THE DOME TENT: The Campsite Condo

A local sporting goods store recently offered me a hundred bucks to spend a night in one of their new dome tents. As things were becoming a bit stale in my fetid little one bedroom suite, I decided to jump at the opportunity to get paid for a little fresh air.

 But there was a catch. They expected me to write a report comparing the standard two man tent with their new piece of outdoor architecture. I thought this was a heck of a thing to ask a world famous outdoorsman like me to do, but I was between safaris and I needed the money. In the interests of informing the public about new trends in outdoor sports, I present my findings in five categories.

 1.) Erecting the Tent

Tent salesmen always tell you that putting up a tent in a snap – at least their own. These are people who have never put up a tent outside their showrooms, and therefore ought to keep their big fat mouths shut.

 Even a tiny pup tent can put up a scrap that is equivalent to a grapple with Hulk Hogan. Rather than body slams, hammer locks, and flying mares, hand-to-peg combat with a tent involves missing poles, tangled ropes, and a corroded thumb screw that would give Frankenstein’s Monster sore fingers.

 The submission hold is the fact that the tenter has to crawl into the tent to erect it. Inside he finds a dead spider as big as his fist, and a live wasp inside of his pant leg. He finds these after he discovers a jammed thumb screw on the pole. These factors combine to cause the would-be tenter to cry that all-too-familiar call of the campsite, “I can’t get it up!”

 With the dome tent, all the work is done on the outside by slipping three collapsible fibreglass rods through pre-positioned sleeves.  The tent takes on its characteristic dome shape magically and without effort.

 2.) Entering the Tent

Anyone familiar with tenting can attest to the fact that entering a tent can be like skiing a slalom course. There are cords and pegs eager to cripple the most cautious camper. Poles collapse at the slightest breath. The pile of laundry at the foot of the sleeping is everready to grasp a camper’s ankle like a leg hold trap causing the whole structure to fall over and suffocate the occupants.

 The dome tent has no cords. All the pegs are around the perimeter. A camper would need to be double jointed to stumble over one of them. The dome tent’s circular shape offers is plenty of room on the sides to stow the laundry.

 3.) Exiting the Tent

Nature always calls on the camper at 3:00 AM, and that call needs to be answered by 3:10 – or else. Tents seem to sense this, and jam their door zippers. By 3:30, the harried camper has already used his Swiss Army knife to carve an escape hole in the wall. In his mad dash, a cord wraps itself around his ankle. Later, he finds his family deposited in the trees in a line between the campsite and the john.

 The tension on the fabric of the dome tent is uniform because of the elastic fibreglass poles. The zipper opens with ease every time.

 4.) Rain

It rained pitchforks and axe handles on my hundred dollar night. By dawn, the washrooms were filled with soggy campers trying to dry off. One was planning to rent a motel room after drying his gear in a laundromat. Another was reading a brochure on camping in Death Valley. A more optimistic camper bragged about a four pound trout he nabbed swimming past his pillow.

 I shared no kinship with these luckless enthusiasts. The dome tent shed water like a duck.

 5.) The Verdict

The dome tent is the perfect camping structure. It is the ultimate application of all Buckminster Fuller’s work on domes. It is a practical triumph of engineering and physics over nature. It is the architecturally designed condo of the campsite. It is completely foolproof.

 For these reasons, tent manufacturers should stop production of dome tents immediately.

 Dome tents take all the fun out of camping.    

 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Résumé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia



2 Responses to “THE DOME TENT: The Campsite Condo”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Funny, Mike!!! This took me back to my Girl Scout days – 3 or 4 yr ago. Cough! cough!

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    Thanks Sharon, Your comment reminded me that I ws kicked out of Sea Scouts. The parting words were, “… and another thing, Mike. We don’t allow girls on our scout boat!”

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