When the correct number of tents is N+1

There's always room for one more tent

Remember your first tent? Of course, you do. Mine was a two-person Marechal ridge set up bought for me by my parents. Inner pitch first, hanging from interlocking poles forming the frame, with the outer fly pulled over the top and the poles sticking out through eyelets in the material.

I tried to find a photo but realised I probably didn’t even own a camera at the time. As the Marechal is long defunct, the nearest thing I came across online was the renowned Vango Force 10.

The Vango Force Ten Mk5

The Vango Force Ten Mk5

In hindsight, the Marechal was obviously bought to play with in the garden. In fact, my parents had planted the seed for the backpacking I do now. It had steel section poles, an orange waxed-canvas outer – which had to be reproofed every couple of months and took three days to dry – and a cream cotton inner with no vents. It did have a PVC bathtub groundsheet, which I now realise was quite advanced for the time. The whole bundle weighed a massive 17lb – 3lb heavier than my current total backpacking base weight. How far we have come…

Knowing what I know now – and even saying to myself, ‘This is the one. No need to look any further; I’ll use this for the rest of my days. Why would I possibly need anything else?’ – I accept that the shelters I own today won’t be the last.

I’m just as gullible and lacking in willpower as the next person. There is, and always will be, something out there that’s better, more technical, lighter, stronger, more innovative, even cheaper, superior quality – you get the picture.

In recent years I’ve collected a range of tents and shelters. (Yes, collected – we backpackers seem to do that, like stamps or model cars.) And all have been justified with perfectly plausible explanations: ‘I need that one for base camping, that one for wild camping, and that one for Thursdays.’

As I said, you get the picture. It’s a version of Rule 12 from Velominati’s cycling book The Rules: ‘The correct number of bikes to own is N+1, where N is the number bikes you already own.’ Just substitute tent for bike.

And if I could have just one? I genuinely don’t know. I’ll have a think about it and let you know if I come to any conclusion. In the meantime, what would you choose?

9 thoughts on “When the correct number of tents is N+1

  1. I’m trying for N-1 each year from now until I reach a reasonable number which doesn’t strain my storage space. I’ve had 15 backpacking tents over the years….but still have 12 of them. Parting is not sweet pleasure. My first was a Daletrekker Sombrero ridge tent back in 1979, and I still have a tiny Phoenix Phoxhole I lived in for two months in the summer of 83 walking LEJOG. Too many memories attached to them to let go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s difficult sometimes to part with tents and the memories that go with them. I liken them to cars.
      I’ve yet to tackle the expedition walks like LEJOG or the TGO. (I’m planning routes for TGO 2016 but fear I have missed the slot for this year apart from needing to to get race and gear fit first anyway. I’ll stick with what I have just now, particularly to give the Trekkertent Stealth and Marc a fair crack this season. Business must be good for him, he seems to be moving to bigger premises. I wish him well.

      I love your blog by the way and great photos of the Stealth by the tarn.


  2. Can’t fault the logic. I’m as bad! My first tent was a Lichfield 1/2 man A frame tent with nylon outer, cotton inner. Very strong in wind, waterproof. Loved it but, sadly, UV did for it after many years of service.

    Now, 6 tents plus 2 poncho tarps and a cape shelter. Still can’t make up my mind what to use this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed! I’m torn between a Shangri La1, a Luxe Hex Peak which I haven’t had chance to seam seal yet or a Laser Comp with a pole sleeve in need of repair. The Comp is the warmest, I really want to try the Hex out while the SL1 is colder but tried and tested.

        Liked by 1 person

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