Saturday, September 01, 2007

Broken tentage

The past few days have flown by, as they always do when I have a few days off work. Mostly I've been slowly recovering from my holiday, thrown in with a few necessary errands.

While we were away the door zip on our canvas bell tent gave up the ghost. It's always been a bit tempermental, but after the heavy rain of the first weekend and the resulting dramatic shrinking of the canvas, it went from slightly dodgy to near unusable. Hence the tent is going to need a bit of attention before it gets used again.

Now, anyone who's ever priced up a real cotton canvas tent will know they are darned expensive and not at all of the disposable variety. Which is the reason why I intend to replace the zip with dutch lacing.

A trip out to Jackson's of Old Arley later and I have big eyelets all ready to fit. A rummage through my stash produced lightweight canvas which should do the trick for re-enforcing the door flap, making canvas tape loops and an underflap. I'm currently thinking I need to add a couple of inches to the flap so that the loops sit behind the eyelets when the tent door is closed and I'm veering towards tape loops since I think the resulting fastening will be more stable. Input from those who know about such things is of course welcome.

Also on the tent front, my modern dome is also on its last legs. The last time it was used, during the deluge that saw huge parts of the Midlands under water, Richard pointed out the poles have split again. After careful inspection, it looks like all of the poles have hairline fractures, plus the inner tent's ground sheet is wearing very thin across a wide area. The tent goes up inner first which makes it less than ideal in rain and since I've already replaced pole segments twice I think the time has come to buy a new one.

The dilemma here is of course, do I buy now at the end of season or wait until next year?

I have seen a tent I like at Go Outdoors, so now I'm deliberating on whether to go buy it or not. The price is OK and the discount reasonable, but not mind blowing... However, judging by how few tents were available at Old Arley if I leave it for much longer there may not be any tents to buy until the beginning of the year.

All of which means I may need to go back and buy it...


Richard said...

I went to the my local Camping Centre, and Outdoor centre and could not find anything I liked either to big a floor plan or too short in height.
So if I want to stand up I will have to go for at least a 4 man tent with a big porch.

On your lacing I do recommend a reasonable thick material or rope since the friction it generates holds things together without tieing I also suggest you eyelets are not to close together since this will amplify any small errors in setting out in fact the spacing on my tent seems ideal. I can measure the spacing if you want?

Julie said...

Yes please on measuring. Knowing how far apart your eyelets are and the doubled over length of your loops would be handy.

Also, which way do your loops fasten? So the are on the inside or outside of the tent once the flaps are closed?

I'm currently intending to use a doubled layer of lightweight canvas to reinforce the door flap and introduce an overlap into which the eyelets get set. The tape loops will go on a similar reinforcing panel which will be sat back slightly from the existing flap edge. Once the overlapping flap is added, this should sit in front of the loops so they can be pulled through the eyelets and close the tent.

So far, I've washed the canvas to remove the sizing and pre-shrink it. Once its dry, we'll treat it to make it more water repellant and mould proof. Then I'll be ready to start cutting...

Richard said...

From top of eyelet to top of eyelet is exactly 200mm.

The Canvas loops are 220-225mm long.

The loops are on the inside of the canvas so when closed from the inside the flap they are fixed covers the holes.

Photo will be sent via email

Esther said...

I've used rope to make lops and hand made tape. IE canvas doubled over with the raw edges sealed inside the two layers. As Richard says you do need to use something pretty strong, bought tape isn't strong enough. On the various tents we made we had to hand sew the tapes on or carefully hand crank the industrial machine as it gets pretty think. Feel free to come over and make use of the beast if it helps with the canvas sewing.

Julie said...

Thanks Esther, I may well take you up on that.

At the moment, the plan is to make tape from a lightweight canvas and to also reinforce the existing edges of the door flap.

I'm also going to need to add an overlap since at the moment the edges meet - all of which means there is a lot of canvas sewing and I don't think it will go through my machine. I have got my eye on Daves old handcranking Singer for this purpose, but need to get it out and see if it works first...

Frizbe said...

I've seen the new tent that you decided on, on richards blog and it looks great!