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Double duty

Or, as Bob Schaffer (yes, him again) had told the CHEC gathering at the Capitol just a few hours before: "You cannot separate the spiritual well-being of a child from the academic group of a young mind.'On November 2, Election Day, we will be victorious, and we'll take a pro-home-school message to Washington."

Their passion was in tents: Early cost estimates for Denver's proposed tent city (see "Pitching Tents," page 30) run about $100,000 for an encampment that could house up to 200 homeless. That's $500 a person, which, if spent wisely at REI, should be more than enough to let anyone camp in style.

John, who works on the first floor of REI's flagship store on Platte Street, recommends the $290 Sierra Designs two-person Omega three/four-season tent, designed for backpacking and winter mountaineering. Doubling up on housing is not only economical, but sharing body heat could help make that critical fourth season more cozy. Displayed prominently at the store's front entrance, this sleek, aerodynamic, seven-pound, nine-ounce portable home has a stylish design and enough logos to satisfy even the most status-conscious outdoorsman -- although the 93"-x-59" floor dimensions could make quarters tight. But at $145 per person, there's cash to spare.

A Coleman portable catalytic space heater with a lifetime warranty adds $64.95 to the tab, but the additional purchase of a $52.95, eleven-pound refillable propane tank should ensure that the heater continues to generate warming trends for months to come.

Any Coloradan -- homeless or not -- needs a Nalgene water bottle to feel emotionally and spiritually complete. A 32-ounce wide-mouth loop-top is a good buy at $7.95, and the purchase of three bottles of Potable Aqua Emergency Drinking Water Germicidal Tablets at $4.95 apiece should enable a tent-city resident to drink anything from Platte River water to snow melting off highway overpasses without fear of catching giardia.

No self-respecting Colorado campsite would be complete without North Face gear. So John recommends the $179 North Face Goliath 3D sleeping bag to really tie the tent city together. The sarcophagus-shaped bag is built for large adults and made of warm, Polarguard 3D synthetic fill that continues to insulate even when wet. Add a $29.95 Thermorest all-purpose backcountry mattress to the setup and you've got the makings of a cozy night's sleep.

And that leaves five bucks -- just enough for each resident to have a carabiner keychain, on the off chance that he ever acquires keys.

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