Four Questions To Ask When Tent Shopping

I haven’t always loved the outdoors.

I was always the kid who would be forced outside to play, and then instead of running around, I would sit and read… because technically I was still outside.

I loved nature, I just didn’t like camping. I HATED camping. I didn’t like the lack of showers, good food, warmth, or books. I wanted a cabin… not a tent.

However, as I got older I have really started to fall in love with the outdoors, and with being out in nature. I love hiking and camping now. Nature has started to become a place to relax and reflect, that alone has made me slowly but surely fall more in love with camping.

Zach and I have recently started to go camping more often. We want to work up to a backpacking adventure, but we are starting small with camping trips where we don’t pack out all of our stuff in order to try new gear and refine our skills.

One of the pieces we bought was a tent. We bought a 3 person tent that was light-weight, easy to assemble, and perfect for us.

However, it took us a bit of time to get to the end result of buying our tent.

Buying a tent is a big deal. There are so many options and variants to tents that it is overwhelming to know where to start.

For Mr. Yell and I, we just asked ourselves 4 important questions:

How Big?

How many people do you want to fit in your tent? Do you need a family size? Do you want a two person tent? How much room do you take up as an individual? How much space does your gear need?  For Mr. Yell and I, we really wanted a two person tent. We wanted something small so that less area would be disturbed. However, once we started looking at our needs, we realized the 3 person tent would be better. This way we have plenty of room for us, and our gear.

How heavy?

Mr. Yell and I are slowly getting into backpacking, so for us the answer was NOT heavy at ALL. We wanted something light and easy to pack, this way we have room for other things like… food. This narrowed down our options considerably since we wanted a pack around 5 lbs and no more than that to conserve space and energy when on the trails.

How durable?

Again, since we are starting to make tent camping a bigger part of our lives now, durability was a major factor. We wanted to buy a tent we could use for a few years and not just a season. This meant looking at what our tent was made out of and how it was put together.

How much set up?

Like most people our answer was “None. No set-up please!” But also like most people we realized we don’t live in a fantasy world and will have to set up our own tent. Since I am not a master at puzzles and Mr. Yell and I knew we didn’t want to freak out over instructions, we really wanted a tent that took under 15 minutes to set up. We wanted easy and quick so that when we do start backpacking for longer hikes, we don’t have to waste much energy on our shelter. The tent that we ended up choosing promised a 10 minute set up time and it is definitely fast! The poles are already connected by bungie cords and the hooks are twist and snap to attach the poles to the fabric. Definitely a win for us!


Four Questions To ask when shopping for a tent

Just remember: buying a tent can be a pretty serious commitment because of the cost, so don’t be afraid to take your time when looking, be sure to ask questions of yourself about what you want vs what you need, and ask others questions as well.

Happy camping!

Much love. Much grace.



Mr. Yell and I with our TN3 Tent


 Climbing a mountain. Or at least hiking one, takes work. Lots of it. And that is what I did this weekend.

We had the opportunity to meet with some people from the UK and work with them. Painting nails for adults and painting faces for kids at a block party is always fun, but there is a sense of adventure when you can’t speak the language. At first this was hard, but then we were able to work out a system that included a form of charades, sign language, and drawing on our hands; which the kids found pretty funny.  It took a lot of work and patience to even do something very simple, but the result was amazing. There were a lot of great conversations had by the people working, and about 150 Bibles were passed out. Who knew that face painting and manicures could be used in such a way?

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We then had the opportunity to hike a mountain. LITERALLY.

Our new British friends led us up a path to a restaurant. And it was spectacular. The food was the best I’ve ever had.

But my favorite part was the hike.

Hiking is something that I have become more and more interested in, so I thought it was fantastic. It was amazing to be walking (or huffing) along, making sure I don’t fall on my face, and then I look over. And there it is. A view I have only seen in books and on calendars. Mountains and a valley, speckled with homes and fields. Absolutely breathtaking. I stop and just have to take it in. The wind in my hair, and the valley so deep, and I see how far we have come. How I could have missed something wonderful, if I hadn’t happened to glance to the side. How often to I live my life in such a way? That I am so focused on not messing up, or on the fine details, that I miss how wonderful things are.

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Even if from a distance, or the work being done by others. Sometimes I need to stop, breathe, and observe the work others are doing. Sometimes I need to rest and encourage; even when I don’t want to. I have been DOING and WORKING for so long, that I don’t know how nor want to rest and watch. It’s not the path I want, but it is the path I need; the one that will grant me rest. Sometimes it’s the one that is the most needed.

This is what the LORD says:

“Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ -Jeremiah 6:16

So yeah. I climbed a mountain. I ate food. I worked. I encouraged. I rested. And it is hard; not everyone understands. But it has to happen. It needs to. So it is.

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Much love. Much grace.