Carport advice?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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sonic
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Carport advice?

Post by sonic » Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:20 pm

I'm planning on brining one of those 20'x10' steel and canvas carports for my shade structure this year. I've seen them out there in the past, so I know they work.

I have a few questions though. How hard is it to put up? How many people does it take? What do you recommend for making it sturdy in the wind? And any other tips or advice you have to make it work out smoothly would be great.

Thanks!
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carport

Post by spoteditor » Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:58 am

Hi Sonic,

I've decided to put up a carport as well. From comments I've read, they only take a couple of hours to erect, and very secure if you rebar the inside of the poles. If you use guy lines as well you're talking huricane resistent. Of course you might want to take up the walls in a storm, to protect the side walls from getting ripped.

Check out the "Share your non-dome blue prints" thread. We've been discussing car ports in detail. Saftely Third is doing some field tests in a week or so with his cosco car port. You need to get through the web page side track at the top of the thread to get to the car port discussion.

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AntiM
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Post by AntiM » Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:58 am

Larry and two other people can get our carport up in under 30 minutes, but he's had practice. We do use guy wires because our carport has feet, detachable true, but no rebar up the legs, we just nail the feet down. We can get it up with two people, but the more the merrier.

Tip: remember to put the roof section cover on before attaching the legs. Somehow it is much easier to attach bungee balls at ground level than a couple feet above your head.

Practice with your particular carport before you hit the playa!

And yes, the walls can rip in high winds, but we're making a replacement wall out of billboard vinyl.

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Blonde Iguana
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Post by Blonde Iguana » Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:07 am

Yes, definitely use guy wires...we camped next to someone who plopped their 10 x 20' carport directly down on onto some embedded rebar and thought that was enough to keep it secure. During last year's windstorm the carport was lifted right off the rebar, tossed about 30 feet in the air and landed on someone else's camp - a rather surreal, dangerous and frightening Wizard of Oz moment.

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Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:27 am

You really need to guy it down!
I use one to store my boat at home, and I put it up by myself. Just assemble the roof, canvas and all, per the instructions, then tip up one side and slip in one of the two middle legs first, then the other three on the same side. Then tip up the other side, put in a middle leg first, then the others. More people are nice, but it isn't extremely difficult to do alone.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Mon Jun 20, 2005 3:21 pm

We're talking about the Costco thingie, right? I'd say the "couple hours" would be from unloading from your roofrack to fully up, decorated and moved-into.

One person can do it in an hour if they leave out the uprights on one side and go for an "over-on-its-shoulder" configuration (which is fine — park the long side to windward); two people can put up the whole thing in an hour, there's a learning curve but it's not very steep. Three or more can do it in a half-hour and have it carpeted, furnished and decorated in two hours.

If you want to artify the tarps up, four words: stencils and Krylon Fusion paint.

Edit: One year some of my campmates put theirs up and forgot to secure it down. The wind came, gently lifted it up like a bumbershoot, and proceeded to roll it across the Playa for a half-mile, with my friends in pursuit. They caught it and discovered that it wasn't damaged in any way, shape or form. They just carried it back to camp and guyed it down :)
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Post by spoteditor » Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:32 pm

are all carports equal? what are the best qualities to look out for? anyone found a great place on-line? I'm still yet to find safetythird's curtain sides, does it exist?

PS this is a great thread for me right now.

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Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:41 pm

The Costco carport seems to be the best value around. It's cheap at about $170 or so, and it isn't junk.
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Post by jc » Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:19 pm

I got mine @ costco this yr. I put it up at home and it took over an hour. However, that's fresh out of the bx, reading instructions and the first time ever. I'm anticipating an hr building time on the playa by my self. However I will need another person at a couple of steps. Rebar on the legs and guy lines; can't be too careful on the playa.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:24 pm

The Costco carport is the best. It comes with the sides, too, and feet. Though I've found those optional for the Playa. The poles are 2" instead of 1.5" like everywhere else, and a thicker gauge steel. The tarps used to be white but they're kind of desert-beige colour now. Personally, I liked the white tarps better because they're more artable.

I've found that Wally Glenn's invisible bungee securing system to be the best. You get a hardware strap for the legs at each corner and thread them through a keychain loop around the base of each leg. Run a rebar kandykane through another keychain loop and hammer into the ground. Attach the two keychain loops with a bungee ball and there you have it: secured-down structure and no guy wires to illuminate, decorate or trip over.

Logisticals: it will account for about 600# of your load. The tarps and bungees can be used to bundle up your topload. The pipes will easily stack in your roofrack. Get a 6' length of rope and thread it through ALL the joints, make sure you have <b><u>all</b></u> of them because MacGuyvering a replacement is a major pain in the neck if it works at all. Tie the rope at the top to make a loop. Put all the connector pins in a ziploc, label it and duct tape it to the connectors loop.
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Post by AntiM » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:25 am

Alternatively, if you have the luxury of a place for a plastic tote, use a heavy duty automotive packer-stacker to hold the joints, feet, bungees, rope and such. The tarps go in parchute bags and the poles are bundled large and small to reduce weight of each segment. We do have a utility trailer; that's a lot of weight for our roof rack. YMMV depending on what you're driving and how far you're giong.

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Post by unjonharley » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:14 am

Yesterday it was 69°f here. A nice little wind kept t cool. Working inside the car port at head level it must have been around 85°f. There must be a way to get the air moving out of the peak. We have a large fan "here" but that's not on the playa.
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Post by robotland » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:42 am

How about some roof vents? It'd screw up the tarp, but you could cut some circular openings and install barn vents with O-clamps pinching the tarp material. Or glue sections of mesh over holes with good ol' GOOP.
It's not as structurally sound as one big tarp over the whole "roof", but two smaller tarps with a ridge-space at the top would allow the hot air to escape.... Neither of these last ideas are rainproof, of course.
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Post by unjonharley » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:53 am

Jiffy Lube Camp has a army tent the size of a house. There are vents all along the top. Each vent has a flap with a string feeding back into the tent. The vents are mesh covered. May be with a weight on the string? The vent would open when the wind blow and drop closed. Or hand ajust the vent to your liking. Might be worth messing around with.
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Post by AntiM » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:07 am

Leave the very top part of the end walls unattached and hanging down inward. Not the best solution, but it helps. We've also learned to roll the walls up partway and not try to attach them at ground level, better air circulation means cooler inside and less dust accumulation, less chance of ripping in the wind too. We may replace one side wall with a camo-type tarp, either snow or desert, the type with holes in it for airflow. We've tried a completely sealed anti-dust environment and simply ended up with a ripped end wall on an oven.

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Post by safetythird » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:37 am

Like AntiM said leaving the ends open at the top should give that hot air somewhere to go. I like the idea of snow camo for the side walls. I hope it works out for you.

Here is a pic I ganked off of someones site (people blurred to protect the guilty) that shows a couple things of interest.

1) The top is left open for circulation.

2) I drew in a couple ropes that I plan on using to open/close the flap. One going over the peak to raise the flap (in red) and one to lower the flap (in green). If you dig these mad art skills you should see my Liger.

3) Just because the shelter is 10x20 doesn't mean you can't expand it. Check out how they used the sidewall and additional cloth to expand the right side of the shelter. If you get 2 you could have a 20x30 space by placing them 10' apart and using either the sidewalls (probably not the best idea) or cammo to connect them. Of course this is only theory to me. I plan to make a conscious effort (How theme appropriate) to check out and photograph other peoples shade structures, modifications and securing techniques. Maybe by 06 we'll have collected enough data.

Image

S3

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Post by robotland » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:52 am

Nicely illustrated, SafeT3!

Another thing- While I wouldn't count on them to keep a tarp from blowing away, I've found that spring clamps act as high-wind-emergency-release devices....In other words, they come loose if a gust is big enough. Likewise with tarp CLIPS, the half-round plastic guys that snap on. Those are actually pretty handy for arranging movable shade throughout the day, as I do in my dome structure. No clamp-handles sticking out to get poked on, too. But secure at least one point with rope or zipstrips to prevent blowaway!
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Post by HughMungus » Tue Jun 21, 2005 2:22 pm

Speaking of carports, I'm considering this for our public space:

http://www.yourfencestore.com/canopy/canopy_26j.asp

I wish I knew how UV-resistant that material is...

10x20 with windows, zippered front/solid back, side walls clip down to the ground, valance for rain shedding, and I'm assuming the sides can be rolled-up somehow (since front, side, and back walls are all separate pieces).

That's also the cheapest source I've found so far.

I wish I could find the costco version on their website to check it out for comparison. Anyone have a scan of the catalog or something to look at?
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Post by blyslv » Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:11 pm

Rebar is a sucker's game. The flat end shatters the dust, reducing holding power. Cement stakes, driven at an angle are much stronger. Cover the top with a tennis ball of barbie head and no campmate gashes their shin.

Consider putting camo netting over the roof. That white stuff alone is not very good. With the netting, you get much more insulation from the sun. I'd also replace those walls with camo netting. If you double it, it's actually pretty cool. Designer colors!!!

Bring lots of extra rope so you can stake it down and tie it to vehicles. Park them as windbreaks as well. Avoid the highangle roof peak. The flatter the better, as it presents a lower profile to the wind.
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Post by safetythird » Tue Jun 21, 2005 4:03 pm

That price is creeping up on 2x the price of one at costco and the costco ones are built with bigger parts. The legs on that one seem kinda thin.

Do they have a Costco or Sams Club in your neck of the woods?

S3

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Lower shipping costs by not getting the frame

Post by phil » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:49 pm

If you aren't near a costco or other cheap source of carport, buy the tarps/connectors/bungee chords from someone online, but get the pipe locally.

See
http://www.thortarp.com/commerc.htm
http://www.tarpsplus.com/canopies.html

Just be sure before you buy that you get the complete kit minus the frame.

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Re: Lower shipping costs by not getting the frame

Post by HughMungus » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:04 pm

phil wrote:If you aren't near a costco or other cheap source of carport, buy the tarps/connectors/bungee chords from someone online, but get the pipe locally.

See
http://www.thortarp.com/commerc.htm
http://www.tarpsplus.com/canopies.html

Just be sure before you buy that you get the complete kit minus the frame.
Yeah, I was thinking about doing the canopy kit thing but for about the same price you can get one that's pre-built without having to get EMT cut. One advantage I can see with the type of car shelter I posted is that they are fully-enclosable whereas I don't see how you can fully-enclose one of the EMT kit setups (for inclement weather, sleeping at night, etc.).
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Post by HughMungus » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:04 pm

safetythird wrote:That price is creeping up on 2x the price of one at costco and the costco ones are built with bigger parts. The legs on that one seem kinda thin.

Do they have a Costco or Sams Club in your neck of the woods?

S3
Costco, no. Sam's Club, yes. I guess I could check at Sam's Club.
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Post by diane o'thirst » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:30 pm

I wouldn't recommend sleeping in them unless you fully line them with Reflectix and wall tapestries and go for the "Trojan warrior camp" look with a floor full of animal skins. They don't hold heat worth a damn otherwise. I tried sleeping in mine back in 2000 and about froze my tailbone off. This is with a space heater. I wound up grabbing floorspace in the Atlantis Pyramid and alternating between that and the back of my car when the Opera Camp higher-ups started getting harrumphy about it.
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Re: Lower shipping costs by not getting the frame

Post by phil » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:43 pm

[quote="DallasPlaya"]Yeah, I was thinking about doing the canopy kit thing but for about the same price you can get one that's pre-built without having to get EMT cut. [/quote]
>SNIP<

My point was shipping costs if you can't get a carport locally. It's cheaper to ship the tarps than the tarps and pipes. My local OSH cuts pipes for free, and I also bought a small pipe cutter which I've used for EMT. It's cheap and very easy to use.

My shade uses the rail for chain link fences for piping, by the way -- it seems to be sturdier than EMT.

I have a different tarp and EMT set as a back up. The tarp is flat across the top. I stopped using it when we had a heavy rain -- we came back and found the tarp sagged in with maybe a gallon on water. Yikes! We're lucky it didn't fail and drop all the water onto our carpet and gear, leaving us with no shade. I understand people say peaked roofs catch more wind, but we've had no failures with the peaked shade in two years, and it will shed water, which I consider more of a problem.

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Post by jbelson » Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:01 am

how about the idea of cutting windows in the roof and sidewalls myself, then glueing with gorilla glue a mesh sunscreen to cover the openings? Think gorilla glue or GOOP would be strong enough and last teh week?

Also, a good place to get carports is pepboys for about $80. Or any car place for that matter.
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Post by AntiM » Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:41 am

DallasPlaya wrote:
Costco, no. Sam's Club, yes. I guess I could check at Sam's Club.
We got ours at Sam's Club three years ago. Been to a lot of events other than Burning Man, still going strong.

We put our (rather small) tents inside the carports and leave half as a smallish kitchen/storage/dressing area. We plan on a side wing for lounging in the shade this year. Our camp is usually five or six people and we have two carports.

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Post by Ranger Genius » Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:30 am

jbelson wrote:Also, a good place to get carports is pepboys for about $80. Or any car place for that matter.
Beware of the $80 carports. They don't have the durability of the $175-200 carports, and may not handle the worst that the playa can throw at them. Like Anti-M said, our carports have been to BM three times, and not suffered any substantial damage to speak of. The endcloth of mine needs to be replaced or repaired, but other than that we're in fine working condition. the cheap ones often have thinner poles or plastic fittings, plus thinner and cheaper tarps. The more expensive ones are worth the investment.

Diane is right, though, it won't keep you warm at night. Pitch your tent underneat it, and you'll be good to go (plus it will keep you cool longer into the day).

ETA: I've actually seen one of the cheap carports collapse in a 35MPH wind, which was a real shame because all the tarps and poles had been painted and transformed into a work of art.
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Post by HughMungus » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:50 pm

diane o'thirst wrote:I wouldn't recommend sleeping in them unless you fully line them with Reflectix and wall tapestries and go for the "Trojan warrior camp" look with a floor full of animal skins. They don't hold heat worth a damn otherwise. I tried sleeping in mine back in 2000 and about froze my tailbone off. This is with a space heater. I wound up grabbing floorspace in the Atlantis Pyramid and alternating between that and the back of my car when the Opera Camp higher-ups started getting harrumphy about it.
I'm glad you posted this. You just reminded me how cold it really does get there at night (reminds me of the night we woke up in our cold-ass RV trying to figure out how to turn on the heat).
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Costco Carportus

Post by CdnChick » Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:58 am

My b/f and I used our costco carport last year in the wind storms. It took us the better part of an afternoon to set it up as we would takes many hydrating breaks. We also brought a ladder to reach the peaks of the roof for decor and securing tarps. We secured the feet with 12" nails with the swirl on them for extra grip. No guywires, no rebar. The tent shook in the wind, but we never were in danger of losing it.

STRONGLY RECOMMEND: Go to your local hardware store and pickup extras of the little components that come with the tent as well as a variety of bungees. There's nothing worse than getting to the playa and finding out you're missing pieces!!

Good luck :)

Canadian Chick

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