May 8, 2017.
The day is here, and it's a big one. It was over half a year ago that I decided I wanted a CVT, and in that time I'd purchased one and fabricated a bed rack that I hoped would work to hold it behind the cab of the truck.
Naturally I'd gotten a good deal on the CVT, and had spent 10x more fabricating the rack (buying tools, etc.) than if I'd just purchased a pre-fabricated one.
This day was also a big day because it was the start of a week-long camping trip where we'd meet up with Dad and Uncle J for a few days of camping in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and then split up - each camping our way back home… us to the north, and they to the south.
So we really hoped that everything went smoothly with the tent - because we needed it to.
We got packed up and ready to go on Sunday night, and we left at 2am Monday morning, so we could arrive at @Cascadia Tents by opening (9am). Turned out that we got there around 9:45 after stopping for gas and breakfast and of course snapped a couple photos to memorialize the trip.
After playing tourist outside, we headed in and were greeted by Megan, who I'd traded several emails with as she'd generously held my tent in the warehouse for the last six months until we could make it down to Bend. Turns out it was a super busy morning for them (it was just her and Ty working the front of the house), but within half an hour or so, they got us setup around back so we had room to do the install, and gave us a few tips about how to open the tent and be as efficient as possible.
So we emptied all of our gear out of the back of the truck, and then, we were off to the races.
Literally. Without knowing it.
You see, it turns out that a couple other folks had also arranged to pick up their tents the same morning, and CVT was doing an install on a T4R and trailer in the back of the shop. Curious about how we'd fare, they kept coming out to check on us, discretely.
In fact, I never noticed that they came out to check several times, but when we were done and were driving away, @mrs.turbodb said, "Did you see that they kept coming to check on us? I heard them talking and they were surprised that we finished so quickly - faster than them!" LOL
But, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Tent install started by cutting open the box and laying it on the ground - a work surface.
We unfolded the tent and pulled out all the bits, which included the installation hardware, all tools needed for the installation (wow, this was amazing, even though we didn't need them), the cover, the annex, the mattress, and of course, the installation instructions.
We immediately set the annex aside - we aren't ever planning to use it, and then installed the mounting rails along the bottom. That was pretty much all that was needed to get the tent ready for mounting, so 15 minutes later we were lifting the tent onto the bed rack.
It was the moment of truth. Would it fit? Would we have somewhere to sleep for the rest of the week?
Yes! We would.
Tent on, we used the supplied brackets to secure it to the bed rack - inserting some rubber between the tent hardware and the bed rack in order to reduce vibration as well as rubbing/paint removal, and then, we installed the cover by inserting it into the aluminum channel on the driver side of the tent. It was a tight fit, but I considered that good!
Cover installed, it was the (next) moment of truth. Time to open the tent and get it setup for the first time. Of course, unfolding it for the first time was super exciting (isn't that what we all love about our RTTs?) and as I inserted the polls that hold up the various awnings, I just kept thinking - this is going to be awesome.
This was also the point at which we drilled a couple holes in the ladder to lock it into place when extended, thereby supporting the overhanging side of the tent. Again - we were well prepared (I'd brought a drill and set of bits) and everything went off without a hitch.
At this point, we knew we were home free - everything was going to work out - and so I went inside to find Ty. He'd mentioned wanting to give us a few tips once we got setup, and when he saw me walk in to say we were ready for the tips, he mentioned that our hour-long install was one of the quickest he'd seen. Cool.
As he wrapped up with a couple customers, he came out and showed us a few tricks with the tent. I'm sure I don't remember all of them, but the ones I do remember are:
- Don’t use the plastic clips to "cinch down" the tent as you're closing it. Doing so can pull out the rivets. Instead, compress the tent manually, then connect the clips.
- When keeping sleeping stuff bags, pillows, etc. in the tent, move them towards the middle of the tent (in all directions) before you fold it up. It'll close up easiest that way.
- Store the "awning poles" in the fold of the tent, just before you put the cover on. They wont interfere with any of the tent material, and they are easily accessible whenever you remove the cover and before you unfold the tent.
- When zipping the cover, "fold the corners up" to expose the zipper on the top part of the cover. It's easier to zip that way.
And then, we were done. The tent was put away, and we packed our stuff back into the bed. It was noon, and we were ready to head out on our first RTT adventure - a week in the back country of Oregon.
Oh, and it looks pretty cool too. That shouldn't really count, but c'mon, everyone loves for their truck to look cool.
... Chapter 2 coming soon ...