Expert Tips from Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality Co-Founder Brad Hankins
Sturdy and spacious, wall tents make ideal options for a wide range of outdoor activities: from Scouting camps and base camps to hunting trips and solo long-term adventures. And with a growing range of features and wall tent accessories available–from screen doors and windows to shade flys and gear lofts–these days, wall tents can easily be outfitted for long-term tent living.
Diamond Brand Gear Contractor Brad Hankins knows a thing or two about living in a wall tent. A Scout since he was 6, Brad progressed from Tiger Cub through Eagle Scout, with plenty of nights under the stars in between. As an adult, Brad co-founded Scouts for Equality and served as National Campaign Director from 2012-2014.
We recently picked this camp master’s brain for a few of his favorite wall tent living tips:
How did you get into camping? Tell us about your background with camping and Scouts.
I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 6, and I camped before I can really remember! Being outdoors is a huge part of Scouting and, by extension, so is being able to bring your own shelter with you. I’ve camped all throughout the mountains and at the Boy Scout of America’s Sea Base in Florida, part of earning my Eagle Scout.
What was your first wall tent camping experience?
I first used a wall tent at Camp Barnhardt in Badin, NC. During those summers, the tents were already set up for us and were a welcome place to sleep after long days out in the sun earning merit badges like Canoeing, Archery and Riflery.
What are your top considerations when choosing a wall tent?
Windows! When it gets very warm outside, it’s important to have good ventilation. There are many instances where you might not want to sleep with the doors open, so having access to fresh air via windows is a must.
What do you consider to be the must-have wall tent accessories?
Rain flys or waterproofing. Canvas can be quite absorptive – so having accessories to limit egress of rain is a nice addition.
If you were to go the extra mile to make your tent home super comfortable, like glamping comfortable, what camping luxury items would you add?
An air conditioner!
What are the top considerations for long-term tent living?
Location. If you’re willing to go long-term tent living, it should definitely be in a beautiful place!
What do you recommend for tent lighting? Heating?
LED lanterns for lighting. LED lanterns use such little power, they can run for an extremely long time without needing battery replacements or charging.
For heating…in extreme cases, you could use the log torch method that outdoorsmen/women use in Nordic countries.
How do you critter-proof your base camp to deter bears and such?
The most important thing is making sure your food is properly stored and having noise-making apparati to scare them off if they do show up.
If you could leave today and go set up a wall tent base camp anywhere in the US, where would you go and why?
Yellowstone. As America’s first national park and with over 2 million acres of land to explore, I can’t think of a better place to set up base camp. It would take quite a while to exhaust the natural wonders contained within.
*editor’s note: answers have been edited for length and clarity.