Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

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Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Geekette70 » Tue May 13, 2014 8:36 am

We have a pretty large tent that we're bringing to the playa and I've been racking my brain on how to construct some kind of shade for it. I've set it up mid-summer in Texas and know for a fact that it can get really damn hot, really damn fast if there's no shade. The tent dimensions are approx 13' X 20' and it's 9+ feet tall so I'm kind of stumped. It's just going to be my husband and me, so anything terribly elaborate is out of the question. We do have an awesome swamp cooler that I got on sale for a steal for heat relief when we sleep, but with the sun beating down on the tent, I'm sure it's not going to be enough.

This is our tent, http://www.canvascamp.com/en/cotton-ten ... imate.html

To be honest, the only think I can really think of is to drape camo netting over the top and rig up spreaders around it for airflow between the netting and the tent, but I'm trying to come up with a solution that's not going to set us back $500.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Jackass » Tue May 13, 2014 8:41 am

That's one hell of a tent for just two people, maybe try a tent within a tent. A tent that big IS your shade...unless you can find a bigger one.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby VultureChow » Tue May 13, 2014 9:22 am

I wrapped my kodiak canvas tent (10x10x6), in aluminet, and definitely gained an extra two hours of useful sleep.

No spreaders, no structure.

Aluminet would be an expensive solution. Even just draping it with the camo netting would probably help, spreader or no. What you might try instead, however, is partitioning the interior in such a way that only a smaller sleeping area is actually serviced by the swamp cooler.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Monkeystyle » Tue May 13, 2014 9:32 am

throw a silver tarp over it... or try a less ridiculously large tent... that thing is bigger then my monkey hut.... :?
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue May 13, 2014 9:33 am

Do you have a picture of the swamp cooler?

If it can move enough air you won't need to shade the tent.

If the cooler can put out 1000CFM, it will completely exchange the air in the tent every 3 minutes!!! 8)
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Sunbeam56 » Tue May 13, 2014 9:42 am

Love the tent!
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby unjonharley » Tue May 13, 2014 12:22 pm

Work with the Figjam's spec's... Talk to him and you will come up with a swamp cooler that will do the job..

Two camp I can think of have M A S H hospital size tents.. Ask Jiffy Lube or M A S H we are not doctors..
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Geekette70 » Fri May 23, 2014 8:16 am

Thanks all.
@Sunbeam, thanks! It's obnoxiously large for just the hubby and me, but we frequently camp with a small group of friends and it doubles as a gathering place for our group when it's raining or it's near freezing outside.

@Figjam, the swamp cooler we have is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-CO25AE- ... ive+cooler

The specs say that it moves 850 m3/hr (500 CFM) but the description states 'cools rooms up to 250 sq ft.' At 13X21', our tent is 273 sq ft, so that's pretty close. Hoever, throw in thin, uninsulated walls, a 9' high ceiling and no shade and I'm not so certain it's enough. On the good side is that it throws air 'up to 9.3 yards' and has an ice reservior (we're bringing a mini fridge/freezer combo, and we plan to keep some frozen bottled water on-hand for convenience) but I'm not optimistic about how hospitible things will be, come late morning.

(And no, before people start blasting away for 'conspicuous consumption,' there is no way I'd pay $300 for it. I was planning on making my own, based on Figjam's Instructible, when I caught one on Amazon Warehouse deals for $47.95 in brand new condition and...since I had an Amazon gift certificate...it ended up being only $37 and change including shipping!!! The only 'problem' was that one of the feet was broken. When I called Honeywell, intending to price a replacement caster, they shipped me a new one, no questions asked, for FREE. Pretty much the best internet find, ever.)
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby FIGJAM » Fri May 23, 2014 8:45 am

Most coolers like that do not work as advertised.

Will you have a genny to power it?

It will work best if the intake is placed against a window.

The hot dry air will make it the most affective.

Ice won't make enough difference to bother with.

100 degrees outside will mean the water in the cooler should be 58 degrees.

As long as it can completely exchange the air in the space every 1 to 3 minutes, it should work fine. 8)
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Geekette70 » Fri May 23, 2014 9:33 am

Yes, we've got an EU2000i to power it and plan to place it in a doorway to facilitate air exchange. Based on everything I've read, I wasn't hopeful that the ice would make a huge difference, but it's a 'feature' so I thought I'd mention it. :wink:

I'm considering of sewing some sort of internal partition and hanging it from a PVC frame suspended from the the support bar at the top to reduce the interior square footage, but haven't thought this completely through.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Milayna » Fri May 23, 2014 11:19 am

You could put a smaller tent inside the big one and leave the big tent open for airflow. Then have the swamp cooler service the smaller tent only. Sleep in the small tent and use the big tent for hanging out, and storage. I mean that tent is HUGE so I think you could do this pretty easily.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri May 23, 2014 5:54 pm

You could always just park a Winnebago inside the tent! :)
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby AntiM » Sun May 25, 2014 5:24 am

A tent that big, you could add decorative ceiling panels and shade it from the inside, while reducing the amount of space the swamp cooler is cooling. We add panels of cloth under the carport roof to cut down on the heat, and they are decorative as well.

We use a bucket cooler just outside out tiny sleeping tent, but it is specifically for cooling just that specific teensy space. Actually, we only used it for afternoon naps as I am an annoyingly early riser. Worked like a charm. I had to put the quilt over me!
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby trilobyte » Sun May 25, 2014 10:11 am

While it's a great tent, it sounds like it's way too big (or your shade budget's too small). There are a few great options and alternatives that will help you make it manageable, good luck getting something sorted out.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby FossaFerox » Sun May 25, 2014 11:27 am

One thing you may want to take into consideration is that this tent will likely not be the same after the burn. If this is a tent you and your friends rely on throughout the year you may be better off picking up a cheaper tent to take to the playa, one that's more reasonably sized. Failing that, a silver tarp on the eastern exposure and a swamp cooler that moves sufficient CFM (that's what counts, not what SF they tout on the box) and you'll be okay.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby DoctorIknow » Mon May 26, 2014 1:14 am

The cheapest route for shade cover, a few silver tarps, might not be advisable for added weight to tent and potential "sail" effects in wind.

I think not wanting to spend $500 on shade should have you consider the tent inside a tent idea expressed above. As said, allow ventilation for the big tent.

I would cost a LOT to do aluminet, but it packs easily and I've known people who put it right on the tent fabric and it CAN work that way and doesn't become a sail, although it can't be as efficient as if it were suspended. "Green/brown" camo laying on tent fabric does very little except make nice shadows inside the tent, and again, you might have the additional weight problem, although reduced sail problems.

You could get "snow camo" and the whiteness would help reflect some heat, (big discussions on eplaya about white vs. black shade for keeping cool) but it is expensive also. See http://www.camonetsusa.com if you what sticker shock.

Of prime importance to sleeping past about 8:45-9:00 in the morning is SIDE shade, on at least two sides. That adds a lot more complexity in set up materials needed and time involved.

If you think of using any shade material suspended by its own structure, and not dependent on the tent structure, for that size tent you will need at least six (maybe eight) strong, support poles, guyed with two ropes each, with 12 or 16 deep candy-cane rebar or auger anchors, and you will have to really torque down on the rope or wire you use between all the poles. It will take a lot of time to set up the support poles, and keeping them upright while attaching connecting ropes/wire is a job for more than two people. It is also done best with two ladders. It is a very time consuming process and if it's windy when attaching such huge pieces of shade material, it will just make you want to cry....

Best of luck. Perhaps the cooler will be enough.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby Geekette70 » Wed May 28, 2014 4:05 am

I've been thinking and discussing with the spousal unit and I think we're going to go for broke and just do the aluminet thing as well as an interior divider. We normally camp in Texas, where it's frequently over 90 degrees, and I think the aluminet can be written off as a long term investment even if this turns out to be our only trek to BRC. The interior divider will also come in handy in winter when we're heating the tent.

I sew and I already own a grommet setter, so we just need the aluminet material. Been pricing it, so I'm already braced for sticker shock. :? Going to try to put up the tent this weekend if the weather cooperates and take some measurements. Thanks to everyone for your feedback!
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby gaminwench » Wed May 28, 2014 4:51 am

In my experience, edging the aluminet and installing grommets is not optimum.

One of the main positive properties of aluminet is its flexibility,
edging it cancels this out.

I've found shark clips/and(or) marbles with ball bungees to be more accommodating.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby DoctorIknow » Wed May 28, 2014 5:30 am

gaminwench wrote:In my experience, edging the aluminet and installing grommets is not optimum.

One of the main positive properties of aluminet is its flexibility,
edging it cancels this out.

I've found shark clips/and(or) marbles with ball bungees to be more accommodating.



I agree 100%.
Also, sewing edging on what you need would be mind numbing, and could present difficulty with getting the right needle/thread/tension. At least I had a really hard time getting it right.

The Shark Clips are great, but there is a cheaper version I've used on aluminet for years. Besides doing the four edges, I also connect two pieces with the clips which gives another place for a rope.

These are the ones I use and they 1/3 the price of Shark Clips. I use very close spacing probably because they are so cheap.
"Clip-Its Plastic Grommets" 25 for $5.75 vs. Shark Cips 10 for $5
http://www.shadeclothstore.com/products/product.aspx?sku=CL9500&dept=172
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby BeeWeeDee » Thu May 29, 2014 12:46 pm

Here's an idea....

I doubt you "live" in every square foot of the tent. You could make some roll down partitions (rugs/blankets) that shut off portions of the tent from others. ie. cool what you need at the time. Same concept as shutting off a room to keep a house warm in the winter.
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Re: Thoughts on shade for a very large canvas tent?

Postby BetaBox » Thu May 29, 2014 5:18 pm

Check out this thread.

I have a12x20 by 9ft tall tent and you are right in going all the way with the coverage and a quality material. I use 4x4s for support poles to attach ratchet straps and anchors but emt can work too. The middle of the tent forms 2 points that help support the shade cloth. Make sure EVERY sq inch of the tent is covered.
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