Tent - door view
Illustration of silnylon waterproofness
during a rainstorm
(from the inside looking out)
Made by customer Steph Fox from the United Kingdom. She emailed the following
I'm afraid my camera packed up along the West Highland Way (short but attractive
multi-day trail in Scotland) so what I have is mostly fuzzy.
As far as the design goes, here's the good:
- That basic 'rainbow' shape appears to be extremely wind-resistant, I never had so much
as a flap out of that fly the whole trip. (That said, there were a few windy nights but no
gale force ones.)
- The heavy coated Oxford makes a wonderful tent floor; I left my
Thermarest at home and took one of those cheap aluminium-backed plastic pads with me, and
that combination worked just fine. So the weight pays for itself, during the summer months
- The overhang above the door worked well, in that I could sit inside and cook outside
without getting wet, even in heavy rain.
- The 3-way door opening (zip at an angle) also worked well, I could open the entire
front/side of the tent or two-thirds or one-third, no door ties needed because the basic
'skewed octagon' means all the bits you might want to open can just fold back and be
attached to the next peg along.
- The grey silnylon gives a lot of diffused light inside the tent and
makes it feel much bigger than it is!
- Because the floor was sewn in, I didn't need a bag for the tent - I
just had to roll it up with the floor on the outside and tie up the
bundle with a strip of silnylon, which saved a lot of messing about.
Now for the bad:
- The whole thing of sewing the groundsheet into the bell-ends of the tent was a seriously
bad idea, and if someone wanted to have a sewn-in floor on a single-skin tent I'd
recommend sewing a few inches of no-see-um directly to the tent hem (against the ground)
and then the groundsheet fabric to the no-see-um. If you want/need bathtub an inner tent's
by far the easiest and most reliable way to go. That said, I managed to minimize leakage
by pitching very carefully, and didn't get wet (other than through condensation) at any
point throughout the 10 days/nights on the trail. But the section at the back, where I'd
followed the no-see-um-at-hem routine, never leaked at all, regardless
of pitch. (See 'silnylon' pic.)
- When sewing no-see-um, you have to be over-conscientious and always make a double row of
ultra-tiny stitching. I left tiny gaps where the peg tabs are, and also in the corners
around the back of the tent, and came to regret it the moment the midges rose (they do
this in their millions, literally, in the Scottish Highlands).
- I should have put air vents into the covered area beneath the
overhang, both sides, and didn't. This was a major disaster, it meant there was heavy
condensation most nights and I had to wipe down the inside of the tent and allow it to dry
before packing. I never got to break camp at a sane time of day!
- 10.5 feet of arched pole is *just* big enough for one small person. My sleeping bag is
average size, ie just over 6 feet long, and I'm not really sure how it stayed dry both
- Silnylon dries in a completely different way to PU-coated ripstop. Iwouldn't use the two
together in the same tent again, for that reason.
- I tried to cut a curve into the arch at the outset, and this was
defintely a bad move. It made the sewing far more difficult than it
needed to be, and it also meant the tent sides weren't entirely
- I suspect that the corner pegs should be level with the pole ends
and not form an angle, and that this by itself will allow for straight
lines on the arch.
So, first experiment over, and a fairly mixed bag - my tent-making is definitely not at
the stage where I'd boast about it just yet. And
yeah, I'm going to do it all over again, I have the bug now. I wake up in the middle of
the night wondering whether it would be better to put the door at the pole end and how
much longer the arch would need to be for that to work well, etc etc etc. Plus I'm itching
to get my hands on your foliage green silnylon even though I know I need flame-proof more
than I need camouflage. I'll probably end up making two tents for the same pole... when I
get the pole right...