep in it, he decided he’d sleep in the walkers’ huts instead. That was okay by me. More room to spread out. Didn’t work out so well for Matt though. The huts were crowded with other walkers, walkers who were snorers. Matt didn’t get a decent night of sleep for the entire walk. But I slept very well, crawling out every morning to meet Matt with a cheery hello to which he’d gumpily reply.
One of the things I love about having a tent is that it gives you options. In the outdoors you can set it up just about anywhere. In the shade, in the sun, next to a stream, overlooking a view, away from snorers – wherever.
But as well as bushwalking, I also use it to car camp in caravan parks, giving me cheap accommodation and allowing me to spend money on something else, like a fancy meal or another great love – wine. My partner and I would use it on wine tasting weekends when we lived in Adelaide.
The Minaret has been a great bushwalking tent. It’s probably a bit heavy (a bit over 2kg) and big for solo walking, but its reliability and ability to endure the elements has made it worth the space and weight it adds to my pack. I’ve only seam sealed the outer fly once and it’s continued to keep some pretty heavy rain out. The only time rain has gotten in has been when the bottom of the fly flaps around in the wind and water drips onto where the floor meets the material of the inner tent. Once I worked that out I just put some water bottles in the space between the fly and inner and that sorted it out.
One day I might consider getting a single person tent for solo bushwalking, but at the moment, that just sounds too much like being unfaithful to my old faithful. What’s your favourite piece of gear?