I've been crazy busy with work and graduate school (I am finishing my last class for my masters this semester, and I am putting together my "capstone" project which is due July 6, and then I'm done with my masters). Unfortunately, that has limited my ability to go camping this spring, and this weekend was my first trip of 2013.
It was a small, and short trip but a lot of fun. A buddy and I went to Harpers Ferry, WV. I am a huge history buff (I teach social studies and special ed) and I love Harpers Ferry. The camping itself was also a great time of course.
Because it was a short notice trip, I figured it was easier to just go to the KOA, and I've been to that KOA and know it is a pretty nice campground. It is right at the historical park and has a short hiking trail to one of the rivers.
It was a "medium" bad weather weekend for the time of year. A cold front came in on Friday. So, on Friday evening there were some interesting thunderstorms as the temperatures dropped. Friday night winds weren't terrible, but they weren't great: winds were generally in the teens to 20s, but there were gusts near 40mph (no, not bad, but noticeable). There was off and on rain through much of the night, and some was fairly heavy. Temperatures were below normal for this time of year and dropped to about 40 overnight on Friday.
I brought my Alps Mountaineering Vertex 4. It really is a good solid tent, I've had it for a few years now and the only complaint I've ever had about it was that there isn't really enough ventilation for Mid-Atlantic and Southern summers. Well, when it was 40-45 degrees out and some of those 35-40mph gusts hit, it definitely had enough ventilation in the walls to allow some pretty cold air to blow up under the rainfly and into the tent. At least I had a good sleeping bag and sleep pad so the only times I really noticed it were the times I let my arms or feet dangle outside of the sleeping bag (I unzipped my bag and used it more like a blanket).
Something about camping on a chilly and rainy night, with a good tent to keep you dry and a good sleeping bag to keep you warm, it is a lot of fun. I can't wait until next year when I'm done with grad school and can once again do more late fall and early spring camping. I may need to get a new 4-season tent first though. My cheap fiberglass pole Bass Pro Shop 4-season won't handle any real winds (at least, I've never been out when it is windy and I don't trust it to handle the wind). My Vertex 4, while a terrific tent, isn't ideal for nights that are both cold and windy since I can't close up the mesh to keep the cold wind out.
Depending upon how much work I get done before then for grad school, my next trip (unless I go on the spur of the moment next weekend) is May 3-5. I am meeting with other motorcyclists from a motorcycle forum I frequent so it will be a motorcycle camping weekend. I already have the campsite in Gettysburg, PA reserved. It will probably be either warmer or less windy that weekend (probably both), so it should probably be perfect weather for my Vertex 4. Maybe the weekend after I finish my current class will be a good time for another trip (I need to get the Vertex 4 out a bit before it gets hot and I need to go to my better ventilated Big Agnes or larger and better ventilated Kelty).
Vehicles: 2011 Ford Fusion (for car camping), 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C50 (motorcycle camping)
Tents: Boulder Creek Hunter Ridge 4 (cheap 4-season tent from Bass Pro Shops), Alps Mountaineering Vertex 4, Kelty Grand Mesa 6, Big Agnes Fairview 4