Monkey Love Hut PVC...to cut or not to cut?

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Monkey Love Hut PVC...to cut or not to cut?

Postby archeolojust » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:13 am

The shade we bought supplies for is the Monkey Love Hut. If you cut the PVC, does it compromise the structure? Any ideas how to haul them out in one piece?
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Postby Token » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:42 am

Yes. The pipe is being bent and stressed to make the half-barrel hangar shape. If you cut it you have to figure out some sleve type mechanism to rejoin it. This spot will no longer flex adding strain to the uncut parts and creating points of increased stress.

Will it fail? Who knows. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Depends on the winds and heat/cold cycles.

Most vehicles I've seen parked on the playa were capable of 10'. A truck is easiest but I've seen folks strap PVC bumper to pumper over the roof.
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Postby Savannah » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:40 am

My campmate and I used a rented cargo van to bring out the monkey hut PVC. Worked quite well for two people, two bikes, & all their stuff.
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Postby trystanthegypsy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:11 pm

My friend who rode down with me just bent it and strapped it to the roof of our little car.

one of the pieces stuck out the front, and thereafter my little white car was nicknamed "uuuuuuunicorn!"
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Postby archeolojust » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:03 pm

It just seems like a lot of pvc to strap to the top of a celica coming from GA.

Also, I had a feeling cutting might ruin it. We are looking into renting a pickup or explorer size thing with a flat bed, but finding a flat bed in the preferred price range may be hard.
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Postby trystanthegypsy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:00 pm

archeolojust wrote:It just seems like a lot of pvc to strap to the top of a celica coming from GA.


Hell, we did it with a cavalier coming from Canada. so hush up. :P

Though, I don't think it was a full size monkey hut...
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Postby Savannah » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:16 am

Also, I had a feeling cutting might ruin it. We are looking into renting a pickup or explorer size thing with a flat bed, but finding a flat bed in the preferred price range may be hard.


I think you're right, cutting it might ruin it. At least for a monkey hut. The tension from not-cutting it and merely bending it seems to be what makes it so reasonably sturdy. Ours held up great. (My campmate added some extra grommets, mind you, & brought extra bungee balls for them.)

At the rental places I've looked cargo vans are cheaper than SUVs by like . . . $200. (Don't know about pickups.) So seriously, inquire about the van. :)
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Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:20 am

Why not buy the pvc when you get to nv.?
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Postby Fire_Moose » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:51 am

it's nice to have all the work done on them first. ends have to be taped and such.
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Postby ConnieH » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:33 pm

I wonder if using 8 foot poles instead of 10 foot would make that much of a noticable difference in height and width? We put my 8 foot yurt on top of my VW Passat and it fit up there well without sticking out too far front or back...I'd be hesitant to put 10 foot poles on my car, too.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:46 pm

8 foot poles would make the hut un-stand-upable in for most people
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Postby ConnieH » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:08 pm

Fire_Moose wrote:8 foot poles would make the hut un-stand-upable in for most people


aaah - gotcha...yes, you are right, I didn't take the time to calculate the geometry before I suggested that. Thanks ;)
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:56 am

Standing, schmanding. What are you doing in there, holding a convention?
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Postby Fire_Moose » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:47 am

my coleman aeris tent stands about 5 feet high, and there is not much room between the top of that tent and the top of my hut....with the 10 foot poles...so you'd need a really tiny tent if you do shorter poles.
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:02 am

are you guys bending ONE 10' piece? I made a PVC arch to support the shade coming off my van last year & joined two 8' pieces of PVC & had lots of "head space". I forget the actual size of the pvc.. but inserted the ends of the 8' pieces thru a wider 1' section at the bending point.
&& isn't this how a monkey hut arch is formed?
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Postby Bounce530 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:43 am

How are you guys securing the hut to the playa, so it doesn't become a monkey parachute? Looking at this site http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/ It says to put the ribs on 2' rebar..I've just now started thinking about doing a hut, but it seems to me that it could lift off the rebar in a nasty wind.
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:49 am

Bounce. I think when you stake the shade over the top it holds the PVC in place?
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:58 am

Thats the way I understood it.
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Postby Bounce530 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:07 am

The cover is staked down the playa as well as the ribs? Well, that makes too much sense now. :oops:
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Postby Fire_Moose » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:07 am

Bounce530 wrote:How are you guys securing the hut to the playa, so it doesn't become a monkey parachute? Looking at this site http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/ It says to put the ribs on 2' rebar..I've just now started thinking about doing a hut, but it seems to me that it could lift off the rebar in a nasty wind.

Boijoy wrote:Bounce. I think when you stake the shade over the top it holds the PVC in place?



At least one guy line coming off the top middle of one of the end "ribs" and then a couple piece of candy caned rebar along the sides of the structure with bungee balls going from the bottom-side grommets to the rebar.

I always use bungee balls to secure the tarp to the frame, i dont stake the tarp. The PVC is held together by 2, 4ft bungee cords running from outer rib to center and center to other outer rib.
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Postby some seeing eye » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:07 pm

I used 1" 20 foot white sprinkler pipe for the arches, with a 20 foot center and ground level "ribs" of 3/4; all tie-wrapped together. The bungie ball suggestion for securing a tarp is spot on - did that with white 20x20 plastic tarps. (I've moved on to aluminet since) The tarps are a parachute, so tough staking, tying the stakes to the arches and allowing some flex in the whole structure helped me.

I drove 3 foot rebar 18 inches with a demolition hammer - the above ground 18 inches slipped inside the pvc. Each stake had two tie-wraps around the stake at ground level, trapping two tie-wraps anchoring the horizontal, ground level 3/4 runners, which in turn anchored the tarps with ball bungies.

It's not 100% reliable (on the playa, nothing is) but you can make a small groove with a file in PVC to anchor a tie-wrap in place.

Making joints in PVC pipe as others have said, severely weakens them. 20 feet is not that long in relation to anything but the most compact vehicles. Bending them over the vehicle just gets them ready to bend int a structure.
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Postby Nitevenus » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:12 pm

I've been looking really hard at the Love Monkey Hut for some time now, for both on and off playa and glad someone started the thread. Obviously works for many people. Anyone have any comments on how it performs in the wind?
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Postby Bluemandrew » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:56 am

I am happy to report that we cut all of our 10 foot monkey hut poles in half and had great success.

We made sleeves to reattach the 5 foot sections together using 2 foot sections of 1 1/4 inch PVC with a screw driven into the middle (so it would not slide down the pole it was on)

We anchored the hut to the ground using only the pieces of rebar recommended in the instructions. We added an extra 5 foot section to the structure as well.

We used a ton of bungie balls to attach a big piece of custom cut shade cloth to it, and did not anchor it to the ground at all. We did put a few very tight bungies wherever we could though on the parts of the cover closest to the legs/rebar

We used quite a few bungies going parallel to the roof supports too, to pull them all together.

We did use a shade cloth, which was 90% light blicking, but still allowed air through. I think this lead to a much cooler structure during the day. I had assumed that the breathable cloth would cause less wind force on the structure, and that may be true, but when talking to the manufacturer (http://www.thenaturalhome.com/shadecloth.htm) about another project, the told me to use the same wind load calculations as a solid surface.

We actually have had it up it the backyard since February, and we even have a normal tarp over part of it now. We live in CT, so we don't have playa-wind to test it, but it handled the end of a snowy winter and a crazy New England spring with no issues.


My biggest caveat about cutting the PVCthough, is that it takes up ALOT of room once you cut it. We stuffed it (and a lot of other stuff) into a Neon for the drive, and while it fit, the monkey hut (and shade cloth) probably took up the most space of everything we had.
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Postby Bounce530 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:47 pm

I have another NtMLH (new to monkey love huts) question..On the site that I posted up there, it says to get a 10x20 tarp, then it says to mark up a 10x20 footprint. Now, how does a 10x20 tarp cover a 10x20 footprint if it's arched x amount of feet from the ground, up and over?
Also, couldn't I set up my tent, then stake one side of the hut down and bend in or out to make it fit the height of my tent?
Something that seems so easy is starting to give me a headache, or maybe its the corona lights kicking in...
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Postby Bounce530 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:50 pm

n/m the footprint question, I didn't read the site right, it says to mark out a 10x12 footprint.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:16 am

it's best to build yer tent then move it under the already built monkey hut....
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Postby jlaux42 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:30 pm

Last year, I cut 1" thick PVC pipes down to lengths of about 4'8" so they would fit in the trunk of my car, and joined them together with lengths of 1-1/4" PVC pipe held in place by tension from the curvature of the pipe and duct-tape for good measure (the sleeves did move a bit over the course of the week, so I would say the duct tape is pretty important). Just make sure the cuts are straight so the ends can be reasonably flush against each other. My structure held up fine from Tuesday night to Sunday afternoon when I took it down. If anything, I feel like the shorter lengths might be a little sturdier than using the 10' lengths because the 1-1/4" sleeves add a bit of reinforcement. The 10x20' tarp was also a bit oversized for the structure, which I think helped ensure direct contact between the tarp grommets and the playa surface with pretty good tension to hold everything in place. I staked the tarp grommets down with the cheap 10" metal stakes from the camping department at Wally World. Last year, the only real maintenance requirement was checking the stakes every morning (or more frequently when the wind kicked up) and banging them back into the ground if they were loose.
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Postby archeolojust » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:51 pm

Hmm, I'm still torn. I suppose it'll come down to travel space. I'd rather not bend them over the car, as I'm attached to this car. It isn't going to the playa, its going to Cali where our 3rd campmate will join us, we change cars and head to the playa.

Thank you all for your MLH advice. If you have any other advice, mistakes, etc, please share!
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Postby Token » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:02 pm

Desert structure durability is a matter of playing the odds.

Just because a particular design is popular does not mean it is guaranteed to survive in specific situations.

The Monkey Hut as designed has been successful for most. Thus is a good thing.

Several folks have modified it for portability and reported success. This is also a good thing.

Given the positive reports of success, it is likely that the cut pipe design is sound and all we need is a few more folks to validate this before it is vetted.

Considering that almost all structure types have failed on the playe before, car ports, domes, tension shades, tensegrity structures etc, it is reasonable to believe that the surviving popular structures are worthy for most of the typical situations. If you get caught in a massive dust devil tornado, odds are it won't matter if your poles are cut or not. It will get eaten alive.

I say go with the adventure and do the cut pipe n sleeve.

Bring a couple extra sleeves and cut pipes, lots of duckt tape, extra rope and a fifth of good rye whiskey. If the worst should happen and you need some drunken playa engineering, well, the whiskey sure helps in lubricating the solution.
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Postby archeolojust » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:36 pm

Thank you Token. That is some wonderfully sound advice. Especially the liquor and duct tape. If all else fails, one of my campmates is a goblinoid tinkerer/mcgyver/mad scientist. We should be okay.
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