Forum Index > Gear Talk > Can well-used tents be restored, or recycled?
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Luc
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Luc
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PostTue Mar 21, 2023 3:44 pm 
I have 2 MSR Hubba tents that have seen a lot of use. One is the OG Hubba and the other is the newer Hubba NX. The OG has some patches on the fly, some holes in the mesh, and the flooring lamination (sil coating?) is flaking off. The newer one has the seam sealant starting to flake off. Of course I'd like to recoup some $ and sell them, or donate (lots of options, I know). But first I wanted to check if wear like this, particularly for the older one, is beyond refurbishment, and if there are ways to recycle them. Maybe I or someone else could use the material? They are/were really great tents and I've stood by them for like....20 years cumulatively, and the current versions are pretty pricey. If a refurbishing wasn't too much, I might go that route and keep them.

GNGSTR
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Mar 21, 2023 4:08 pm 
My first backpacking tent was a lightly used Mountain Hardwear Skyledge2 tent which I didn't use much because of it's weight. So it mostly sat in my attic and when I took it on a short trip a couple years ago the rain fly leaked pretty bad. I sprayed it with waterproof aerosol spray but it didn't work. I plan to use just the tent body with a tarp over it, saves me a pound or so too. I like the main body as it spacious and mostly screen and I like that it has a door on each side and is free standing.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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BigBrunyon
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PostWed Mar 22, 2023 11:05 pm 
It is well known that Rick Bowers found a tent one time and restored it.

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JVesquire
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PostFri Apr 07, 2023 11:35 am 
Seam sealing is pretty easy if that's all it is. I've had a MH tent for about 20 years that I've seam sealed a few times and it is going strong. If zippers are busting and cleaning them with a toothbrush isn't helping, throw it away. Annie Getchel wrote a good book about repairing gear that is still somewhat relevant if you can find it.

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Randito
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PostFri Apr 07, 2023 1:08 pm 
If the waterproof coating is flaking off the floor, you may have a waterproof floor again by getting a light plastic painter's drop cloth and lining the floor on the inside with that. It is usually a good idea to trim it so there isn't excess material and to use bits of duct tape to attach it to the top of the old floor material. For a rainfly that is no longer water tight -- you could try sealing the side opposite the old coating. I've used GE Silicone II Kitchen and Bath caulking thinned with mineral spirits until is thin enough to paint on with a paint brush. Wiping the fabric with denatured alcohol and letting it evaporate before painting on the thinned silicone. I've used this on the seat of my "skiing in the rain" ski pants to keep my butt dry while lift skiing on 40F and raining days at Snoqualmie Pass. I think such measures can be used to squeeze some more usage out for activities like car camping and maybe canoe/kayak camping. The extra coating adds weight. The other thing to consider is how much UV exposure have the tents had during usage and storage. UV exposure and time both weaken the fabrics and make them more easily torn. So you might not want to rely on them in strong winds.

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Strider518
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PostMon Apr 17, 2023 7:10 am 
Another problem that can plague old tents is the smell. I had a beloved North Face Mountaineer tent from 1973. I took good care of it, but over the years it developed a smell that I can only describe as vomit. I tried various concoctions that I soaked it in to remove the smell no avail. I finally had to stop using it. Now, in the off season, I store my tents loosely in apple boxes from the supermarket. This way they get a little air.

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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Apr 17, 2023 9:21 am 
The smell is deterioration of the urethane coating smells like cat pee. Washing usually removes the coating as does bleach and harsh cleaners. MSR gave us a new fly for our old Hubba Hubba.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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nomadthekidyoga
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PostMon Jul 17, 2023 2:12 pm 
You've had some amazing adventures with those MSR Hubba tents, no doubt. While the wear and tear might seem like a lot, there's still hope for refurbishment if you're up for it. Patching up the OG Hubba, fixing the mesh, and reapplying some seam sealant to the newer one could totally bring them back to life. If not, recycling is a rad option too, and someone else might find creative ways to use the materials.

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RumiDude
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PostTue Jul 18, 2023 1:55 am 
My experience with trying to rehab a tent is that it is not worth the effort. Most tents will delaminate as well as suffer from ozone and sun damage. The strength and waterproof integrity can not be restored. Rumi

"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."

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Bowregard
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PostTue Jul 18, 2023 9:15 am 
In general I am with Rumi on this one. I have restored two tents: 1. Old North Face Pebble 2p I bought for $5 in a garage sale. It was in pretty good condition so I just seam-sealed it and sprayed on a DWC. Only reason I bought the tent was for the lightweight aluminum poles that just happened to fit my 1978 Sierra 3p. 2. 1978 Sierra 3 person that got only a few uses and was in storage until 2014. The waterproofing was sloughing off but the tent had seen very little sunlight so I washed and brushed off the existing waterproofing, seamsealed it, added a spray-on DWC, replaced the Fiberglass tent poles with the two from Pebble and one that my daughters found (a bit long but cut down it fit perfect). End result was 2 reasonable weight tents that my daughters could take backpacking but to be honest the only reason I did it was to make sure if there was a lesson to be learned on what happens to a tent if you put it away wet and leave it did NOT happen to a brand-new lightweight tent ($$$$). That lesson never really came to pass but by the time they bought their own modern tents they knew better. It worked out but if it was for me I never would have gone through the trouble.

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Brucester
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PostWed Jul 19, 2023 12:48 pm 
I had a TarpTent Virga that I inquired about having them silwash. There's no guarantee and all gear has a lifespan. Sometimes it's time to let stuff go! LOVED that tent as it was given to me by my friend Yogi. PCT Handbook Yogi smile.gif I did what she does, I donating it! It had an odor after I hadn't fully aired it out after a trip. I couldn't remedy it even with PineSol? The odor had something to do with it not being used as much and it had lost most of it's water repellancy. The zipper had been replaced multiple times. It's fun trying to repair gear but in the end it usually gets donated.

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JPH
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PostThu Jul 20, 2023 10:10 am 
Harvest any usable parts for DIY projects and toss the fabric that's past its usable lifespan.

RumiDude
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oldwild
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PostSun Jul 23, 2023 3:30 pm 
I reached out to people at work for "dead" tents and received several. I use the material for making kites and carry bags. I'm going to try using the poles on my next kite. there are lots of possibilities for the cloth.

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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Jul 23, 2023 4:28 pm 
In my experience when the fly smells like cat pee it is the smell of death, back in the day MSR would replace the for free, but I think that boat has sailed.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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