As regular readers of ‘The Wife’s’ blog will know we’re not normally (make that never) blessed with dry weather during our camping trips. Rain had been the order of the day when we visited Wales earlier in the year. Just 12 hours of the torrential stuff this time, some of which dripped on us through the canvas while we tried to take shelter and keep warm.
So during some camping down time and during what the media were already referring to as a ‘heat-wave’, although I prefer the term ‘summer’ (has it really been that long since we had one?) ‘The Wife’ announced it was time to waterproof the tent. Now our tent is kept in a trailer at the back of the garage so out everything came, car, bikes, lawn-mower, you get the picture. Tent finally located, back everything went… and then we realised I’d forgotten the poles, so out everything came again, in 32 degree heat. This did not bode well.
After our camping trips we’ve become pretty useful at putting up the tent (when we have all the parts) and we actually managed the first four poles without a crossed word. I think I might even have commented “if only it was always this easy when we go camping”. And then it happened.
Our tent is of the tunnel variety with fibreglass poles and while the first four had been very accommodating, the pin for the fifth had gone under the groundsheet. Leaving the pole under tension I stuck the end into the lawn while I reached to retrieve the pin from beneath the groundsheet. At this point in my squatted position, the lawn, which I have lovingly cared for during the last 9 years, decided to let go of the tensioned pole. I’m thinking you can probably guess what happened next but for those with a poor imagination, the metal-tipped highly-tensioned pole caught me fairly and squarely in the nuts. It dropped me like a stone and girls I think I can honestly say that the pain of giving birth had nothing on this. I’ve been through 2 childbirths with ‘The Wife’ and I seem to remember that during both she could still breathe and talk, things which were absolutely impossible to me for about 15 minutes. Was ‘The Wife’ concerned? Well I think so but it was hard to tell through her tears of laughter.
Once upright and able to breathe and speak again I still had the task of waterproofing the tent to complete. Fortunately it was far easier, and more importantly as a Yorkshireman, cheaper than I had anticipated. We used Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof which not only waterproofed but also protected the fabric from the effects of the sun (not that our tent sees much sun).
A quick Google told us it would take two 500ml bottles and, Nikwax having kindly supplied one, we bought another for the princely sum of £7.50. Even if we’d bought both, £15 to protect an investment of several hundred pounds is a bit of a bargain. Applying it was really easy. After putting up the tent (I wasn’t able to erect anything at this point if you get my drift) you just had to water it. We used the hose pipe but I guess with a smaller tent you could use a watering can. The Nikwax was applied using a spray bottle similar to a plant atomiser and I used one bottle per side and end. After applying it was left for 2 minutes and any excess wiped off. Areas which had too much product showed up white so it was really easy to see where the tent needed wiping off. After doing this process on both sides the tent was simply left to dry and then packed away.
Without the issue of not having all the bits and the damage to my bits, I reckon we could have treated an 8 man tent in less than 30 minutes. To protect the tent, which let’s face it is a significant investment, this is nothing and it’s probably something we’ll do again in a couple of years. Maybe less, if I can talk The Wife out of booking any more weekends away.
Disclaimer: Nikwax kindly provided us with one bottle of Tent and Gear Solar Proofing in exchange for this review. All views are honest and genuinely our own – we’re not that cheap!