Sunday, April 12, 2009

Backyard Bungalow - Cimarron Platform Tents

When I first began working at The Colorado Yurt Company I was eager to learn about the yurts, tipis and canvas tents we manufacture and sell and how people were using them. I was fascinated that these structures offered individuals who had little to no construction experience a way to build extra space into their traditional living arrangements or even a way to build a whole new primary living space. They could assemble the structures with their own two hands and they could do it in a way that was more affordable and sustainable than traditional building methods. As I was looking at websites of organizations who were using our structures, I ran across Mary Jane’s Farm and fell in love with our Cimarron Canvas Tents and the way in which she was using them to share organic farming and simple farm life with folks.

I was hooked. It didn’t take long until I got a Cimarron Tent of my own. My building experience was fairly limited, but with our platform plans in hand and a trip to the lumber yard I jumped in enthusiastically. I wanted a comfortable, shabby-chic, rustic feel so I used rough cut lumber for the platform flooring. However, I’m not too fond of critters with more than four legs so I placed 4’x8’ sheets of thin plywood on the floor joists before placing the rough cut planks on top. This prevented the previously mentioned critters from crawling up through the cracks.

Finally, I was ready for the tent. I went with a 12’x14’, mosquito netting on all sides, a fly, and a stove pipe outlet for the tent and the fly. I chose our best fabric, TuffStar, because it comes with a 5 year warranty and stands up best to UV rays. My location takes the baking Colorado sun all day long so that was important. It went up easily with three other friends, although it was a little heavier than I expected. We laid the tent on its side on top of the platform and slid in the center ridge pole and uprights that I had preassembled. We stationed one person at each upright pole and they placed their foot at the base of the pole so it wouldn’t slide while the other two people raised the whole assembly. Once it was upright, we centered it on the platform and tied out the sides of the tent to the side rails of the platform. The fly went on next, secured to the center ridgepole at the top and tied out to the side rails. The last step was to screw the bottom of the tent walls to the platform. All in all, it took a couple of days to build the platform and a couple of hours to get the tent up.

I’ve had the tent up for a couple of years now and it has really become an extension of my home. A futon, a dining table, a food prep counter, a rocking chair and a wood stove create a cozy atmosphere but still allow the tent to keep a very spacious, open feel. Since my house is less than 1000 square feet, the tent gives me extra space for visiting guests, dinner parties and happy hour. Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the normal day to day routine, cook on a wood stove and hang out in natural light for a change. It’s kind of a mini grounding experience without leaving home. I’ve overnighted in it when the temps were single digit and stayed toasty with the wood stove cranking. I open the front and back doors in the summer and almost always get a nice breeze passing through.

Although my tent doesn’t overlook an entire organic farm like Mary Jane’s, it does offer up a nice view of a healthy little patch of organic garden. I love sharing both the garden and the tent with friends and family and I can tell by the smiles and the comments that they think it’s pretty groovy scene also. Check out Mary Jane’s site... . Maybe you’ll fall in love too!

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