1. Welcome To The Bushcraft Forum!

    Welcome to The Bushcraft Forum, a friendly site for bushcraft and survival enthusiasts, registration is quick and easy and absolutely free.

    We have a wide variety of features available to registered members so please take the time to register and join in the discussion. We restrict the viewing of certain areas of this site due to the nature of some of the topics, all these areas are available to registered members.

    To register, simply click here.

Tents... a bit of info

Discussion in 'Camping' started by Woodland, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Woodland

    Woodland Extremely Talkative

    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    100
    A tent, for our purposes, is a shelter that protects us from the elements, mainly rain, wind and snow. They are generally made with a fabric and mesh shell, supported with poles and held in position with pegs and guy lines.


    There are many different styles and sizes of tents, ranging from bivouacs or bivis, small shelters almost like sleeping bags, sometimes with a support at one end to keep the fabric away from your head as you sleep, to huge family tents that once erect are almost like a reasonable sized flat. The best current example being the Outwell Maryland XXL. There are also a number of tent/hammock hybrids around that will be covered elsewhere.


    Tent materials vary. Cotton canvas is generally used more in the bell type tents, polyester or poly cotton (a mixture of polyester and cotton) for the larger family type tents. Ripstop nylon is favoured for the more portable hike and expedition type tents because it is lighter, the difference in quality is in the coating, various coatings are used at various different prices. The coatings range from acrylic on the cheaper side to silicon at the other end of the scale. Bivis often incorporate goretex as the fabric is often in contact with the body inside it.


    The tent's that we are likely to want to use from a bushcraft point of view are going to range from the bivi to the expedition. The bell tent or Soulpad type can be covered in more depth by one of the members who own one. So, what to look out for in a tent and what the jargon means:


    Hydrostatic head basically means how much rain a tent skin or fly sheet can cope with before water penetrates the surface. It is measured in millimetres and the value is the length that a shaft of water would have to be to penetrate the surface. For example, a tent with a 5000mm HH would theoretically not leak until it was bombarded with lots of 5000mm shafts of water. The downside to this is that rainfall in the UK is measured in depth per square metre per hour and this obviously does not directly convert. As a general guide 2-4000mm HH is considered to be sufficient for any weather that you are likely to want to be out in.
    Another confusing point is that the groundsheet permeability is also measured in the same way.


    Poles are the next point of confusion. Fibreglass poles are cheap and splinter when they break. They are quite flexible though which is just about their only saving grace. Broken fibreglass poles will instantly find their way through your tent fabric and often destroy the tent completely.
    Steel poles are common in ridge tents and supported bivis and are very strong but also are heavy. Aluminium poles are lightweight and strong. They do break but can be replaced and are less likely to damage your fabric. Variants of aluminium are aluminium alloy, the lightest being T7001 and DAC, both of which are very strong and light but are also more expensive.


    Pitching is another consideration when choosing a tent. Fly first means that if you are caught by sudden bad weather you can get out of the rain quickly and then pitch the internal tent out of the rain. The fly is generally self supporting and the inner hooks into it. This is a good way of doing things if you are planning on moving on every day, it means that you never have to put the internal tent away wet.
    Inner first, if you choose a tent that pitches inner first then make sure that you don't have to thread the poles all the way. If it has clips or short sections of sleeving to attach the inner to the poles this is a lot quicker if you get caught out. It can also be difficult to get your fly to fit properly over the whole structure until you have practised a few times.
    Simultaneous pitching means that the whole tent, inner and outer, go up together. This can be easier and means that you can fold everything up together, thus saving time. Some styles of tent don't really allow this to be possible though.


    Weight is another important consideration, it may depend on how much your other gear weighs and if you are likely to be travelling around or based in the same place each night. I've come unstuck with tent weight before and try and keep as light as possible. It is worth pointing out though that when you see a tent with an ultralight version, the ultralight version has usually been made lighter by forfeiting other specifications, for instance a 4000mm hydrostatic head tent may only be 2000mm in the ultralight version. I believe that Terra Nova have broken their own record again this year with the Laser Ultra 1 tent which is the lightest double walled tent at 560g and it costs a little over £1 per gram.


    Some time ago now the dome tent appeared and all but killed off the ridge tent. I've never liked dome tents but these have lead on to geodesic and semi-geodesic which I like a lot. On a geodesic tent all the poles work against each other and this means that even in heavy winds the structure remains rock solid.
    Tunnel tents are also very good are much more likely to need guying out. They do however provide a little more room then a geodesic tent.


    In summary, I would always go for a double skin tent, with the inner having a tanked or bathtub style ground sheet which is sewn in. At the very least 2000mm HH, less then 4kg at the very most, 2.5kg and below if you are planning on moving around a lot. And yellow so that you look like a mountaineer.
    If you can afford it, Terra Nova every time, Lightwave, Vango, MSN are all up there with the best. Another good option is to see what is available from army surplus. Be very careful if you are buying anything second hand as snagged pole sleeves, leaky ground sheets and flys are easily hidden until you get wet in the night. And always look out for tiny patches of mildew, any signs at all, leave the tent well alone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    Tim and G1ZmO like this.
  2. stephenjames213

    stephenjames213 Technical Support

    Messages:
    581
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    150
    very good read that mate ,,,alot of good info ;)
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member Site Donor

    Messages:
    5,024
    Likes Received:
    1,027
    Trophy Points:
    1,000
    good post we,ll done mate ....keep up the good work;)
     
  4. Cavey

    Cavey Very Talkative

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    60
    Cracking read that was, I'll be reading that a few times more I reckon. :D
     
  5. lol

    lol Extremely Talkative

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    63
    Trophy Points:
    160
    About a bell tent: the Blacks Solace..............

    THE BLACKS OF GREENOCK SOLACE 1 and 2 BELL TENTS



    The Solace 1 and 2 are Blacks of Greenock bell tents, built to identical specifications, one is 4 metre in diameter, the other 5. This review is specific to the Solace 1, the 4 metre tent.


    These tents are made in a slightly higher weight canvas than is common in many others, at 320 g/m, as opposed to 285g/m.

    The canvas is a tight quality weave and is utterly waterproof. All the pressure points are reinforced and seams double stitched as a minimum. The tents are well cut and set very nicely without saggy panels.

    The designs have a higher than is usual entrance and the 4 metre tent entrance is nearly 6 feet, to mix up the units of measurement, or 1.8 metres. Many others are 1.5m or less. This is quite significant because then the ridge that follows from tent apex to door apex will be that much higher with commensurate increase in space. It makes a surprising difference.

    I am 6’ 4” and there is loads of standing room in this tent for me.

    The front doors (with a 3 way zip) have full size mesh doors with their own 3 way zips, which again, many other bell tents do not have. This is part of a very comprehensive ventilation and insect ingress prevention system for the tent which includes 3 very large half-moon windows in the walls. These have zip in canvas closures and again full mesh inserts. Ideally, these too, like the doors, could be zipped, but they are not, they are fixed. On the outside, uniquely, the windows have clear plastic roll up covers for extra rain protection if required.

    In the apex, are three further, mesh and cowled vents. With all this, ventilation is excellent and insect exclusion is as good as it can be.

    The walls have large “sods” made from woven polyethylene on the bottom which go under the groundsheet. These in their turn are covered by canvas cowls which pin down with the walls. Whilst perfectly adequate I would have preferred the sods to have been the same plasticised material as the HD groundsheet in a tent of this quality.

    Inside the front doors on the walls are 2 rows, 1 row each side of the doors, of useful odds and sods storage pockets for keys, cards, phones, maps or whatever.

    The groundsheet design on the tents is again unique to Blacks: they clip in. This gives the versatility of zip in groundsheets without the risk of damaging a zip and the inherent cost, the simplicity of peg in groundsheets, without the inconvenience of all those pegs. I would have preferred the clips to be a couple of inches higher and the groundsheet to be slightly “trayed”.

    The standard groundsheet is a lightweight woven polyethylene affair, but a fabulous ripstop woven and plasticised heavy duty sheet is available, sometimes offered f.o.c. This is highly recommended.

    All poles (with hanging points) are robust and sprung connected for ease of assembly and the pegs, at least for the 4 metre variant, perfectly good and strong. Blacks supply with the tent a couple of spare guys, but it would be nice to include a few spare pegs, bearing in mind that this tent is sold at the more premium end of the market. They do include a mallet as standard.

    The tent also includes as standard, again unlike many others, an inner tent which clips in and has its own mesh doors, This, and the groundsheet, are pale grey, but the anti-insect mesh is dark grey, and it is this which makes the tent interiors look dark in the photos. It is far from the case in reality, and the tents have a lovely light ambience.

    The tents are supplied in a nylon zip up bag with webbing carry straps, which is plenty big enough, though I would have preferred a canvas one.

    On the options list is a large canopy or awning, made of the same high quality canvas, which is supplied with its own pegs and pole, and in its own bag. This gives a large covered area for storage, cooking, dining, socialising or whatever.

    When one looks at the whole package, the specification and the quality thereof, the tent suddenly begins to look like very good value for money, compared to many of its competitors. Despite some very heavy and prolonged hosing in order to “weather” it (for I have yet to use it in heavy rain), as Blacks advise, it did not leak at all. Not at all.

    I am one very happy customer. The service, attention, and the willingness to answer all my queries before finally purchasing were much appreciated, and played a significant part in finalising my decision to buy.

    This seems a good, strong, robust, quality tent. Yes I may want a couple of tweaks as it were: who wouldn’t?

    How long to pitch? Fifteen minutes on my own, on first attempt. Couldn’t really be easier.


    2017
     
    1 shot willie likes this.
  6. 1 shot willie

    1 shot willie Site Manager Staff Member Site Donor

    Messages:
    8,443
    Likes Received:
    3,277
    Trophy Points:
    1,000
    Reading your post....you sound like one very happy chap :thumbsup:
    I can see what you are saying re the tent bag.....shame it is not canvas too.
    You could maybe try a military canvas kit bag if there is one suitable.
    Or....buy a piece of canvas and make your own......even sew on some pack like handles to the bag:thumbsup:
     
  7. 1 shot willie

    1 shot willie Site Manager Staff Member Site Donor

    Messages:
    8,443
    Likes Received:
    3,277
    Trophy Points:
    1,000
    Post up some pictures if you have some Lol.:thumbsup:
     
  8. divebuddy

    divebuddy Moderator Staff Member Site Donor

    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    498
    Trophy Points:
    250
    Excellent post. Always been a fan of anything Blacks come up with. When and where is the first proper outing?
     
  9. lol

    lol Extremely Talkative

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    63
    Trophy Points:
    160
    Love to but can't post piccies from the pooter....I have taken 1 in the back garden I can email?
     
  10. lol

    lol Extremely Talkative

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    63
    Trophy Points:
    160
    Blacks have done these I think from 2004, but their own website/advertising I think does them no favours.
     
  11. lol

    lol Extremely Talkative

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    63
    Trophy Points:
    160
    Sorry, just realised I haven't replied to your post: in truth, I'm not quite sure yet, but hope it's soon. It'll be a canoeing trip probably and used as base?