We’ve done it at last. I have created a glamping setup for us. I’ve been calling it “the summer house.” It is for taking off on longer retreats to the cool mountains.
It is time for this. The western mountain’s rains can make a tent cold and clammy and my old tent that we called “The Big Top” had sprung some threadbare leaks.
The practice of enjoying naturism can be lost when the weather changes. Huddled up in a cold clammy tent is just frustrating. I realized that I had to have a warm dry heating source to combat this. This requires a canvas tent, ready for a heater. I already had an old military issue wood burning stove. I have been scouring the internet, looking and comparing, reading and shopping for the ideal tent for our needs.
The first fire quickly had us uncomfortable in our clothes. Just as quickly, we discovered stripping to be the perfect solution to the heat.
I chose a bell tent, from “White Duck” company. It has a built-in fireproof outlet for a stove jack. The shape gives plenty of headroom to move about and stretch. There is little to no stooping under the tent ceiling. The overall diameter is 13 feet, or four meters. The center pole is over eight and a half feet tall.The tent walls on this one are at three feet, which gives more room than most bell tents.
The summer house is supposed to be a healthy habitat. I want to exercise my body’s needs by setting up a more primitive lifestyle. My strategy is to live low to the floor, Japanese fashion. The extra inches of wall work well for sitting on a cushion, or on the rugs. We have our Thermorest sleeping pads, which now have attachments to fold them up like tatami chairs with a supportive backrest. A low table fits into the system. The thinking is that modern man doesn’t use many parts of his body, having eliminated squatting and getting up off the floor. This plan builds in essential exercise integrating with lounging comfort and more space.
The twin size air mattress also rests on the floor. There is plenty of room for us to get into bed independently on each side. My old Coleman wool sleeping bag across the mattress, unfolded like a quilt, has a wonderfully cozy feel. I can also add my down camping quilt, but with a 98.4F body in there next to me, it stays very comfortable. The mattress has pads and sheets, nothing austere there.
I added some insulation by a strip of indoor/outdoor carpet under and around. The rest of the floor is draped with oriental rugs, for warmth, cushioning and flair.
It is a great pleasure to lie about, looking up into the high ceiling. There is just something about a circular structure. DF is a fan of geodesic domes and yurts, so she takes to this wholeheartedly. When the moon is full, or in the morning as the sun is beaming through the trees, silhouette patterns are cast through the tent. The simple structure with the ornate natural pattern is entertaining and pleasing. It adds to the natural feel of the experience.
Another reason that I opted for this tent model is that it is surrounded by a continuous series of arched panels. These unzip, creating cross airflow when the cold isn’t the issue. They each have bug screens to keep critters out. Sitting and lying at a lower level, these windows open up the space and invite the natural surroundings in, with 360Degree views. The triangle arch of the double front door is a nearly six-foot picture window with natural airflow.
The tent is very well constructed and planned. Bell tents are much easier for one person to set up. It would be quick, but for all of the stakes and guys that must be driven into the ground and adjusted. The two bags that it comes in are over 100 pounds together. It is certainly a chore for one old guy to pull and zip and fold and unfold. Between the squatting during the ropes and stakes and 60 pounds of dead weight to move around, I feel it…well, maybe it is stimulus for me to put energy into staying healthy.
In a tent that is a 13-foot diameter, there is living space. That provides a good bed, some storage, space for the wood burning stove, and a comfortable little living room with table and two chairs.
When every luxury is packed into the 4×4, we have the ability to get away from crowds and into some of the most wonderful private settings, which are beyond imagination. Obviously, we won’t be backpacking this around. The truck is to be close at hand. Obviously, this suits us free range naturists well, as we don’t want to be restricted by neighbors.
As I write this, I am an hour from a town. Thirty minutes highway, and thirty minutes off pavement, gradually getting to 4×4. There is no one for miles in most directions. No one has been seen for days. Trails in magical forests are endless nude excursions for us. The quiet is astounding, the view awe inspiring. This is home for two weeks, or more.
I’m in northeastern Arizona, but I can choose Colorado, New Mexico, or the great northwestern forests, or wherever the weather suits my lack of clothes for years into the future.
The SUV is a secure place to store food. I don’t want to intrigue wildlife into our tent. I’m honing cuisine and a kitchen. I bought an “Rtic” cooler. Recently the design was successfully sued by “Yeti” the ultimate, because it was so similar. It was significantly less to purchase for essentially the same efficiency. I have kept two blocks of ice in there for over a week now, eliminating the need to run to town every few days.
The tailgate is being used chuckwagon style for a kitchen. It is all a work in process. We both think that some extra countertop would be handy. A good ‘ol Coleman two burner gas stove is adequate. I’m looking into blenders. At night, or when we go walkabout, always longer than intended, the whole thing locks securely.
We carry a five gallon drinking water jug and water filters. An extra five gallons of water can be stored in a large rubber bag, which is rigged for outdoor solar heated showers.
Folding chairs and table are outside. Another piece of furniture that we are deliberating the value of is a swinging hammock. So far, a fluffy blanket on the ground is the favorite.
At this point, series of hanging loops are tied between trees for exercising the psoas and associated muscles which just aren’t used enough in comfortable modern lifestyles. I have found that a pair of gloves and the right branch of a pine tree provide enough primitive hanging. I might eliminate that part of the “gym.”
I have an old green piece of carpet stretched out at the front door. It is big enough to provide a patio for exercises, dance, use of the foam roller, and yoga. It is a handy doormat.
I have an axe, sharp tomahawk, and portable bow saw. The wood burning stove requires small pieces. Fortunately, I enjoy working with wood. The exercise is good, and I romance the activity as something primal, something rugged and natural.
Another primal camping activity is the latrine. This one I opt out of, if possible. Two weeks of two holes each day, squatting carefully not to kick the dirt and flies is not glamping. I have purchased a “Luggable Lou” lid and attached it to a three gallon, opposed to a five gallon bucket. The shorter version is better squatting, ala “Squatty Potty.” It is lined with a plastic garbage bag. A bag filled with peat moss is sitting next to it with a small trowel. There is no odor problem, it composts and is clean. It is actually an attractive spot to sit with its forest view.
Other than the great outdoors itself, entertainment is a plenty. I brought a stack of decades old, “N” magazines and some selections of books to read. Henry David Thoreau is perfect.
This remote location has a repeater tower high on a local hilltop. We have phone service. I’ll have to create a hotspot for internet, but do I really want that?
I bought myself a laptop and have a solar powered battery for it. It is holding up so far, but the weather is robbing me of constantly required sunshine to make the system charge. At some time, I may have to stop writing until a blue-sky day presents itself.
There are numerous alternatives to solar power, when a truck is handy. For instance, small generators, could be used, if you don’t mind the noise.
The LCD battery lamps are dependable enough with batteries. I have a bag filled with spare batteries.
We are portable, healthy and free. Good exercise is programed into the system, but also there is plenty of time to prioritize for meditation and healthy natural movement, besides walking and exploring for miles in natural nudity.
Thoreau said, “For a man is richer in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” Well, I’m working on that. At this point, there is too much to squeeze into the SUV.
It is a portable household. It affords comfort in secluded situations. I personally feel cooped up in a trailer, or a cab-over insert in a truck bed, and certainly there are fewer nude campsite options with those.
The preliminary “get to know” work:
I set the tent up in the backyard, to begin the arranging and to prepare. After a couple of days, DF and I spent the night out there to “break it in.” In the last three months, save two nights, we have been walking out the back door naked to bed down in the luxury of our tent. It is such a pleasure and now the bedroom feels stuffy.
This tent is not anywhere as easy as the videos where a lithe young woman sets it up alone in half an hour.
The first time setup took several hours. The guy-lines had to be worked out from knots from the Orient, lengths chosen, adjustments made and accommodations to the inadequate size of the backyard.
Each step of the way gives a sense of an accomplishment. It feels good to watch it become erect. There are heavy duty zippers going every way. Other than absolutely exhausting, it was satisfying to finally have a dream come true.
Be sure to click any image to enlarge it as you desire.
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So cool Jon! Great to see what it looks like up!
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Thanks for a nice report. Concerning a toilet for #2 I still stick to the traditional method, digging a hole and squatting over it. Even though my camping activities more and more have become “glamping”, I have found the old way of doing it still very efficient. No need to deal with waste afterwards. Privacy may be a challenge when staying with others. But boondockers in general know all about such tings, so why bother? I have done it every summer for over 40 years now, and as long as my knees and hips allow I will continue!
Two weeks, at least two holes per day, twenty-four holes. For me, squatting is a pleasure. Digging redundant holes is clutter and wears out a good campsite. If I’m leaving in a shorter time, I’ll be disturbing a lot less, so a nice rustic organic experience is the better for a couple of days. I hear ya.
For sure I agree! Making lots of holes at one site is not a viable idea if staying for more than a few days. We mostly travel much about and then this not turn out to be a problem. Here in Europe many vans nowadays have an inside toilet, but even when having such a solution, I have noticed that many still prefer the “rustic organic experience” (!). In that perspective it is funny that it is not more discussed among van people than it is. To me an early morning stroll into the surrounding nature to find a spot where I can obey the order of nature, makes the perfect start of a new day. It gives the body as well as soul a “reset” and (literally) let me “leave things behind”. Squatting also gives me a feeling of a more complete relief that I usually get when sitting on “the throne”. It also makes the definite difference between a van holiday and a hotel vacation. Best Nina.