Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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FossaFerox
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Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by FossaFerox » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:41 pm

Is there any tactful way to tell someone that their camp might kill someone?

In my wandering this year I saw a lot of really questionable setups. I'm not talking mere "Huh, I would have built it better," type scenarios, I'm talking "Huh, one good 40-50 mile an hour gust and that thing is going to end someone."

I had the people I was with snap a few photos of setups that made me cringe, and each time I counted myself lucky that they were more than a few blocks away. Still, I'm wondering if there's anything more productive to be done in that scenario.

Because honestly it's probably too late to reengineer anything significantly once it's on playa, and as they're already rolling the dice any criticism may seem harsh and unwarranted if the structure doesn't fail that particular year. Still, I saw enough worrisome setups out there that I'm wondering if there might be a constructive way to address them without acting like a know-it-all jackass during the burn. Thoughts?

Bonus video from this year:

[media]
ygmir wrote:Everyone loves you there, and no one cares a shit about you..........all at once. and vice versa.

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BBadger
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by BBadger » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:57 pm

It would be good if there was some sort of "building codes" enforcement, especially for larger structures. It's one thing to have your tent collapse all around your own camp, but another to have it affect others'. After all, we have the DMV for ensuring some level of safety for vehicles.

Informally, offering to help secure their stuff as best you can may help. You can point out that you're seeing it sway and are worried that it could topple or something like that. Usually providing some evidence to them like that will convince them that you're not just a busybody.
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FossaFerox
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by FossaFerox » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:17 pm

A few of the things that I asked people to grab shots of so I could use them in about 9 months on this forum were relatively minor, stuff like attaching a ratchet strap to your car and what it does to the paint. Most were pretty terrifying, though. A certain theme camp had a large shade structure consisting of a flat tarp roof on 10' PVC pipes with right angle connections and no guy lines. It was terrifying to behold. There's nothing I could have done at that point to make it any less dangerous, short of convincing them to take it down.
Last edited by FossaFerox on Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ygmir wrote:Everyone loves you there, and no one cares a shit about you..........all at once. and vice versa.

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spacetime
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by spacetime » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:18 pm

I've got a photo of a two story scaffolding that was a little bit sketch. Maybe a lotabit. I don't really know. At the top there wasn't a heck of a lot of barrier to lean against. It was more of a platform so after 4 people it was too much really to be safe.

I asked before climbing on it and they had a great energy. I kind of lightly brought up, "hey how did you decide on this setup?" and it wasn't a really focused answer. I figure in some respects it was my decision to look at something and say, yes safe for me to climb in this state.

But more complex stuff, such as the alien Siege, there really isn't a way for a normal participant to visually inspect stuff. You kind of just trust in the person to have sorted it out. And of course you just take these risks because they lead to great things sometimes.

It is a conundrum if you see something and have legit concern for it. I definitely did not feel like it was practical to make recommendations on this structure mid week and I also lacked expertise anyway.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by chuckularone » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:43 pm

[media]


GAH! Enough with the vertical video!!! :evil:
Remember kiddoes, if you don't sin, Jesus died for nothing!

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FossaFerox
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by FossaFerox » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:52 pm

Haha, I didn't shoot it, but it's the best example I could grab of something that happened this year.
ygmir wrote:Everyone loves you there, and no one cares a shit about you..........all at once. and vice versa.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by 666isMONEY » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:27 pm

This didn't look too safe (can the dome support that much weight, how many people)?
IMG_7100 (480x640).jpg
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by danibel » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:45 pm

We had some virgins this year set up an EMT shade over their tent. It was a peaked roof and they zip tied a huge white tarp to it. I wasn't there when they set up, but my first chance to gently tell the builder went down like this:

Me: Nice shade. Can the tarp be removed in seconds?
Builder: No. It would take some time.
Me: Oh. You should be very careful to watch for high winds.
Builder: Why?
Me: The tarp will lift that entire structure and blow it away. The tarp is your weak point. If you had used shade cloth or even camp netting, you would be fine, but the solid tarp has too much wind resistance.
Builder: Shit. I spent a lot of money on that.
Me: Next year put shade cloth or camo netting on it. What size is the rebar you used for the feet?
Builder: Rebar? I used tent stakes.
Me: OMG. You need to do some serious staking on that thing. Do you have tie downs for the corners?
Builder: Tie Downs? What are those.
Me: WOW. I hope your downwind neighbors are ready to be destroyed in the next wind storm.
Builder: I will take it down now.
Me: Whew.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by tattoogoddess » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:25 am

Used a tarp last year on threw shade carports. As long as the are tied down and tposts used on all legs, duck tape on all joints. It's not going anywhere for at least winds under 50 mph.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by AntiM » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:06 am

tattoogoddess wrote:Used a tarp last year on threw shade carports. As long as the are tied down and tposts used on all legs, duck tape on all joints. It's not going anywhere for at least winds under 50 mph.
There are many admirers of the t-post and duct tape method, but in my opinion, after years of camping at Element 11 where we actually GET 50~70 mph winds annually, I think they are all fools. The t-post method does not keep a carport in place. I've seen one walking away at our regional. And far too many people replace the t-posts with hunks of rebar. Dangerous. No, we have heavy ten year old King Canopy carports which never have seen a lick of duct tape. Between the heavier skeleton, the long custom stakes angled in, the low profile tilt, and the cross-rope mooring technique, I would put money on our shade over any other carport configuration. You want to test your shade? Bring it to the salt marsh of Element 11, where our winds kill even well engineered structures every year.
048 - Copy.JPG
Tarps are sails. While they are effective shade when properly secured, in some instances, shadecloth or camo netting is a better choice. Even then, that can die in high winds.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by danibel » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:18 am

AntiM wrote:
tattoogoddess wrote:Used a tarp last year on threw shade carports. As long as the are tied down and tposts used on all legs, duck tape on all joints. It's not going anywhere for at least winds under 50 mph.

048 - Copy.JPG
Tarps are sails. While they are effective shade when properly secured, in some instances, shadecloth or camo netting is a better choice. Even then, that can die in high winds.
I use a Black Rock City Shade structure. It's 1.5 inch EMT with rebar in every pole, tarps tight with bungees, and I also use tie downs on all four corners. I see lots of them on the playa, but I have never been to Element 11. (Is that the Utah regional?) The shade that the virgins brought had wimpy little tent stakes, maybe two in each foot. They also had some rope tied to water bottles and coolers, but it was not secure in my eyes. I was relieved when they took it down.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by AntiM » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:42 am

Yes, Utah regional. We keep shifting the date, hoping to avoid the summer monsoon winds, but so far, no luck.

That EMT is pretty sturdy. Does the rebar go inside the legs? I googled and only found BlackRock Shade. Says it works because there are no side walls to catch wind. Low profile to the wind as opposed to the vertical carports.

Did it catch a lot of rain this year? Even our clamshell carports do.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by danibel » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:56 am

Yeah. It's a Black Rock Shade: http://formandreform.com/wpstore/burnin ... -hardware/

We do use a single panel of shade cloth for a wall and I plan on buying a few more this year. The set screws in the legs is really what made me decide to spend the extra money vs building my own. One of my campmates has a shade structure that is the same EMT, but he uses feet with rebar and two tie downs on every corner, and a shade cloth for a roof. I pound the rebar (I think it's 24 inches long) to about 8 inches out of playa, then you slip the legs over and tighten the set screws. If I ever grow beyond the 20x24 I will use more tie downs on the corners. No tarp walls - for sure. You do have to have the space to carry 10 foot poles (the 8's would easily fit in an SUV or maybe on a roof), but I love that it's all contained in one (heavy ass) bin, the poles excepted of course.

We missed the rain this year, as we came in on Wednesday. Last year we had the few sprinkles on Monday and didn't need to poke a hole or lift the roof with a broom. I guess that is main drawback of the solid tarp, but I am willing to live with that for the solid shade and ease of set up.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by AntiM » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:00 pm

It looks a lot like our original structure from 2001/2002. Shook like hell in the whiteouts, but we had side walls up.
We got the carports in 2003, and tinkered with configuration until we hit a winning combination in 2006. Have replaced the legs once, but not from playa, from rust the year they got snowed into the trailer for three months after a winter event.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by danibel » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:08 pm

Thread drift a bit... I love the cloth hangings. I want to do something like that. Maybe some filmy tie dyes.... Just to add color and interest to a boring white cargo van and plain ole flat grey roof.

My first year shade was a north pole party tent. I sold it to a burner after it sat for a few years in the garage. I couldn't fit my van in it :lol:
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by skippy3k » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:53 pm

I used an EMT shade structure with a solid tarp roof, similar to Black Rock Shade. One side of the structure was secured to my RV. No guy lines, as I used 14" lag screws into the foot pads. I figured I was as close to invincable as I could be. Yeah, solid roof, but hey, there are no walls to catch the wind so it wasn't going anywhere.

Well....I realized I forgot one big thing when the wind shifted and began to hit the side of the RV square on. It has to go somewhere, right? So it goes straight up, trying to escape....and what does it meet there? A solid tarp roof. I basically focused ALL of the wind to shoot up and push under the tarp roof. It held, but I much prefer structures I don't have to constantly stare at and worry.

I will continue to use the RV as a mount point on one side in the future, as it made the structure rock solid. But I don't think I will use solid tarps anymore. Just not worth it in my opinion. Maybe some aluminet doubled with shade cloth, but whatever I end up with, it will be permiable.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by AntiM » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:04 pm

The hangings are just fabric scraps sewn to a woven fabric band. I still use them. The rest are old lace curtains. The one with geese is on my back door now.

Our center shade is permeable, and we had to scramble to get the chairs and such under the carports when it rained. We have "rainwalls" which drop down too, the regular carport wall, which we keep rolled up along the top inside center. I guess you have to pick your battles, and there is more wind than rain.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by robrob » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:10 am

But I don't think I will use solid tarps anymore.
we use three 10x20s to cover our 20x30 1" conduit-based shade. the strips of sun are a bit annoying sometimes, but it's better than the alternative.

(this past year, we built a 20x30 with a single tarp for our regional- figured since it was in "calmer" environs, we could cut some corners. awoke to neighbors helping hold down what remained of the 3/4 inch frame.. total disaster. we were lucky no one was hurt and no property damaged, other than half the shade.) we now own *a lot* of ratchet straps.

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by Stickygreen » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:12 pm

666isMONEY wrote:This didn't look too safe (can the dome support that much weight, how many people)?
IMG_7100 (480x640).jpg

I climbed another similar looking structure out at 3 o'clock and J. I learned from the neighbors it's affectionately called the colapsatron, cause last year.... yep, it came down. Good thing it stayed up while i was climbing it.

Oh and the genie bottle thing you took a photo of seemed OK it stayed up all week, it was a pivotal land mark for my navigation home.
)'(

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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by skippy3k » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:19 am

robrob wrote:we use three 10x20s to cover our 20x30 1" conduit-based shade. the strips of sun are a bit annoying sometimes, but it's better than the alternative.
Yep, another mistake I made. I used one large 20x20 tarp instead of breaking it up into smaller tarps, thinking I wouldn't have to deal with the sun sneaking through the cracks. Because it wasn't anchored in the middle, it ballooned up as a 20x20 sail. I was able to Macgyver it to hold the center down, but compromised the integrity of the tarp by creating some holes.

AntiM - Yep, you are right. You gotta pick your battles and wind is much more common than rain out there.
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Re: Dealing with unsafe setups as you find them...

Post by Elliot » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:42 am

I may have you all "beat": My shade used to be one solid tarp of 38 x 40. And its original size the first year was 40 x 60! Every year I cut more vents with a knife.
This year I replaced it with eight smaller ones (six 10 x 20 and two 8 x 20, minus a few inches). All problems solved at once. (Except that the horizontal sections collected rain-water, so drain holes are called for in those four spots.) Never again shall I wrestle with a giant tarp.

I use construction scaffolding to support the outer corners of these tarps. With two hefty anchors per scaffold, this is very stable.

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