Tent with a mudroom Written by Lindsey on August 19th, 2010

“Surrender to the dirt!” – Good advice I give people who want to know how to make camping with children easier. Even though I agree with this great advice, it’s hard for me to accept dirt inside the tent.

Despite my best efforts to make a special spot for dirty clothes and keep shoe-ed feet out, I always end up with dirt smeared blankets and a good layer of terrafirma covering every inch of the tent floor.

The worst part? Post camping laundry! Even things that never left the tent are grimy! And if it happens to rain, forget about it! There will be mud everywhere; packs, sleeping bags, pillows, everywhere! Laundry – a necessary evil from nature right? Wrong!

I have seen the light and lightened my load, literally. Thanks to Mountain Hardware Corners 6, I no longer sleep neck deep in a grime or dread my post camping laundry load.

The trick? A mudroom! The fly on this tent is absolutely amazing. I realize that a covered space between the entrance to the tent and the outdoors is not a new concept. But it is one of the features that changes a tent from adiquate to amazing. This tent has it on two sides. That’s right, a front door for primary use and a back door for heighted air flow, peeking on the kids after you’ve put them to bed, or escaping in the night to go potty in the woods.

Muddy shoes? Take them off before you get in the tent and leave them outside even if it rains that night!

Leaving your site but don’t want your stuff in plain sight? Tuck it under your fly.

Kid’s need a change of clothes but they’re too dirty to get into the tent? Use the pre-entrance as a changing room.

If you have a dirty wet dog, the fly makes a great night-time shelter.

On rainy days you can leave your windows open and still have a dry tent. I could go on and on!

Mountain Hardwear Corner 6 also won me over with it’s . . .

1. pocketed corners that I could place my flashlight in, pointing up. When my husband and I sneak in from the campfire, the last thing I want to do is hang a light from the top of the tent that shines in mysleeping kiddos’ eyes. The pockets were also great for extra batteries, books, the air pump for our mattress, Ryan’s earplugs, and so on.

2. steep sides that allow bedding right up against the sides and corners. I use a portable crib for our youngest. It is a major space hog in a slopey tent that forces the crib into the middle of room. In Corners 6 however, the crib fit right up against the side. We had so much floor space we didn’t have to stack bags and still had enough room to walk around.

3. hooks instead of sleeves on the outside of the tent are also wonderful, saving a considerable amount of set-up time, a huge consideration when you have 3 little kids running away around. Instead of forcing poles through narrow sleeves, and inevitably poking a hole through one, you simply hook the tent to the two poles and you’re done. That’s right, I said two poles! That’s it. No extra pole for the fly. Can you say simple? My husband and I had the entire tent set up and ready to go in under 5 minutes. However, staking the tent was another story! The flimsy little metal stakes that come with the tent are only good for surfaces softer than Wonder bread. If you meet a rock, you lose! My husband and I pack our old stakes and have had much better luck.

4. big storage bag. No scientific folding and rolling methodology. No prayers or chants to do in hopes that the camping gods will somehow magically shrink your tent enough for it to fit in the tiny nylon sleeve. Just unhook, fold up, stuff in.
The separate pockets in the bag keep the tent organized for next time even if your folding method were less than wrinkle free.

To be fair, I have to mention how annoyed my 6′ 4″ husband was with the tent entrances. He hated unzipping the fly, hunching over, zipping the fly back up, unzipping the tent still hunched, and finally getting into the tent where he had plenty of room to stand up. What a whiner! Poor guy, being tall is such a curse! Hopefully some of my sarcasm is coming through.

Needless to say, I’m a fan.

My kids like the extra changing room, effectively ending my nagging to keep the tent clean and stay off my bed.

My husband is still coming around. He recognizes the benefits of the extra covered space but apparently still really likes to stand up straight when entering a tent. Whatever! He does like setting up and tearing down camp now.


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