Tent Living – Lessons from the Wilderness

January 06, 2017 Liam Harrap

In the buzz of our hectic lives there’s an easy answer to leaving all the stress behind – tents. There is nothing simpler than setting off into the woods with a backpack and a tent. Forget the cellphone, the laptop and the social media feeds. A ten allows for other pleasures; read a book, study flowers, count snowflakes, or make conversation. In an age where so many of us use so much, it’s amazing how small a space a person really needs.  Just 2.25 meters by 1.25 meters will do. The following is a story about tent life:

Tents take you to amazing sights | Photo - Liam Harrap
“Clifford” – the Big Red Tent has taken me to amazing sights | Photo – Liam Harrap

I’ve lived a large part of my life in a tent. Almost a 1/3, to be truthful. Heading off into the mountains, skiing onto glaciers, even among bushes in roadside ditches – they all require tents. Tents may be the poor mans hotel, but they can take you to sights worthy of kings.

Perched on the edge of a mountain. Above the valley, trees, and into the clouds. Gods Country | Photo - Liam Harrap
Perched on the edge of a mountain. Above the valley, trees, and into the clouds. Gods Country | Photo – Liam Harrap
Home is where the tent's pitched | Photo - Liam Harrap
Home is where the tent’s pitched | Photo – Liam Harrap

When you carry your life on your back, that’s when you learn the true meaning of value. If you need it, you’ll spend the energy to carry it. If you don’t, you’ll soon hurl that hair-curling iron off a steep and tall cliff. Laughing maniacally as it gets bashed to bits. The more space we have, the more we tend to fill it with junk. So keep it simple.

| Photo - Liam Harrap
Adventure lives outside your tent | Photo – Liam Harrap

If you’ve never slept a night under waterproof fabric, please do. You’ll hear the pitter patter of rain, creaking of branches in the wind, the howl of wolves, and the love song of a cricket.  Instead of looking at nature through a window, you become part of it.

A tent makes the most unlikely place habitable | Photo - Liam Harrap
A tent makes the most unlikely place habitable | Photo – Liam Harrap

Of course, tent life isn’t easy. The trail may be muddy, the hills steep, the weather dreadful, and the hiking boots always wet. However, as many of you know, anything worth having or experiencing doesn’t come easy. Through unpleasantness and hardship, comes appreciation and happiness. Life isn’t easy, so get use to it.

| Photo - Liam Harrap
If anything, a heavy pack will make you strong. At least, that’s what I tell myself | Photo – Liam Harrap

If anything, tents make an outdoor person thankful. For without them, some trips wouldn’t be possible. And some adventurers would perish. Climbers on Everest wouldn’t last a night if they didn’t have some fabric propped up with aluminum poles waiting at camp to protect against 100 km an hour winds.

Camp 1 on Mount Logan - the highest peak in Canada. The walls around the tents are built for protection against wind and snow. | Photo - Liam Harrap
Camp 1 on Mount Logan – the highest peak in Canada. The walls around the tents are built for protection against wind and snow | Photo – Liam Harrap

Some of the the best experiences of my life have happened with my tent. It’s important to leave the tent once or twice a night, because you may witness an event worthy of retelling to the grandchildren.

| Photo - Liam Harrap
The northern lights in Banff National Park | Photo – Liam Harrap

Of course, tent’s go best in multiples. Bring your friends and head off into the woods. Make some memories and watch the clouds roll in. Don’t worry – you have shelter and can finish Bridget Jones’s Diary nestled in your sleeping bag as the storm outside rages.

| Photo - Liam Harrap
A group of tents in Whitegoat Wilderness | Photo – Liam Harrap

Sometimes you may have to break the rules to camp at the best spots.

We'll pretend we don't notice the sign | Photo - Allie Strel
We’ll pretend we don’t notice the sign | Photo – Allie Strel

Whatever 2017 brings, whether it be a heliskiing vacation or Mexico – make at least one of your adventures tent worthy.

Happy New Year.