L.L. Bean/camping on a rock


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Baker tents


I am a large fan of Baker tents, starting with my grandfathers 1920 version as a kid. Then we had a Sears version in 1960 with a floor. I recently bought one from RK Lodges in MN. The fly needs to be pointed down somewhat in windy conditions, with the back of the tent to the prevailing winds. I use mine in Nevada which is a very windy place. Also two sets of guy ropes staked to the main poles make a big difference. I believe Bill Mason was right. Any tent will work for a 3 day trip. If you want to live outdoors you need something large enough to move around in and stand up, and see out.


No question, a baker tent is a luxury. No small tent can begin to compare. It is big and open; you can stand up, move around and enjoy a wide vista view of all your surroundings. It feels almost like being outside.

Our baker tent worked fine until we crossed the escarpment and approached Hudson's Bay. The HB lowlands were muddy, wet, and lacked good tree cover. No matter how you pitch a baker tent (and, after eight weeks on the trail, we knew how to pitch), it is still a sail. In serious wind it will billow, move about wildly, and ultimately collapse. Ideally you put the low end into the wind, but that's not always possible (and, of course, the wind can change). See photos 1 and 2 below, which were typical of our experience on the lower Albany River.

Like anything else you have to choose the right tools. A baker tent is well suited for moderately protected areas and where you have large flat sites and aren't concerned about weight or bulk. See photo 3 (taken earlier in the Quetico). Smaller external-frame mountain tents make more a lot more sense for serious canoe trips with challenging weather and terrain.



  • 184 Blackbear Is campsite - Albany 1964.jpg
    184 Blackbear Is campsite - Albany 1964.jpg
    180.3 KB · Views: 456
  • 187 Collapsed Baker tent at Blackbear - Albany 1964.jpg
    187 Collapsed Baker tent at Blackbear - Albany 1964.jpg
    173.4 KB · Views: 633
  • 064 Savant L campsite - Albany 1964.jpg
    064 Savant L campsite - Albany 1964.jpg
    470.6 KB · Views: 420
Last edited: