I think my favorite part of this hobby is when a piece of gear turns out to meet all of my needs and expectations. Such is the situation with the Seek Outside Redcliff so far; it's everything I hoped for and has become one of those items I'm more than happy to pack around with me.
Second Time Around with the Redcliff
My second time out with the Redcliff was on my circumnavigation of Mount St. Helens via the Loowit Trail; a total of 33 miles over two and a half days. It was only myself and a friend, who hadn't yet experienced the tipi life, so naturally I was excited to see if he liked it just as much as I did. Turns out, he's a fan and now I'm slowly converting my friends to the benefits of a tipi!
We camped the first night on the west side of the mountain mere steps away from an icy cold Toutle River. Our camp site was located on hard packed sand which actually turned out to provide a sturdy anchor for the tipi. As always, it took about 5 minutes to pitch initially and just a few more minutes of tweaking it to get it just right. I used two additional guy out points on each end to give us a little more room inside. Before we knew it, we were moving in and setting down for the evening.
I'm pretty sure Chris was in love at first sight but you'd have to ask him to know for sure. We each used a Tyvek type ground cloth to protect our sleeping pads and bags from ground moisture. It works really well and is a wicked cheap option! I bought a big roll of it for about $25 at Home Depot so when happens to rip, I'll just cut off another. To say that Chris and I had enough room is an understatement. Not once did we feel cramped.
When it was time for dinner, we jumped into the tent, opened both doors, and enjoyed our meals while being protected from the hot sun. I think this may be one of my favorite things about the tipi. The ability to cook dinner while being protected by the elements without being uncomfortable or cramped is a huge gain! If I'm ever forced to wait out a storm in my Redcliff, I'll be doing so with ease!
The first night was perfect. No wind, no rain, and no drama (unlike like my first outing). Just a nice quiet night. We woke up the next morning, rolled over to grab our stoves and had hot coffee within minutes. Again, I can't express to you enough how awesome this is. No unzipping a tent to get to anything. Just grab your stove and cook.
After coffee, we packed up the Redcliff in minutes and were down the trail towards our next camp spot. When we arrived, we pitched the tipi near a small creek. I was a little worried about having a bug problem, but it turns out that the rumors are true - nearly all the bugs in the tent oddly gather at the top instead of buzzing around at the bottom. Why this is, I have no idea, but it's true and I'm not complaining.
Our second campsite was just as good as the first and the pitch of the tipi was again complete in no time. When you only have one pole to assemble and a handful of stakes, it goes by pretty fast. Stake out the four corners, stand it up with the pole, stake out the remaining points, and you're in business. From there, it's just making minor adjustments that you can do later if you're not in the mood. I'm always surprised at how easy it is to pitch this tent.
Camp that night was a pleasure once again. No wind, no rain, and when we woke up the next morning, we were met with a perfect temperature. Coffee was being poured while I was still in my bag and after a fairly lazy morning, we had the tipi torn down in minutes and were bouncing down the trail towards the truck.
Final Thoughts On My Second Trip wiht the Seek Outside Redcliff
This tent continues to reshape how tent living should be. Sure, not every situation calls for this style of tent but I really think I could get used to using it more often than not. I know there will come a day when I have to wait out a storm, and when I do, you'll be the first to know how it goes. Up until now, switching over to a floorless shelter has been far more beneficial than I could have ever expected. Considering it can easily fit 4-5 people, provides the ability to standup inside, and can pack down into my backpack no problem, I'd say it's worth every gram of the roughly 5lbs that it weighs.
Cheers to great gear!
Misc. Notes on the Seek Outside Redcliff
· Since our first campsite was basically on a sandbar, controlling the dirt was something we had to pay attention to. As opposed to a normal tent where the inside is clean and the outside is dirty, all you have is dirt on the inside so you just need to be careful when throwing your feet around or moving things inside. I've found if I roll up my sleeping bag and stow it on one side of my sleeping pad until I'm ready to sleep, I don't run the risk of getting dirt into it. If the wind is whipping and the doors are open, it might mean you'll get a little dirty but…you're camping...
· I've yet to have an issue with the fact that it's a single layer tent. Sure, there is morning dew on the tent that can get you if you rub up against the wall, but it's not a big deal. At least not yet it isn't.
· I've found that the tent can stuff down into a sleeping bag compression sack pretty easily and will fit inside my pack. Packing it up is a breeze if you go this route. Roll it a bit, then stuff.
· When pitching the tipi, don't stake out the first 4 corners too tight or they'll either pull out when you raise the pole or the pitch will look goofy. Pitch it a little loose at first, then go around and adjust. Pitching this tipi is a one-man job, but if it's windy, it's a little more difficult.