A couple summers ago, when our minivan was still part of the family, we spent a few days on a car camping trip up in the Sierra. The experience was pleasing enough that we resolved that eventually we'd replace our trusty but musty little four-person tent with something grander. Last year, feeling flush with a big tax refund in hand, we bought a really big car-camping tent from L.L. Bean (I think you'd characterize it as a car-camping tent; if you were going to backpack with it, you'd probably want a Sherpa just to lug the tent).
The tent came in a big box. It sat and sat and sat in that box, all the way through last summer and the car-camping season. Eventually, I opened the box, removed the contents, which were packed up in a nice nylon duffel bag, and stowed them in a closet. And there they sat through the fall and winter.
Now, Kate and I are off for the next week--I schedule my vacations according to the Oakland school district calendar. And we're thinking we'll drive up to the northern Sierra foothills, where it's still pretty cold at night, to hike out to a waterfall we read about recently. But first, we had to break out the tent and pitch it so we know what the heck we're doing when we reach our campground. So, in our Berkeley flatlands backyard today, we put it up.
Wow--it really is big. I think we're going to camp out tonight.