Tent Types for the desert

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

Postby DoctorIknow » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:44 pm

As said above, if you have good shade, ventilation is a non-issue.

Perhaps it would be better to spend money on aluminet and a support system, then just get a cheapo tent you can stand up in. Paint the open mesh or cover it as mentioned above. I've had a cheapo Coleman out there for 8 years and not one pole has ever bent.

I don't even like mesh on the closable windows, and so I just cut the mesh out. No bugs out there and the mesh stops all breeze below about 10mph.

I used "Fabric Fusion" hot melt velcro (more expensive than glue on type, which fails easily and sewn on is too pain in the ass for me) to connect the window coverings intimately with the tent body, and playa doesn't make it thru the velcro. It could be used for overhead mesh, but most tents these days have the entire top as mesh and the velcro would be expensive.

One can get longer lengths than the pic at WalMart etc...


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Postby teardropper » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:59 pm

Springbar is great. Just set a friends up yesterday. Will be bringing to the playa soon. Very heavy duty. Solid steel rods and a unique spring tensioning system. Very heavy, too. Requires two to carry it comfortably and I wouldn't want to carry it far. Thinks he might get a hand cart for that. He will be setting it up under a North Pole shade. They look to be made for this.
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Postby Uncle Jimmy » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:22 pm

After exhaustive research on e-playa and Tribe, I bought a Springbar Vagabond 4 before last years Burn. It was the best investment I made and I expect it to last for many years. It ran somewhere around $400. It is 8'X10' and 7' high. Perfect size tent for 1-2 people with all their stuff. There is plenty of room to divide the tent into living and sleeping spaces and it is really nice to be able to stand up. The Vagabond series is less expensive than their other models but extremely well made.

Springbars are really easy to put up. They are triple stitched, have industrial grade zippers and canvas walls that allow for air flow while being incredibly dust proof. I was pretty stoked about that after my experiences at the beginning of the 2008 burn while living in a cheapo but big $130 dustmaster deluxe tent I bought at Target. The Target dustmaster deluxe started ripping before I finished putting it up due to the wind picking up. Had to use duct tape and zip ties to keep it together. Then came the 8 hour monster dust storm and everything in my tent was covered with a layer of dust complements of the ventilation screens. It was a great way to start off my virgin burn. I took it in stride and made a mental note to get a better tent the next year.

Springbars do need to be staked down really well because it is part of the structural design. I used something like 12+ stakes but they will help hold the tent down during windstorms. I bought some 20" steel stakes last year. They went into the ground way easier than rebar and you can bury the tops in the ground to avoid injuries. They were expensive but you can hammer them into asphalt and they will not bend. http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/ ... cfm/SN5100

My Vagabond 4 handled the wind incredibly well. I do recommend you get a little thing of lubricant for the zipper door because the dust will impact it a little over the week.
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Postby gyre » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:33 pm

What is the shape of those stakes?

What material?
What is 55c, if you have an idea?
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Postby Uncle Jimmy » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:44 pm

Gyre, The "solid stake" is smooth and round and tapered at the point. It is easy to tie guy lines and hook tent rings due to the design at the top end. The website said they are forged steel. Not sure what the 55cc means. Think it is the density of the steel. They are not overly heavy but they definitely work better than any other stake I have used on tents.

I think they would work well on campsites where there are a lot of rocks or gravel. The plastic yellow stakes didn't really work well when I set up my new Vagabond 4 at the Panamint Springs campground in Death Valley. They bent or broke when I was hammering them into the ground. It got pretty windy and some of the yellow stakes came out while I was out exploring the park.

The "solid stakes" went into the ground easily and did not budge for the 2 1/2 weeks I was on the playa. I think it took less than 5 minutes to hammer in 12+ stakes if I remember. It was very easy to pull them out of the ground. The claw end of a hammer and piece of wood did the trick. Once you got them partially out of the ground, you could easily pull them out by hand in a few seconds. I found the trick was to twist and pull. They were all out within 5 minutes. You don't have the friction issues you have with rebar.

My first year I bought rebar and had the hardware store dude cut them into 15" pieces and candy cane the ends for me. The rebar didn't go into the ground very easily and bent while I was hammering. Pulling them out was a chore as well due to the ridges.

In hindsight, using the Springbar on the playa, I would probably get the 11-7/8" solid stake. They are $4 each compared to $9 for the 20"ers I bought. Since you need to stake the tent in at 12 locations, shorter stakes would be fine. While I was at it, I bought a bunch 7-7/8" for my other camping tents. I am ready for any rock that may get in my way.......
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Postby gyre » Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:41 am

55c is probably rockwell hardness.
Decent enough.

The best stake design I have seen is a four edge stake, like an X in cross section.
The beauty of this design is that you use the edges to pull the stakes out by the hook.
No other tools needed.
Such a design goes in and out on the playa easily, but has enormous grip.
A round stake would be light for it's size though.

Are the hooks used to remove your stakes?

Are they galvanized?
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Postby stormlight » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:53 am

Thinking about getting Springbar, either Vagabond 4 or Campsite 3. They look fairly similar, wondering if those who have them made decision one way or the other for any particular reasons. Thanks.
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Postby gyre » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:03 pm

I can't get the site to work.

Isn't the Vagabond slightly smaller in that model?
Otherwise they are identical except for amenities like windows and doors and the awning.
Some use them only for extreme desert camping and the windows are superfluous, maybe detrimental in dust.
If you're using shade over it, the awning doesn't matter.
Both good tents.

I suggest adding a zipper to the bottom of the door in your order.

I would lean toward the deluxe or the expandable myself, but the vagabond is the same quality tent.
I would be using the tent on that 4500 mile commute myself.

Some prefer the vagabond for it's lack of dust catching features.
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Postby teardropper » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:12 pm

My friend got the Family Camper 7. That's got all the windows. He wants to use it in other environments, so it's a trade off. Those windows seal pretty good with the zippers and the front has an awning that can cover the door and the window. The dust always wins, anyway.
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Postby littlemonkey » Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:15 pm

At the 2007 Burning Man I camped in a Springbar Traveler 5 http://www.springbar.com/explore/deluxe ... _tent.html

It performed extremely well. Didn't budge at all in the wind, it was super stable. I kept it zipped up all the time and had zero issues with dust. I love my Springbar Tent.

However, I had no shade or tarp over it. So by 8am it was an oven and I was out of it. I spent my days under a friends shade structure or at Centercamp. My tent became a place where I kept my stuff and slept. I spent very little waking time in it.

This year, having shade available to me during the day and being able to sleep longer in the morning are more important to me.

So, I'm building a MonkeyHut: http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/

Using this floorplan: http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/example1.html

And covering it with this tarp: http://shelsys.com/product/suntec.html

I'll buy an inexpensive, meaning $75.00 or less 2-3 man dome tent, cover the mesh and stake it under the rear 5 feet of The Hut.(If I'm feeling rich I'll buy this instead. http://www.springbar.com/explore/compac ... _tent.html)

With the front 10 feet of The Hut I'll have a nice shady porch for the days and with the tent under the tarp I should be able to get more sleep in the mornings.

That's the plan anyway. It's worked for others, I think it'll work for me. Maybe you too. :)

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Postby gyre » Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:19 pm

Why not use the springbar again, but with shade?
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Postby littlemonkey » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:49 am

I'm flying to Reno from Florida and renting a car for the drive to Burning Man.

Weight, space, size, and cost are all factors that limit my options.

If I didn't have those concerns I'd definitely use my Springbar Tent and cover it with this http://www.formandreform.com/wordpress/?page_id=2576

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Postby Token » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:45 am

Littlemonkey rocks!

You should coach the hoards of sniveling new yorkers all looking for someone to take care of them because they are flying in from so far away. :)

Love you! Mean it!
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Postby StevenGoodman » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:11 am

I use a Springbar Traveler 5 covered with the white tyvek camo stuff. Doesn't get all that hot, but I am usually up by 10:00am everyday anyway. I also try to have one something bigger in camp to the east, and I put my bed on the east side. So the bed has direct shade as long as possible.

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Postby teardropper » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:33 am

teardropper wrote: and the front has an awning that can cover the door and the window.


The awning folds down on the door and the window while you're away, giving another seal.
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time to buy!

Postby Bexx » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:02 pm

heyas... just to let ya'll know This 4th of July weekend is a great time to get camping gear on sale. I plan on buying my tent this weekend! Most of yer sporting goods shops should be having sales. I know both Big 5 and Sports Chalet are.

good luck!!
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Postby Bob » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:52 am

I totally approve of those stakes, though I wouldn't go shorter than 16" for a full sized tent.

http://www.snowpeak.com/lux/tarps/poles.html


Nice hammer. Nice, nice hammer.

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Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Postby teardropper » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:34 am

Agree on the 16" stakes. I had 12" rebar last year, this year I just had made some that are just over 16" long. 18" #4 rebar pieces that I had a 1 1/4" 90 degree angle heat bent onto them. You can drive these right to the ground so you don't have to cover them. We'll use these longer stakes on the North Pole shades. Gonna' try them out very soon on the playa, but hope I don't actually have to put them to any test.
\^/
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Postby Bob » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:47 am

Grade 60 rebar would as stiff as those stakes, but it would still be a piece of rebar.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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bought my kodiak

Postby xhoosier » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:31 pm

10 by 14 tent. I set it up in the big back yard and watch a big storm go through. A tree about 40 feet from it lost a big limb but the tent did just fine. I hope it it ready for burning man?
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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:44 pm

Springbar?
You're set.

Seal the seams if needed.
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sealed seams

Postby xhoosier » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:51 pm

at least I watered it down and no rain got in during the big storm

I wanted a real springbar but the kodiak was about 150 cheaper and springbar was backordered.

Big enough for an orgy but small enough to call it home!

can't wait for the burn to get here!
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Postby illy dilly » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:48 pm

gyre wrote:Springbar also has the larger tents, as well as the expandable and one bedroom tents.

Yeah I'm kinda liking the look of the 7199 series. Just get another one every year or so. Any body have any idea how hard these are to set up?
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
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Postby gyre » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:55 pm

I'm told they set up like the cabin tents.
Door height might be my only concern on the playa with it.

Phil has a cabin model.
He could tell you.

7 x 8 feet, 68" high
Image

9 x 9
Image

10 x 10
Image

10 x 14
Image

12 x 16
Image
Suitable for ten adults, or two adults and all their burning man stuff

http://springbar.com/explore/tentmodels/index.html
http://springbar.com/explore/expandable ... _tent.html
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Indian Desert Tents

Postby aber65 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:20 pm

To the post from Gyre,

We have the tent that is shown in the last photo of your first post. we ordered it from the company who makes them in India. This year will be it's third trip to playa. We made many modifications to it and for the most part it is about as dust free of an environment as you can find out there, save for an RV. This type of tent is not for the faint of heart though. It took a lot of thought, engineering, mods and patience to get it to the state it is in today.

Anyone who wants more info on this set up can PM me and I'll be happy to fill you in.

Here are few photos:

[img]http://emeraldbayphoto.com/portfolio/albums/indian_tent/08_BM08_Camp_01.jpg[/img]
[img]http://emeraldbayphoto.com/portfolio/albums/indian_tent/09_BM08_Camp_02.jpg[/img]
[img]http://emeraldbayphoto.com/portfolio/albums/indian_tent/11_BM08_Camp_TentInterior_1.jpg[/img]
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Indian Desert Tent

Postby aber65 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:24 pm

Sorry about the photos not posting.

Spent 1/2 an hour trying to figure it out. Just cut and past the url if you want to check out the photos.

Meanwhile anyone want to give me a heads up on how to post photos here.

Thanks
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Postby Rice » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:27 pm

AntiM wrote:We just throw the spread/sheet/comforter over the tent and use little spring clamps to hold it firmly in place. No need to poke holes in anything. Can't survive without our spring clamps.


Ingenious and simple!!! I like it!

AntiM, you have many simple tips that are amazing!!

Love Rice
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Re: Indian Desert Tents

Postby gyre » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:07 pm

Image
Image
Image

Aber65, I don't see an issue with the photos.
Maybe you have bbcode or html disabled on your profile or something?

Nice tent.
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Postby Jackass » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:26 pm

Aber65 that is VERY nice and comfy looking abode you have there, well worth the cost and effort i'm sure. :wink:
Don't worry, it'll get weird...
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Postby aber65 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:28 am

Hey thanks gyer!
I'll check into the blocker thing.

Jackass,
The cost, all told arriving from India was $1300. Definetely worth the effort, although wife and I spent a lot of time speaking in our best Indian accents damming the tent maker in the beginning. You can can see more photos and read the captions at: http://emeraldbayphoto.com/portfolio/indian_tent.

We will be at our usual spot, 4:20 and D if anyone wants to see it.
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