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#135337 - 06/20/10 08:16 PM Have I destroyed my tent?
master4g Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 5
Hello. I have never been backpacking before but I am looking to get started. I have accumulated some gear here and there from various sources.

Yesterday I bought 2 Sierra Designs Single person ultralight backpacking tents. Both were in good condition but I thought I might as well wash them. So I took them in the shower with me and then put them in a bucket with a little Tide. Then today, I noticed a layer of the tent flaking off. I think it happened when I wrung the tent to rid it of water.

I have no idea what it was meant for, but my guess is that it is some sort of wax to make it more waterproof. Look at photos below.
-What is it for? Is the tent still good without it?
-Do I really need it (I don't specifically plan on camping in the rain, if that is what it is for)
-Should I peel it off or keep whatever is left?
-Is there a way to reapply this layer?

I really appreciate any help I can get. Thank You


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#135338 - 06/20/10 08:55 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: master4g]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Well what you have I beleive is the sodium Phosphate in tide took the coated silicone water repelant off the fabric.? I am not sure of the coating but I am almost positive this happened as I did the same mistake on Dads old Wilderness Experience pack. AKA Solo in the old days
I am not sure ther is a cure but will be interesting to find out.

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#135356 - 06/21/10 02:40 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: master4g]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I'd guess that isn't silicon coating - silicone coated nylon is not going to flake that way. Think it's polyurethane.

From here, two excerpts that might be useful:

26. How do I wash my tent? Can I put my tent in a washing machine?

NO! All tents must be hand washed. Washing machines put a terrible strain on stitching and can rip your tent in short order. To wash your tent fill a bucket with warm soapy water (no detergents please). Set up the tent. Take a sponge and gently clean all areas of the tent inside and out. Rinse the tent by lightly sprinkling it with a hose until rinsed. Let it air dry and be sure to stake it down. To clean the fly lay it on the ground and repeat cleaning procedure above. After finishing one side flip it over and do the other side. Rinse and air dry to finish....

35. The waterproof (urethane) coating of my old tent is coming off. Can I recoat it?

You could, but it is a lot of work. By the time the coating comes off of a tent, the tent is usually in its advanced years (10-15) and maybe ready to retire. However, if you can't bear to let your old musty friend die, it is possible to recoat the tent. Most tents have the urethane coating on the under side of the fly and the inside of the body. First, the surface must be cleaned with a light soap solution (see above) and dried. Then all the loose urethane must be removed. Then, and only then, can you apply a recoat. Follow all directions on the product carefully. Whatever you apply will not be as good as when the tent was new as it is only a surface coat and the original was sprayed on under pressure. Good luck.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#135357 - 06/21/10 02:49 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6788
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree with Lori--that's polyurethane. It's what makes the tent waterproof. It's obviously a waterproof coating, and most silnylon is impregnated, rather than coated, with silicone. Most standard tent manufacturers (such as Sierra Designs) use polyurethane coated nylon. Without the coating, the tent will leak like a sieve.

IMHO, you have a choice--either the procedure Lori quotes or the garbage can.

I have this suspicion that the tents were rather aged and ready to delaminate when you got them. The washing just hastened the process.


Edited by OregonMouse (06/21/10 02:51 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#135359 - 06/21/10 03:21 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: OregonMouse]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I had a tent fly do exactly the same thing. The "age" of a tent depends on its use, not actual age. Mine had spent 30+ days at high altitude (Mt. McKinley). Ultraviolet rays really deteriorate the tent fly. You said you did not care if it is waterproof. I would just use it for now. A heavy dew would still cause small drips. Take a sponge to wipe up the drips.

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#135363 - 06/21/10 05:56 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: master4g]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Yep, polyurethane coming off.

Do you need it? Yeah, that's the point. What is the point of a tent that is not waterproof? If you don't need a waterproof tent, don't carry a tent at all. Carry a bug net or nothing.
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#135364 - 06/21/10 06:12 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: finallyME]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3261
Loc: Portland, OR
I think what most of the answers have been tip-toeing around is saying straight out that, yes, you have effectively ruined the tent, if the photos are telling the truth. When you see the polyurethane coating falling off in huge scrofulous sheets like that, there is no hope left. eek

About all you can do now is pretend it doesn't matter.

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#135365 - 06/21/10 06:30 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By aimless
I think what most of the answers have been tip-toeing around is saying straight out that, yes, you have effectively ruined the tent, if the photos are telling the truth. When you see the polyurethane coating falling off in huge scrofulous sheets like that, there is no hope left. eek

About all you can do now is pretend it doesn't matter.


I dunno, I thought posting instructions on recoating was a pretty clear indicator of ruined tent coating.

Any tent that is not waterproof is not a tent - it's a pre-tents. crazy

If you are completely confident in your weatherman, just take the inner and use it as a bugnet. Or sleep out on the ground. If you are like me hiking in areas where weather changes often regardless of the weatherman's reassurances, you will want a waterproof tent.

smile

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#135369 - 06/21/10 09:20 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: lori]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
POlurithane it must be . I just wish I would have known before I rueined dads wilderness Experience pack. He passed away two years ago.

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#135380 - 06/22/10 09:28 AM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: lori]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By lori

Any tent that is not waterproof is not a tent - it's a pre-tents. crazy


lol lol lol lol lol
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#135414 - 06/22/10 09:16 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: finallyME]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1010
Loc: Australia
Master4g
This is a product that may fix your problem:
http://www.mcnett.com/Tent-Sure-Tent-Floor-Sealant-P169.aspx
scrub off the flaky bits before use.
It may or may not work
it may or may not cause cancer/world peace an outbreak of common sense and or other nasty events...
(IE : no experience with it but for $10 is worth a shot since your fly is cactus as it is...)
Franco

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#135461 - 06/24/10 03:12 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: master4g]
Claus Offline
member

Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 56
Loc: Central Iowa
Couldn't you just use the GE Silicone II Clear Sealer and mineral spirits mix to seal the whole tent(i.e. rain fly)?
_________________________
Please feel free to disregard my opinion.
http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com

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#135465 - 06/24/10 04:05 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: Claus]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6788
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Silicone based products are not compatible with polyurethane coated nylon. As I said before, it's either recoating with polyurethane or the garbage can.

Note that most "silnylon" is impregnated with silicone rather than coated.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#135517 - 06/25/10 06:46 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: OregonMouse]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
The coating on my old SD Flashlight did the same thing-just from age, I guess. I gave it away to someone here. If it is just the fly, you could make a new one using the old one as a template, otherwise, try the recoat. Once the coating starts to peel off, you'd need to remove it completely before trying a recoat. If it is the floor, as happened with mine, it will be useless if the ground is wet. Pressure from anything on the floor, including you, will cause water to seep in through the fabric if the ground is wet.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#135522 - 06/25/10 09:55 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: Claus]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
The rain-fly on my SD lightyear started peeling they way yours has. I simply used the old rain-fly as a pattern for a new silnylon fly. I used the old clips and reinforcements on the new fly. The new fly worked quite well and the silnylon took about 10 oz off of the original weight. And, I think making the new fly was easier than would have been the job of removing all of the old polyurethane coating.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#135946 - 07/07/10 07:06 PM Re: Have I destroyed my tent? [Re: Pika]
master4g Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 5
Thanks everyone. Luckily I bought two tents so I will stick with the other one for now.

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