This Tent Mahal good for anything?

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Elliot
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This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Elliot » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:52 pm

Perhaps I already know the answer, but since I have zero experience with tents…. How grotesquely Playa-UN-worthy is this Tent Majal a neighbor gave me?

It’s a Kmart Northwest Territory Big Timber 18x15 Four Room Deluxe Family Dome Tent, “sleeps 10”.
I assume "Deluxe" is the key to success here.

About half of it is screen, “for stargazing”. Then the rainfly goes over it.

The rainfly would surely blow to Winnemucca instantly, but could perhaps be Gorilla-taped securely.

It needs cleaning and minor repair.

In case some of the dirt is “alive”, can I mix bleach in the water without harming the tent? The dome and screen are polyester, and the floor is PE, which I’m guessing means polyethylene.

Thoughts?


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Canoe
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Canoe » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:03 pm

The usual issue with stargazing screens, letting tons of dust in. Gluing or sewing covers over the screen, laying blankets over the screens (weight of blankets, strength of tent, etc.), as others have been tried, some with success, some without. Success seems to be dependent largely on the quality of the implementation, not as much on the solution used. Gorilla tape has very variable results: Gorilla tape is often a huge sticky mess, and depending on its production run, age and storage, may give up any resemblance of hold in the playa heat.

The tent's footprint shape isn't overly wind-friendly, but the domed roof should compensate enough and let the wind pressure escape over the top nicely enough. One could add guy lines to support the poles in heavier winds.

Provided the tent is strong enough and not damaged, it should provide good storage if the stargazing screens are addressed adequately. If someone wants to sleep in it, it would need some shade to be comfortable once the sun comes up. The rain-fly can provide somewhat of a sun barrier, with airflow between the fly and the tent taking hotter air away, but shade for the tent works much better. Of course, give it a bucket-cooler...

Bleach can damage/weaken some threads or other materials, perhaps only affect the dye in the materials. Very very dilute, if at all. Sunlight soap, lots of rinsing.

Of course, I'd choose lag-screws over tent-pegs, but that's just me, likely not necessary.
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Molotov » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:29 pm

What about spraying the screened sections with some of that "As Seen on TV" Flex Seal rubber spray to create a solid matrix that is effectively no longer a screen?

I mean they put a screen door in the bottom of a boat and seal it watertight with the spray in the commercials...
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Elliot
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Elliot » Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:00 pm

Sunlight soap? Wow. That's what we used when I was a kid in Norway. But apparently it is more of just a marketing name now.

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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by DoctorIknow » Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:13 pm

I've had a tent of the same size, with bigger diameter poles fail on the playa....and making a snapped pole serviceable out there is not easy or even possible if the break is somewhere inside a sleeve.

Also, dust proofing such huge amounts of screen with blankets would add so much weight the tent would sag.,,

And then, as said, shade would be needed.

The tent would be ok for someone who "car camps" in National Parks in the summer.

If it was mine, I'd put it on Craigslist right away and would never give it to someone wanting to use it for BM.
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by MikeGyver » Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:05 pm

My first year (2011) I brought a tent like that, 50% net, I didn't sew or tape the fly at all and didn't have much problem with dust. I just throw a cover sheet over my bed after I get up to keep it semi clean. It wasn't a windy year so that could be why I didn't have any issue, but these bigger tents tend to have beefier poles. If it wasnt so Massive I would have kept using it, but for one person it was un-necessarily huge.
Last year I brought a great tent (still massive stargazing screens) that had been twice already and had one of the corner rings rip out. so it depends more on the wind that year than the quality of tent. Ive never had as much of an issue with net windows as everyone seems to make it an issue. Maybe its because I don't care about the dust as others, maybe they are over exaggerating, Ill never know but a rain fly and cover sheet for my bed has always been dust proof enough for me.
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by DerbyDave 18 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:51 pm

Last year was my first year and I had a tent that was a little smaller than in the picture and fewer screens and the entire insides got covered with dust at least three times bad enough that I had to take everything out, sweep out the dust and wipe everything down. This year I will know better.

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Elliot
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Elliot » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:05 pm

DoctorIknow, what you describe is exactly my fear. It does seem awful flimsy in all respects.

Me, I get along with Dust just fine. But the idea is to lend this tent out, so I better ask her about her DTL (Dust Tolerance Level).

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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:32 pm

Sometimes the DTF is related to the DTL...
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by happydragon » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:44 pm

I brought a similar tent my first burn, the idea was that if anyone got too fed up with close quarters in the RV they would have the option. It wound up being an extra storage area and I think someone passed out in it one night. We set it up under another shade structure, weighted down the corners with the coolers and heavy stuff, and guyed the rain cover out with ratchet straps. It survived two burns- the second time two people lived in it, but again it was set up under another larger shade structure, and a couple regionals, then I loaned it to someone for a third burn I couldn't make it too, the tent made it back to me intact, but somehow the poles never did, so can't say how much longer it would have made it. But it was never directly in the full wind or dust, always a shelter within a shelter.

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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by ruebear » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:21 pm

Your tent looks fine. The mesh would need to be covered (or not - whatever floats your boat) when the wind picks up. I had a small triangle mesh opening at the top of my tent which I covered once the white outs started (asthma flared up). I safety pinned a blanket to the inside and outside of the mesh Windows and it worked like a charm. You'll also want to stake your tent down really well as the wind will bend your tent poles.

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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by EspressoDude » Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:19 pm

looks like something to put inside a costco carport
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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by silverfish » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:28 pm

Using all the guy lines is key. Also the longer the guy lines are the better they work - sadly this makes them more of a tripping hazard. I can't tell how many guy out points the tent has - but you might need to add a few.

You could also consider getting a second set of poles and doubling them up. Or buy a tent pole repair kit in the right size so you can fix a broken section on playa.

Setting up in the wind shadow of a large vehicle would also increase the chances of that tent making it through the burn. Good luck!

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Re: This Tent Mahal good for anything?

Post by dragonpilot » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:36 pm

Too much mesh for me, personally. But as a loaner...gift horse and all that. I tented outside the RV for my first 7-8 years, but my big tent had small mesh panels that I covered with blanket material that I stitched to the panels. Didn't eliminate dust, but certainly minimized it a great deal.
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