Stress-testing the CAT’s ability to keep mosquitos and other bugs out, while keeping the person inside dry and comfortable. Sepik River in the background.
Mission Critical Designs’ “Compact All-Round Tent”, or C.A.T., recently accompanied US nonprofit Pacific Wrecks Inc. on an expedition to the remote and huge Sepik River in northern Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Natural beauty and interesting workplace aside, the Sepik River is widely known for being extremely mosquito-infested, due to this river being situated in the tropics more or less right on the equator, on an enormous swampy flood plain, and being fed from several smaller rivers flowing in from mountain ranges to the north and south of the river.
This challenge is further compounded by the fact that mosquitos in this part of the world carry Malaria and Dengue Fever – with Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Solomon Islands being among the most malaria-infested countries in the world – and that the Sepik River is currently experiencing it’s wet season, with 7-10 meters higher water level than the dry months, flooded villages and a huge increase in mosquito spawning as a result.
To preserve one’s sanity, get enough sleep during the night and most importantly keep healthy and malaria-free in a tropical jungle-environment, it is imperative to have sleeping gear that can keep mosquitos – and the much smaller sandflies – out, and the person inside the tent comfortable and confident that his or her sleeping gear will keep the elements at bay.
Just to test the CAT and check – or rather, personally confirm – what it was good for, the Pacific Wrecks staff chose to sleep several nights inside the CAT, placed on a raised platform right on the riverbank. The CAT passed this test with flying colours, giving a bite-free night to the person inside, although waking him up several times during the night due to the collective noise of probably thousands of mosquitoes buzzing around, trying to get in.