Jul 30, 2012

Ensuite Camping

I have a particularly distinct memory of attempting to set up a tent with my father. At the time, we nearly had what can be referred to as, ‘a domestic’. We’re both ‘experts’ when it comes to setting up tents. I’d like to think of myself as a modern-day female version of ‘Bear Grylls’ and my father considers himself a more ‘refinded’ and dignified McGuyver. So, let your imaginations run wild in a scenario of Bear Grylls and McGuyver setting up a tent in deepest, darkest Canada in the pouring rain with two ‘experts’ that have a way of making something relatively simple seem infinitely more complicated than it should. After about 1.5 hours the tent was erected and my Dad and I shared a beer to celebrate our success.
Today I found myself with another tent-related challenge – setting up an altitude tent ‘over’ my bed in the comfort of central London. It wasn’t a very elegant process with poles, arms, mattresses and duvets flailing about. I admit it took about an hour longer than it should have and my flatmate did intervene and call me mad.... But I did it. On my own (referring to the instruction manual only after the 3rd unsuccessful attempt!) 

The tent is made of a special grade nylon with 4 clear vinyl windows and a small ‘mesh’ roof for air exchange. My mattress fits inside of the tent and serves as the tent base. Next I add the goose-down duvet, the 400-threadcount bedding and decorative pillows… It looks like a sultan’s lair and my mind boggles with 'pick up line' potential!!

This ‘portable altitude training sleep system’ will help with the Cho Oyu pre-acclimatisation process by simulating sleeping at 3800m and maximizing the physiological benefits associated with altitude training while sleeping or resting. About 45 minutes before I go to bed I turn on the ‘hypoxicator’ (small machine about the size of a microwave or a small beer fridge) and set it to the desired altitude. The tube running from the machine into the tent then pumps in the air filtered to reduce its oxygen content.

I admit, I’d prefer training high in the Swiss Alps by day in a gorgeous chalet with a fantastic mountain view by night while eating cheese fondue and enjoying the positive effects of altitude but sometimes in life I’ve learned to make compromises….

Bear Grylls and McGuyver Complete Hour 1 of Tent Challenge (2009)
Bear Grylls in Action (2009)
McGuyver adding the final touches (2009)


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