I bought some Seam Grip + FC to reseal the seams in my North Face Vector 22 tent and fly (its an older tent 15 years old about). This was before I knew there was silicone based and polyurethane based treatments for fabrics. Well I found a description of the Vector 22 https://www.rei.com/product/732584/the-north-face-vector-22-tent.
In the description of the rainfly, it says it is "Silicone-/polyurethane-coated". Does this mean it is silicone on the outershell and polyurethane coated on the inside of the rainfly? For the tent, it just says that the floor is "coated nylon taffeta" without mentioning what it is coated with. So will my Seam Grip only work for sure on the inside of the rainfly? I'm so confused.
I've reached out to NorthFace for an answer (my guess is they will just tell me to buy a new tent lol), but wanted to see what people had to say here. Need some help soon because I leave for my trip this Sunday and I know for a fact it isnt rain resistent because I got soaked a few years back.
I also bought some Nikwax to coat the tent and rainfly with, but from my understanding, the seams is where the water gets in, so I"m not sure if just using Nikwax is going to help. And it is scheduled to rain at least the first 3 days of my trip! Any help would be appreciated!
When you talk to TNF, be sure to tell them the age of your tent. There is the "old" North Face and the "new" North Face - I think they carried over the product names, but the build may very well be different now. A tent as old as yours may take the polyurethane based treatment because it was built from different materials than the current version of the tent (which is what is described in your link.)
Also, if you got soaked "a few years back," the situation won't have improved with time. The seams may not only leak, but the fly material may be wearing out which increases the chance of a tear under tension - and no amount of waterproofing treatment can help that. The advice to simply get a new tent might not be all that bad.
Thanks for the replies. I couldnt wait any longer to take action as I'm leaving Sunday. I checked the inside of the tent and the tape around the seam in the tub is completely intact all the way around, so I did not do anything inside the tent. On the outside of the tent and the reverse of the fly, I put seam sealer around the seams. It soaked in to the seam, so I think it was the correct seam sealer.
Today I applied Nikwax to the tub of the tent and the front of the fly. I also checked my ground sheet for water repellency and that was repelling water quite well (I dont think I've ever used it). If I remember correctly, the last time I backpacked and got soaked, first off I did not have a ground sheet and the bottom of the tent was not repelling water and got soaked. This was during a constant downpour overnight for 7 hours straight. So I think with using a ground sheet and having the tub waterproofed with Nikwax (may even give it a 2nd coat on the bottom), I think I should be good.
I'll come back and let everyone how it went with the products I used. It is definitely going to rain the first 2-3 days of my trip, so that should give a good idea if everything is working.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
If you have a backyard and a water hose, you could test it out to make sure it holds out water. I'd hate for you to get yourself in an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation out there with a leaky tent.
The journey is more important than the destination.
Yeah I checked it when I applied the second coat to the bottom of the tent the water seemed to be beading up and not soaking the bottom of the tent. Also applied the waterproofing to my pack cover and am using a garbage bag as a liner to put my clothes/tent in to make sure it stays dry in my pack.
As you can tell, I did not leave Sunday as my trip was delayed by a few days, mainly to avoid the 2 1/2 days of constant rain. So it looks like I might luck out and miss any rain, although there is a small chance towards the end of my trip.
Long story short, I should have heeded your advice and just bought a new tent. It poured for 8 hours straight one night, and the Nikwax did very little to improve the waterproofness of my tent. The fly just seemed to soak up the water and because the water then weighed down the fly, it would come in contact with my tent. The water would then come in through the sides. Well actually, it was coming up from the ground and dripping in through the top, and the back of the tent (due to poor design imo) as well. Not as bad as the last rainstorm experience, but that is probably because it stopped raining after 8 hours lol.
So bottom line my tent is now in the trash. And I had to bail from my trip on day 6 of 10 because I wasnt getting enough sleep. I got 17 hours of sleep in 5 nights. I just woke up at home from sleeping for 12 hours straight. My sleeping system has never been comfortable, but I guess with my age, my level of comfort required has increased. So I've already trashed my pillow and my pad. My Western Mountaineering bag will be difficult to part with because it cost so much but I think I'll try to sell it even with a small tear in the bag.
Positives from the trip include 3 great views. However, I'm not sure backpacking is going to be for me. Aside from all the problems mentioned, I just wasnt enjoying myself. Spending 5 days trudging up and down mountains for 3 good views (none of which required to be backpacked to) isnt worth it IMO, at least for me. My fitness level wasnt what it should have been either, although I did hit my mileage each day, with one of them being a 16 mile day. So at this point I'm not really sure if I'll even invest in new equipment and might just stick with day hiking.
Sounds like your trip was a qualified success: you learned the tent is shot, and you learned that you aren't really thrilled about backpacking the way you're doing it. Those are really important things to know.
I'm 71, and I used to backpack aggressively - snow, single-digit temps, rugged terrain (or what passes for rugged east of the Mississippi), high mileage days - while carrying a heavy (25-pound-plus) load. The last four or five years, however, I've reined a lot of that in, so that I can be more comfortable and extend the number of years I can do this.
As a result, I now limit myself to 8 miles a day (give or take a mile), to more moderate terrain, no snow camping or camping in the rain (unless trip length means I can't avoid it), and to nighttime lows above freezing (32F.) This not only results in less stress and strain, but also affects the amount and type of gear I carry.
Until last month, I only carried about 14 pounds for a two-night warm-weather trip (and that included a liter of water and two days' food.) While that sounds ultralight-ish, I used a 3-inch thick insulated air mattress so I'd sleep better. I also carried a sub-two-pound ultralight pack - which I exchanged last month for a more traditional 3-pound pack, simply because I was finding my shoulders were tired at the end of the day. I also went from an 8-ounce single-pot kitchen to a nearly-one-pound integrated cook system because I was tired of eating from a bag if I wanted to have tea with my meal. Now I'm carrying 17 pounds for that same trip; I'm still comfortable on the trail (the heavier pack's suspension is more robust, so the load actually "feels" lighter and there's no shoulder stiffness at the end of the day.) I'm more comfortable in camp, so I'm sleeping better, and longer (another decision was not to force myself to be on the trail 15 minutes after sunrise.)
A change in style might be in order if you decide you like to backpack and want to continue. And, if you decide that day hiking is what give you the most pleasure, that's great, too - enjoy yourself!
I agree with Glenn again (Glenn's a smart guy). Get some sleep and then reflect on the good and the bad from your trip. Plan your future trips align with your new found backpacking values. I'm with you on comfort. I'm middle aged and fat. I can't do the milleage a lot of trip reports on the internet report. But there still are a lot of trips that I get to views not available to day hikers!
I've lightened up my gear but I have comfort needs younger skinnier people leave behind. I need a nice thick, wide mattress (Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX Sleeping reg/wide Pad) and a good pillow (large thermarest compressible pillow). I bring crocs so my toes can stretch while in camp and I can quickly slip them on for late night restroom breaks. My pack is able to structurally handle the load of my gear.
What I don't bring (that I may have in the past) is high end camera equipment, binoculars, and lots of entertainment options (books and games). I actively think about if I really need an item before I bring it. I try to bring the amount of food I will eat (not less nor do I bring emergency food besides perhaps a snack or two). As I've become older I've become more comfortable in the wilderness and pack less fears. I bring what I need and use.
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