Took the family camping at the annual Ft Buenaventura Mountain Man Rendezvous. It was a great time overall, but the nights were very cold. There was plenty of split wood provided for the campers, but most of it was still a little green, and almost all of it was wet. Getting the fire going, and keeping it going, was very difficult in the open pit, much less the cylinder stove.

A couple months ago we decided to invest in better sleeping bags. If we had not made this purchase I doubt we would have stayed after the first night. The air inside of our tipi was very cold, the air outside was well below freezing. Any water left in the dog's bowl was ice each morning.

The kids were in their new Cabela's 3D sleeping bags. The problem with kids and sleeping bags is that they always seem to slide out of the bag during the night. These 3D bags have vertical side walls, and when zipped all the way up, the zipper secured with velcro flap, the bag stays up. The kids are actually down in the sleeping bag, with just an opening for their face. Simply no way they can "slide" out of these bags. Each kid's bag was also covered with a padded moving blanket. All of the children stayed warm, wheras most other camping trips we have kids compaining of being cold at night.

Mrs Thermocouple and I were in our new Slumberjack Kodiak sleeping bags. They are huge, and remarkably warm. We stayed toasty the first night, but the second day we met up with a man who was selling a large (7'x7') winter coat buffalo hide and bought it from him for far below any price I have seen on such a hide. Adding this to the top of our sleeping bags made our sleeping system so warm it was ridiculous. Ever wonder how the Native Americans endured the brutal winters, or the fur trappers and mountain men? Animal furs. They work remarkably well, especially when used in conjunction with a quality sleeping bag.

We also decided during this trip to sell the tipi to Mrs Thermocouple's brother, and purchase a large modified pyramid tent. Tipi's are wonderful shelters, and if there was a way that I could keep the tipi and purchase a modified pyramid tent, I would do it. But while tipi's are very rugged and versatile because of their design, they also are harder to heat and far more difficult to setup, take down and transport for this same reason. Pyramid tents are completely enclosed, and will retain heat well (especially with a stove burning inside), and can be set up and taken down by one person in far less time than it takes three able bodied men to deal with a tipi. Again, I love the tipi, and I struggled with this decision, but we're selling it and moving into a large modified instead, it just makes more sense.

Four famililes in our camp split the cost on a "livingroom tent" this Spring. This is a 12x12 wall tent, split at each corner. Each wall can be raised to be an awning, creating a very large covered area. As breezes or weather move in, walls can be dropped and secured in minutes to provide shelter from the wind or weather, without the need to "huddle up" in the tents. This proved to be a very good purchase, the whole group agreed without exception that this structure was worth every dime we paid.

I will post pictures later.