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Tent Camp Turkeys

There is nothing like setting up the old wall tent and camping in the fall - the cold temperatures outside, warm stove inside with the crackling and popping of wood burning to put you to sleep like a baby in your cot.

Spring turkey season can often mirror that of fall big game seasons with regard to weather, terrain type, and even some spot and stalk and calling hunting tactics. One of the things I’ve come to look forward to besides the spring turkey hunt itself is the spring wall tent camping experience. After months of no hunting and being cooped up (no avian pun intended) indoors over the winter, a few days out in the fresh spring air is greatly anticipated.

Just like early fall hunting seasons, spring turkey season is warm during the day and pretty brisk in the morning and evening hours. Nighttime temperatures often drop down to the 20s, making a wall tent adventure a perfect setup for remote turkey camps in the North Country and out West.

The hunt for the perfect wall tent setup is tough. Prices range from a few hundred dollars for a used army surplus yurt, up to several thousand dollars for a premium Swiss Tentipi. As you can see from the photos, I have used tents on both ends of the spectrum.

In my world, gear has to be portable, lightweight, and multifunctional. For quite a few years we used my dad’s old army yurt. This shelter was bombproof once it was set up, but it was quite the endeavor to do so. One man can do it, but you’ll kill yourself in the process. Ideally, 2-4 people are needed to set it up, plus it is a pain in the butt to haul. The canvas material, outer wall poles, center pole, and stove would take up more than a full pickup bed and I don’t own a scale big enough to weigh it (i.e. it isn’t light!). Thus, the search continued for the perfect wall tent.

I was able to test some killer tents from two reputable wall tent companies over the course of a few years. Each had qualities I loved and some I wanted to change, and both were also in a manageable price range of anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 completely set up. However, they were still really heavy and bulky to transport and setup was not very fast.

I’ve also used a cargo trailer to camp in with either cots, hammocks, or bunks built into the inside of the trailer. This is a very effective system if you are able to pull your trailer into the spot you want to camp, but this isn’t always the case. Also, condensation can be a problem if running a propane heater inside to take the chill off, even when well ventilated.

Finally, I was able to test out a Tentipi. The weight-to-room ratio in these shelters is insane! I went with the largest they had, 15 person Zirkon, which has room for several people with cots and gear plus a titanium wood stove, weighs only 45 pounds and fits into a backpack! This system is premium in price and like they say, you get what you pay for.

This spring I plan on testing out the Hilleberg Atlas modular base camp tent. This beauty has a dual pole structure for strength in high winds and heavy snow, a removable and modular floor, add-on vestibules, and more. I can’t wait to base camp with this system and my propane heater!

The point is this: wall tent camping isn’t just for the fall during elk or deer camp. It is a highly effective system for branching out and hunting more areas that are away from the comforts of home or a lodge. Plus, it will help satisfy your fall hunting camp urges even though fall is 6 months away. Do yourself a favor and plan a turkey hunting expedition and do it with a wall tent. Memories are waiting to be made!


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