PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping Report - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping Report

I bought a Camp Right compact truck tent with the intent of using it for hunting trips during the Pennsylvania hunting seasons now through mid December. Right off the bat, I understand the company didn’t design these tents for year around camping. However, I see no reason why not.

Being your basic HPA Pennsylvania sportsman I will adapt in place features to maybe improve the experience.

Tent: Campright Compact truck tent, no floor
Truck: Chevy Colorado extend cab

The first outing:

I arrived at my destination last Thursday in pouring rain and fog with temperatures in the 40’s. The morning hunt was a wash, so visited the friends in the local area and returned to the selected camp area and set up around 2PM. Good set up having the job done in about ten minutes. I was soaked, but the interior of the tent was dry. Not bad for the third set up of the tent - ever.

Of course, cold temp’s, wind and rain mandated that I check out the interior. I found a basic breeze free tent. I had a small candle burning (contained and safe) to ward off the chill. No flicker of the flame from outside weather. The candle did help break the chill, but not as much as I had hoped. More details on this later.

Around 8 that evening, the rain picked up to about 15 mph with higher gusts. Add to that rain, then sleet, then snow. My candle continued to burn with no wind flicker. Impressed!

I bought two of those 6” push button lights at the dollar store. They run on AA batteries. Modified them by hot gluing stiff wire into the hanging slot. The tent has several rings from the roof. Hung these from those and had plenty of light inside the tent.

<span style="color: #3366FF">That ain’t frost!!!!!!!!!!</span>

The following morning I awoke at 4 AM to find the above. Basically, a solid 1/8” of ice over the truck and a heavily ice beaded tent. After the rain and sleet/snow and cold temps, the ice was indeed frozen tight to the tent. Most would not “beat off”. The temperature on the truck thermometer read 27 F. Not bad, and I slept well.

Only issue was the zipper for the main tent froze. So there I was at O’dark thirty with limited light and blurry eyes trying to get out. I worked the zipper and finally got it to move. Once moving, and off the bottom it worked well.

The zipper for the main tent door closes at the bottom right as you are looking out the back. This is a tailgate down model tent, so the zipper in this area is at the end of the tent drainage area. I suppose it was just wet enough with the rain and stuff that it had enough moisture to freeze.

I plan of treating the zipper with wax before heading back out.

Breakfast was coffee (Coleman single burner stove, sauce pan and Folgers Singles boiled) and buck wheat pan cakes. Took a pack of left over party cups and mixed it in that. Just wiped pan out when done. The paper plate and cup and some other limited trash was burned. My wife found a mini bottle of syrup at the store – good to go.

Next week I am adding egg’s!

Only real problem was the pans wanted to slid off the stove. Just a bit of unlevel ground there. The solution to that is a fold down lawn type table I have at the house. I can push the legs into the ground to level it out, and it will take no real room up in the truck when traveling.

Friday morning into early afternoon found the ice gone and the tent drying out a bit.

I had to strike camp later on that evening as we got an unexpected snow storm that the National Weather Service just seemed to miss. I was going to stay, but my friend’s wife would have none of it and I weathered over in their basement with the gas fireplaces.  The expectation was 8 – 10 inches of snow and 45 MPH winds. The winds happened, but snow totals were far less.

I struck camp in 15 to 20 minutes. It was snowing pretty darn good. Enough that the white rain fly I removed and laid on the ground was basically covered and I had to look for it after packing the tent in the bag. A combination of the snow and fading light really camouflaged it. Snow was falling heavy enough that we went from a bare field to total snow cover in about 30 minutes.

So, the initial trip went well. Most that know me have further solidified their thought that I am indeed nuts. But my plan is to use this tent all the way through Pennsylvania’s hunting season, mostly to the second weekend in December.

Lessons learned:

This tent is sweet!

It sets up easy. Just make sure to practice once or twice before doing it in the dark or bad weather.

The tent is basically wind and weather tight – so far.

I need to find a better heat source or adapt the tent a bit. The tent features a large vent area in the top of the main tent. Chimney to the max it is! I am planning on making a fabric blank utilizing on tent attachments to block off this area a bit. I also have access to Coleman propane light. Light for sure, but they also throw heat.

CO2 is an issue, but I don’t plan on using this extensively.

As a test, Friday morning I assembled my Coleman single burner cook stove then lite it inside the tent. In about three minutes I was toasty warm. No doubt in my mind that for the times some heat is wanted, this will do the job. CO2 issues shouldn’t be an issue due to limited use and there will still be plenty of ventilation. Something to watch for though.

Safety first!

I plan on moving the camp site to another location. Like the first, under the lee of the hill to protect from wind. I also plan on taking a small poly tarp and making a shelter from the back of the tent – out. Just a place to have some basic protection from rain and snow if it happens. Real basic – tarp, rope, and trees to tie off of.

Most liely important, I need to add an additional Folgers coffee single to the pan. Good doffe, but just needed that little extra..

Next week: Building the wine celler

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 01:08 PM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

Get one of the small "little buddy" heaters. It will heat that tent enough to be warm in regular clothing and I would think the tent will allow enough fresh air not to have to worry about carbon monoxide.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping Report

I still need to block the overhead mesh vent area off a bit. Won't stop total loss, but will slow it a smig..

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 03:11 PM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

Great write up, thanks for sharing!

"Now that you brought that up hang onto your paddle, and if ya hit any rocks don't hit em with ya head" Lewis
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-05-2011, 12:29 AM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

Great article....As I was reading I was thinking you should try one of those small $89. generators from Harbor Frieght and plug in a small elect heater , would keep the heat in and the ice and snow off, get an ext cord long enough that the noise wouldnt bother you and they run for a few hours on minimal fuel, you probable need a rack to carry the extra materials.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-07-2011, 12:52 AM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

I have a tent like yours for a full size p/uand have done cold weather tenting. The plan has one drawback as far as using gas to heat the tent.Fossil fuels like gas gives off moisture when burning and in short time it will begin condesating inside on the walls and ceiling. Iv'e also had it freeze on the metal bed of the truck( near zero out) Blocking off the vent will cause even more. you have to ventilate alot to stop this. Also keep in mind all fabric will also start absorbing moisture so sleeping bag and clothes start getting damp. So as much as i don't like to create noise in the woods, my advice is to use small elec cube heater and small the gen. with a 50' cord to keep the noise down. It's also the only surefire way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning which blocking the vent will do.In very cold weather a cube heater will keep the tent 40-50-degrees no problem. Just be smart and safe with your decisions

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

Just be smart and safe with your decisions

Nebver a compromise. Thanks

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 02:25 AM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

I have one of these type of tents, haven't tried it yet. I do see it being used a lot though.

Keep us posted on your findings of what works or doesn't.



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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 11:40 AM
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

I really enjoyed reading this post. I stayed in a tent in Alaska on my griz trip this year. Temps were regularly down into the 20's at night. I think if you had a good thick sleeping pad to get off the metal bed of the truck and a good sleeping bag, (don't know what you have) you'd be good to go. The bag I had in Alaska was so warm that I had to unzip it at night several times to keep from roasting. We cooked on a single burner very lightweight backpacking burner with the little red propane cylinders. We would light that right before we were going to bed. It would warm the tent up enough to make it good to get undressed and get into your bag. Then shut off the burner and go to bed. Same routine when we got up in the AM. Didn't burn long enough to condense any moisture inside the tent or cause any issues.
I would buy the lowest temp rated, high quality bag you can afford and you'll be good to go.
Enjoy your camping. Thanks for the post.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PA Fall Winter Truck Tent Camping

Ok, so round II was last weekend. Thursday evening to be exact. Was suppose to be a two day camp over, but Veterans Day dinner altered the plan.

So, I changed some things up.

The large vent in top of tent - the plan was to block it. The wife was so kind to supply one of those plastic / felt tablecloths.

I tried to attach it inside the tent. Over large and ideally it would cover the inside of the tent roof. Lacking the connection points, and not wanting to alter the tent - I placed it over the vent on the outside.

(pic inside the tent - was a better fit if pulled to the corners as I had hope for.)

Over the top (pre-trip at house)

Then installed rain fly

Inside looking up daytime

Also found the entry flap tie back loops... duhhh

As mentioned by someone, the tent has ventilation. I have two gaps where the tent meets the tailgate

So I go and set up in the deer woods

I added the poly tarp for a bit of additional cover. Was nice. More later..

Thursday supper was a egg sandwich

and soup on the fire

basically off to bed around 8:30. Temps were in the lower 30's with the prospect of mid 20's before dawn. I wore sweat pants, tee shirt, Fleece pull over, socks, and a ski cap. Decent bag and for good measure I had a cloth emergency blanket as a cover up. Toasty warm all night. even though....

The HIGH winds. Man, it sounded like a hurricane out there. Then shortly after that the pitter patter of snow.. well sort of. A mix of rain sleet and snow changing over to sleet and snow. Got about 1-1/2" of the stuff. The wind never let up till mid morning the next day.

Who is telling old man winter where I am anyway? I mean I was running around in my bedroom slippers and sweat pants and a light jacket before bed. Within 15 minutes of turning in - BANG. This is two times now.

The morning brought...

Pictures really don't show well, but about 1-1/2 of snow.

The vent cover made a noticeable difference. Still used nothing but the candle. And it still fell short of warm - but definitely took the edge off this time. Using a propane lateran as needed next time. I did the start the camp stove thing last time and it got outright warm in there quick.

So, off for archery bear mid week. Then rifle bear after that. Deer after that. Will be in the tent for various amounts of time. Not that bad, just need to think about what is going on and act accordingly.

The nice thing is, I have access to real shelter if needed or wanted. I can also access a washer and dryer and can send boots back to dry out well. So I am set.

Would be cool to have a bear or deer hanging by the tent though....

Oh yeah, in answer to the sleeping pad question. I happened onto one of those Wally world (or similar) foldable cushions with a built in pillow. About 30" wide, maybe 5' long and folds into three sections. Came in HOT pink - but free for the taking. A green sheet keeps the shame from being so visible...

Nice set up as it is about 8" thick. I have half a mind to try it under the tounno (sp) cover like last year for a quick move out morning one night. Pic's if I do it -

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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