I was rummaging through some old photos recently and came across one of a pop up shower tent. The photo brought back many memories, mostly bad ones, so I thought, why not share the story with others?
Back in the early 2000s a mate and I used to go caravanning quite a lot. The old van had no shower or toilet, unlike some of the vans of today.
One of us, maybe it was both of us, decided to purchase a pop up shower tent. Off to the outdoor shop we went. A friendly young salesman came along and proceeded to show us how easy these shower tents were to assemble and disassemble.
It looked so simple. We would have one. Also required was a bucket to put the hot water in, a shower hose and nozzle, and a 12 volt pump. Oh, and a Porta Potty. Done!
We left the shop a few hundred dollars worse for wear but at last we would be able to free camp.
First trip was to Mutta Burra. This is a godforsaken place in the middle of Queensland. There are a gazillion flies, tonnes of red choking dust, cow poo everywhere, and not much else.
But, we had the shower tent so it would be easy to keep clean. First night there, we unpacked the tent, undid the catch , and wow! Up she popped. It was like magic.
Every night for the next two weeks, we showered and marvelled at what a wonderful thing this tent was. We even parked the Porta Potty in it so we did not have to take a shovel and “go” behind a tree. This was living.
The time to leave came around quickly. Time to fold the tent up. The salesman did it in one swift movement so we were not anticipating any trouble. Two hours later, we were red faced and swearing, the shower tent was still in the upright position.
We stuffed it into the van, laid it on the bed and took off for the next stop.
At Longreach we met up with some friends from back home. They laughed when we told them the trouble we had had trying to fold the tent up. So easy they said.
Well, here, have a go, we replied.
Three hours later, many red faces, much swearing and a fully erect shower tent.
I do not know why it won’t fold down said our mate. It looked the same as the one they had, but damn straight it would not go down.
For the next week we all tried our best to get that darn tent down. No luck though.
We went into every outdoor shop in Queensland, and not one person could fold that tent down.
There must be something wrong with it they would all say, scratching their heads, looking thoroughly defeated. I mean to say, how hard can it be to fold one of those damn things?
Pretty darn hard, believe me.
Everytime we moved on, the tent rode on the bed. We eventually gave up and that is how it travelled for over three years.
One day we called on some friends near Brisbane. The woman was one who would never let anything beat her. Just the person to help with the tent. Four of us worked on that tent for over 5 hours. Finally, it was folded into a neat little circle. Quick, put it in the bag. Do not, under any circumstances undo that thing.
The tent stayed in the bag for a couple more years and we showered in servos or caravan parks. The time came to upgrade to a newer van, one with an ensuite.
We would no longer need the dreaded tent. We traded the old van in. Does it have a shower the trader asked? Oh yes, it has a shower tent. The tent is really easy to erect.
We did the deal, never having the heart to tell him how hard it was to put that tent down again.
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