My Big Agnes bicycle touring tent just went through a 3,600-mile, 82-day test in all manner of conditions.
But how good was it, really? How tough was it, really?
I decided to put it to the ultimate test, a/k/a the Grandsons Rumpus Test, so I pedaled over to their house and set up the tent.
“Grampa!” they yelled. “What’s that?”
“It’s a tent!”
“We love a tent!” they said. “What’s a tent?”
“It’s a playhouse for little kids and for old grampas.”
“We love a playhouse!” they squealed.
“Me, too!” I squealed back.
Then the testing began. Here were the rigorous exams.
- The watermelon test. As I hammered a stake into a patch of weeds, Ringoro vigorously dug around my feet. “This is our garden!” he said. Then he pushed the weeds apart and hoisted up a fresh watermelon. “Look!” he squealed. “A watermelon!” We took it, cut it open, and slathered our faces with watermelon. Then Ringoro and Kohaku took their slabs into the tent and smeared everything with sticky watermelon juice. The tent still performed perfectly!
- The sardines test. It was past lunchtime but before dinner, so the boys’ dad brought out a can of sardines. They ate them with their fingers and smeared sardine oil all over me, my pants, their clothes, arms, and legs. Then they tromped around inside the tent until the whole thing smelled like, surprise, a can of sardines. The tent still performed admirably!
- The zipper test. Once inside the tent, the boys yanked and pulled the zippers open and shut about a thousand times. The zippers still worked!
- The wall kick test. Once inside the tent, the boys threw each other around inside it, kicked the walls, bounced off the zipped-up mesh screen, and bit the floor. The tent never fell down!
- The toy storage test. The boys loaded up the delicate lace shelf with all their Hot Wheels and an Ultraman doll. It groaned and stretched (the shelf) but never tore apart!
- The throw grampa’s shoes out of the tent test. Kohaku brought the muddy shoes in, and Ringoro threw them out. Over and over. The shoes still worked perfectly!
- The rumpus under the blanket test. The boys’ mom gave us a futon to make the ground softer, and the boys crawled under it for about an hour, “hiding.” The floor of the tent never fell apart!
- The pee test. Kohaku had to pee, so he dashed out, peed on the fence, and tromped back in with wet feet. The tent did not fall apart!
- The three little pigs test. For approximately one hour the big, bad wolf huffed, puffed, hollered, raged, stomped, and screamed, but he could not blow the tent in. The three little pigs (reduced to two), scampered and screamed to a fare-thee-well. The tent never collapsed!
- The crash the toy cars test. The Hot Wheels were lined up on a rill, then smashed onto the floor of the tent with maximum force. The tent refused to collapse or tear!
- The facekick and backpunch test. The boys periodically whacked and thwacked the snot out of each other, for no apparent reason. The tent seams remained solid!
- The late-night teevee test. The boys’ t.v. time was at 7:00 for thirty minutes, and they were allowed by mom and dad to watch one Ultraman episode. However, they told gramps that they were in fact allowed to watch five, and they did. The tent did fine despite the blistering hot bottom of the laptop and the repeated kicking of walls from excitement when Hayata pulled out the Beta capsule.
- The climb under the fly test. After teevee, the boys went to faux bed, then sneaked out of the house and crawled under the tent fly, scaring the bejesus out of gramps. This was so successful it was repeated a dozen times and the fly never ripped or tore, nor did the stakes pop out.
- The bedtime test. The boys went to bed, exhausted. But gramps even moreso.
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