Review: Sleeping in a Bus up on the Mountain

[Editor’s Note- On his way to Southern Worthersee, our own Bill Cho decided to troll us via social media.  As we also happen to be VWvortex forum admins, Director of Sales John Acton and I thought it fitting to slap him with a temporary ban from our cabin for the infraction.  He made out better than we’d envisioned.  This is his story.]

“The cabin is infested with scorpions.”

To be honest, it wasn’t exactly what we wanted to hear from our VMG advance team as we pulled up to the cabin before Southern Worthersee. It was a long 16 hour drive that included rain, speed traps in Virginia, a poorly timed message that went out just prior to us losing all communications in the North Carolina mountains (with our colleagues frantically trying to reach us for hours), and a detour to the Tail of the Dragon where we sat for two hours while a B8 S4 burned on one of the 318 curves. It was suffice to say that we were exhausted.

Being the last to arrive, the other members had already grabbed the choice bedrooms and couches. Thinking a bit more quickly than I did, my road trip companion pulled rank and claimed the last spot. In other words, they were off the floor where the scorpions were staging death matches. With immortal words of Bill Paxton’s Aliens character in my head (Game over, man! Game over!), I resigned myself to a slow painful sting-filled weekend. But then I was informed of an alternative sleeping arrangement and for me, a much cooler one.

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Earlier in the day, coolvwstuff.com stopped by and dropped off a VW T1 Camper Van tent and two 3 Season Blue Bus sleeping bags. I always wanted a T1 Bus and now I had one, albeit in an exact scale orange and white tent.  At least it was still air-cooled.

Setup was incredibly easy.   Each bungee corded tent pole is labeled with a letter for a stress free assembly.  The poles attach in a free standing frame.  The waterproof outer tent (with T1 graphics) is then pulled over the frame and inserted into fittings on the tent. The whole thing is pegged into the ground and adjustable guide lines prevent the tent from being blown over.

The inner tent, which is polyester and breathable, has hooks that snap onto the frame. You may also choose to not install this part if you are setting up at your kid’s soccer game or the beach. The enclosed inner tent is divided into two equal sections via a zippered wall with hooks in the ceiling to hang items such as a lantern. When fully assembled, the tent is large enough for four people and tall enough to stand up inside. As an additional nod to the bus, occupants enter through double doors on the passenger side. The inner tent has a corresponding entrance with the inner double door also having a fly screen.

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All in all, it took two people about 15 minutes to assemble. With practice, I know we could have knocked that time down to 10 minutes. When I got home, I assembled the tent myself and it still only took me about 20 minutes.

So how was the test drive? Fearing bears less than creatures from the Alien film franchise, I snuggled into my 3 Season Blue Bus sleeping bag, zipped up the fly door (but left the outer doors open), and was soon snoring. My colleagues joked that the bears stayed away because such loud noises were coming from the tent that they left the area, fearing a trap. Obviously there was plenty of room as I was the only occupant but I have a 6 person tent at home and this was easily just as roomy. I never felt smothered as the material of the interior tent is breathable.  More impressively, none of Sunday’s rain was able to make its way inside the tent.

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When the time came to head north, taking down the tent was a breeze. We just reversed the assembly procedure and had the tent down in minutes. The pegs and poles have their own bags and everything, tents included, fits into a large duffel bag.

So if you’re nostalgic for the 60s or want to have a conversation piece on your next camping trip, think about getting a VW T1 Camper Van tent from coolvwstuff.com. Or become scorpion fodder…it’s up to you.