I have an REI Nitelite tent from about 1995. And an MSR Hubba Hubba from about 2006. Making a family etc... has kept us off the trail since about 2009. Recently we've decided the kids are big enough to start overnighting so I checked the tents. The REI tent's seams are peeling/dry. The MSR tent's fly is all sticky on the underside. Apparently it's a "known issue" with the "modern techniques and materials to decrease weight". They won't replace under warranty.
I can repair the seams on the REI tent. I can buy a new fly from MSR (about $120), or get a new tent (about $100-150). I've found some new ones that reviews say are as good as the big names.
The question is a bit more time sensitive because I'm going on a Girl Scout trip next month and we will need 3 tents soon anyway. But the weather is still kinda crappy here in PA so drying a repair in the sun isn't an option.
So....Should I put the effort into the 20+ year tent hoping nothing else will go bad, spend the money on the replacement fly on the 13 year old tent hoping that it'll continue to be a good tent, or buy a new one.
My answer would depend on the weather you are expecting on your trip. If it doesn't look bad, you might chance it with the older tents. But a full night of rain in a leaky tent is an absolute guarantee of disaster. '
Have you checked ebay to see if you can find a used rain fly? That might be cheaper than buying new!
haha unfortunately the fly problem is a problem for everybody so there are used tents but no flies.
I have no idea what the weather will be like. It's usually pretty decent here by now but we still have snow. I'm praying it'll be warmish and dry. It's been a while and the body isn't quite so used so ready to take the ground anymore. I think, at least, I'll be getting myself a new sleeping mat. My 3/4 thermarest isn't going to cut it.
The"...known issue" with the "modern techniques and materials to decrease weight" is just B.S. Urethane coated nylon has always had that problem, known as hydrolysis, in which the urethane coating absorbs moisture from the atmosphere (or from being stored wet) and becomes sticky. I've lost several tents and some bulk fabric as a result. The North Face, to their credit, replaced one of them, back in the '80s. The replacement eventually succumbed to the same problem.
The new Hubba Hubba claims "Xtreme Shield™ waterproof coating keeps you dry, resists fabric stickiness from hydrolysis and lasts up to 3 times longer than standard waterproof coatings"
I notice that Ripstop By The Roll sells a urethane coated ripstop nylon that uses a "non-hydrolyzing, polyether base" but I don't know which new tents use it.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead
Normally I would say putting $120 into an MSR product would be worth it compared to $150 for a generic product, but tents have lifespans. If the rain fly is sticky, the floor is not far behind. Rain seeping through your ceiling is bad... next to that is having water seep up through your floor. The two functions of a tent are to stay dry and keep the bugs out. Your MSR tent most likely (even with a new fly) will fail at the first and being 20 years old probably has more than a couple holes that make it less effective against the second.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree that tents that old should be replaced--they are not worth repairing. Urethane coated nylon is hopeless once it starts deteriorating.
That goes for both tents. If the newer urethane coatings last longer as advertised, you may get a longer life out of them, particularly if you dry them thoroughly before storage and don't leave them in storage for years.
Edited by OregonMouse (03/11/1912:19 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey