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A little rain, a little wind, and a little coolness in the temperature department has done nothing this summer to distract tent dwellers from enjoying the great outdoors.
At the Glendhu Bay Camping Ground yesterday, they were to be found relaxing under canvas, or nylon, in small enclaves surrounded by air-conditioned caravans with every home comfort — and each had a coherent argument favouring tenting over caravanning, motor-homing, bed and break- fasting or motelling.
Tony Tinga, of Christchurch, put it like this: ‘‘The biggest advantage of tenting is not having a caravan.’’
The Tinga family have followed this line since 2006, and with two other families inhabit a row of tents the length of a cricket pitch.
Denise Tinga felt people in caravans were more isolated from other campers, and she enjoyed the stream of children that wandered in and out of their open tent door.
Tent dwellers were not altogether anti-caravans but, collectively, they produced a long list of disadvantages.
There was the capital investment, which Allan McLure, of Rangiora, pointed out could run to $100,000. Tents were a cheap entry-level way into the world of camping, he said.
He and wife Liz built up their camping equipment over 15 years, adding a tent for children, a gazebo and fairy lights.
Mrs McLure pointed out that tents were cooler, more airy and more roomy than caravans.
And they did not need to be towed, stored, registered or pass a warrant of fitness test, Mr McLure added.
When pressed for the disadvantages, the McLures could come up only with the need to plan better before setting out.
For the Battricks, of Queenstown, tenting was all about the experience.
Karyn Battrick said caravans made her claustrophobic and were ‘‘not real camping’’.
‘‘We try to get back to basics a bit and avoid all those home comforts.’’
Eve Poff, of Lyttelton, said camping was a long-standing tradition for her ‘‘outdoorsy’’ family.
She and husband Chris were sharing a tent with their three boys, including a 1-year-old not yet quite settled into tent life.
But the 6-year-old and 4-year-old were off roaming the camp and would arrive back ‘‘knackered’’, ready to ‘‘sleep through anything’’.