Costco Carports

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

Postby TomServo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:06 pm

Teo del Fuego wrote:wow, would seriously recommend any Costco carport owners to ignore the advice of cutting slits in the vinyl to dissipate the wind. If one is that concerned, I would suggest throwing two or more guy lines over the roof and staking those down securely. Maybe I just got lucky, but my carport survived both windstorms in 2008 as well as everything else in 2009 and 2010.


Yes ignore us! Tarps are cheap. Replacing an entire canopy is a little expensive.
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Postby Bob » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:54 pm

Kind of like expecting that slits in your ski outfit will improve your speed down the slope.
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Postby fbcota » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:07 pm

I was just throwing ideas out. Doesn't matter how many straps you put on something when the supports can buckle.

Which is what happened!!! Signing off to the folks who know better ways to mitigate the issues regarding the wind :P
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Postby moonrise » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:23 am

Um, what did I miss? I followed the links, read the thread and no one can agree about how to make these canvas barns work safely?

I'm a bit concerned...for one, cutting slits seems not so great, maybe have a razor ready in a baggie and slash it if wind comes up?
Have a "tear baggie open in case of emergency" and instructions for when you ain't in camp and wind comes up, draw lines for where to slash for campmates to follow? Harsh. These barns are NICE inside! Ouch, slashing seems extreme.

Clamshell the thing? I'm somewhat tall...maybe someday, Arg!

Ygmir and others have had no total destruction yet, could it be they were lucky or maybe there were enough RV's etc etc wind breaks around??
Haven't been told, yet. What's the scoop?

Why not get a bunch of ratchet straps, hook em end to end, they are cheap enough, and crank the sucker down, thrown over the roof 2 or 3 times? Seems like a good idea as TDF suggested.
Can always have the "emergency razor blade and pre-drawn slashing lines" ready to go. Again, Harsh.

Seems the ones that collapsed had a "maybe they weren't staked at the legs well enough question mark" unknown factor thrown in.
Also, seems the ones that went flat/failed in the metal frame tubing were OUT IN THE OPEN when this happened. Logical guess.
Clam shell in this case? Slash? I don't wanna do either of those. What else can be done?!?! I'm lost here and want to figure this one out^^^^

Tomservo, I'm wondering, can the tops be replaced with tarps or something? What did I miss? I know for sure, replacing a torn top with an original (special order? yikes) replacement, probably might as well buy another one and send the spare parts to the carport junk yard.
I'm curious what you meant when you mentioned tarps? Can added tarps help and if so how? Does that make em last longer or replace shot tops? Camo stufff maybe? No offense Tom but I'm totally lost and would like to know.

I tell ya, the more one digs, the more confusing it gets...I like my canvas barn and I'm (happily) stuck with it. Seems if they are out in the open, they get squashed, if some sort of wind break is near, they survive. Did I miss anything here??

BTW, I found the zippers do very well if you bring a $4 can of silicone spray, for all zippers, tents, clothes, etc...man that made a big difference and the leftover works around my house too, fixes tons of household sticky issues.
The stuff is like a clean WD40, no stink, no stain, clean, safe enough.

I don't want to slash my canvas barn, no kidding, a poor mans RV, LOL, hmmm....at this point I think I'll throw almost every extra reinforcement there is under the sun at mine. T posts, many X configuration straps inside, straps over the top in several places, what else, hm...?? Not looking for disasters out there :shock: most of us have this stuff^^^^ ready to rock!

Keep 'em coming and hopefully this thread can clarify itself and help us understand if different locations also warrant different precautions. OUT IN THE OPEN needs a GOOD solution w/o clam shelling if possible.
Mine did fine all week and through Tuesdays dust storm and no RV around by then...we sat out the storm in comfort, no joke, it was strong shelter.
Sorry for the long post but I'm starting to worry a bit; was 2010 an ultra mild weather year for winds?
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Postby HandJamMasterC » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:05 am

We've used 3 carports put together to form a 20' x 60' tent two years now. They are absolutely bombproof if you set them up like this -

You need -
1 - 10 - 12 foot rachet straps for each exterior support leg, and 2 at corners.
2 - one 24" x 3/8" rebar for each support leg ( or where 2 legs come together if joining multiple carports ). All of them.
3 - one 36" x 1/2" rebar for each rachet strap, and 1" x 5 feet of climbing sling to tie to the rebar ( keeps the rachet strap from getting torn up ).
4 - adjustable pipe clamps and a cordless drill with a socket to fit the clamp screw. We put these around the verticle support legs and 3/8" rebar after pounding the rebar in the ground. Crank it down tight around the support leg / rebar, and wind lift won't do anything.

This has become our theme camp structure - bomb proof I tell you !!


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Postby Timezone LaFontaine » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:42 am

Just to clarify my position on the 'slits' idea, I'm not talking about going at the canopy haphazardly with a razor in the heat of a windstorm. I'm talking about taking a good amount of time beforehand, reinforcing the area around where the cut will be, and then making a small crescent-shaped cut. You can see something quite similar on any vinyl banner stretched across a street in an urban area, e.g. announcing special events in the city. The goal is to provide some amount of flow-through for the wind so the entire thing isn't a sail, and subsequently help to equalize the air pressure inside and outside, as a sudden differential in air pressure inside is what will cause a collapse and/or launch immediately following collapse.

In my own experience, a couple years ago, I came back during a windstorm to find the legs holding strong as they were well-staked, but the roof structure was starting to pull off the legs... and that roof frame is pretty dang heavy. I managed to get it secured tighter during the storm but it was a nerve-wracking experience that kind of had me jittery for the next 8 hours. Later that night I wandered the playa with a semi-psychotic octagenarian who both mellowed me out and worried me in all-new ways.

Another option is to not modify your canopy at all, but instead replace it with some cheaper tarps or some sort of shade fabric... or just leave it as is and make sure you spend a lot of quality time staking and tying the whole structure. Anyhow, I don't think the suggestion to consider modifications should be scoffed at, as it satisfies a certain enjoyable obsessiveness for some folks. I do understand that some people are looking for a solution that requires the a minimum of work too. I don't think a disaster is likely if you don't do any additional modifications, just something to consider, as I thought about it more after my first year setting it up.

For anyone reading this who is new to eplaya, you should be aware that there is a spectrum of people here ranging from extremely cautious people to extremely reckless people, and some in both camps consider themselves experts based on their own (arguably lucky) experiences. If this thread keeps going long enough, surely the dude who insists that a pop-up canopy is all that is needed is going to show up and mock the people who don't want their structure coming down on someone's head or windshield. The extremely cautious may never know if they have spent too much time and effort making careful preparations, but the extremely reckless sometimes find out really quick that they didn't.

Who knows what will happen where you set up camp? Even though 2010 was pretty calm wind-wise most of the first half of the week, I watched with astonishment from the Lamplighters lounge one afternoon this past year as a huge dust devil tore through what looked like the 4:00ish area over the course of about 30 seconds, seeing a couple of large shade-structure-esque objects get lifted up about 15 feet and dropped. I couldn't tell exactly what was flying around, but it looked kinda big and was moving pretty fast. I mean, personally I feel like it's gonna be okay if my gear gets damaged or broken, I just don't want to be responsible for injuring someone else.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:09 pm

HandJamMasterC wrote:We've used 3 carports put together to form a 20' x 60' tent two years now. They are absolutely bombproof if you set them up like this -

You need -
1 - 10 - 12 foot rachet straps for each exterior support leg, and 2 at corners.
2 - one 24" x 3/8" rebar for each support leg ( or where 2 legs come together if joining multiple carports ). All of them.
3 - one 36" x 1/2" rebar for each rachet strap, and 1" x 5 feet of climbing sling to tie to the rebar ( keeps the rachet strap from getting torn up ).
4 - adjustable pipe clamps and a cordless drill with a socket to fit the clamp screw. We put these around the verticle support legs and 3/8" rebar after pounding the rebar in the ground. Crank it down tight around the support leg / rebar, and wind lift won't do anything.

This has become our theme camp structure - bomb proof I tell you !!

Apokaliptika takes that as a direct challenge.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:10 pm

Bob wrote:Kind of like expecting that slits in your ski outfit will improve your speed down the slope.

Don't be silly. Everyone knows it's the racing stripes.
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Postby HandJamMasterC » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:35 pm

Just to clarify, we also bolt the entire frame together ( the new Chinese Costco carports have spring loaded connectors ).

I have 34 years of commercial construction experience, and have spent over 30 days and nights on over 18 big walls engineering hanging bivys where failure is not an option. Like this -

Image

Just rebar and rachet strap the living Hell out of the thing and you will be A - OK !!
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Postby moonrise » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:50 pm

Timezone LaFontaine wrote:Just to clarify my position on the 'slits' idea, I'm not talking about going at the canopy haphazardly with a razor in the heat of a windstorm. I'm talking about taking a good amount of time beforehand, reinforcing the area around where the cut will be, and then making a small crescent-shaped cut.


I may use mine for other purposes, not soley for burning man.
Slashing it woulda been an "emergency" safety percaution.

I wonder if maybe making a 1/2 dozen small, long, triangular, reinforced sunroof openings along the outter roof lines, covered with camo shade fabric, and strapped down, would be a way to go.

edited to add; Camp D.O.A., fear is not an option apparently!
One thing, seems tons of rebar, T posts and straps would stop it from going airborne and hurting anyone.
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Postby TomServo » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:39 pm

Cutting slits...crescent shaped or V shaped....on the wall tarps, greatly reduces the wind resistance. I use tape where the cuts are made, to keep the hole from becoming a bigger hole. I also tape over each grommet to keep it from ripping out. Hasn't failed me yet. Used to use duct tape, but gorilla tape seems better.
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Postby Bob » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:14 pm

And there's the theory that opening windows does some sort of good during a tornado strike.
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Postby TomServo » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:37 pm

Bob wrote:And there's the theory that opening windows does some sort of good during a tornado strike.


Two different things. A sail with holes in it won't get you very far. Same with tarps. If you absolutely NEED to catch every ounce of force a gust creates, have fun with it!. I've learned quite a few things over the past 12 years on the playa, and this little trick works.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:54 pm

TomServo wrote: Yes ignore us! Tarps are cheap. Replacing an entire canopy is a little expensive.


Tom, that comment is ambiguous. It smells a little like sarcasm but it could be drunk typing I suppose. Here's the deal: there are a shit load of Costco Carports out there that work just fine and dandy each and every year without cutting slits in the roof or the sides. Mutilate your shade structure if you want to, but don't get too upset when your little slit becomes a gaping rip. I confess that I don't really know about the ripping propensities of Costco carport vinyl since I've never slit mine nor have I seen anyone else do it. (I have seen it done on billboard vinyl shade structures mounted on less secure frames than the Costco carport.) I also will state that Astral Headwash has used the same two Costco Carports for the past 8 years without any problems or slits. But, hey, it's your nickle, slit away.
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Postby TomServo » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:02 pm

Teo del Fuego wrote:
TomServo wrote: Yes ignore us! Tarps are cheap. Replacing an entire canopy is a little expensive.


Tom, that comment is ambiguous. It smells a little like sarcasm but it could be drunk typing I suppose. Here's the deal: there are a shit load of Costco Carports out there that work just fine and dandy each and every year without cutting slits in the roof or the sides. Mutilate your shade structure if you want to, but don't get too upset when your little slit becomes a gaping rip. I confess that I don't really know about the ripping propensities of Costco carport vinyl since I've never slit mine nor have I seen anyone else do it. (I have seen it done on billboard vinyl shade structures mounted on less secure frames than the Costco carport.) I also will state that Astral Headwash has used the same two Costco Carports for the past 8 years without any problems or slits. But, hey, it's your nickle, slit away.


You should have seen my camp in 1999, after reported 100+mph gusts. I tape where I cut, and cut ONLY inside the taped area! It may look ugly, but it works. And, yes...that was sarcasm.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:18 pm

1999 must have had a helluva storm. Yeah, don't think we've had winds at 100 mph in my six years. I suppose we came close the first Sunday of 2005 (or maybe it just seemed that way being my first dust storm) and again in 2008. I think I can confidently say that a properly secured Costco carport is going to be bombproof for winds up to 75-80 mph.

Now of course, we all know whose carport is going to get squashed this year, don't we?
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Postby Bob » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:41 pm

Oh, and the Mythbusters episode where they drove a pickup truck on the James Lick Freeway, to test whether having the tailgate up or down affected the gas mileage.
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Postby AntiM » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:12 am

The slits would ruin the canopy for rainy conditions. Given the weather this year, I was glad we had a solid roof over our heads. Our regional was even worse, four days of rain in a row.

Our carports are the older, heavier ones from Sam's Club. King Canopy, and still listed online, but not cheap. The pipes simply slide into the joints, and the canopy roof is critical for holding the structure into one piece. May be why our system works best for us, but not for others.
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Postby HandJamMasterC » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:21 am

Ours are the Shelter Logic carports sold at Costco in 2009. The frame bolts together.
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Postby TomServo » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:54 pm

AntiM wrote:The slits would ruin the canopy for rainy conditions. Given the weather this year, I was glad we had a solid roof over our heads. Our regional was even worse, four days of rain in a row.

Our carports are the older, heavier ones from Sam's Club. King Canopy, and still listed online, but not cheap. The pipes simply slide into the joints, and the canopy roof is critical for holding the structure into one piece. May be why our system works best for us, but not for others.


I only cut the walls. Vertical tarps take the most windload for some strange reason. As for the roof..I agree, and may actually use guy lines to secure it...beyond the bungee ties. Still got that Grommet machine Risky?
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:18 am

Our original end walls ripped early on, so we've gone to snow camo or custom cut vinyl. The side walls have never been a problem. Oh wait, we don't use the in the clamshell configuration, unless it is really rainy.

This past year we had single side walls installed, but rolled up (interior of the shade area). Since we're tilted, our roof becomes one of the walls. Slanted like that, the wind just goes up and over. Drainage sucks, we had to keep pushing the roof up to drain the puddles, and we had ice sheets Tuesday morning.
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Postby Bob » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:39 am

Can't imagine not using guy lines, pinning the legs, etc. as HandJamMasterC suggests, though you could certainly use cheap truck rope rather than climbing slings and ratchety straps. Plan ahead how much rope you need, might be cheaper to buy a whole 600 ft reel of 3/8 poly at Home Depot or wherever.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:26 pm

Bob wrote:Can't imagine not using guy lines, pinning the legs, etc. as HandJamMasterC suggests, though you could certainly use cheap truck rope rather than climbing slings and ratchety straps. Plan ahead how much rope you need, might be cheaper to buy a whole 600 ft reel of 3/8 poly at Home Depot or wherever.


If you have a sailor handy, they can splice custom loops into the ends. No knots that way.

Yes, I had a sailor handy, one who carries a splicing knife. Which is not a knife at all ...
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Postby Bob » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:09 pm

AntiM wrote:
Bob wrote:Can't imagine not using guy lines, pinning the legs, etc. as HandJamMasterC suggests, though you could certainly use cheap truck rope rather than climbing slings and ratchety straps. Plan ahead how much rope you need, might be cheaper to buy a whole 600 ft reel of 3/8 poly at Home Depot or wherever.


If you have a sailor handy, they can splice custom loops into the ends. No knots that way.

Yes, I had a sailor handy, one who carries a splicing knife. Which is not a knife at all ...


Arr, those would be aye splices.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:17 pm

To quote DVD Burner: :roll:
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