The Community Tent

screen tent

Double Community Tent, lots of interior space.

A camping staple for us has long been the community tent.  These are commonly called screen tents or screen rooms, and can be found at any store that sells camping equipment.  What it does is give you several square feet, more than 100 in most models, of bug free space to do things like cooking and storing of food.  Most camping places have some sort of bug issues whether it’s bees, flies, or mosquitoes.  Not only are they annoying, but there is really no refuge from them except inside your tent, which is not where you want to spend your camping trip.

screen tent

A 10′ X 10′ screen tent that has been on several trips.  Straight walls add extra room.

These screen tents still allow you to enjoy the great outdoors, because you can see through the mesh, but they provide the much needed relief from excessive insects.  The green community tent on the left is actually two 10×10 tents that are butted together with the insides open between them.  This is 200 square feet of bug free space to put coolers, food, tables, chairs, and to be able to enjoy dinner in peace.  We normally set up one of these for all food related equipment, and then we have a second with a long table and camping chairs that we use to play games or to eat in.  In the desert there are fire restrictions in place much of the year, so having the table and chairs makes it easy to sit around and play games when you can’t sit around the fire.

large screen room

Three 10′ X 10′ screen tents butted together.

Lastly, I had to include this picture to the left.  This is three of the 10×10 tents pushed together making 300 square feet of interior space.  That’s almost a studio apartment.  We put the food items on one side and the table and camp chairs on the other.  It rained every single day on this trip, so we basically lived inside this tent for seven days.  The rain doesn’t make it through the screens because it’s a tight mesh, and if we didn’t have this it would have been a long and boring seven days either sitting in the cars or in the tents and not being able to really do anything together.  These tents should be required gear for anyone who tent camps.  They are great for bugs and great when it rains.  Plus they are less than $100, and last several seasons if you are nice to them.  Well worth the investment, and it could be the difference between a great trip or a terrible one.