Tag Archives: tent

Road Trip Diaries: The Trek to Mt. Sneffels

A few months before our month-long road trip, Joy and I did some research to create a list of places to hike, camp and backpack. Seeing all the National Parks around the Pacific northwest and southwest were give-ins. However, after years of reading a lot of Backpacker Magazine, I was fairly determined to see stunning turquoise lakes of Mount Sneffels, a “fourteener” located in the southwest corner of Colorado.

So after our visit to Mesa Verde National Park, we made our way along some stormy mountain roads towards the City of Ouray.


On our way to Ouray. This photo can’t do justice to the views.

We arrived in town around 10 pm. Since everything was closed, we crashed a local campground to rest up and prep for our trip the next day. All I remember was that our “campsite” was a small, rectangular plot — similar to a large parking spot — that was covered in rocks and gravel and had a picnic table and a grill. I made a beef and bell pepper stir fry (my typical quick dinner for this trip) before we went to sleep in our tents. We were out by 6 am the next morning.

Joy is much more adventurous than me, so she was immediately down to backpack Mount Sneffles. I’m a much more cautious backpacker (AKA: scared shitless), so I made sure to visit the ranger station and get a map of the area before venturing out into a wilderness that I had absolutely no knowledge of.

SIDE NOTE: As a California native, I never even knew that storms and monsoons could happen in the middle of the U.S. during the summer. Backpacking the Blue Lakes of Mount Sneffels was our first introduction to this regional seasonal phenomenon. While we weren’t doing an “alpine start” (we didn’t plan on hiking the entire Fourteener) we knew that we needed to end our hike before 12pm in order to avoid Colorado’s summer lightening storms.


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Gear Review: Marmot Ajax 3 Tent

While I’m somewhat of an advanced beginner when it comes to backpacking, I have to say that I do have my preferences when it comes to gear. I don’t even own this tent, but I’ve borrowed it once or twice from a friend of mine. It has become my FAVORITE bargain 3 person backpacking tent ever!!

The bomb.com tent

The best thing about the Ajax 3 is that it’s truly a 3 person tent – it’s not a 2 person tent masquerading as a 3 person tent (yes, I do put a lot of my gear outside of my tent when I go backpacking, I’m not that high-maintenance).  It has a very simple 2/3 pole set up for the main body of the tent, but the best part about it is that it has a cross-bar brow pole on the top to pull the sides of the tent by the doors up and out. Sitting up in this tent and hanging out with other folks is totally feasible. I never felt claustrophobic or squished at any time. Its spacious headroom coupled with the two very big doors on either side of the tent means that if the person sitting “b!tch” in the center of the tent needs to get out in the middle of the night to pee, it’s not that big of a deal.

Botchers Gap camp: Camille wakes up in the middle

Plus, how could you not LOVE the wrap-around mesh on this tent!? Perfect for stargazing on warm or cool nights. When it gets a little cold, I just put the fly half-on and leave the side covering the tent door wide open so I can still fall asleep looking at the stars. That blue and orange is FTW too!

The only drawback is that it’s not the lightest tent if you’re trying to be an ultra-lighter. At 6 lbs. 2 oz., you could find a much lighter backpacking tent, but it probably won’t be as spacious or as comfortable at this price. Plus if there’s 3 of you camping, that just means that each of you carry about 2 lbs. in your packs.

More on the specs:

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