Parachute Shade Structure?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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JasonFL
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Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by JasonFL » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:24 am

Hey folks -

Does anyone have any experience using an old round parachute as a tent/shade structure? This is NOT to provide a sleeping habitat, just a center and shade structure.

I'm thinking I could make a pretty sturdy tent with a center pole, some rope and rebar... but I know enough to ask about what I haven't done before. Just going off an idea that this might have been something I've seen in a World War II movie.
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theCryptofishist
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:32 am

The consensus seems to be that parachutes catch the wind and don't really work shade-wise, because they let the uv light in and then trap the heat.
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:45 am

Plus they shread!
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JasonFL
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by JasonFL » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:47 am

Great insight Crypto! Saves me the time of trying to figure it out! Know of any creative ideas for large shade structures without spending a bazillion dollars? Do you have a good thread or link to share?
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FIGJAM
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:50 am

"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by tamarakay » Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:03 pm

Monkeyhut, with 90% shade cloth
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by dragonpilot » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:39 pm

I will confirm that the one year that we had a parachute shade structure that it just seemed very hot under it during the heat of the day. That said, it was 2007 and IIRC that was a particularly hot Burn.

Still, it took a small team of roustabouts and humongo support poles and guy lines to set it up and stabilize it. One big blow ripped it and bent a 2" support pipe! There are better way to do shade....ala Figjam's link.
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by MacGlenver » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:43 pm

Agreed. The camp next to us in 2011 used a parachute on a geo-dome made of PVC. I went out to piss at 4am and saw their parachute had ripped off its tiedowns and was blowing straight up in the air above their dome. Pretty surreal, as I was still half asleep and it was very dark. I partly think they didnt build the thing very well, but it sure was an epic failure. Their dome was a pile of rubble for the rest of the burn. Come to think of it... I probably should have helped them :)
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JasonFL
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by JasonFL » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:48 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I like the monkey-hut idea. If anyone has any pictures of camps or structures, it's always great to get a glimpse of reality on the playa.I've already seen some great ideas posted around. Will be flying into L.A. from FL and will have a day and a half to figure out something. Plenty of time, right?
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by TomServo » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:11 pm

parachutes catch the wind
all FLAT objects catch the wind..and tarps are less porous than parachutes If it's over a dome structure, it won't have extra tags and less FLAT surfaces to catch the wind.

Shade, however, is poor.
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..

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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by Sic Pup » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:16 pm

JasonFL wrote:I like the monkey-hut idea. If anyone has any pictures of camps or structures, it's always great to get a glimpse of reality on the playa.
Sic Pup's dog hut on Kindergarten in 2011 (standard MH with shade flap and silver tarps):


Image

Image

Image

A campmate in 2010 flew in from Hawaii and gathered what he needed in a day at the big box (I'm not sure whether he came in with bungees of used zipties - I think the latter)

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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by MyDearFriend » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:34 am

Argyre Patras made a beautifully simple and sturdy parachute shade structure:

Image

Full description here:

http://www.cieux.com/bm/argyre.html


I have always wanted to try this. The flex in the design makes it adapt to the prevailing wind automatically, minute by minute, very zen.


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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by DoctorIknow » Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:55 pm

In an old thread, someone asked about a cloth parachute. It was a good question I wanted to respond to today as this sale, from $100 down to $40, but the thread is closed. (BTW...sale ends in two days)

I would think the UV filtering would have to be better than what I've experienced at BM with silk type 'chutes which although they provide shade, I've gotten really burned in a one hour yoga workout.

This one COULD be cloth. It weights 8 pounds, where I see Major Surplus sells a silk 32' that weighs less than a pound.

Being made in China could be a very good thing in this case.
http://www.majorsurplus.com/White-Chine ... c998c56b47
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by forrest Gump » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:42 am

We purchased a 30 foot parachute for our 30 foot dome last year then our camp architect (every camp should have one very handy)informed me that because of the arc of the dome we need a parachute larger than 30 foot. We purchased a huge cargo parachute (I really do mean huge I think it is used for tanks or something) which worked out good. So I thought why not make a star tent out of the other one? We struggled for two days just could not make it work. The large parachute worked great for the dome all real parachutes have a hole in the center so they float straight down since hot air rises it lets much of the hot air out.

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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by Papa Bear » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:42 pm

I suggest using it as an inner ceiling in the dome, if you don't already have something else in that role. Parachutes let a lot of light and heat through, and a second layer with an air gap in between makes a dramatic difference, even when that second layer is another chute.

If you really want a second structure, you could take the approach the HeeBeeGeeBee Healers use - a tall center pole in the center, and shorter pole with a "T" at the top, placed in a circle smaller than the chute underneath (with the chute tied to the tops of the poles and Guy lines extending out from each to hold tension. You'd need to anchor the hell out of it and constantly recheck them, though - and even there you may want an inner ceiling.

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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by danibel » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:08 pm

Here is a picture for ya.

These are our pyramids. Completely custom built. Tensile structures. One steel pole up the middle and then straps that come down and are held with special staples made just this purpose. The straps pull the shade cloth out. Luckily we have a few metal workers in our camp that built the pole and feeties and designed the structures. There was a catastrophic failure with a pole a few years ago and so the kinks have been worked out. One side of the structure has 70% shade cloth, the other 80%. We usually set up the five side as the "kitchen" side and the four as the "living room." It takes at least 5 people to put these up and take them down, so not a job for the weak or weary.

For ease of setup and cost - monkey huts are great. I have a flat roof EMT shade that I park my van under. Some people buy multiple costco steel leg carports and put those together to form a bigger space.
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Re: Parachute Shade Structure?

Post by Ed Banks » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:16 am

I wish I had some better photos of our structure, I can only find the two below. Hopefully they'll convey what I put together.

I used a 30' cargo chute, built into a tensegrity style structure. For the uprights, I used 3/4" schedule 40 pipe with 1" flat washers welded up top for eyelets to mount the ratchet straps to and also hang hammocks from. There is a 15' center pole, that was used to hang a flag from and give it a nice dome shaped look. I used ~2' lengths of 1/2" round bar (not rebar) for anchors, bent into candy canes, and 500# ratchet straps from harbor freight to keep everything taught. I also used a bunch of paracord to tie the bottom lip of the parachute around to all of my ground anchor points, floofing out the skirt, so to speak. Can't forget about the 6' pinch bar I brought also, to remove all the candy canes.

This structure worked extremely well, the sun was able to poke through the openings, but it wasn't enough to bother me or anyone who sat under it. I recall being able to sleep under it until around 2pm later in the week, the day it was rather windy. If I was to go this route again, I'd be beef up the uprights to 1" or 1.25" schedule 40 pipe, the 3/4" started bowing a bit towards the end of the week, into plastic deformation territory. The deformation occurred from having 3 hammocks with people laying in them, approximately a 500# kinetic load. It held up really well in the wind and I suspect that this was from the parachute not being made from one section of fabric.

Image
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