Nora and Jeff’s $26/night, patch-of-dirt Airbnb rental is a four-song drive from the Big Bend National Park entrance in Terlingua, Texas. The “comanche camp,” an archipelago of shacks varying in size, age and construction materials sits at the base of medium-sized hills and rock formations. Behind it lie dirt lots and makeshift parking for bring-your-own-tent (BYOT) campers, these “Roadrunner flats” extending into dunes. The more luxurious accommodations — “authentic tipi tents” — line the borders of the property, from the single-camper Lizard Lounge Tipi Tent to the modest Raven’s Roost Tipi Tent to the Horned Owl Tipi Tent on the easternmost hill.

At night, the clustering of cement bricks topped by sheets of metal at the entrance is illuminated only by flickering Christmas lights that border the sole welcome sign: “Wifi-tents call ………” Hidden from view until one is half a mile away, the establishment respects the desert blackness and dim moonlight.

The host, Jeff, a middle-aged and sun-roasted Clint Eastwood with exactly half of a dusty blond beard, approached our Hyundai Elantra as we pulled into the BYOT area. A calloused hand and elaborately inked arm shook mine.

“The restroom facilities are right down yond’r by the Break Room. Set yourselves up wherever you’d like. There oughta be a nice flat area between the adobe walls tee-pee tent and the Tan-juur-een dream tent. Text me if ya need anything.”

“And the Wi-Fi?”

“Try the Break Room.”

Balancing Clint Eastwood junior on her hip, the dreadlocked Nora directed us to a centrally located building.

The Break Room is a patched-up shack precariously held upright by desert magic: the years of dry heat and weathering that somehow weld even construction materials together. A shoddy roof of sheaths of discarded metal is insulated with miscellaneous bits of wool and cloth that drip from the frame and reach for the heads of campers as they walk in, seeking electrical outlets and instant coffee. Camping supplies are provided exclusively by donations and laid out on a foldable table. The most recent offerings include firewood and lighter fluid, Jif’s extra crunchy peanut butter, Everclear and disposable utensils strewn between sandy coffee machines and a stained microwave.

Fellow comanche campers were diverse. Our neighbors for the first night included an older group in a white van bearing the seal of Municipal Court of San Angelo, along with an SUV of newly certified teachers (early 20s) who merrily recounted their youth (late teens) and the scandalous happenings that consumed the San Angelo High School class of ’13: Tommy’s having knocked up two senior girls — that diptard. Then there was Dylan, the cargo-pant enthusiast/entrepreneur there on a solo trip. Foregoing the debt that goes with a college degree, Dylan was on the third leg of his cross-country journey for inspiration as a prospective marketing intern for Vans. And the Texas A&M couple: happily providing PDA at outlets five and six and boasting witticisms on their oversized Kappa Delta and Delta Tau (“dump a delta”) shirts.

Though the Wi-Fi promise was never realized, the aptly named break room provided a break. Our borrowed patch of dirt was loyal to the desert ambiance: a musky, hot Tangerine dream with a general griminess that only enhanced the barren beauty of southwestern Texas. Lack of basic necessities enforced an unspoken code among comanche campers, one of vigilance for one another’s possessions and a generous exchange of provisions. At 7:49 p.m., as the sun sank beneath Santa Elena Canyon and strips of coral clouds streamed the cerulean sky, the other online reviews seemed accurate. This is an Airbnb that can be described by “peace” and “tranquility” without sarcasm.