Ok, our points in this article about whether to share a tent or not is rather negative, so to redress the balance we’ve put together even more points of why it’s good to share!
1a – Are you a couple? In which case, the over-riding answer will be a yes. Though if you intend on getting up to anything acrobatic, ensure that the tent’s integrity will cope with it.
1b – If you’re not a couple and you’re particularly keen to be, then again a yes if you can get away with it. One word of advice is that you ask said camping partner first, as three hours walk from the nearest habitation isn’t the time to reveal that you’re both going to squeeze into that tiny one man tent. Restraining orders may surely follow.
2 – Reassurance – Some people might not be keen on sleeping in a tent, on their own on a remote hillside.
3 – Being social – it’s good to have a space to meet and chat at the end of the day, especially if the alternative is to sit outside being eaten alive by midges or getting gradually wetter in the rain. In winter, when you’re essentially cooped up in the tent for 16 hours, this becomes vital. On crisp but fine winter nights, a solo tent is fine as you can still chat and enjoy a wee dram with your companions outside. Other than that, it’s essential to share in winter, farts and all.
4 – Really sturdy winter tents, like a pizza, are made to share. If you’re going to get out there in mid winter then do you really want to be lugging a heavy tent for your own personal use?
5 – Leading on from that, if you’ve only got one tent then the work of pitching and breaking camp is shared. This isn’t a biggy in fine weather, as what else are you going to do with that saved five minutes? However, in the wet or serious cold, pitching quickly with others can mean you’re in a shelter in a matter of minutes and you can swap the colder jobs around if you have to.
6 – Likewise – food can be easily shared, as can other communal kit. This will obviously reduce your pack weight significantly, and the ‘sharing’ camper is the easiest way to achieve a minimal pack weight.
7 – One tent means there’s no fighting over that one decent flat spot. Of course, you’ll still need to bagsy the best spot inside the tent.
Of course, in reality it isn’t quite as clear cut. My ideal situation?
Best of both. I quite like the idea of taking one large tent in a group, which can be a communal area in foul weather. While I don’t wish to harp on about tipis, they provide a light and spacious option for groups and as mentioned previously, are available in staggeringly large sizes. Unfortunately, it’s rare that you’ll be travelling in a group large enough to accomplish that unless you’re taking school parties on expeditions. If I’ve felt rather altruistic, I’ve taken a tipi as my personal shelter for this purpose, but I don’t like the idea of carrying more than my fair share of kit especially when those laden with less seem to take such pleasure at reveling in their swiftness on the ascent that’s really down to the handicap system.
In summer, the one man tent wins hands down. You can still talk from tent to tent, and you’re usually sat outside till the early hours. If it’s a short, one night trip in fine weather, then a bivvy becomes the ideal option and the whole argument becomes moot.
In Winter it’s a different kettle of fish. It’s dark for far too long, and I can still remember the 18 hours of darkness spent alone at Llyn yr Adar one winter solstice, vividly, despite extensive therapy. Make mulled wine, enjoy some luxury high calorie puddings and have a grand time, that’s what winter wild camping’s all about. Oh yes, and hope for snow!