I’m no stranger to camping. Although I never went camping as a child, I soon learned the ins and outs as a budget traveller in New Zealand. And of course your obligatory festival camping experiences. But none of those experiences came close to anything you could class as “glamorous.”
In New Zealand we spent several months hitchhiking around the North and South Islands – setting up camp whenever it got too dark to keep safely asking for lifts. We also made it a goal to work our way through all the countries great multi day walks. For both these activities a light weight tent was key since we had to carry it on our backs all day long.
However in our case, light weight also equalled low quality, and we spent more time drying out a flooded tent, or improvising when tent poles snapped in the wind than comfortably snoozing.
That was definitely not “glamping,”
So when I was approached about participating in a Sundowner sponsored camping famil, my first expectations were more in line with my previous camping experiences. You know – struggling to figure out where the poles go, crawling out of your small tent opening, and the search for the smoothest ground on which to sleep. But the Sundowner trip was nothing like that.
As we started unpacking the trailer behind our rental van, we all helped to carry the gear down to our private lake side, I grabbed what I thought to be some of the tents which were graciously donated to us by Oz tent. I thought to myself “Wow these tents are heavy,” but it wasn’t until later when I saw two guys carrying down the two meter long canvas bags that I realized that I had only been carrying down the stretcher beds.
Obviously I suddenly now felt completely unqualified to put up such a full on piece of camping technology. The instruction booklet claimed it would only take 30 seconds to erect the tent. I was not the only one who was skeptical. Although the first tent may have taken a bit longer than 30 seconds to construct, due to the general confusion of the group when faced with such a task, we soon figured out the technique needed to construct the tents. The rest of the tents probably did live up to the claim of only taking 30 seconds to put up.
Oz tents had provided the RV-II model for us to test. The large tent sleeps 3 – 4 people, is extremely sturdy (a very windy night proved that claim), and are tall enough that I could even stand up straight inside it. No more crawling in and out for me.
The “tents” that I carried down turned out to be the stretcher beds, something that I had never encountered in real life before. My usual camping experience usually ends with my sleeping straight on the ground with just a sleeping bag in between me and the canvas floor. I don’t usually even bother with a small air mattress or yoga bed. Oz tent had provided the Goanna stretcher, which was long enough that I could comfortably sleep on it, even being 6 feet all.
A room where I can stand up straight in, and a bed where my feet don’t hang off the end? This is better than some hostels I have stayed in!
For those who are going to spend a lot of time camping in Australia, and who have a vehicle to transport the gear (this is not the type of tent you want to be carrying around on your back!), the Oz tent is really worth the investment for the luxury of having enough space to move around in, and the stretcher for ensuring a comfortable sleep. Both nights I slept on the stretcher, were some of the deepest sleeps I have had in a while – now that is something coming from a 5 month pregnant woman!
When I was a budget traveller, hitchhiking in New Zealand and going on multi day tramps, I needed a light weight and small tent. But now that we are expecting a child, have our own transport, and longer term family camping trips are becoming more of an impending reality, something like the Oz tent with it’s added space and weather tightness, and the Goanna stretchers for a good nights sleep are becoming more of an option for us.
I think I have been converted to this “glamping” thing.
Our tent were provided for the Sundowner famil by Oz tent, but all opinions remain our own