Shade cloth? Camo netting? Sail cloth? Used diapers????

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Blenderhead
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Shade cloth? Camo netting? Sail cloth? Used diapers????

Postby Blenderhead » Tue Sep 23, 2003 4:24 pm

So, enlightened ones, what has worked for you in the past? What do you plan on using in the future? As one who personally avoids sunlight whenever possible, I'm thinking of using a large camo net backed up by either 80% shade cloth or heavy-duty mylar tarps underneath. Of course, I'm pulling this out of my ass (yup, a virgin), so I welcome all to shoot me down before I do it myself.

dust devil
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Postby dust devil » Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:17 pm

In the past:

Used mylarized tarps to provide instant shade upon arrival. Lash top ends to the car rack and stake out the bottom ends with bungees and tent stakes. Helps keep the car cool and gives you a bit of shade to hide and rest while setting up camp by day.

Mylar tarps are good. Have an extra one to wrap your cooler.

In 1999, used an army surplus field tower (purchased at a ham radio flea market) as the centerpole for a parachute shade structure. We guyed the tower with six steel cables, turnbuckles and multiple four-foot rebar for each guy line. It shaded a tent decently and had a funky ambience.

For 2000-2003 used couple of shade cloth tarps to cover a dome.

In the future:

I saw a lot of metallized shade cloth at the Alternative Energy Zone village in 2002 and 2003. I've ordered some of this for 2004. Also saw one camp there that had a yurt wrapped in a mylarized reflective insulation.
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pickle
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green green everywhere

Postby pickle » Thu Sep 25, 2003 7:19 am

Blenderhead I feel your pain. Our shade structure concept went through 8 evolutions in a 4 month time period. The final (working) design was NOTHING like the original idea.

Olive Drab Green...Ahhhhgg! We ended up using the material from an Army surplus parachute, because it was so freakin' cheep, quiet, strong & packable. I wanted a happier color though, so I attempted to bleach it. I used a kiddie pool, a gallon of bleach, and enough water to cover the 'chute. Stirred it for an hour. Let it stand for another 3 hours. Nothing happenned. Nothing at all. So we just delt with M*A*S*H o.d. green.

These parachutes aren't opaque. They probably cut sunlight by 70% (my estimate). We liked that, because it wasn't dark & gloomy. The translucency gave us nice, soft, diffused light. You can always double it up.

Whatever you use, make sure it's secure and will stand up to some serious wind. Will it collapse, or worse, fly away? Imagine driving down the highway doing 70mph with your structure on the roof. Will it survive if you're not around to hold it? TEST IT AT HOME!!!

There's some good structure pages elsewhere on this site. Good luck.

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Blenderhead
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Thanks to both of you!

Postby Blenderhead » Thu Sep 25, 2003 9:03 am

Dark and Gloomy is exactly what I'm looking for, Pickle. Maybe I'm a closet Goth.

At the moment, I'm playing around with D.Devil's 1999 concept, a center pole with guy lines radiating out to the corners, or using camo net spreaders to raise the shade. One thing about this setup is that if the winds get REALLY bad, you can move the spreaders around to where they're needed, or even (in a worst-worst-worst case scenario) intentionally collapse the structure until it dies down. As long as I've staked it down properly, it should work. I'm in SF, so I can test structures out at Ocean Beach... that place can get some really nasty winds.

Thanks again!

robotland
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coverage

Postby robotland » Thu Sep 25, 2003 9:14 am

What was said about testing at home first is sage advice indeed! We ended up covering our two-story douobledome with silver tarps, some left as is and some customed to fit- You can but cheap grommet kits at Gnome Depot and the like, and there's a poly tape called (get this) Tarp Tape that's stickier and tougher than duct tape and has an adhesive that cures in hot sun or under a quick pass with a propane torch. (A slow pass cooks the tape and the tarp!) It's good for seaming if you're not into sewing. An advantage to using smaller tarps or custom sections is that you don't get the sail or parachute effect in a gust of wind. Small sections allow even high-speed microbursts to pass through your structure without taking it with. My first attempt to cover my first dome involved one huge blue tarp that completely enclosed the structure- A quick gust actually shoved the dome about a yard, compressing it into an oval! It might not have moved if I had staked it down, which I failed to do, but it served very adequately to illustrate the forces at work!
Another shade alternative is the kind of mesh tarp commonly called a "truck tarp"- Wind will flow through them, mostly, but they are usually black and in a single layer won't fully protect you from playa-grade sunlight....doubled up, though, you get neat diffraction-grating-like effects which are visually pleasing, and they can be used to make "one-way" sections that can be looked out through fairly easily while seeming opaque from without. (like the little windows that they put in cartoon character suits at amusement parks so the poor bastard inside can see and almost breathe.) We also got pretty results by wrapping our top dome with a zillion-mile-long mylar printer film roll that I rescued from the dumpster at work- it had nice yellow, magenta and cyan sections that made stained-glass effects all around like a mini version of the ultimately cool Kaliedosphere. DAMN that thing's cool. Hope they bring that back again next year! I shot a bunch of pictures of that thing's SHADOW alone, it was so cool.
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Remark
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Postby Remark » Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:24 am

Shade cloth is great. Morning to noon side go 80% or tarp. Afternoon to evening side I did 40% (might of been 60%) and that worked very nice, but I wasn't going for dark. Shade cloth held spray paint very well.

If you end up with a design that wind doesn't flow through, think about using a wind fence. very easy and cheap to make (or use your vehicle). If you don't send it in a different direction, the wind WILL flow straight through.

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Skyhawk
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Postby Skyhawk » Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:03 pm

Tyvek!

Try shopping around for a large roll of tyvek, sold as "House Wrap" in Huge rolls, 8ft by ?

Its thin, pretty opaqe, virtually impossible to tear and it takes paint pretty darn well.. also, I believe you can sew it, using a wide basting stitch (I think thats whats its called) to get a custum fit for any struture that Dosnt weigh a few hundred lbs.

Price could be an issue, Im not sure how much one of these rolls will go for, but it might come out as a good solution.

$.02

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Postby Angry Butterfly » Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:38 pm

Tyvek is awesome stuff, but it does not breathe. it is easy for even a beginner to sew with a regular machine, plus it doesn't need hemming. A tyveck structure would absolutley have to have really good ventalation, otherwise it would be like a greenhouse.
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Skyhawk
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Postby Skyhawk » Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:27 pm

a great point, now that you mention it. yes, the reason one might wrap a new housing construction in the stuff is because it helps seal everything up. there is even tyvek tape for sealing and finishing such an installation. does a tarp "breath" much better? I dunno. I still have to actually get My hands on some tyvek instead of playing with it at work. It can get awfully frustrating to be full of great ideas and work nearly everyday at a place full of More inspiring things.. and have no money..

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"one word...PLASTICS"

Postby robotland » Tue Sep 30, 2003 6:31 am

You can get 3 mil plastic sheeting for mucho cheaper than Tyvek, although I haven't seen it in WHITE around these parts....It's cheap enough to experiment with , though. They even make these REALLY COOL zipper kits for worksites that you just slap onto the plastic like a piece of tape and then cut open- about $20, I think....You CAN get the reinforced plastic sheeting in white, the stuff with nylon weave in it......Another approach that I'm playing with is enclosing an INFLATABLE in a dome- It doesn't take much air pressure to inflate and maintain such a bubble, (made from roll plastic and tape) but they would work best on the Playa when accompanied by a cooling system.
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Lapman
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Siver Tarp and Plastic

Postby Lapman » Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:38 pm

We have had good luck on our 20 foot diameter domes with parachute and then a 20 X 30 silver tarp over that. The 'chute is long enough to come down to the ground all around while the silver tarp covers the upper portion and blocks most overhead sun. The un-tarp covered portions of the 'chute allow some air flow and hold back dust. The 'chute tarp can also be lifted around the skirt to allow some more air through.

I also had the pleasure of helping with the coverings for the Phoenix Temple out on the 300 radian about 900 feet from the Man. This had a fitted silver tarp top. I sewed this from a pattern provided by our engineering staff. 2 inch hemmed edges and then grommets at tie down points. You need a pretty heavy-duty machine to sew this. We also did large plastic stained-glass star windows which were made out of 4 mill plastic without hemming simply grommeting at the points and halfway between. Held up well in the winds. I suspect a lot of that has to do with being well connected to a stable dome structure.

Anyway – for reasonable sun protection, strength and cost the silver tarp has worked well for us. Harbor Freight gets 50 – 60 bucks for the 20 X 30 foot ones.
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Postby robotland » Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:07 am

Pound for pound, silver tarp gets my vote for best all-around opaque structure covering. You can probably beat Harbor Freight's price by tracking down a surplus store or flea market tarp dealer- They're more likely to haggle, and their prices start out cheaper anyway....Then again, tarps are easy to score here in Michigan, since we put them on EVERYTHING for about HALF of the FREAKIN' YEAR!!!!
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stuart
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Postby stuart » Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:00 pm

Silver Tarps, period.

If you want 100% block and durability, go with silver tarps.

I have seen tyvek get shredded in bad winds.

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Bob
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Postby Bob » Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:28 pm

Nothing particularly wrong with any of the above coverings if grommets or ties are added every foot or so along the edge, or battens added, and it's stretched over a rigid structure. Flexible (PVC, etc.) structures usually work better with material that isn't opaque to the wind, such as shade mesh, etc., or with vehicles or windbreak fences placed upwind, to the SW. The weather was pretty mild in 2003.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Blenderhead
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tarps

Postby Blenderhead » Fri Oct 17, 2003 2:03 pm

anyone have any experience with these guys? The sale prices they have on UV-treated grey tarps are exceptional.

http://www.tarpsplus.com/greytarps.html

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Alpha
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Re: tarps

Postby Alpha » Fri Oct 17, 2003 4:17 pm

Blenderhead wrote:anyone have any experience with these guys? The sale prices they have on UV-treated grey tarps are exceptional.

http://www.tarpsplus.com/greytarps.html


Looks like you need to order in bulk, eh? If so I'd be willing to share the cost with some other people. I need one silver tarp, maybe 10x10 or so.

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Lydia Love
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Postby Lydia Love » Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:29 pm

Our dome covering is burlap - it's not 100% opaque but it creates a nice shade, it's breathable (sometimes too much so in a bad dust storm), it's absolutely silent in the wind, and the burlap was largely free - I went to coffee roasting companies and asked them for their burlap coffee bags that they wanted to get rid of.

Cons - it's an itchy bitch to sew and it's heavy.
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Blenderhead
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Postby Blenderhead » Mon Oct 20, 2003 10:50 am

Hey Alpha,

I'll be more than happy to share... I'll probaby get the set of 7 12'x14' silver tarps, and I'm 99.9999999% sure I'm not going to need all 7.

I'll let you know when I pull my head out long enough to order them. Are you in the bay area?

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Alpha
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Postby Alpha » Mon Oct 20, 2003 10:59 am

Not in the bay area but I can pay for you to send it to be UPS Ground, or else we can impose upon flux the next time he drives down. :-)

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Postby Flux » Tue Oct 21, 2003 11:07 am

Alpha wrote:Not in the bay area but I can pay for you to send it to be UPS Ground, or else we can impose upon flux the next time he drives down. :-)

No problem!

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Blenderhead
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Postby Blenderhead » Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:15 pm

Flux wrote:
Alpha wrote:Not in the bay area but I can pay for you to send it to be UPS Ground, or else we can impose upon flux the next time he drives down. :-)

No problem!



Well yeee-haw! Looks like we got us the Blenderhead tarp trading post and baby wipe camp! I'll update y'all when I am the proud daddy of them there tarps.

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Blenderhead
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Postby Blenderhead » Fri Oct 24, 2003 2:13 pm

Allllllllllpha, Fluuuuuuuuuuux, the tarps are here. They're very pretty (ohmygod am I turning into a burnerd?).

Alpha, you can just PM me an address and I'll get yours out to you next week. Cool?

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Blenderhead
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Postby Blenderhead » Fri Oct 24, 2003 2:15 pm

Blenderhead wrote:Allllllllllpha, Fluuuuuuuuuuux, the tarps are here. They're very pretty (ohmygod am I turning into a burnerd?).

Alpha, you can just PM me an address and I'll get yours out to you next week. Cool?


Or Flux can take custody for you; I'm easy that way.

Oreally?
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Tarps

Postby Oreally? » Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:25 pm

We bought the silver tarps from Harbour, and doubled them up. Voila.

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Bob
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Postby Bob » Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:34 pm

Lydia -- luv ya -- burlap is one of an infinite variety of of salvage materials out there with character -- do you actually sew it up w/ a standard machine? Tried plonking a few big grommets around the edges?

I remember a theme camp's structure a couple of years ago that I think used long lengths of wide-mesh landscaping burlap along w/ other materials, held up by what looked like a tensegrity structure that used composite garage-shop-made struts. Beautiful thing, I'll just have to dig a little for pics.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Lydia Love
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Postby Lydia Love » Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:15 pm

oh for the love of pete - I lost this thread - had totally forgotten I'd posted in it.

so to answer your question, Bob, some damn time after you asked it...

I handsewed the fucker with a heavy jute twine - just layed the burlap higgeldy piggeldy on top of it and stitched it together - probably made the task more difficult than it had to be - but it's perfectly fitted. Btw, a tip for anyone dumb enough to handsew that much burlap - a large plastic child's needle is easier for sewing burlap with than an upholstry needle or any other needle with a sharp point. It's way way easier with a blunt tip. Really. And the shit sheds fibers while you're working it - a mask isn't a bad idea.

I did, in fact, grommet the hell out of it - makes attaching bungee cords easier - useful in lifting up the edges to let the breezes through or really tying it down when the winds start a blowing.
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After all that about Tyveck....

Postby Alexiis » Sun Apr 11, 2004 12:14 am

After all my thinking and musing about Tyveck I have decided to try this...

I am modifying my camp this year by adding an extra shade over my bender based tent. The tent did not get enough shade and I am leery about the use of tarps. They can be so noisy with the added bonus of potential insanity making when the big winds come. So, after much searching, I found some Swedish made snow-camo tyvek tarps with lotsa little holes in a random, yet over-all pattern. They are light, can be easily sewed together, will allow for breathability, will break the dust some as it's being blown around and most importantly, for me, white to reflect the mean sun.

Now my question: Has ANYONE used these tarps or seen them on the playa and what were your experiences with them? What were your most successful means of securing them? What proved to be disaster? What worked after trial and error? Would you use them again?
Should I just send 'em right back to the manufacturer?

Thanks for the imput and have a swell day!

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Bob
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Postby Bob » Sun Apr 11, 2004 2:29 pm

Just about anything can be made to work on the flat or a shallow slope.

Re: rigging Swede camo, might look into the original intended usage -- nature of the poles, props, staking, etc. I'd imagine proper rigging for snow loads would be appropriate for playa gales.

Hmm. Maybe even the Predator.

http://www.barracudaus.com/
http://www.barracudaus.com/node4967.asp
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

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Postby robotland » Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:51 am

"effective shape disruptors"! Cool.
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Alexiis
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Postby Alexiis » Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:06 am

Hey Bob~
That may be where this stuff is originaly from...I just can't get specs on its materials. I hope you or some one else out there will have seen this stuff in action. Feed back is good.
I agree with ya though, the weight of snow may indicate the constant tensility of the product, but I am more concerned with the effects of the wind in the long run. Thanks for the imput. Keep it coming.


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