SHORTLY, DELAWARE — Pablo Dowling is proud of his new backpacking shelter, not in the least because he made it himself. Not only is it lighter weight, less expensive, easier to pitch, and more versatile than a commercial tent, but it also nearly kept him dry when he used it last weekend.
“I knew light rain was in the forecast, so I thought this would be a good test of my new tarp that I made myself,” he reports. “I was absolutely thrilled when the first drizzle started. Then I woke up this morning and my sleeping bag was only a little wet… really, only my feet were soaked. What a great project!”
The design is a cult hit among crafty hikers. Julia “Yankee” Millicent, who runs the wildly popular “Handcrafted Wayfaring” blog, has shown thousands of people how to turn a simple shower curtain into this portable shelter. “You don’t need a fancy tent to hit the trail,” Ms. Millicent passionately states. “I love how a few minutes of effort by me can make this perfectly Instagram-worthy tarp that keeps me cozier than NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain facility, while inspiring others to feel the utter inadequacy of their failure to recreate my successes and offering a natural experience rich in opportunity for personal growth.”
Mr. Dowling has even more virtues of his shelter to extol. “I’m thrilled that it removes barriers between me and nature. I’ve viewed so much wildlife up close with this tarp! A wolf spider, a raccoon, an anopheles mosquito, and a fer-de-lance all visited me last night. In any other tent, there’s no way I would have had those personal experiences,” enthuses Mr. Dowling.