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 Post subject: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 9:17 am 
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
I have a small tent that has tape on the seams---or at least it did have. Now a lot of it is peeling off. Should I replace put sealer on the seams, or both. For now I just done the Red Green solution.

thx

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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 10:59 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
wotrock wrote:
I have a small tent that has tape on the seams---or at least it did have. Now a lot of it is peeling off. Should I replace put sealer on the seams, or both. For now I just done the Red Green solution.


I have no idea what is involved in applying new waterproof seam tape. Although I expect all of the flakey adhesive from the old tape has to come off before new tape will stick very well.

I resurrected an old tent using a DIY seam seal mix of 100% silicone and mineral spirits. That DIY mix was so inexpensive compared to store-bought seam seal (think $7 for 1.5 oz) and so easy to make (do make the little zip tie stirrer first!) and apply with a 1” foam brush that I seam sealed almost every tent and tarp we own. Even some newer one; I seam sealed the side without tape.

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/for ... eam-sealer

That DIY mix was easy to apply on all of the seams, inside and out. Rather than crawl around inside the tent seam sealing I just turned it inside out on a large shop table.

Skip using the talcum powder sprinkle, unless you make the DIY mix very silicone thick the seams will not stick together when the tent is packed away.

Bringing a favorite old tent back to life with newly sealed seams, new guy lines, new stakes and a DIY footprint was well worth the effort (Tyvek footprint since replaced with Visqueen).

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/for ... e-old-tent

I love having a properly sized and shaped (scalloped edges) footprint as a groundcloth, especially one patterned after a ($60. . . . .really) footprint, using tape instead of webbing and grommets for the pole ends. Kinda like the cost of manufactured seam seal vs the DIY version, $60 for a custom footprint, or $5 for one that works just as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 11:34 am 
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Yeah I'd got the silicone and spirits too. Have not done this yet myself but have watched a lot of videos on doing it. Don't just seal the seams - paint the whole thing. Toss the tent in the washing machine first on the delicate cycle.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 12:55 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Prospector16 wrote:
Yeah I'd got the silicone and spirits too. Have not done this yet myself but have watched a lot of videos on doing it. Don't just seal the seams - paint the whole thing. Toss the tent in the washing machine first on the delicate cycle.


I am unsure on both counts. A lot of the videos I have seen in which folks paint an entire tarp with that DIY mix are for waterproofing homemade tarps, some made of fabric without urethane coatings. Maybe do the entire bathtub floor or the entire rainfly if either of those water barriers is leaking apart from at the seams. The old tents and tarps I seam sealed needed attention only at the seams.

I saw mentions of “Just toss the tent in the washing machine first on the delicate cycle”. Some seemed more “I have never actually done this, but have heard” suggestions than actual “This worked for me” recommendations.

That might help remove old flakey residue from tape, but only if the tent were turned inside out in the washer, with the tent body netting further hazarded on the outside.

I can’t see any reason for that and can see some risks, especially to no-see-um netting and fragile zippers on lightweight tents, even on a delicate agitation cycle and no spin. With the caveat that we take good care of our gear, and don’t repack tents in storage wet or dirty.

I ran an alcohol wet rag across the seams first, just to take off any dirt or contaminates, and it did take some smutsch off, even on well cared for tents.

On a couple old getting-slightly-vomitous smelling urethane coated tents and tarps I did a Mirazyme bath, though after the seam sealing was complete, and then set the Mirazymed tent/tarp up to dry.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 1:18 pm 
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Yeah it could be that urethane and silicone don't mix - I admit I have not done that one yet myself but I have a couple of tents lined up to do it. I'll report back when I have.

I've put lots of tents through the washing machine - several of my own and all of our Scout tents. You have to waterproof them afterwards so don't do it very often. I've used the Nikwax stuff afterwards and in all cases it works great EXCEPT when the outer fly material was degraded. I've got 2 tents like that and those are the ones I want to silicone. In some cases I've used the nikwax spray, and in other cases I dumped a bottle of it into a canoe barrel and gave the tents a good dunk and stir in there. The spray and hand wiping works a bit better but the dunk works well too.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 4:41 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Prospector16 wrote:
Yeah it could be that urethane and silicone don't mix - I admit I have not done that one yet myself but I have a couple of tents lined up to do it. I'll report back when I have.


If you read either of the links above you will see that, yes, the DIY seam seal mix works fine on urethane coated nylon seams and, painted using a 1" brush, on the adjacent fabric and the larger areas on the bathtub floor corners.

Prospector16 wrote:
I've put lots of tents through the washing machine - several of my own and all of our Scout tents. You have to waterproof them afterwards so don't do it very often. I've used the Nikwax stuff afterwards and in all cases it works great EXCEPT when the outer fly material was degraded. I've got 2 tents like that and those are the ones I want to silicone. In some cases I've used the nikwax spray, and in other cases I dumped a bottle of it into a canoe barrel and gave the tents a good dunk and stir in there. The spray and hand wiping works a bit better but the dunk works well too.


If I am reading this correctly, after running a tent though the washing machine it is necessary to re-waterproof it???

The Eureka Alpine Meadows in the tent resurrection thread is 20 years old and has thousands of nights on it all over the country, from Canadian Shield to swamps to deserts to Atlantic beaches. Other than needing to seal the seams it was still going strong, including the fly and bathtub floor.

But then I have never put it in the washing machine. And never will.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 16th, 2018, 5:03 pm 
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I'm trying to remember if I ever tried my tent after being the washing machine without waterproofing it - I am pretty sure I did with the first tent I tried this with and that's how I came to that conclusion.

Glad to hear that about an Alpine Meadows - we just had one donated to the Scout troop in like new condition, but we have not tried it out yet.

So you've had that tent for 20 years and never had to re-waterproof it? That's pretty amazing. Our Scout tents had about 8 years of hard use before they started to absorb water and eventually leak. MEC Wanderer 4 about 10 year old model. So last summer we tossed them all in the washing machine and re-waterproofed them.

Not really a huge difference between delicate cycle on a front load machine, and hand washing in a canoe barrel. I would argue even that the washing machine is easier on it if you stir with a canoe paddle.

Not sure I'd put a tent in a top loader with an auger.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 17th, 2018, 2:30 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Prospector16 wrote:
Glad to hear that about an Alpine Meadows - we just had one donated to the Scout troop in like new condition, but we have not tried it out yet.


As economical A-frame tents go the Alpine Meadows was an improvement over the standard (not Outfitter version) Eureka Timberline. The long flexible center wand pulls the walls out, creating more useable headroom space inside the tent, and it performs better in rain and wind; the fly doesn’t get damp stuck to the tent wall further collapsing the interior space when the coated nylon fly damp sags.

Prospector16 wrote:
So you've had that tent for 20 years and never had to re-waterproof it? That's pretty amazing. Our Scout tents had about 8 years of hard use before they started to absorb water and eventually leak. MEC Wanderer 4 about 10 year old model. So last summer we tossed them all in the washing machine and re-waterproofed them.


We still have two of those Alpine Meadows, a two man and a four man, bought on the same day 20 years ago. Hell, until a few years ago we had even older Timberlines still going in loaner use.

The two-man Alpine Meadows has twice the number of nights on it as the four-man, and still gets used occasionally. The four-man not so much these days, and almost never in the last few years. None of us needs a 4-person tent (although one son prefers the much newer 3-person Sierra Designs on glamping trips, just for himself)

Guess which of those old Alpine Meadows tents is in better shape?

I think several things contribute to the longevity of some gear. Oddly, with tents and tarps, not-too-infrequent use probably helps. I know there is wear and tear on tents in use no matter how carefully a site selected, but I think that use wear is offset by having them out and set up, taut and unwrinkled, uncompressed and breathing, getting some sunshine (or rain).

Everything is put away clean and absolutely dry once home. Everytime, no exceptions. That can be a PITA.

We have two permanent drying lines that span the dehumidified gear room (which are really handy is it is still raining), and a half dozen eye bolts on the house walls or well spaced trees, with sized lines and mini-biners for quick connect (and take down) clotheslines. On a sunny day after a damp trip our clotheslines, deck rails and yard look like an REI exploded, damn near everything is hanging outside to dry.

Beyond that fully dry before packed away I am convinced that humidity in storage matters; our gear is stored in a humidity controlled room, which absolutely helps in our moist air locale. When the dehumidifier in that room died (for longer than I would have liked) there was a noticeable difference in the dampness our stored tents and tarps.

I do not tightly compress stuff in home storage. Sleeping bags are hung loose in a dedicated closet, and yeah, we have some really old sleeping bags. Like 35 years old and still used.

Our tarps are in compression bags or ridgeline sacks, which are expanded to max volume in storage, so the fabric isn’t tightly smushed together and suffering. That tight compression is storage seems eventual death to fabrics.

I have started attaching the pole bag to the outside of the tent bag while at home, which creates more “breathing” room inside the tent bag, some of which are pretty tight with everything stored inside. Attached so that the poles can not be forgotten, I stick them back in the tent bag when packing.

Last, maybe silly, I don’t actually know helps; I started saving the little silica gel packs that come with so many things. Those previously went in the trash, now they go in the tent and tarp bags. Gawd know my wife orders enough clothing on-line to keep us in new silica packs forever.

Last, last silly bit that I absolutely know helps. We have accumulated a lot of tents and tarps and sleeping bags and dedicated stuff/compression bags over the years, despite giving some away. My son grabbed what he thought was a lightweight sleeping bag from the closet for a solo summer trip. It was a brand new only-I-had-yet-seen-it 20F down bag. It was not 20F during his summer trip.

My wife and other son have grabbed the wrong tent for their adventures; not that it didn’t work to keep them dry, it just wasn’t the tent they intended to bring.

I bought a bunch of little key tags, the 1” plastic things with a clear window. Then I bought a bunch more. Typed up labels for every sleeping bag stuff sack (hung with the appropriate bag), tent bag, tarp bag, hammock bag, food bag, etc bag.

Just read the label and pull what you want/need off the shelf. Even the stuff bags in the food barrel, which is where that tagging practice started.

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/for ... f-bag-tags


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 17th, 2018, 2:40 pm 
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Wow one day I dream of having a big space to properly organize my gear. I've got an 8x8 shed stuffed to the rim with no possible way to properly organize stuff. One day maybe. Sigh.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 18th, 2018, 7:08 am 
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Thx, guys.

I have trouble finding odorless spirits at any reasonable price---cheaper to buy seam sealer. I can find 'low odor' spirits easier and cheaper but I don't know how much and how long that would smell. There was some mention of deck sealer in MM's refs. I was thinking of just using Thompsons Water Seal.

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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 18th, 2018, 7:24 am 
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
When I seam seal a tent with the same method Mike mentioned (Mineral Spirits and Clear GE Silicone II) I never notice any odors much past drying time. I do my seam sealing in the backyard most of the time when I know I will have a sunny afternoon to let the silicone cure.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 18th, 2018, 8:44 am 
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Petit.Conan wrote:
When I seam seal a tent with the same method Mike mentioned (Mineral Spirits and Clear GE Silicone II) I never notice any odors much past drying time.


The mineral spirits (Kleen Strip Mineral Spirits) I used is labeled as “odorless”, which is not exactly true, but as above there is no odor after the tent or tarp has been out in the sun drying for an hour. Much of the smell in the mix seems to be from the Silicone, and even store bought seam seal (the solvent in manufactured silicone seam seal is toluene) has some initial smell.

The mineral spirits ran $17 for a gallon can, but it also comes in quart sizes, maybe even pints. I always have mineral spirits in the shop for thinning and cleaning in any case, and just used what I had on hand.

I doubt I used more than a pint of mineral spirits total to seal the seams on almost every tent and tarp we own. Plus one caulk tube of 100% silicone.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 18th, 2018, 11:52 am 
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Location: Courtice Ont
When I first started sewing my own gear I also had a hard time finding the low-odour mineral spirits. I finally found some at Lowe's (Home Depot & CT near me don't carry it). For some reason we can't get odour-free in Canada even tried to order it and couldn't (maybe there's no market for it idk).

It's a good idea to get in touch with the tent manufacturer and see what they recommend. You'll have to use either the home solution (spirits & silicone) or you may have to buy SilNet. These two methods of sealing are not interchangeable so ask before you start your repairs.


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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2018, 7:26 am 
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I could not find any odorless in the stores and online it was quite expensive. I bought some Coglan sealer for about $10, which is about the same price as a liter of reg stinky spirits so I din't see any incentive to use the DIY stuff. I assume the small container of sealer will be enough for at least 2 tents.

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 Post subject: Re: Tent seams
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2018, 8:21 am 
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Location: Courtice Ont
I didn't even know Coglans sold that, I've always bought Silnet. They are definitely a company thats getting better outdoor gear. They used to only have low end stuff sold at CT. I've been using they're odour free and water proof bags for a couple of years now and I love them (best part is the price).

I'd be interested to know how the repairs work and more importantly how it holds up.


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