I wrote Sharky to see how his NorthPole tent held up and he was kind enough to send the follow report. I have decided to post it so that all can benefit.
Glad to see my old posts are getting some use still :)
I guess it's time to start planning for this year's burn... kind of tough with all of the wind and rain up here in WA state right now though.......... ahhhhh Playa dreams!
We skipped the Playa last year and took a break to come at things new this year. Not really sure if that was a good idea or not. we REALLY regretted it when it rolled around in August. Just bought tickets for Sweet Pea and myself for this year's burn, so I guess it's official, we're headed back again this year for year 6....... and yes, the North Pole tent is headed back for another stint in the dust.
I would highly reccomend this tent. We used a 16 foot dome with two parachute coverings for five years and it was a tough desicion to let that go and commit to the North Pole tent without ever having seen one on the Playa. I can tell you right now, we are sticking with the North Pole tent! It held up beautifully without a tear or hitch! We are sold and committed to using this tent for years to come!
I guess I'll just list the pro's we experienced:
Extremely well sewn with heavy, quality fabrics.
Goes up fast and easy with two people. (15 minutes)
Super stable in high winds.
Good shade footprint.
Easy in and out access.
Comes down and rolls up fast and easy as well!
Easy to transport, it all fits in a duffel bag.
Pretty light weight (compared to our dome with 25, 10 foot struts & chutes).
We camp with a number of folks and we all share the shade. We just "circle the wagons" and camp in a circle around the tent. Everyone has some privacy from the others that way and we all have easy access to the common living area.......
Drawbacks (not really much here):
The wind and dust can blow right through, so if you need shelter from the dust storms, you'll have to have an escape location to fall back on (we have a little 10 foot travel trailer).
That's about it for drawbacks :)
When you set it up, use the small stakes that came with it to get the perimeter where arranged right and snug (you will have to move stakes to adjust). When you get it where you want it, then go around, one by one, and substitute the issued stakes with rebar stakes ( I use 2 1/2 foot heavy guage) and top with a tennis ball with a hole poked in it. I do not bend over the tops of the rebar into "candy-canes". Leave them straight and use a tennis ball cap. The bent over ones are a pain in the ass to hammer in!
Bring a sledge hammer for the rebar stakes. Bring vice grips to get the rebar back out. You can use the vice grips to twist and loosen the rebar and then use a hammer to tap on the grips to reverse-hammer them out. Works great.
Set it up at home before you head to the Playa so you can see how it goes up and make sure you have all of the parts!
We put down a big canvas tarp on the ground before setting up the tent so that we have a "clean" floor for the week. It gets trashed, but you can at least sweep it off. With just Playa for the floor, it turns into a big, loose, dust pile. Tack down the corners of the tarp with those big 6-8 inch spike nails you can buy at the hardware store.
Bring a broom to sweep the tarp.
If you use it on the Playa for more than one year, be sure to go through the at-home set up routine each year to inspect for damage, make repairs and to make sure you have all your parts........... you'll never get it clean, so if you want one for "default-world" camping off-Playa, then buy two!
Here's a link to my blog... if you go to the 2008 postings, I have a picture of the tent set up in my yard to give you a better idea of how it looks. I can email on-play pics of it set up with details if you think you want them.........
First year on the Play...... there is only one first time! You will love it! Leave all your expectations at home and just let it unfold! Every year the Playa gives us a new and different experience..........
Take care and enjoy the ride!
Port Townsend, WA.