So your tent has mesh vents...

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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AntiM
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So your tent has mesh vents...

Post by AntiM » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:19 am

Okay, so you have a tent with mesh vents in the top and no zipper closures. YOu can't afford anything else. What to do? What's worked and what sucked for you?

Our tent has two vents in the top, front and back. Very small REI backpacker tent. We fold and stuff a cheapo pressed fiber blanket under the poles, over the vents, once the tent is up (I said small). Then we place a larger quilted or padded comforter over that and sprinclamp it down to the poles. We have never had much dust in our tent; but it is only used for sleeping = no shoes in the tent. Don't know how well this would work with larger multi-room tents.

We've also discussed custom quilted panels, but that hasn't happened yet. And cover your bedding with a sheet or spread when not in use.

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Post by Orchid » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:51 am

We have a large dome tent that is 70% mesh, covered by a canvas fly. Nice for air ventalation, not so nice for keeping dust out. Last year we bought a 10x20 solar tarp and staked it down tight over the top of everything, and that seemed to do the trick. I don't think we had any more or less dust in our tent than the folks with solid structions.

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Post by Craftsmn » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:30 pm

I used nylon fabric I purchased from a fabric store. I hot glued it (along the edge) over the mesh vents and then peeled the nylon fabric off after Burningman. This worked really well.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:04 pm

Anything with mesh that won't close is not a tent.
This defeats the idea of using a fly for insulation in the cold and guess what?
It gets cold out there.
And they tend to leak, water, dust, whatever.
I like tents.

I barely neeeded heat in my Jansport dome.
I wish I could find another one.

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Post by AntiM » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:08 pm

We never use the rainfly at Burning Man, just the double blanket/quilt trick. It is under a carport.

I use mylarry as my heater.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:25 pm

You seem to make that work, with a fairly small mesh area and a windbreak.
But there is no excuse for them making tents like that in the first place.
I had a lot of dust come under the fly and the packing over the vent and into the tent when the wind was howling last year.
It's hard to escape it when it's coming in from the top.

I used a typical tent with a lot of mesh on it at a regional last year.
When it rained, it leaked like crazy and I had to put a tarp over the whole tent.
I've had tents that wouldn't leak in a flood.
They just don't want to bother making them.
Most people have never had a real tent these days.
Three season really means summer only.

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Post by AntiM » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:15 pm

My tent is 15 years old, and REI three season and cost an arm and a leg. A well-traveled tent, it went to Australia without us and had a great time in the outback. Small enough to pack on a Harley, and leakproof enough to stand up to torrential downpours in Japan. You get what you pay for.

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Post by gyre » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:48 pm

Very true.
My Jansport cost the equivalent of $1000 today.
Hell, with the recession, maybe more now.
Seven pounds with the heavy poles, four with the light ones.
I never had to consider room for it.
And it saved me carrying heavy bedding too.
Rated for 100 knots with the standard tiedowns.
25 years use when it was stolen.

The small one you brought last year was a good choice.
As good as any made under $250 these days.
A very small mesh opening.

But I remember many cheap four season tents available in the past.
I only remember one season tents being made for special uses like mountaineering then.

I still have the poles for my Jansport.

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Post by unjonharley » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:53 pm

My first year I tied a line over my hamock.. THen formed a tent out over it.. The tent was a vinyl/paper painter drop.. Cliped the end to keep the wind out.. I could draw the tent over me in the dust storms or push it back along the line to cool.. To hold the side shape I use the tac/tool bags.. Plan on doing it again this year inside the shade structure.. Keeps the dust down..

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Post by gyre » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:03 pm

unjonharley wrote:My first year I tied a line over my hamock.. THen formed a tent out over it.. The tent was a vinyl/paper painter drop.. Cliped the end to keep the wind out.. I could draw the tent over me in the dust storms or push it back along the line to cool.. To hold the side shape I use the tac/tool bags.. Plan on doing it again this year inside the shade structure.. Keeps the dust down..
You're one of those guys who gets lost in the woods with a paperclip and some twine, and builds a machine shop, aren't you?

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Post by MrMullen » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:52 pm

I suck it up. Dust is what makes Burningman, Burningman.
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Post by Bob » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:59 pm

unjonharley wrote:My first year I tied a line over my hamock.. THen formed a tent out over it..
Yeah, I've done similar, hanging a hammock from a A-frame of 1.5" x 10' aluminum pipe & covering w/ a motley collection of dropcloths & tarps. With a 4 ft windbreak fence around the camp, worked okay for me. Most of the dust drifts along only a foot or two above the lakebed.

And think of it this way -- if your tent/hammock/ugly-ass carport weren't there, the dust would still blow.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Post by ghoomba » Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:23 pm

I have a tent that has nice large mesh vents along the ceiling. Nice for keeping cool and perfect for letting the dust settle in. I used masking tape to completely seal the vents up. I applied it at home, packed the tent back into the bag and it was still in place when I set it up on the playa. Considering I was using the exact same tent for gear storage for our camp and didnt tape the vents for that one, I discovered that my taping job did wonders for keeping the dust out. I also went overboard and sewed some large scraps of fabric together that work like a giant rain fly and cover the tent all the way to the ground. I tossed that over the tent when I saw the whiteouts coming and I slept clean (by burning man standards) all week. The tape worked fine for the first little blow where I forgot the master cover(I was biking around the playa at the time) but the extreme measures really sealed the deal.

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Post by Oldguy » Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm

I tried cheap tents with mesh apex last year, towels over top under flex poles. It did not work. During duststorm, corner pegs held but strapping broke and the towels blew away. I repaired with overstich, sewing kit was handy. Cheap fix is garbagebag taped down on edges. Two pieces overlapping will let hotair out and a little powder in. Ducttape glue leaves residue when melted. Blue gaffers tape leaves less residue but holds less, needs to be replaced. You might try taping down 3 sides of a square piece or just sew it onto your cheap tent. I got larger, better made two room tents from Goodwill this year... no apex vents but zipper inner panels over windows, upper edges held by velcro. I'm going to blue tape interior zippers and top edge. Silver tarp over both tents leaving breezeway between them. Shade canopies on the sides of the "foyer". Large American flags on ouside side of canopies for side shade, white sheets over tent frames with "clotheslines". Old boyscout trick for corners is to tie a rock inside corner triangles to weigh down edges...less flapping. I will leave shoes in foyer, undress in first in room, and sleep in second "clean" room. The other tent will be for storage. I'll hang my shower bag from one of the canopies and use a number 3 galvanized wash tub as base, a couple pieces of 2x4s to stand on. Navy style is wetdown, stop flow, soap up, rinse off,stop flow. I'll use towels to sop up water and hang inside of "clotheslines" cooling tent sides and raising humidity. Wet towels will catch dust but i can just shake them out later. Never spray water inside small tents, water hits the sides making an instant sauna. I about killed myself last year doing this. It just made the heat worse. Spray yourself outside a closed space . Rain flys are too small and tend to blow away. Plant a large tarp over your tent. Bigger and heavier is the American Way. O-kay, there, I said my piece. 8)

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Post by Barbie » Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:15 pm

I have to say that my virgin year was the best shelter tent job I have ever built on the Playa. I had a Small 2 person tent with only a door no vents (I still have this what I call Bumble Bee tent 'cause its yellow and Black- its now my closet tent) and a plain blue tarp: set up tent and couldn't get tarp ALL the way UP.... (all the while the BOYS CAMP AKA BLACKIES BAR AND GRILL ARE LAUGHING AT ME!!! taking bets on how long I stayin', did I mention they call me Barbie for a reason)

sooo I made the tarp a wedge about 3 feet off the top of tent
put the car on the side that the sun came up on... My cooler and water were stored on either side. I was able to sleep in that year until 10-11 without any heat problems.
A couple years later I was lucky enough to get a spot under some other friends shelter. ( I was able to sleep in and take afternoon naps) They make theirs with silver heavy duty tarps 6 of them and 6 spreaders heavy cord interlaces them together to form a kinda COSTCO type carport- But bigger and more heavy duty. The whole front is open; they fit a big truck and wardrobe 4-6 tents and a kitchen area. When that Big STORM on... what was it wen or thur a couple years back hit and BIG CAMps came down and alot of people had to hold down stuff. Their camp held FAST.

Last year I had a little pickup truck with a metal frame on it, that I put Chicken wire around the metal frame. (some states like Washington want anything in the back of a truck covered up) Stuffed that back FULL-20 gallons of gas for an airplane and all... Put up tent (to high profile for playa) used Truck to secure on sunnyside and the inside of an old LARGE tents room dividers as my shade. (Using my best make a tent in the living room with your sister skills) Between truck and tent this little area is where I hung all my outfits from side of truck on chicken wire. And it was used as a bathing area also. I brought my handy warm up in the sun camp shower that also hung from Chicken wire. (be careful to leave enough room for cold water to be added to these- THEY GET REALLY HOT) And my newest find is a Plastic Bin I can sit in and have the shower rinse me and catch water I can then splash around in kinda like a bird bath. Use towels to soak up water and hang in sun. aaahhhh its very nice. Did I mention that I went a WEEK EARLY last year and had the Playa to myself (sooooo it seemed for a couple days). any way this worked very nicely...

In Fact one of my friends from Fern Camp was laughing at my camp from his side of the street on Tuesday, after he got his camp together. Asking me if I thought it was gonna HOLD. I said I already been there a week.
And was HOLDING FINE. Then went across the street to check on my camp.

THEN OUT OF NO WHERE CAME A BIG DUST DEVIL AND IT LANDED RIGHT ON HIS CAMP (I swear) Ripping up 3 foot rebar PICKING UP HIS TWO CARPORTS AND THROWING THEM ON THE GROUND. I ran and helped put his camp back together.... (and didn't say a word) a couple days later I couldn't help BUT TO REMIND HIM... BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DO AND SAY ON THE PLAYA ... we're livin' in a star and Karma thinks she is FUNNY!!!

Ohhh and about the vents I saw a girl last year that had pinned pieces of dark fabric on the inside of tent -making it darker and less dusty.
Or YOU CAN just become ONE with the DUST accept that its a part of you and that YOU LOVE IT.... :twisted: :D :wink:
If I were to wish ANYTHING I'd wish I were ME!!

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Post by AntiM » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:11 am

The trick to getting towels or covers or blankets to stay stuck to the exterior of your mesh can be tape, but we prefer spring clamps. We have dozens of them in all sizes, handy buggers.

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Post by Toolmaker » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:48 pm

I used this..

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=331603

Wasn't that roomy but sufficient to store stuff. I prefered to sleep out in the open or on a couch to be one with the dust so to speak.

When I had a tent that had one of those fly covered tops with a ton of mesh I wound up using GOOP or somesuch and tarp to seal it. If I had to prepare a tent for BM I would try to get a hold of the same material and experiment some with various methods and use destructive testing to find the best stuff. I would likely try hot glue, goop, etc before trying to stitch something thin like most tents use.

If found really in a pinch out there I guess someone could use a thick trashbag and some gaffers tape as long as the wind doesn't pick up to 60-70 as it sometimes does.

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What to do....hmmm.

Post by jcoffy » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:27 pm

Last time we went...(we obviously have a tent like this. We basically covered everything in the tent with a big blanket. When we got home at 5 in he morning to sleep we just took the blanket out and slept in our relatively dust free sleeping gear. It is Burning Man....and yes there will be dust. This helped keep it pretty minimum. We will probly try this again this year.

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Post by zkay » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:58 pm

AntiM wrote:The trick to getting towels or covers or blankets to stay stuck to the exterior of your mesh can be tape, but we prefer spring clamps. We have dozens of them in all sizes, handy buggers.
http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/naviga ... tem=382564

Is this how I should go about covering the roof of my cabin tent? I received a north pole vacation home tent for free, the problem is the roof is nearly entirely mesh. If I can simply spring clamp a bunch of sheets or what have you to the outside of the roof, I'd be content with that. The rainfly seems to cut down on the openness a lot, though not as much as I'd like.

Please advise,
-zkay

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closing the vents.

Post by jcoffy » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:04 pm

The rain fly is really deceiving. It looks like it will keep a lot of dust out but that playa dust gets everywhere. You could look into duct taping the vent or mesh panels with some tape and some sort of tarp. That should work well. and cover your stuff inside your tent. It really helps. Good luck.

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Post by mdmf007 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:27 am

spray it with expanding foam, and smooth out with a trowel, Isulates and seals!!!

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Post by gyre » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:19 am

What do you use as a release agent?

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Post by AntiM » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:01 am

We do not use the rainfly at all.

The reason I prefer spring clamps over duct tape to seal the mesh is that there is no sticky residue left on the tent with spring clamps. Spring clamps don't melt in the heat and are easy to rearrange. Note: a plain cotton sheet probably will let the dust through. At the very least you need flannel sheets for covers, or a cheap pressed fiber blanket works well, or quilted comforters rock. The quilt also insulates the tent. Cross-dress for less is your friend when it comes to cheap bedding.

Set up your tent now and try variations. See what you find simple to set up. Beat the hell out of it to simulate wind. Anything loose and flappy spells trouble. And bring a spare sheet to cover everything in the tent while you're out and about, just in case.

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Post by gyre » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:28 am

I thought you put the fly over the blankets?
Wouldn't it help, especially at night?

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Post by AntiM » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:38 am

I guess you could; just one more chore. Remember, we're under a carport.

I'll try to take pictures this year.

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Post by gyre » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:55 am

That carport won't keep cold out though.
I was always so impressed at how warm a few ounces of fabric could keep me.
I had to convince myself it was the fly doing it.
It took me a long time to realize the darker fly was helping block the sun in the daytime, even though it blocked most of the ventilation too.

My memory must be faulty about your fly.

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Post by AntiM » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:55 am

I like to sleep cold ... but just cold on my face and feet. The rest of me has blankets and quilts and mylarry, who generates heat.

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Post by TreatLightly » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:05 am

I like the idea of hot glue and nylon to seal up the mesh...

I'm also wondering about just how good this pesky powder dust is at getting into your stuff- should I be considering going to the pains of stuffing my bed into a big plastic garbage bag every morning, or would that be overkill?

Or should I just beat the playa to it and throw everything I own into a sandbox before I arrive?

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Post by mdmf007 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:10 pm

gyre wrote:What do you use as a release agent?
No release agent required - I thought you wanted to fill in all them little holes in the mesh.

Nope - I guarantee this method will make a mess, but still fill in them dust infiltrating holes once and for all.

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Post by mdmf007 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:11 pm

TreatLightly wrote:I like the idea of hot glue and nylon to seal up the mesh...

I'm also wondering about just how good this pesky powder dust is at getting into your stuff- should I be considering going to the pains of stuffing my bed into a big plastic garbage bag every morning, or would that be overkill?

Or should I just beat the playa to it and throw everything I own into a sandbox before I arrive?
No way is this overkill - Its smart. an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure, especially with the dust.

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