Here it is, my first gear review post.
My intention with these posts is to share some of the equipment that I find, or thought I would find, to make my hiking or camping experience better. Not all of the items are “must haves,” but I plan to share tips or things I wish I had known before purchasing.
First up, a luxury item for added peace of mind. The Coleman 15 x 13 Instant Screenhouse
To be completely honest, I had very mixed feelings about this product when it arrived. First, it seemed like too much of a “glamping” piece. After all, isn’t sitting outside with the bugs and the rain just part of camping? Second, I was worried it would be bulky. As it is, our small car is almost completely full when we go camping and a 15×13 canopy would only add to the load.
After using the canopy on my last camping trip, I still have these same mixed feelings. I wouldn’t consider this an essential item, but it is nice to have it at the ready in the car. Weather is uncertain and you never know how annoying bugs will be. It’s better to be prepared than to let something unexpected ruin your weekend.
Set up was easy. This tent was up and ready after a few minutes of minimal effort. The majority of the time was spent making sure we were setting it up correctly, so once we get the hang of everything, it will be a breeze.
This tent comes in two sizes on Amazon, 15×13 and 10×10. Knowing how large campground picnic tables can be, and wanting to make sure the canopy fit over that, we opted for the larger size. As you can see, the picnic table easily fits inside the tent. Once inside, there wasn’t a lot of room to move around near the ends of the table, but sitting down it did not feel cramped.
This is a view of the canopy after taking it out of the bag. You pretty much just unfold it, extend the legs, and stake it down. The canopy has guy lines for additional support but we didn’t use these. They would only be necessary on windy days.
The canopy has two doors, both of which zip down to the ground, keeping out bugs.
– Easy setup and cleanup. It was easy to fit the canopy back in the bag after using it
– Keeps out bugs as intended. There were a lot of bees at this park but despite their best efforts, none of them made it inside
– Offers protection from sun and rain
– Great at night for games at the table, inside the canopy there is a hook for a lantern
– A little heavy and awkward to carry around. This is definitely for use at a campsite in which your car is close by
– (In my opinion) it takes away from the outdoor camping experience
I think my takeaway is that this is a sturdy, easy, and convenient shelter. Even if you never set it up, it’s nice to have this option in your car in case the park you are visiting is particularly buggy or in case of rain.
Check it out on Amazon!