i have run these photos before but the cutting plans are new.
i have always been a fan of the Baker style tent as a replacement
for the tarp.i think the tarp go's back to the days before the small
camp stoves came into use and a tarp had to go up over the fire for
cooking and warmth.with three walls and a net door and flap the Baker befome wind and bug proof.for me it serves as a kitchen,living room in bad or buggy conditions.
from America's Camping Book,by Paul Cardwell,Scribners 1969..
this is not a bad camping book for 1969.lots of good solid information and some DIY plans for tents,packs,sleeping bags and such. a Baker is a simple layout and i used the plan in the book as
a starting point and scribbled some sizes in that i thought mine should be..i made full size string models in the back yard,paper cut
outs..i did alot of fooling around before finaly sewing up--
here it is in action..
it only takes two lines between trees to get the front up and three in back to pull it into shape,so if you pull into a rain camp
at the end of the day you can get up a total shelter in minutes.
four stakes in the corners and your done..onec inside like this you can sit the rain out and later string out a couple more lines and drive a few more stakes..when inside with a heavy head-on wind
i don't close the door but pull it out at an angle with its lines
and the winds sheds over rather that hitting square on. if i have
enought room in the camp i'll put the tarp away from my tent to keep the cooking smells away from my sleep area..
edit--i seem to have run off the page--sorry i don't know
to fix that--
This tent reminds me of a trip I did in 1970. Along with a notable band of hippies and VN vets, we fell in with two guys from Westby, Wisconsin, who had "borrowed" their grandmother's '52 mercury and the canvas umbrella tent from her garage. Their second day out, they left all the tent poles behind, so they camped their way into the Rockies by running long ropes into the trees around the tent as they waterproofed the tent with motor oil. When the wind blew, the tent would do a sort of Mambo and occasionally it would pull the stakes and lift off the ground.
It was something to see. The Rangers thought so, too. Our traveling band was thrown out of Glacier NP for (among other things) "having a tent unbecoming of a National Park".
Your lean-to looks a lot better, though.
"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." John Muir
Growing up as a boy scout we had 4 person baker tents that were made out of canvas. Nice tents, kept you dry in any rain storm, no bug netting, so that wasn't so good. But what I remember most was their weight. We only car camped with them, but I would bet they weighed 30 pounds dry, and after a wet campout, god it took about 5 scouts to lug them up the hill that our troop campsite was at.
yup--$40..i got mine from Campmor via phone call--no computer ordering in those days---
Silnylon---yup on that too..got it from the Thru-Hiker site in
their DIY section..sold as seconds but looked like first's to me.
also got the six foot zipper,a big spool of the right sort of thread to use on that nylon and fine "mige" netting..
a third yup--back in the late 50's into the 60's our troop used Baker tents..same deal,four kids no netting..on the first trip out with them at a big drive-in jamboree on of the dads who came along water proofed them--USING GASOLINE AND WAX OVER A OPEN FIRE!!!!.he had a double boiler made up of big wash tubs with the water in one
and the gas and wax in the inside tub..it's one of those things that sticks with you..i recall him working the tents around in the mix while the Scoutmaster asked--"is that safe"??..the Dad said he had done it in the Army all the time--no problem--well it worked and we used them the entire time i was with the troop..untill 65--
Kennk--i made the back wall extra high because on my old Eureka the slant was so steep that you would hit your head on the roof unless you stayed way to the front.Kannoes will back me up on this..a paddle or branch was needed to hold it up..it's very easy to pitch and the three lines in the back--each side and center--can be looped around any branch--some as small as a pencil--and they will hold. i have one tie off on each side in the center for windy weather or just to pull it way out if three guys are in it..a peg out at each corner and one in center of each side and back--i made the sod cloths
extra large--six inches--so they can be pulled inside and gear or rock set on them to seal around the bottom..the Eureka had shorter sod cloths and on uneven ground "leaked" bugs and wind under it..
in high winds the Baker will balloon out unlike our old canvas Scout ones but the Silnylon is tough stuff and i've never had a rip.
with the door flap down and pegged--three needed there--it will keep out any rain--the bug netting will keep out light rain..
i don't get the angled door on the Cook model either..it's a copy of a old --old--light weight tent so maybe they just wanted to recreate it...
Nice job on the making of a Baker campfire tent WetCanoeDog. I know how much work goes into the planning and execution of the design. I have made one a number of years back for someone.
If you are offended by manufacturers expressing opinions read no further, or if you do not like to read something written by one with poor command of writing skills.
All designs have shortcomings when being compared to design criteria they were not designed for. Some designs fall short of what they were designed to do. To top it off most products do not come with the manufacturers design intents, only with claims, with few details.
The Baker-Campfire compared to the Lean and Lean Plus structures I believe start with two very different lists of design intents.
I believe the design intent on the Baker-Campfire tent, started out as a minimalist shelter with versatility and maximum use of materials available.
How I see it the plan for the Baker-Campfire starts with maximum width of common canvas 42”. No extra cutting or waste, every inch of fabric purchased is used. The height can be altered and still use every square inch of cloth. The structure gives headroom and a small floor footprint, of under 7’ x 7’. (For reference the Eureka 4 man timberline has a 7’2” x 8’ 9” footprint). You gain useable protected space with the awning and sides, although not “in” the structure. Design intent to be able to walk into the structure and to be able to sleep against the back wall. Minimize enclosed 4 sided space to reduce weight and bulk.
Most modern tent structures force you into small spaces with smaller windows to the outdoors. The Baker-Campfire lets you have a huge vision of the outdoors.
Some had floors some had mosquito screen, some had sod cloth and a separate tent floor. Some even had the option of the outer area to close off. Each option brings in more defined uses while taking away from the minimalist approach. Each option improved the structure in the ever-widening design intent, while maybe moving away from the original design intent. I do not think one option is better for everyone. But for an individual if you feel that one design intent best meets your wants or needs, then if it is properly executed that is the best for you.
A Baker-Campfire versus Lean structure comparison should be done at the design intent level, knowing what the design intent brings; both good and bad depending on what you are looking for a shelter to provide.
My basic design intent for the family of Leans was to be as light as possible, strong as possible, and versatile in setting up yet giving a maximum of amount of sheltered space. I designed them to be a shelter that could button up tight against the elements yet open wide when they were benign. I wanted them to pack down as small as possible. I wanted ease of entry and exit. I did not want to have to be crawling on my hands and knees to enter. I wanted space for my gear to be close and protected. Why go outside to be inside?
The sides extend forward of the ridgeline to keep winds out of the shelter and when set up as a large flat tarp will draw tight with minimal lines. Making it 90°from the ground to the ridgeline would allow more winds and driven rains into the shelter and require two additional ropes to tie the structure out flat. The sides actually can splay out for additional space. The floor under the ridgeline is two feet wider than the ridgeline.
There is no back vertical wall. A vertical back wall would complicate setup by requiring addition staking out and time to do that A back vertical wall would also reduce its ability to shed the strong unrelenting winds of storms. A vertical back wall could add additional weight as well as concentrate forces on those pullout points requiring addition reinforcement.
The Leans are about as light a structure for the footprint of shelter that you can make. ( The Lean2 has more floor space than the 4 man Timberline). The Leans packs small and are aided in the ease of packing by the multi stage stuff sack. The Lean can set up as a shelter, or a dining fly. There are few stress concentrators, and with guy lines used they can be minimized. A very large entrance makes for ease as well as a great big vision to the world.
I recently bought the Tundra Tarp, and now I am sooo intriqued by the Lean shelter w/ netting, but right now my wife would KILL me if I purchased one.
I've been using tall dome tents because I too am tired of crawling inside tents (age & bad back), but they are HUGE, heavy, and all too complicated to setup. The Lean is simplicity at its best.
Question to Dan and others ... what is the advantage of NOT having a floor? It would seem that any weight savings would be minimized since you'd need to bring a ground cloth anyway. Is it so you have the flexibility for cooking and other tasks that might damage the floor?
I suppose it also reduces the floor+footprint weight to just, well, footprint.
Dan--thanks for all the feedback..it's instructive too see what sort of thinking go's into making an strong,efficient shelter..on my part i just took an old cutting plan from the 60's and blew it up to what i thought would make a good 3-4 man shelter..i really oversized it which is why the first time it went up on a Quetico trip the guys dubed it the Dance Hall..and it's not th esort of thing you want to look at close up--the seams look like a map of the Mississippi river-
no floor--i left the floor out because i would be cooking in it and was concerned about spills and what sort of fire hazard Silnylon presents--i put a Space Blanket--the heavy ones--down if it rains because the water will of course run across the floor if you are on any kind of slope..i also wanted to stay away from having a total room around me..sitting on the duff makes the "inside" feeling that the walls of a Baker make not so bad..
I have a lean 1 plus and I will tell you that you cannot get any better weight to space ratio than the lean designs. Remember to add in the rope and poles (if you bring them) to get a good comparison on weight. The leans and bakers do require several stakes and a lot of rope. I am fortunate to live with-in a few hours of the BWCA and I do several weekend / 3 day trips each year with my young son. You cannot do better than a lean or a baker for a "woods tent" if comfort and weight is your major consideration. Rainy days with a six year old can be a real challenge in a small tent. With the lean or a baker you can sit up, stand up, move around and live inside during bad weather. The same reason I like the lean as a family tent is the same reason I like the floorless design. The little guy can walk in and out of the tent in a downpour without messing with muddy shoes and a small vestibule. Simply place a ground cloth a few feet back of the entrance and use a rag rug to put your shoes on and you do not have to worry about a wet, muddy floor in your shelter. For solo trips I still use a tent due to quicker set up and ease of placement. Not near as comfortable!!
"With an ax, you can build a life. With a stove, you can boil water. That is if nothing breaks and you don't run out of fuel." -Samuel Hearne
I have plans to buy a Baker for this summer. Spreading out a canvas floor half the depth of the tent to accommodate bedroles, bags etc. makes good sense. Maybe it also depends upon whether its a small two-man or larger. I see the Churchill River folks offer a version in nylon at half the weight of canvas. Anyone care to comment on that update?
Whlrydr--when i was casting around for a new Baker i had at look at the Churchill River site..i thought the shelter was very nice but also very spendy--almost $700 for the size i wanted and very heavy even in nylon.i can see if you are paddleing the big lakes in the far north a Baker like that would be a Godsend in the hard weather and heavy bug attacks where you might be tent bound for days...i really liked the side flaps that really expanded the inside and made a good size cooking area with room for a wood stove but once again thats more for the North. for the BW and the Q i found my home made Baker to work just fine.in Silnylon with lines and pegs it comes in at around four pounds,go's up fast and sheds heavy winds--except those that blow right in the door!!--then it will balloon out and pull the pegs!!!--
after a few days in tight camp sites i pulled into the big camp on Lady Boot Bay..the wind was hard and really hit the back of the shelter on that open point but as you can see in held fast.i was able to sit inside and cook out of the wind in total comfort.
because some of the campsites i like are small i don't use the Baker as a tent but use that small Atko you see in the background.
i have been in a few sites that had just enought room for a tent and counting on a big Baker would have ment an awkward set up jamed into a impossible spot..
like this ledge the rangers cut into a hillside---