Richard Bucker

getting in and and out of your tent

Posted at — Mar 16, 2017

Last weekend I was in the Florida Keys primitive camping with my daughters. We have a nice and inexpensive 4P Alps Mountaineering tent, however, it was not without it’s difficulties.


The ground that the tent was resting on was compressed coral rock. [a] than means it’s sharp [b] and it’s somewhat loose so it get’s everywhere. My 5 & 6 year old do not know how to keep a tent clean.

As you can see in the picture there is a small grey square in the doorway. This is a Thermarest sitpad that I thought I would use as a doormat. That was a bad idea because it was not working the way I’d hoped. [i] the sand stuck to it [ii] once you took off your shoes the sand got on their feet. [iii] the coating on both sides of the pad became abrased.

normally smooth
One immediate challenge was that because I was using a torso length inflated mattress and I slept between the girls once we entered the tent the ground was rock hard and so it would have been nice to have a sitpad which we were using for a doormat.


Pictured is the original Thermarest sitpad and a Kelty Bootlick and a bamboo beach mat. The bamboo mat is meant to shed sand. The Bootlick has a closed cell core, small stakes and loops. The Bootlick is also bigger than the sitpad.

Ans so now I’m thinking about process. [a] open the tent door. [b] sit butt inside the tent and feet outside with any luck you have a sit pad or a closed foam mattress to sit on [c] if bugs are an issue zip the door with a wide enough opening to manipulate your feet [d] pull your clean feet into the tent and zip it closed.

So the two conclusions…. a doormat is not necessary and overkill if going ultralight but a sitpad could be useful (just not fun to sit on hard surfaces). And can I train my kids to do it right?

Thermarest and Kelty are good companies. Had I do to it again I’d consider gossamer gear.