Well, we now, at long last, own a tent. If I were to do my poll from awhile ago, I would now be able to mark something besides, "we have a vehicle that would provide us shelter" in the case of an evacuation. Ah, sweet progress... :)
My husband and older children broke the tent in last night, while I stayed with the youngest in the house. Once the youngest stopped crying and standing at the door wanting to go out with everyone, my night was relatively peaceful. I heard this morning that one of the children was up approximately every hour and a half making the rounds of the tent. I asked my husband why he didn't just relocate that child to the inside of the house, and apparently pacing the inside of a brand-new tent is just much more desirable than getting to sleep longer periods in the not-so-new house. Oh well.
What I learned recently about tents/sheltering in tents:
--It is a little hard to tell everything about a tent just by looking at a picture. This might seem glaringly obvious, but before you stop reading, let me explain. This tent was ordered on-line, at a price we could afford, so we didn't have the box in our hot little hands during the purchase process. I have since looked at the box, and I'm not sure that it would have made a difference anyway. The picture shows the tent with the "rain fly" (thanks to my husband for the technical term) in place, so it was quite a surprise to us when, as he was setting up the tent, most of the tent roof appeared to be nothing but mesh. This may be why the tent was in our price range. This may be standard so that the tent can be used anywhere, including a hot climate. Whatever the reason, it was still an unexpected feature for us. The only way you can have privacy is to install the rain fly.
--Having the rain fly installed is fine. Until it gets windy. Wind+ rain fly = noise. All in all, a small price to pay for more room than is available in our vehicle. So if noise is an issue for you, and you're in the market for a tent with privacy, you might want to look for one made of a different material than netting. I personally didn't hear how noisy the wind/rain fly combination was, but I will take my husband's word for it. :)
--A well-placed phone call to my best source (Mom) last night led to a few extra purchases at the local national chainstore. According to her source, who has particpated in survival activities, if you don't have something between your sleeping bag and the ground in an outdoor activity such as the one that my husband and children were about to participate in, you will get a lot colder than you want to and /or should be. Apparently, the contact with the ground takes a toll on your body temperature. So I bought some camping pads for them to put their sleeping bags on. It was probably a wise choice, because my husband said that when they came in this morning, the temperature outside was somewhere in the 40s. (Special thanks to my husband, who, having participated in the scouting program, has done outdoor activities without such luxuries as camping pads. Personal experience notwithstanding, he was still willing to say to me, "Just get what you think is best." Expensive words for him--but oh, so useful ones for me. :)
--At the local national chainstore, there were two types of camping pads available that I saw, and one ran close to $6.00, and the other ran close to $12.00. So there are options available. While I was in the camping section, I saw a lot of things that I thought would be useful in an emergency situation. Priorities, priorities... :)
Well, I'm glad that we have a tent, have been able to set it up and use it before winter sets in, and that we have more information than we used to have. Our emergency preparation is a work in progress--glad to have moved another step forward.