Mountaineering Tents Prove Popular for Emergency Use in Japan

Posted Jun 24, 2016

(TNS) — Mountaineering tents are lightweight equipment, meaning they are easy to carry around. The fact that they are more spacious than vehicles makes them quite popular.

At L-Breath, an outdoor equipment chain store in Tokyo, the number of people buying tents for emergency use has increased since the Kumamoto Earthquake. “There’s a lot of interest from middle-aged and elderly customers who have no outdoor recreation experience,” says Hiroaki Oka from the store in Tokyo’s Ochanomizu area.

With many in Kumamoto having developed so-called “economy class syndrome” after spending too many nights in their vehicles, customers are starting to “want to secure a place to sleep where it is possible to stretch out,” Oka said.

Although there are large family-sized tents, the ones recommended for emergencies are typically used for mountaineering. A standard one-person tent is about 1 metre wide by 2 metres long, and about 1 metre high.

In recent years, these tents have been getting smaller and lighter. Most are made of nylon or polyester, with an aluminum alloy frame, and can be as light as 1.5 kilogrammes. When folded, they are roughly the size of a pillow and can quite easily be carried using one hand. Prices start from around 20,000 yen ($191).
Tents are pitched by passing aluminum rods through corresponding areas of fabric and then pegging them into the ground. Spreading an insulating sheet, air mattress or blanket on the tent floor makes it more comfortable to sleep in and will reduce physical stress. “These tents can even be set up by someone with no knowledge of camping, and can even be used as a place to change clothes or breastfeed,” Oka says.

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