Canvas Bell Tent Options

I’m rocking a brand new canvas bell tent for this year’s camping season. I spent days pouring over the options before choosing which one to buy. I figured you could use a hand if you’re looking through canvas bell tent options yourself. As I told people at Euphoria this year, I think this is the perfect tent – a fantastic balance between the cool factor and practicality. Let’s take a look at the options!

canvas bell tent options Size

The canvas bell tents tend to come in 3m, 4m, and 5m options.

Go for 3m if you’re one person, doing short weekend trips, or if you want the easiest tent to put up and the easiest tent to heat.

Choose at least 4m if you have more than 2 people, if you have kids, or if you know you like a little more space.

I chose the 5m option because I am a princess. I love camping, but I don’t do roughing it! We fit 2 queen size mattresses in our tent, with half the tent left over.

Amazon sellers tend to carry the most popular sizes of 4m and 5m. (These are affiliate links!) Try Danchel Sport or Dream House. These are both similar tents with simple features, good reviews, and good prices.

canvas bell tent optionsColor

When looking at canvas bell tent options, you’ll find that you don’t have a lot of color options! For the most part you’re looking at sand-colored canvas. I have occasionally found a company with colorful options, but they tend to be sold for a limited time. Let me know if you find a company with current color options!


For groundsheets, your options are SIG (sewn in groundsheet), ZIP (zip in groundsheet), and separate.

The SIG option is the simplest and the easiest to set up. However, it means you can’t wash your groundsheet separately, and you can’t pack it separately if you are concerned about packing size or weight.

A ZIG is as secure as a SIG but gives you those other options: separate cleaning and packing. Plus you can strategically unzip to give you customized airflow.

A separate groundsheet gives you all the options of a ZIG except it doesn’t have the same rain protection.

I got a ZIG on mine. It’s a poly bathtub bottom, meaning I have 4 inches of ground water protection. If I ever accidentally setup in a run off stream I’m set!

canvas bell tent optionsAccessories

I spent as much time deciding on fun accessories as I did any of the other canvas bell tent options! These are affiliate links to things that I added to my camping setup this year.

You might want:

I’m wanting to blog more about camping – if there’s a camping topic you want to know more about, let me know!


Let’s play pretend and give each other different names

In My Pop Music Privilege I highlighted the song Stressed Out from Twenty One Pilots:

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “wake up, you need to make money.”

This stanza really moves me.

Have you ever seen a gaggle of 5 year olds dressed in tutus and cowboy boots, making up superhero names for each other and pretending they’re blasting off to the moon? And felt the bittersweet pull of a simpler yet more dynamic life?

Yeah. I have. That’s what I get out of Burning Man culture. We add back in that missing stuff. You’re 30 years old? Who cares. We will nickname you Lobster Pony, encourage you to dress exactly how you want to, and then we will expand your imagination past the point of sanity. And at least for the brief period of time that you are inside the burn bubble, no one will demand that you grow up, get real, or generate money.







Images from here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Stretching 00 Gauge to 7/16″

When it’s time, it’s time! I decided to stretch my ears from 00 gauge to 7/16 inch. It’s a stepping stone on the way to 1/2 inch. Want to see the results?

I’ve bought from Urban Body Jewelry before, and this time they offered me some free plugs in exchange for this post. There was no other compensation, and all these opinions are mine.

7/16" stretched ear jewelry - spirals, plugs, tunnels

One fun thing about stretching is that you get new jewelry at every new size! There’s limited selection at 7/16″ size, and there are certain pieces I look for every time, and Urban Body Jewelry came through for me! You can search their site by size, material, and jewelry type. They have all kinds of body jewelry for those of you with more than just your ears pierced!

Here’s what I got:

For everyday wear, I use silicone ear skin tunnels – I picked purple this time. This is what I generally wear 24/7. Lightweight, flexible,  comfortable – I forget that I’m wearing anything in my ears at all.

00 gauge to 7/16" 11mm stretched ear jewelry silicone ear skin tunnels

My favorite thing about having stretched ear lobes is showing off that giant hole, so I am a huge fan of tunnels. In addition to the silicone skins, I like to have a pair of stainless steel internally threaded tunnels. I have had trouble finding these before, and they don’t all have smooth threads, but these are perfect. I don’t always like to sleep in them, but otherwise they are great everyday  jewelry.

00 gauge to 7/16" 11mm stretched ear jewelry stainless steel internally threaded ear tunnels

The third set I look for at each new size is a pair of glass spirals. There are so many great colors and patterns available in glass. Glass has a nice substantial feel without being too heavy. I went with a pair of green swirl glass spirals which I think go pretty great with all the bright colors I wear.

00 gauge to 7/16" 11mm stretched ear jewelry green glass spirals

After silicone for comfort, stainless steel for reliability, and glass for beauty, I love plugs made from natural materials like bone and wood. For this size, I went with a pair of black and blue skateboard plugs. I love, love, love the color combo, pattern, and texture of these. These are double flared, which is the hardest type of plugs for me to wear. I lube up well before putting them in and don’t leave them in more than a day. But I’m going to love wearing these when the time is right!

00 gauge to 7/16" 11mm stretched ear jewelry blue wooden skateboard plugs

Which ones are your favorites? If you visit Urban Body Jewelry you can find a ton more to shop from. If you have any questions about stretching, types of jewelry, different terms, or anything, let me know and I’m happy to help.

If you buy from Urban Body Jewelry you get free shipping for orders over $20, plus you can use code UBJ630 at checkout to get 10% off (good until 6/30/16). Come back here and let me know if you bought anything – I’d love to see your favorites, because I’m always shopping for my next pair!

Hairy Leg Superiority

Sometimes I talk to women about why they shave their legs or their pits. They say things to me like, “I tried not shaving, and after two weeks it was driving me crazy. I shave now because -I- like it.”

Which is complete and utter bullshit.

Here’s how I know:

It took me ten years to like my hairy legs.

Ten. Years.

I started out not shaving in the winter because pants, but I still shaved in the summer. Then I stayed hairy in the summer, but still shaved on days I went swimming. Then I stayed hairy all summer, but I shaved for dates and parties. Then I stayed hairy full time, but I disliked the hair the whole time. And then sometime after THAT I finally got used to my hairy legs. Each of these stages took 2-3 years.

Your two weeks are a joke.

How long does it take to unwind the damage the kyriarchy has done to your self-image? How long does it take to throw off the mind control of capitalism?

A lifetime.
Good luck.

It doesn’t take a sociology mastermind to see that in our culture the women+body hair topic is fucked up beyond belief.

So don’t explain to me that your two week walk on the wild side revealed all the facets of your motivations for shaving. When your “preference” magically aligns with the dominant ideology, it’s fair to be a little suspicious.

In I’m a Terrible Female Consumer I said that I wasn’t a better person for not buying into commercialized beauty crap. I mostly believe that. Everyone has limited energy and has to choose their battles. Oppressive beauty standards might not be your priority. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing.

So let’s make a deal. You don’t pretend that a choice about shaving is simple, casual, or freely made by women in our culture. And I’ll try not to act like I’m a better person for having all my body hair. What do you say?

Simplicity Wins

I hate paying bills.

For a long time I hated paying bills because I never had the money to pay them on time. But even after I could afford it I hated it. Bill paying is a certain kind of abstract process that doesn’t sit right in my brain. It’s bureaucratic and the downsides are conceptually disconnected from the upsides.

So one year I just stopped paying my bills. I lived in a regular house, but I did not have electricity or natural gas. I had running water, but it was not hot water.

I used oil lamps for light, a camp stove for cooking, a hand operated washing machine for clothes, a propane heater to heat one single room in the winter, a propane water heater to take quick showers. Buying a can of propane, and then using it, and then buying another has a flow that I can wrap my head around. (Those are affiliate links to the exact products I used – I recommend them all!)

I value simplicity, even if it makes things a little more expensive or a little more inconvenient.

This same balance of values came up for me recently around what to go camping in. I bought a nice, big, comfortable camper and did some really fancy camping in it. It was awesome to be out in the woods while sleeping on a real bed and having a microwave!

But then the camper turned out to have a leak. Complicated-ness came crashing down on me. Fixing the leak would have involved pulling out, replacing, repairing, and whatnot. Preventing future leaks from happening would require yearly maintenance of parts and systems that I don’t really understand. And honestly… the whole camper was a great big ball of stuff I didn’t understand.

So simplicity is winning for me once again. I sold the camper and got a canvas tent instead. (Affiliate link for a similar tent, but not the exact same one.) Yes, it’s more trouble to put up than parking a camper and plugging it in. Yes, it’s not quite as comfortable. But… it’s a big piece of canvas and one pole. I can repair small things that go wrong with it. And even big things that might go wrong won’t be as expensive to fix as a small thing on the camper.

This post was a lot of words to say, “Electricity is magic, and I don’t like it,” but that does kind of sum it up. I have a strong preference for systems that are simple and obvious. My first big camping trip of 2016 is one week out, and I’m about to find out if my new tent is just the right kind of simplicity for me.Canvas Bell Tent

I Don’t Care What You Think About Me

I Don't Care What You Think About Me

The first time I heard this quote from Coco Chanel, it took my breath away. “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”

Some people might find this idea cold, heartless, or uncaring. But to a person sometimes crippled by anxiety about what others thought of me, this quote was a breath of fresh air. Reading it made it easier to breathe. Thinking that it was possible to achieve this level of detachment was a ray of hope.

I don't care what you think of me. (1)

“What you think of me is none of my business,” is the title of an old book (aff link) that I know nothing about. The phrase rings true for me because of my decade of internal emotional work with Nonviolent Communication (aff link).

Nonviolent Communciation (NVC) encouraged me take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions and not those of other people. In addition, NVC gave me the tools for actually making that happen. When I start to get caught up in trying to control other people, I have the skills and techniques for getting myself out of that terrible mind trap.

I have come to understand that other people’s feelings belong to them. They are free to have them. It’s not my job to worry about other people’s thoughts and try to manage and mitigate them. Other people’s thoughts and feelings are none of my business.

Somehow over the years and with hard work I’ve managed to… change. Accidentally. I almost didn’t notice.

I was recently involved in a conflict amidst a large friend group. The main conflict didn’t have anything to do with me at all. But if you’ve been in a large social group you know how problems tend to spread. Some things got awkward with some people, and some people cut me off entirely.

The old me would have been freaking out. And I mean losing my little mind! People not speaking to me? People that I don’t know whether they like me or not? The horror! I would have been unable to concentrate during the day, unable to sleep at night. Just a mess.

But… that didn’t happen. I was able to care about the situation and think hard about solutions without being an anxiety ball over what everyone was thinking of me.

What. A. Relief.

I feel so powerful! I used to be very insecure. But between NVC and fat acceptance, I’m just… not. Not anymore. I recommend it!


I don't care what you think of me

Missing the Transient Life

For the 2000 census I was living in a hotel. I was seen as homeless and was considered part of an invisible and at-risk population. From my perspective I was living the dream!

My monthly “rent” was not much more than what I could find an apartment for in my area. Yes, the room was smaller than an apartment. But for the same money I got “free” utilities, once a week house cleaning, and no one ran a credit check on me.

And I was always ready to go, able to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. When I went to a festival I would move out – everything I owned fit in my car – and on Monday I’d move back in, saving myself 3 days rent.

Later in my life, after years of living in “real” houses, I lived in a van for a while. I bought an old passenger van, sold nearly everything I owned and slept stealth parked in apartment complex parking lots. I absolutely loved the inside of that van. I had exactly the stuff I needed and no more.

Even in the years when I wasn’t hotel- or van-living I was a renter, and I tended to move almost every year. It was a nimble lifestyle.

I live in a house that I own now. I’ve been here for almost 7 years. I feel like a freaking hoarder, and I haven’t even begun to fill this place up. It doesn’t have very many closets, which does help!

Dylan and I stayed in a hotel over this weekend during a quick trip down to Atlanta. Every time I stay in a hotel I feel the pull of the transient life. I have two changes of clothes with me, and I start to forget why I would ever own more than that. I look at my one bag, and I can’t figure out what I need a whole house for.

I feel a little constrained sometimes. Weighed down. Obliged. I dream of throwing everything away and going somewhere else in a heartbeat. And somewhere else the heartbeat after that.

But this complaint doesn’t have any depth. I experience incredible benefits because of living at The Wallow. I’ve built a rooted life – gardens, and pets, and hobbies that require a lot of equipment. It’s harder to “just go”, but there’s always this immense comfort to come back to when I do.

But, you know. I’m still going to feel a little wistful when I get that hint of freedom.