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SwitchbackFisher
Boot buster



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Boot buster
PostThu Oct 03, 2019 10:57 pm 
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Ok bear with me, as this thread topic is going to be somewhat broad and bring up several questions. First I would like to say when I bought this tent about 5 years ago I did not expect it to last as long as it did with how much I use it. It's a cheap Eureka Spitfire 1, and I'm afraid it may be a ticking time bomb at this point. Earlier this Summer I noticed when camping in the wet conditions the floor of my tent will become saturated for a lack of better words.


This moisture is not a huge deal as I use a pad of course, but I can see moisture on the bottom of the pad after use now as well from tent floor when used in wet conditions.

In a 1 night trip this week I noticed a pole had a small stress fracture and had been warped in the end a bit.


I will be the first to admit I am cheap and just upgraded my sleeping bag and my stove, and really do not want to Shell out a bunch of money for a new tent unless necessary. ( I actually like this tent) the pole does concern me though, and I'd hate to have it snap on a big trip. Anyone have any experience with any of these signs of wear and is there anything I can do to help extend the life of this tent? Last question is in case I do need to upgrade my tent finally anyone have any recommendations? I'd like to stay under a 300 range and well under if possible. Thanks

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Ski
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PostThu Oct 03, 2019 11:32 pm 
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no idea what the problems are with yours, but:

MSR's repair shop had brand new 3-season tents for $300 a pop last time I was down there. super lightweight model. can't recall the model name. (they're down at 130 S Dakota St, Seattle, WA 98134)

the last two tents I purchased were from other members here on nwhikers. both were excellent deals. check the "trading post" forum - or post a "WTB" on there.

also check (believe it or not) Craigslist in the "sporting" listings. people buy fancy-schmantzy gear, then decide that camping/backpacking is not for them and dump it cheap.
I've picked up a few packs dirt cheap on there.

YMMV

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RandyHiker
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Joined: 27 Jul 2008
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PostThu Oct 03, 2019 11:56 pm 
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If the big issue is that the floor is no longer waterproof -- an old skool fix is to line the floor with a thin plastic painter's drop cloth.  A 0.7 mil 9x12 drop cloth at HD is $2 and weights very little.   A few pieces of duct tape will secure it in the corners and along the edges.    It should last several trips before developing any holes.

I would wrap the ends of the cracking pole with Tenacious Tape or even duct tape to slow the growth of the crack.
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moonspots
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 5:20 am 
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SwitchbackFisher wrote:
...the pole does concern me though, and I'd hate to have it snap on a big trip. Anyone have any experience with any of these signs of wear and is there anything I can do to help extend the life of this tent?


That little crack is going to continue to lengthen, and at some point, the end of the pole will just open up like a banana peel. Here are some ideas you may try to stop it's progress.

1) very carefully, drill a very small (1/32" or so) about 1/8 beyond the end of the crack. This gives the crack a place to stop. Then in order to continue, it'll have to "re-start" and not just continue to fracture the metal...if that makes sense.

2) get a small hose clamp (size used on rubber fuel line), and tighten it around the end of the pole, above the crack. This is assuming that the pole doesn't go through a fabric channel, but is "in the clear" when setup. I'm not familiar with this tent, so I don't know if this is the way it is or no.

If the pole does go through a channel in the fabric (so that a clamp won't fit), then the tenatious tape (or gorilla tape) idea might be a better choice, to reinforce the structure of the end of the pole, for a while anyway.

My last idea, if the pole does fit through a channel in the tent fabric, is to take some small steel wire and wrap it around the crack. Start by laying it parallel to the pole with the tail away from the end, tightly wrap it around the pole back on itself toward the tail for 3/4" or so, then twist both ends together tightly. Now wrap the wire with tape.

Anyway, that's what I would try if it were me. Good luck, and happy trails!

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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Schenk
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Joined: 16 Apr 2012
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 8:49 am 
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moonspots wrote:
Now wrap the wire with tape.

or heat shrink tubing

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Windstorm
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 9:09 am 
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Would it make sense to apply new waterproofing to the tent floor? I haven't done it before, but I recall a friend doing that to their scout troop's tents once.

I also have this tent. It's been a year since I pulled it out, but I think my poles were also a bit warped at the ends, although I didn't notice any fractures (maybe I should look more closely next time I set it up). I thought the warped bit was intentional to help the poles slide together more easily, but I could be wrong.
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Ski
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 10:20 am 
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Schenk wrote:
"...heat shrink tubing..."

That would be my suggestion as well.
My OCD would also compel me to spread a very thin layer of 5-minute epoxy over the wrapped wire, allow it to dry, and then put the heat-shrink tubing on, using a hair dryer or heat gun (not a flame) to shrink it.

(Make sure no epoxy gets inside the tube.)

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RandyHiker
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 11:55 am 
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Windstorm wrote:
Would it make sense to apply new waterproofing to the tent floor? I haven't done it before, but I recall a friend doing that to their scout troop's tents once.

And how did that work out?

From what I've observed with older tent floors is they start leaking when the coating starts to delaminate from the fabric.  Applying new coating over coating that is peeling seems ineffective.
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Windstorm
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 12:01 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Windstorm wrote:
Would it make sense to apply new waterproofing to the tent floor? I haven't done it before, but I recall a friend doing that to their scout troop's tents once.

And how did that work out?

From what I've observed with older tent floors is they start leaking when the coating starts to delaminate from the fabric.  Applying new coating over coating that is peeling seems ineffective.

I'm actually not sure how well it worked. I agree that new coating over peeling coating doesn't seem like it would work very well. Maybe you could scrub off the peeling part of the coating before you apply the new coating? (Although that sounds like an awful lot of work.)
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robertjoy
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Nice solo tent.
It looks like the Sierra Designs Lightyear CD that I am selling.

Tent is in great condition, no leaks or damage. Included: full set of tent stakes, plastic footprint, optional 3rd arch which improves performance in snowy conditions or rainy night sag.
$80 plus actual shipping fees.  in Portland (503-858-9818)

https://www.rei.com/product/718455/sierra-designs-light-year-cd-tent

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Adohrn
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 1:00 pm 
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The spitfire 1 is around $125 new so your fighting a loosing battle here.   Its actually a reasonable  tent at around 3 pounds complete, but they had to cut corners to get into that price range. 

https://tentpoletechnologies.com/ For a replacement

Start using a plastic ground cloth like Randyhiker suggests should solve most of the water penetration.   Looks like you have been running without any ground cloth and the damage has been done.   I have never been happy with my repairs once the PU layer start to peel so plus 2 or 3 on that.  I believe it is possible to remove the old layer, but from what I remember it looked like a lot of work.  My memory is hazy though.
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Songs2
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PostFri Oct 04, 2019 2:03 pm 
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To OP,
Have you tried Eureka site for replacement parts?
(It has parts for my 40-y-o Timberline tent.)

Also, I have sprayed leaking tent floors and tubs with water repellent, to good effect.
The mostly empty can says Tectron, so I'll assume that is what I used (smile). Last spray saw me through 5 rainy nights, including a howling storm with pink lightning, in Canadian Rockies, with no leakage.
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moonspots
Happy Curmudgeon



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Happy Curmudgeon
PostFri Oct 04, 2019 5:26 pm 
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Ski wrote:
Schenk wrote:
"...heat shrink tubing..."

That would be my suggestion as well.

I agree. Especially if you can find some with the heat sensitive "glue" inside, as used on RF and electrical connectors.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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SwitchbackFisher
Boot buster



Joined: 24 Feb 2018
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Boot buster
PostFri Oct 04, 2019 7:39 pm 
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Wow a lot of really great ideas here, I will try to reach out see if they have replacement poles, and in the meantime try the shrink tubing and re apply a waterproof coating in the floor I think too see how it goes. Might also try drilling the small hole to stop the fracture.

It really was a great budget option to get into backpacking and has served me well and gotten a ton of use out of a tent that's barely over $100.

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Grannyhiker
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PostSat Oct 05, 2019 11:11 am 
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Since all the "fixes" suggested here are temporary,  I suggest it's time to start saving for a newer tent.  Hopefully the fixes will last another year or two and you'll have enough by the time the "fixes" are done for!

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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