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What is you worst experience sleeping in a tent???

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I was a very young boy camping with my family in Michigan, and my father pitched the tent in a natural drainage in the campsite. We woke to a heavy rain and water flowing through the tent and over our bags about 2 or 3 in the morning. Dad put the family in the car and jammed the tent and bags into the trunk. He drove us home and I did not camp again until I was an adult.

 

That was a lesson I keep to this day.

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jblake47 - The Lindsay Lohans did that to the dad's fiance in the remake of The Parent Trap.

 

This wasn't a really bad experience but it is one that we tell over and over again. Years ago, we went camping for a weekend, not realizing that a hurricane was bearing down our way. It was my husband and I with our kids, who were then 6, 4, a day away from 2 and 3 months. I barely slept because I had the baby with me to nurse. The other kids kept trying to push me off the air mattress. The capper was when the 2 year old woke us up at the crack of dawn, screaming: "It my burfay. Sing to me" FORTY times in a row! The last few times were in the car as we raced to outrun the hurricane.

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My worst night on an outing was not in a tent, but in a VW microbus. My mom and her friends left East Carolina University in Greenville, NC to go visit Okracoke Island. To get their they were going to take the Cedar Island Ferry. This was late spring and I was 4 years old. They got their after the last ferry and they decided to spend the night in the parking lot waiting in line. Well the parking lot was lit by big flood lights and they attracted hordes of mosquitos. So many that it looked like a buzzing fog. Well then someone got out to use the bathroom and the little van was invaded. So now it's low 80's, humid with the windows closed hiding under a blanket trying to avoid buzzing bites. I was so glad when the sun came up and we got on the ferry. That was a long time ago but I remember it well.

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Wow, worst experience? After many years, and many tents, I have floated, froze, woke up to a tent on my face from snow/rain/hail/tornado, dealt with wandering critters, and more.

 

Never stopped me camping, and they did provide many nights of campfire stories.

 

Perhaps my two worst experiences were camping in an area to close to a road, and to close to train crossings. Kept up most of both nights by big truck traffic, and looooong train whistles.

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Sleeping on coral. Pads are for wimps says my husband.

 

I am a wimp, and he slept like....a rock.

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My very first campout ever was a week long summer camp. We went week 1 so apparently the critters weren't used to people being back in the camp - they wanted our space for themselves.

 

The boys had 6 man adirondacks and the men had a large communal sleeping area as well so the two ladies got the only two man tent. Our first task was to remove a bat who had taken us residency. Next we discovered a large active hornet's nest outside the back flaps, which we had opened up to get a breeze.

 

Finally, before the end of the week my son who was stung by a scorpion - tons of which were living under all of the structures in our camp site.

 

Of course, I still remember the camp as a great week - and it was a fabulous camp and program.

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We were a group of 6, camped on night 4 of a 7 day trip at Northern tier (Charles L. Solmers). We had picked a campsite out on a little peninsula jutting into the lake and had our tents towards the lake with the fire ring just beyond (inland) and the pit latrine about 100 yrds down a single track trail in the forest.

 

We had to counter balance our food pack to keep it from the bears and usually just left the cook gear pack at the foot of the counter balance tree.

 

Got woke up at about 1 am by the sound of something in the food pack tree... got 3 guys together with rocks, flashlights, and a makeshift torch (stick with wad-o TP on the end soaked in coleman fuel). Bear cub (maybe 2 years old, anyway smaller than the smallest guy in the group) was 2/3 the way up the tree trunk to our food pack.

 

We made noise, shouted and threw a couple rocks at him until he decided to come down and lumber off into the forest. We rigged a line with pots-n-pans at about 4 ft off the ground between two trees, so the pans were under the food pack (our makeshift ADT bear alarm system) and went back to bed...

 

About 1 hr later, we hear more noise by the food pack tree! This time we ALL go to investigate and find MAMA has come back to look at our food stash! So here we are, 4 teens and 2 adult dads in our underwear with rocks, trying to discourage mama bear from going after the pack (or us). It was a three day canoe / portage trip back to base camp, so we needed to defend the food! Finally got her to give up the chase after about 1.5 hours. We stoked up the campfire BIG and sat in two man shifts for the remainer of the night to make sure Yogi and BooBoo didn't make a return appearance.

 

That was a LONG canoe day the next day after only about 4 hours total sleep than night.

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Wife and I took our new dog (who is now almost 14) backpacking in Arkansas, thinking that she'd be content to sleep in the vestibule of our small sierra designs tent. She wasn't and ended up in the tent with big feet and long legs pushing all night. Come to think of it, any night with a dog in the tent. Now they say home and camping is more fun.

 

My worst scout related would have to be summer camp in West Texas. Wall tents with no floors and never knew if youd find spiders, snakes or scorpions in there the next morning. Made you jumpy. Empty your boots before you put them on. :)

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>>"Wife and I took our new dog (who is now almost 14) backpacking in Arkansas, thinking that she'd be content to sleep in the vestibule of our small sierra designs tent. She wasn't and ended up in the tent with big feet and long legs pushing all night."

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my worse would be a trip with my girl scout troop that continued into the next weekend camping with the boy scout troop.

 

Girl Scouts took trip to South Dakota - had a great time other than the constant rain. AND the BIGGY my back went out after second night. With no real opportunity to get to chiropractor I spent the next 3 nights sleeping in the car.

 

We returned on a thursday, went to chiropractor that friday, and off to camp with boy scouts that night. they were doing a canoe skills day at the lake and I was the one that new the boys swimming and canoeing abilities plus CPR certified so I was needed there. Even with the popping by dr. back still was ready to go down on the ground and be able to get back up - so another night sleeping in the car. no big deal until somehow I set off the car alarm (didn't even know it had one LOL was hubby's car)

 

I now try my best to put more than 1 day recoop time between camping

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Yah, I was honestly havin' a hard time comin' up with anything. Even the most spectacular storms have been simply a wonder and a delight.

 

Ah, but eventually I remembered the time that I decided to try a bivy sack instead of a tent. They were just comin' into mainstream production, and I thought "hey, what a great idea". So I bought one of the models that won a Backpacker Magazine award or somesuch, and thought it would be the perfect thing for winter campin'. These were the early ones without the little loop pole that gives yeh a touch of head room.

 

Now yeh all know that I live up in the frozen north, where (aside for this year) snow is a thing of beauty and backbreaking shoveling. So I load up my brand new bivy sack in a pack on skis and head off for a 4-5 day long weekend. Ah! So easy to pack. So light! What a great idea, a bivy sack!

 

Yeh all know what's comin' of course. Very first night, about 7-8 miles of breakin' trail back into the woods I settle down for a night's sleep, all cozy and tight in that bivy. Early season, so not enough snow for a cave, and I didn't want to take the time for a quinzhee, especially since in the north we're daylight challenged in the winter.

 

My guess was the snow started 'round 11pm and by morning we had nearly 2 feet of fresh snowfall. On top of me.

 

It was warm and cozy and quiet, eh? Until wakin' up confused, a bit oxygen deprived, and buried alive in a bag where yeh can't even find the zipper to get your hands out. That whole dream of being buried alive merging into the reality of being buried alive is enough to send yeh into uncontrolled terror.

 

I reckon I've never been comfortable sleepin' in a bivy sack since. :p

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I can't remember a single bad night sleeping in a tent, ever. No matter how terrible the tent and no matter what weather, they were all good. I did have a bad night on a couple of occasions but those were both times when I slept in a cave in my wet cave clothes without a pad (or really, a sleeping bag either). But I think that doesn't qualify for a bad tent experience.

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I've had a couple that were "interesting" but not necessarily "bad".

 

The brand new tent that not only wasn't seam sealed but wound up not having any waterproofing applied... you can use your own imagination to figure out how I found that out :(

 

The first time in the rain in a real Canvas pup tent(shelter half buttoned to the other recruits shelter half) um, they aren't that big and the rain comes right through when/if you touch the side, a fact that was very interesting to my buddy until the ramifications of his experiments (he actually saw what was happening and still kept drawing on the side) finally "soaked" in - yes, I'm "that" old.

 

The wife decided she wanted to camp next to the lake during storm season. NO hard shelters for several miles... Tornado within 1/2 -1/4 mile, kid was probably 3 - at least He slept thru it... At least I had been able to choose a "somewhat" protected site. We lucked out on that one...

 

I can definitely relate to Beavah's Bivy story - that was scary as, well, something really scary - adding to it, nearly hypothermic in addition as I had in a fit of kindness given my sleeping bag to a first night as a Reservist who had shown up after Supply had closed and had been sent to the field without even a complete cold weather jacket and no parts of a sleep system...(sometimes doing the right thing is dumb - still right, but dumb...) and it wasn't the tents fault...

 

 

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First I need to clarify that (in part, due to the following experience) I no longer sleep in a tent. For the last 19 months, I have spent nearly 60 nights hanging in a hammock, with not a single night on the ground. The worst night I have had in my hammock was better than the best sleep I ever experienced on the ground.

 

With that said, I have only had two miserable nights in a tent. One was at Woodbadge and was health related (incredible heartburn caused by "walking tacos"). But my singular worst tent camping experience was while backpacking at FDR State Park in GA, on the Pine Mountain Trail; and it is quite a tale. 

 

We are a (north) Florida troop, and the weather forecast was for snow! Not a lot of snow, but more than a dusting. We arrived at the base camp in advance of the front late on Friday night, just before midnight and set up. Older scouts slept in the open shelter, while the younger scouts and adults pitched tents. When we bedded down, the temperature was right around 38, and as the morning progressed, the weather conditions followed the forecast almost to the minute. At 2:30 am, it began to rain; at 9 am when everyone started to get up and prepare breakfast, it was 33 and the rain began to mix with ice, and soon snow. By 9:45 it had changed completely to snow as the temperature continued to slowly fall. Once the rain was gone (and it was fully snowing), we took down the tents and packed up to be ferried to the trailhead. We walked the trail for 2.5 hours as the snow continued to fall, with a total accumulation of 2-3. For us Florida boys, it was exciting.

 

The section of trail where we were traversing is called Wet Bottom and there were several small stream crossings where we had to step across rocks for 8-12. The exposed rocks were covered with snow and were slippery, and several times I ended up with my (non-waterproof) boots in a few inches of water. But that was all right. I had spare socks and as long as I kept moving my feet were warm. By 1:30 pm, the snow stopped, and we continued to our designated campsite, as the temperatures continued to drop. We reached camp by about 4pm and quickly set up; as it was the middle of January, dusk was only about 90 minutes away. The temperature was somewhere around 23, which was the forecast low for the night. I changed into dry and put on my camp shoes (Crocs). The wet snow that had fallen that day had turned to a very crunchy ice with the temperature, and as I walked around camp, it fell into my Crocs and melted, making my feet (and my socks) quite wet.

 

The group worked to make dinner, but our water never really came to a rolling boil (we were using propane and iso-butane stoves). Eventually it became warm enough to cook our rice/pasta, but it never completely cooked through, in spite of that, it was good to get some warm food in our bellies, and everyone went to bed quite early. I had one last pair of dry socks, which I put on as I climbed into my sleeping bag. I had a 1 self inflating pad and a 25 down bag; everything except my boots and 2 pair fo good hiking socks was dry, but I could never seem to get my feet (or the rest of me) to warm up. I spent the night in and out of sleep, needing to get up twice during the night, and I never could stop shivering; my feet were tingling painfully from the cold, keeping me awake much of the time.

 

In the morning, we simply could not make the water boil for breakfast. One or two of the others had 0 bags and had done all right through the night, but the rest of us were miserable. It was a 3 day trek, and without access to any vehicles, we decided to break camp and move quickly to the next campsite. I struggled to put on my (driest) wet socks and frozen shoes. My feet were still painfully cold, but in the first 1/10 mile, the effort of hiking began to warm them up. We ended up unexpectedly meeting with the other group from the troop which was getting off the trail due to the SM having blown out his knee and being unable to continue. We ran into one of the park rangers who confirmed that the overnight temperatures in town had been in the sub teens, and he estimated temps on the mountain to be well into the single digits, around 7 or 8F.

 

I will never forget that sleepless, shivering, painful night. Frankly, due to my wet feet, I believe I may have had a touch of hypothermia. No one really suffered any long term injuries (aside from the SM, who sadly has not gone on any long distance hikes since). Our troop was unprepared for these conditions, which were 15 colder than forecast. That may not seem like much, but it was the breaking point where our gear was no longer practical. I and others in the troop have learned a significant amount about cold weather camping, and we have even purchased 2 white gas stoves for just such conditions.

 

FWIW, the troop went back 3 years later (15 months ago), and the first night we had temps around 20. We were better prepared, and in my hammock and down quilts, I was toasty warm!

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