Wednesday, July 18, 2007
There is nothing more satisfying than researching an outdoor product, purchasing it, and being rewarded by it performing up to and beyond your expectations. My Cooke Custom Sewing mosquito tarp, the Lean 3 Plus, is definitely in that category. Up on the sandy south shore of Lake Superior there are times when you simply can't be outside due to the insects. An offshore breeze in June can bring a biblical style plague of black flies, cluster flies, fish flies, whatever you want to refer to this pestilent insects as. I once had a guy on Isle Royale offer me $40 for my headnet (and this was in 1975 dollars!). He said he would go higher but that was all the money he had on him. I kept the headnet. This adirondack style tarp can be used as a regular shelter tarp, rigged as a screen porch, or even used in place of a tent. It has lots of sturdy tie down loops and no worthless grommets. And they are made in Lino Lakes, MN which is where I picked mine up. Like most of my gear, this was openly ridiculed when I pulled it out of the bag. My spice and utensil kit became "Martha Stewart", my Valley Aquanaut is referred to as the "ore freighter", and other items have names unprintable in a family blog. I anxiously awaited the christening of my new tarp and was not disappointed. The black flies had not reached an insanity causing level yet and were still focused on ankle biting when the tarp first went up. GurneyGranny, the same woman who had christened the small counter in the porch addition of our deer camp "the Go*damned Bar", took one look at it and remarked, "I'm sitting on the beach, you guys can crawl in the Bat Cave". This name instantly stuck (see RonO's blog and photo).
Shortly all seven intrepid kayakers were lounging in the bat cave, watching the flies buzz around outside. This well thought unit also has a foot wide sod cloth around the bottom that can be used to seal it up using sand, rocks, etc. And it stuffs down real small. I have to agree with Cliff Jacobsen, who says camping should not be about roughing it but smoothing it. The Cooke Custom tarp, heretofore known as the Bat Cave, does that job nicely.