My Old Backpacking Tent

Years ago I moved to Idaho so that I could hike and climb in the mountains. My first season, way back in 1978, I bought a backpacking tent. Dome tents had just come out so I splurged and got the absolute top of the line, newest, highest tech tent that I could, a North Face VE24. At the time it was their tent for high altitude mountaineering. It was heavy but it was extremely rugged. I used that tent for backpacking for many years. I still have it but it has been over ten years since I used it on a backpack trip. This fall I decided to get it out to see if it was still serviceable or if I should just get rid of it.

Abby claimed the tent while it was setup in the backyard

I dug it out and set it up in the back yard. Abby doesn't like anything new or unusual. She really didn't know what to make of the tent. But after all those years of backpacking the smells were just too intriguing for her. I climbed in and she stayed outside, tentatively poking her nose in to sniff. When she finally came inside, she stuck pretty close to me and looked like she was ready to bolt outside at any second.

Personally, I thought it smelled pretty musty after being in storage for so long. I guess I don't have Abby's discriminating nose. So I ran both the tent and the fly through the washer. Not the best thing to do with a tent but I figured that I had nothing to lose. Afterwards I set it up in the backyard for a couple of days. That wasn't easy. Before Abby had shied away from the tent. This time she was trying to climb inside when I only had it half way put up. With her help it took me three times as long to put up the tent. I finally got it up and left it open so the air could in and it could dry out.

When I went to take it down I climbed inside and was pleased to find that it smelled fresh and clean again. Ok, that's probably going too far, but it didn't have any bad smells. But Abby had adopted it. Her wet pawprints were all over the floor. She had a bone and a toy inside. She had moved in. Apparently every time she went out in the backyard the past few days she had spent the time hanging out in the tent. So I ended up having to clean the floor again. This time I zipped up the tent door while it dried.

I guess it's a good sign. Abby will be ready to go backpacking next season and try out the old tent.