The time has come for my trusty Hallmark Hangout to retire from service. I’ve owned this tent for the better part of a decade and it has served me well. But, as with all good things, my Hangout’s place as my primary home away from home must come to an end because today my mum bought me a fantastic present: a new Mont Moondance 1.
I can’t speak highly enough of my trusty old Hallmark Hangout. It’s not without a twinge of sadness that I relegate it to the land of camping equipment that is suitable for loaning to family and friends. The tent was a present from my godmother many years ago when I started getting serious about motorcycle touring. It was super lightweight, weighing only about 1.1kg (2.4lbs) and took up almost no space. When erected correctly, the tent was fairly waterproof, though I did find myself sleeping in campground toilet blocks or under picnic shelters in heavy rain and storms on more occasions than I’d like to admit. To be fair, though, I think it’s a north-American tent designed for temperate climates, not the vagaries of the subtropics.
I used the Hangout everywhere, from my stinking hot weekend in the Pilbara to some freezing cold nights in the Australian Alps. It’s traveled on the back of my motorbike, in my hiking pack, in my bicycle trailer and on airplanes. I’ve used it to sleep in at night and as a shade shelter during the day. I’ve perfected the art of pitching it and of worrying about whether dead tree branches might fall on my in my sleep. See, this is probably the biggest downfall of the Hangout (other than it’s limited storm resistance): you need to tie it to a tree to pitch it. And we have lots of ‘widow-makers’ in Australia that drop heavy branches on unsuspecting campers. Fortunately, I’m still alive so obviously haven’t been struck by such a branch but I have had some sleepless nights.
As one door opens another always opens and, for me, that door is the Mont Moondance 1. A 1.6kg (3.5lbs) free-standing single person tent designed in Australia for Australian conditions. It is made from more durable fabrics, is more water resistant and doesn’t require a tree for pitching. The Moondance promises me comfort and warmth in most weather conditions and I’m assured it will save me nights sleeping in campground toilets (not actually a pleasant experience).
Unlike my Hangout, the Moondance has a full bucket floor so I shouldn’t have to worry so much about water that drips down the sides of the tent pooling against my sleeping body. It also has poles to keep it up and has a lot more head space.
I’m quite excited about the new tent. I’ve been wanting one for years but have never quite been able to justify spending the money because so far I’ve always got away with the discomforts posed by the Hangout (like those nights sleeping in campground toilets).
I’m going on a motorbike trip down south on 7 June so I only have to wait a week to test it out. I hope I can pitch it easily because I am likely to arrive at camp in the dark.