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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:19 pm 
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I recently had a rude awakening about the longevity of a commercial nylon backpacking tent. This one is a MSR Hubba, a lightweight one-person tent that I have had for quite a number of years, maybe more than 10? Always dried out before storing and kept on a shelf in the garage. It has not been used in a few years and I pulled it out in anticipation of using it soon. Unfortunately the fly had a white powdery dust on it as well as the urethane coating peeling away. The dust was not mildew but seemed to be part of the coating breaking down.

While the nylon tents are nice for fast and light requirements I have paused to consider what else is out there for PAW use. Canvas tents can still degrade due to UV but are supposed to last 15 or more years and there are lots of commercial offerings. Some sort of shade via a tarp is needed. Most plastic tarps die a stringy-flaky death from UV so to me that leaves canvas tarps.

I'll probably go back to look at some posts here and I've been poking around the interweb



https://www.canvascamp.us/us_en/blog


10'x12' tent that has lasted years of camping



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Tent living would be a temporary solution. I couldn't see living in one long term.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:05 pm 
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I would agree that in general a tent is something you live in while you build something (anything) more permanent. Even nomadic cultures typically resided in something more substantial.

The problems you describe are absolutely the fault of the coating, and most any PU coating will do that with enough time (and MSR doesn't have the best track record for the longest lasting coating) and that is why I strongly recommend a Silicone coated nylon instead.

I have worked for a canvas shop and repaired some very old canvas tents, and I have worked for a modern nylon tent company. In general I would still say a synthetic tent is far superior to a cotton one, less mold and mildew risk, less chance of dry rot, quicker drying times (moisture is always the enemy after UV) and far better strength to weight ratios (I would peg it at around 3x the strength going from cotton to nylon of equal weights).

The problem is typically 1.4-1.9 oz nylon is compared to 10-16 oz canvas. If you want a bomber tent, a heavier synthetic would be the way to go but they are less common. Some wall tent makers offer a partial synthetic option (Rayolite by montana canvas, tenttipi has a polycotton option I believe) But really a 500d cordura tent would still weigh less then most canvas ones.

I always recommend a sacrificial tarp if long-term UV exposure can't be avoided, I few large, thicker poly tarps would last a long time if stored a rotated properly.

I have an ongoing UV test in process with examples of most common tent fabrics, I'll try to wrap it up soon and post findings.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:50 pm 
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With a little mineral spirits and some 100% clear silicone calking you can repair and improve your tent! It's not difficult, and it takes about an hour to complete, and about 2 hours to dry in normal temperatures.

As for the rest. I agree with everyone the nylon tent is a temporary shelter. You may sleep in it for a week or two while you really build a good permanent/semi permanent shelter that can get you through a lot more. Especially in a PAW situation, would you want to live in a tent even a thick one? or would you rather live in a cabin, even a crude one... where you can stand up and potentially have separate rooms?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Halfapint wrote:
With a little mineral spirits and some 100% clear silicone calking you can repair and improve your tent! It's not difficult, and it takes about an hour to complete, and about 2 hours to dry in normal temperatures.

As for the rest. I agree with everyone the nylon tent is a temporary shelter. You may sleep in it for a week or two while you really build a good permanent/semi permanent shelter that can get you through a lot more. Especially in a PAW situation, would you want to live in a tent even a thick one? or would you rather live in a cabin, even a crude one... where you can stand up and potentially have separate rooms?



I don't see how silcone caulking can be used to re-coat the entire underside of the fly. Links?

Around here you'd have to be up in the few meagerly wooded forests to obtain timber to build a cabin.

Probably would be easier to live in an abandoned structure?

Tents are used for long term residences as evidenced by Yurts

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:33 pm 
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My parents had an old canvas tent that was from the 70's or early 80's I believe... it sucked to put it together and carry it. And drop cloths and rain tarps were a necessity. But it worked great and never had leaks, tears, or broken zippers. Lasted through their early marriage, my childhood, and as a lender tent up until maybe 3 years ago.

We actually gave it to my neighbor and he turned it into his man cave and lived in it for maybe 3 months when he had it out with his live-in girlfriend. He had an extension cord to a radio and a cooler of beer and was happy as can be all summer.

So I think canvas is viable, although not ideal as mentioned. I think of the old west tents with the wooden frames and floors. Or like an outfitter cabin. I think it can work for a few months.

Edit: Looked like this. It was an old Hillary beige monstrosity... but it worked

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teotwaki wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
With a little mineral spirits and some 100% clear silicone calking you can repair and improve your tent! It's not difficult, and it takes about an hour to complete, and about 2 hours to dry in normal temperatures.

As for the rest. I agree with everyone the nylon tent is a temporary shelter. You may sleep in it for a week or two while you really build a good permanent/semi permanent shelter that can get you through a lot more. Especially in a PAW situation, would you want to live in a tent even a thick one? or would you rather live in a cabin, even a crude one... where you can stand up and potentially have separate rooms?



I don't see how silcone caulking can be used to re-coat the entire underside of the fly. Links?

Around here you'd have to be up in the few meagerly wooded forests to obtain timber to build a cabin.

Probably would be easier to live in an abandoned structure?

Tents are used for long term residences as evidenced by Yurts

Mix mineral spirits and clear silicone caulk in a bucket and paint it on whatever fabric you want to waterproof. But you're pretty much destroying any fire-retardant properties the fabric might have.

Yurts have a more solid interior structure than most regular tents. Traditional Mongolian yurts are typically set up in one spot for months at a time, not moved daily.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 pm 
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Towanda wrote:
Mix mineral spirits and clear silicone caulk in a bucket and paint it on whatever fabric you want to waterproof. But you're pretty much destroying any fire-retardant properties the fabric might have.

Yurts have a more solid interior structure than most regular tents. Traditional Mongolian yurts are typically set up in one spot for months at a time, not moved daily.


Exactly this, but I've only cooked 1 time in a tent and it was with a very controlled flame and was in a large vestibule.

But yes, I use a quart paint can. fill up about 3/4 of the way with mineral spirits, add in probably 3oz worth of calking, let sit, shake, let sit, shake, then paint on. It works great, is a better than the coating it actually gets into the fabric. I don't believe you can put to much in, once the mineral spirits can only (blanking on technical term here) soak up so much silicone.

I believe Mongolian yurts were made of leather, which if tanned properly is MUCH better than canvas or nylon

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:47 pm 
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http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/produc ... 7_1000.jpg

9x14 and over 7 ft tall. $120 SYD at HD, prics vary a bit by location.

Better than a canvas wall tent, good for years in the sun.

Bigger than many apts in Tokyo or London. No head tho.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:24 pm 
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TacAir wrote:
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/78/789590ae-d3ae-4521-893d-cef75456eff7_1000.jpg
9x14 and over 7 ft tall. $120 SYD at HD, prics vary a bit by location. Better than a canvas wall tent, good for years in the sun.
Bigger than many apts in Tokyo or London. No head tho.

What does 'SYD' mean?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:09 pm 
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MPMalloy wrote:
TacAir wrote:
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/78/789590ae-d3ae-4521-893d-cef75456eff7_1000.jpg
9x14 and over 7 ft tall. $120 SYD at HD, prics vary a bit by location. Better than a canvas wall tent, good for years in the sun.
Bigger than many apts in Tokyo or London. No head tho.

What does 'SYD' mean?


Sink Yer Dollars....

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:36 pm 
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TacAir wrote:
MPMalloy wrote:
TacAir wrote:
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/78/789590ae-d3ae-4521-893d-cef75456eff7_1000.jpg9x14 and over 7 ft tall. $120 SYD at HD, prics vary a bit by location. Better than a canvas wall tent, good for years in the sun. Bigger than many apts in Tokyo or London. No head tho.
What does 'SYD' mean?

Sink Yer Dollars....
Thank you.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:56 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:
Tents are used for long term residences as evidenced by Yurts



Actually yurts are my exhibit A of my original statement of how nomadic cultures lived in things more substantial then tents. Yurts are built from massive layers of felt, which have more insulative properties and far more mass to resist UV. I believe most Native American and Scandinavian Tipis where made from either bark or hides, and where generally considered consumables.


I think TacAir is totally right about the carport, probably need to be more mindful of condensation and general moisture discipline, but I'm sure all the upsides are worth it. The second Home Depot option that always comes up is Hexiyurt, theoretically quite durable and more insulation then most options.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:26 am 
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http://www.appropedia.org/Welcome_to_Appropedia This site came up during a search for Hexayurts. It seemed relevant & interesting. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:40 pm 
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Here is a video of my main canvas tent



Some pics

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Image

Image

It is a 216 sq foot tent, from Reliable tent and tipi you can find it here https://www.reliabletent.com/products-page/specialty-tents/glacier-tent/ They also make a lot of other great tents. They do quality work and if your looking for canvas tents I would suggest checking them out.

I really like their Baker style lean-to tent, and have been considering ordering one of those. It is a great style that has multiple options as you can wall in the awning space with the optional sides and front, or have it open, or a combo of the two.

Not a Reliable tent and tipi version but this is an example of a combo set up
Image

It is a versatile tent style that can adapt to conditions and your needs.

I also have a smaller canvas tent, one of the surplus canvas Dutch Army tents. Part of the reason I got it, was it actually stays decently dark inside, enabling the possibility to sleep during the day if needed (it is not exactly a black out tent, but much closer than nylon tents. As well as the canvas is much longer lasting than Nylon tents, I had this in mind when buying it as I had discovered what you wrote this op about back then. I got mine used in 2003 and it is still going strong and quite usable. I was planning to get more than one as they actually zip together to become connected tents. But never got around to it.

Not my pics or video, but thought I would share some so you could see what these tents look like.
Image



Survival Russia did a good winter 1st impression review for the desert camo version


Another option you might consider is a canvas tarp. Which you can use as a tarp as well as learn to make into a tent

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I would go synthetic and make a shelter if longer term requirements are needed though this is probably the worst case scenario after multiple failures of planning and/or bad circumstance has occurred.

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Woods Walker wrote:
I would go synthetic and make a shelter if longer term requirements are needed though this is probably the worst case scenario after multiple failures of planning and/or bad circumstance has occurred.
What are you currently using?

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I wanted to post a quick Thank You to all of the ZS members in this thread for the great information and discussion.

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On a general per weigh and per folded dimensions, synthetics like coated nylon are going to outperform natural materials. Even the marine equipment has switched to polyester where canvas has traditionally been used, and marine environments are not known for being particularly gentle.

EDIT: Marine textile chart from Sailrite. Note that cotton duck (tightly woven canvas) is actually one of the worst performers. Polyester and acrylic based fabrics are the best, uncoated nylon flat out sucks.

http://www.sailrite.com/PDF/Outdoor%20F ... 0Chart.pdf


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Close_enough wrote:
On a general per weigh and per folded dimensions, synthetics like coated nylon are going to outperform natural materials. Even the marine equipment has switched to polyester where canvas has traditionally been used, and marine environments are not known for being particularly gentle.

EDIT: Marine textile chart from Sailrite. Note that cotton duck (tightly woven canvas) is actually one of the worst performers. Polyester and acrylic based fabrics are the best, uncoated nylon flat out sucks.

http://www.sailrite.com/PDF/Outdoor%20F ... 0Chart.pdf


Found some good references on dacron sail life: http://www.cruisingworld.com/how-long-do-sails-last

Excerpts:

UV causes woven polyester materials (Dacron®) to gradually lose tear strength. (structural life)

....a reasonably well-treated woven polyester sail that is maintained regularly will last 3500-4000 hours

A typical weekend cruising sailor who sails his boat two weekends a month, plus two weeks of cruising during a five-month season will accumulate roughly 240 hours per year. Those sails will last for 16 years! At the other extreme, a person living aboard their boat and cruising the Caribbean extensively will use their sails as many as 12 hours per day, 12 days per month, 12 months a year for an average of 1,728 hours a year. This sailor will need to replace sails every 2.5 years.

...shape life degrades more rapidly than structural life. It depends on harshness of use, but even when treated well, sails can only be expected to retain good shape for half to two-thirds of the structural life of a sail – that’s roughly 1,700 to 2,700 hours of use.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:16 pm 
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another interesting bit: Canvas is also called Duck, from the Dutch word “doek”.

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teotwaki wrote:
A typical weekend cruising sailor who sails his boat two weekends a month, plus two weeks of cruising during a five-month season will accumulate roughly 240 hours per year. Those sails will last for 16 years! At the other extreme, a person living aboard their boat and cruising the Caribbean extensively will use their sails as many as 12 hours per day, 12 days per month, 12 months a year for an average of 1,728 hours a year. This sailor will need to replace sails every 2.5 years.

...shape life degrades more rapidly than structural life. It depends on harshness of use, but even when treated well, sails can only be expected to retain good shape for half to two-thirds of the structural life of a sail – that’s roughly 1,700 to 2,700 hours of use.


So, a sailcloth tent that's left up in the tropics only has a usable life expectancy of 15-18 months. I'd be curious about the performance in northern latitudes where UV is less of a factor.

Since we are talking about canvas tents, I'm assuming that it's a basecamp type setup and not a lite and fast backpacking tent. There is no way I would want to live inside my Zoid2 backpacking tent. But, my parents old 8 person, 100+lb, vinyl coated canvas cabin tent was bigger than my first apartment. Less moldy too.


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Close_enough wrote:
So, a sailcloth tent that's left up in the tropics only has a usable life expectancy of 15-18 months. I'd be curious about the performance in northern latitudes where UV is less of a factor.

Since we are talking about canvas tents, I'm assuming that it's a basecamp type setup and not a lite and fast backpacking tent. There is no way I would want to live inside my Zoid2 backpacking tent. But, my parents old 8 person, 100+lb, vinyl coated canvas cabin tent was bigger than my first apartment. Less moldy too.


I am framing this as a base camp situation and not a fast and lite life on the run, living out of an INCH Bag. Without pack animals you would need an army to haul around an old style "army" tent made of canvas so I am looking at shelter for months in place rather than a few nights on the run.

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teotwaki wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
With a little mineral spirits and some 100% clear silicone calking you can repair and improve your tent! It's not difficult, and it takes about an hour to complete, and about 2 hours to dry in normal temperatures.

As for the rest. I agree with everyone the nylon tent is a temporary shelter. You may sleep in it for a week or two while you really build a good permanent/semi permanent shelter that can get you through a lot more. Especially in a PAW situation, would you want to live in a tent even a thick one? or would you rather live in a cabin, even a crude one... where you can stand up and potentially have separate rooms?



I don't see how silcone caulking can be used to re-coat the entire underside of the fly. Links?

Around here you'd have to be up in the few meagerly wooded forests to obtain timber to build a cabin.

Probably would be easier to live in an abandoned structure?

Tents are used for long term residences as evidenced by Yurts

Image

The native Americans didn't need no cabin ( or forests ) .
Image

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