1. The Floor
Why is the flooring so important in a Tent? The flooring in your tent has to be one of the strongest components as the floor itself is in constant contact with objects that want to damage it. The floor deals with the following:
• People constantly walking in, on and around it
• Water running onto it & pooling underneath it
• The ground itself is the floors worst enemy as it is constantly working against the floor
• When in transit you want the floor to be in contact with the bag so it can protect the inner tent and fly whilst travelling
Bucket flooring is the best style of flooring as the heavier duty flooring comes up and away from the ground providing more protection.
Floor construction can consist of PE (Polyethylene – Tarp material) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). The most common of the materials is a PE floor which can vary in durability depending on the weave of the material. A 14×14 weave is more durable then a 10×10 as the weave is tighter. The Polyester flooring can vary in durability depending on the level of PU (polyurethane) coating applied (3000mm PU, 5000mm PU etc) and the PVC is the most heavy duty and resistant against theelements but it is physically heavier.
2. The Fly
The Fly of the tent gets a lot of attention as you automatically relate the fly to protecting you from the elements such as wind & rain. The waterproofing
level of the tent will generally be a rating along the lines of 2000mm or 3000mm etc if it is a polyester/ nylon material. Canvas construction however will just
be considered waterproof after soaking the material before use so the Canvas material and stitching swells and creates a waterproof seal. You may have to reapply waterproofing to the canvas years after original purchase.
The waterproof level refers to a water column height in millimeters. For example, 3000mm would relate to a water column height of 3 metre’s/9.8feet of water. The fabric is placed at the bottom of the water column and then water is added to a certain height. The fabric must be able to withstand any water from coming through the fabric for more than one minute before the waterproof rating can be allocated.
A PU (polyurethane) coating can be applied to the fly and is one of the strongest and most abrasion-resistant kinds of coating. PU optimizes the water proof level
and strength while still being lightweight. With a canvas tent it is strongly recommended that it is “Weathered” before use. This will allow
the canvas to shrink & tighten and the stitching to swell becoming waterproof.
The Process is:
1. Set up the tent.
2. Remove anything that you don’t want to get wet from within the tent if anything is there.
3. Thoroughly wet down from head to toe with a rain like spray using a hose or if lucky enough to have rain at the time then set and forget.
4. Allow to dry.
With the above process it is recommended to do this a few times to really get the best performance out of the canvas.
3. Inner Tent
The Inner Tent generally is constructed of polyester.
The key features to an Inner tent are for it to be lightweight and breathable to ensure weight is kept to a minimum and ventilation to a maximum.
The ventilation can be increased by having more No-see-um mesh as walls rather then polyester.
The ventilation systems objective is to create as much airflow to run through the tent as possible. This is achieved by having vents at the base of the tent just above the bucket flooring and in the roof of the tent. They allow the air to flow freely in and out of the tent. The windows and doors can be constructed of “No-see-um-mesh” and the inner tent can also be constructed of mesh material rather then polyester to allow for even more ventilation.
Having a gap between the Fly and Inner Tent will also allow for more ventilation.
5. Seam Sealing
You will find on your Fly that it will be seam sealed.
Basically along the stitching line of the two materials there will be a sticky tape look-a-like material that seals the stitching holes to ensure that your fly doesn’t leak through the holes. There can also be heat welded seams which you will find more often then not connecting
the inner tent to the floor.
6. Pole System
You will find several different pole systems within the tent range. They could be constructed from the following:
• Aluminium – The obvious benefit to aluminium poles or aluminium pole system is that they are lightweight. The downfall to aluminium is that it is more expensive. These poles will be generally in lightweight hiking tents or Rapid pitch touring tents.
• Steel – Steel poles or steel pole systems are going to be more heavy duty compared to the other poles on the market and they can be galvanised giving them more resistance to the elements. These poles will be generally in large Canvas cabin tents.
• Fibreglass – Fibreglass poles are flexible, lightweight and come in sections so they are easily replaced if a section was to brake. Fibreglass pole systems have become more user friendly over time as the can be coloured poles to match coloured tabs and pole attachment points to make working out what pole goes where a lot easier. The extra features added to fibreglass poles are Durawrap which is an additional fibreglass weave that intersects to create more strength and then the plastic coated fibreglass poles which go that extra step in strength.
7. Guy Ropes
Guy ropes are a very important part for the fly to be able to do its job and keep you dry. The Guy ropes when pegged out on the correct angle ensure that they fly is nice and taught for water to run off and so it doesn’t make contact with the inner tent. If the Fly and Inner tent maintain regular contact moisture can be drawn through the Fly on into the Inner tent.
Denier – This can be seen in a tents description of the material used for example a tent 75D. Denier is referring to the density of the fibres. For example 15 denier is finer then 30 denier so the higher the Denier the denser and stronger the material.
Thread count – This can be seen in a tents description of the material used for example a tent 185T. It is measured by counting the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric or one square centimeter.
Ounce – Canvas is generally listed in two different types of weights. One being Oz (Ounce) and the other being GSM (Grams per Square Metre). The weight refers to the mass of the raw fabric per square yard (36” x 36”), after weaving but before proofing.
• 8oz = 272gsm
• 10oz = 339gsm
• 12oz = 407gsm
• 14oz = 475gsm
• 16oz = 543gsm
PE (Polyethylene) – PE refers to Polyethylene which is the material used for the construction of the floor. PE can have different ratings such as:
• HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – Tensile Strength giving it the ability to be drawn out or stretched.
• MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene) – Has good shock and cracking resistance.
• LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) – Able to be deformed without losing toughness, pliable and not brittle.
PU (Polyurethane) – PU refers to Polyurethane and this is a coating that is applied to a material to make it waterproof. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – PVC refers to Polyvinyl Chloride which is the material used for the construction of the floor.
Overhead/Waterproof rating – Refers to the amount of water the fly material can withstand before leaking. This is measured through using a piece of the fly material at the base of a column of water for more then a minute.
Weave – The higher the weave count the tighter and more durable the material will be.
Ripstop – Additional material added in a grid like pattern to add strength and durability by withstanding tears and rips.
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