I did a test set up of my new ShelterSystems 20-foot YurtDome with the playa kit (these guys http://www.shelter-systems.com
). We noticed that the seams are not sealed but are tight. Has anyone out there had experience with these domes and how well thy keep dust out? I got a floor for it too and the grip clips to attach it. Will huge amounts of dust get in unless I seal all the seams? I'm not that fussy about dust. The owner's manual recommends Scotch Transparent Long Lasting Duct Tape. Has anyone used this tape to seal their dome and does it hold up well?
Any other advice about using these domes on the playa would be great.
Shelter Systems uses a shingled strategy in their cover to keep rain out. For camping in neutral to wet conditions, this works very well and is a good design for those situations. On the playa however, it wont be remotely dust-proof. I had the opportunity to see this first-hand in a friends 30 foot SS dome. When the winds got to about 30 mph, the inside was a swirling mass of dust. The wind got up under the shingling with ease and carried all that micro-fine stuff inside. It also forced it between the floor and walls in the space between the grip clips.
The only way to fix this problem is to completely seal the dome at the shingles with tape, but in the heat of the desert do you really want to do that? You are going to want lots of airflow whenever the dust isn't howling, so the two requirements are somewhat exclusive. I have seen one dome where the owner retrofitted velcro to the shingling and she claimed it worked very well. She also had the aforementioned clear tape, but wasn't planning on needing it. YMMV.
The SS dome was very nice during the non-windy periods. That floor really helped to keep the internal dust down (count on sweeping it daily or more often) and it provided a nice place to hang-out. It was one of the few places I could take my shoes off without worrying about playa foot.
I personally don't think the Shelter Systems domes are the ideal compromise of cost vs performance for Burning Man, (not a fan of the whole PVC thingie) but you have to hand it to them when it comes to assembly time and weight. In the time it takes me to put up a 30 foot conduit-frame dome, you could pitch several of the SS units. And taking them down at the end of the burn is a matter of minutes. Gravity does all the work for you.
Some would suggest this whole sealing discussion is academic anyway. Nobody gets off the playa without looking like Pig Pen (ref: Peanuts) so there may be wisdom in just going with the flow, leaving the shingling open, and sweeping it all out when winds permit.