Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

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Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:43 am

Anyone tried using magnets and some fabric for covering the mesh of a tent? I havent tried it yet, but im pretty convinced that it will work great (assuming I have my rain fly on to block the wind from ripping the fabric off).

I've seen many posts about using adhesive fabric, sewn on fabric, or sprays to permanently seal one's tent mesh, but I dont want to seal them permanently (I use my tent for local burns in GA where it is hot as balls with little wind and no dust).

I just bought a Coleman Tent Light which uses one magnet on the outside of the tent fabric and another magnet on the light inside the tent, so that you can stick the light anywhere on the wall of the tent (even a vertical wall). This got me thinking about getting any basic fabric to cover a large mesh panel on my tent, and using 3 pairs of magnets to secure it to the tent. I'd put a pair of magnets at each corner, and then one pair at each center point on the longest side. Would be easy to transport, set up, and take down, and wouldn't wreck my tent.

I'm looking at these magnets on amazon, and would probably use some light cotton fabric or something.

http://www.amazon.com/Neodymium-Magnets-inch-Disc-N48/dp/B001KV38ES/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Last edited by MacGlenver on Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:48 am

I think it's not just covering the mesh, but sealing around the edges as well.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:58 am

FIGJAM wrote:I think it's not just covering the mesh, but sealing around the edges as well.


Yeah it wouldnt be perfectly air tight, but if you get a piece of fabric that is a bit bigger than the mesh (say, extends 3-4 inches past the mesh), the fabric would lay very flat against the tent and prevent the vast majority of the dust, dont you think? Especially with a rain fly over the tent to prevent most of the dust from coming in with much force.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Bob » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:27 am

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

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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:39 am

You gotta read the post, Bob :). I'm trying to design a solution that doesnt permanently alter my tent. Thanks though.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:42 am

Check your PM.

If your mesh is not completely sealed you'll have 1/4" of dust.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:44 am

Also just realized that I can double the amount of pairs by just using steel washers as the mate to a single magnet. That way I get 10 pairs out of 10 magnets and some cheap washers. w00t.

Edit:
FIG -- dont see the PM yet, maybe I just need to wait.

I had a tent with a lot of mesh last year and had almost no dust, though last year (my first year) was not dusty at all, so maybe that's a bad example. I had a rain fly that covered my tent completely down to the ground, but with my new, bigger tent, the fly won't be as perfect. My tent was under a monkey hut last year and will be again this year, which should help too.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby trilobyte » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:58 am

Unless your tent is under a pretty solid shade structure (that blocks almost all the wind), I don't think even the fanciest of rare earth magnets would be able to hold during even a moderate dust storm.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:10 am

Strip magnets. Spring clamps where the cover crosses the poles. No guarantees.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Bob » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:54 am

Strikes me about like a swarm of mynocks on the hull.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby ygmir » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:58 am

put your camp address on the covers, so people know where to return them.......

velcro?
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:16 am

Haha. Thanks, all :). I think velcro would require sticky adhesive or sewing, which I dont want to do to my tent, though I think sewn on velcro would work well (if protected by a rain fly & the monkey hut).

I'm going to thread the cover thru the straps that hold the tent to the poles so that they wont completely blow away if the magnets fail. If you guys want to come by to be impressed with my awesome design, you can stop by Camp Toga at 7:15 & F -- I'll have a hat for each of you to eat! Thx for the suggestions! If nothing else, they'll make good fridge magnets when I get back to GA. :P
Last edited by MacGlenver on Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Bob » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:18 am

Any amount of extra weight on a tent like that is likely to turn it into a taco.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:20 am

Bob wrote:Any amount of extra weight on a tent like that is likely to turn it into a taco.


Not a chance. This will be a max of 2-3 pounds of weight, well distributed and under a rain fly on a very sturdy tent with 3 cross-poles. The tent itself may collapse if the wind gets crazy, but it won't be because of the tiny 1/2" diameter 1/8" thick magnets and a little fabric.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Bob » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:28 am

Had to say that, because 99 percent of tents with mesh walls will taco if you breath on them.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby skippy3k » Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:48 pm

I think your cover over the mesh will just serve as a big basket to hold the dust. Think about it; the mesh will allow dust through. We know this, because that is why we are discussing using magnets on the tent to hold something over said mesh. So if dust comes through, it will be caught by your covering. Great, but now the dust will just collect there. If it is on the ceiling, it becomes a bowl of dust. (See what I did there? You thought I would say "dust bowl" and enact some Grapes of Wrath joke.) If it's at any sort of angle, the dust will just slide down and pour out of the closest, non-magnet'ed opening.

That being said, I will admit I thought about magnets last year on our Moroccan tent flaps. Turns out I wouldn't have needed them anyway.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Eric » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:28 pm

trilobyte wrote:I don't think even the fanciest of rare earth magnets would be able to hold during even a moderate dust storm.


I've got some magnets I bet would hold up through a dust storm - as long as they were attached directly to metal. The problem with this plan is that there will be at least one layer of fabric between the magnets, probably two layers. That is a major point-of-failure.

Test this at home: put your cover on, with the magnets (it will layer like this: magnet (or metal)/tent/cover/magnet). Now tug on it, acting like 70 mile an hour wind. Hell, tug on it acting like 20 mph wind. If the magnets didn't pop off or shift, tug on it for 20-30 minutes to make sure. If there's no shifting in all that tugging, go for it (but still write your name & camp on your cover so it can be returned, and bring a piece of ferrous metal to find the magnets).

Last year I tried basically this what you're talking about with some of my LEDs - I glued a rare earth magnet on the back of them & then attached a bit of thin metal to my jacket like epaulets. I MOOPed. With no wind, and with extremely light-weight LEDs (and damn strong little magnets that are almost impossible to get off my fridge). That one layer of fabric was a point-of-failure.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:33 pm

skippy3k wrote:I think your cover over the mesh will just serve as a big basket to hold the dust. Think about it; the mesh will allow dust through. We know this, because that is why we are discussing using magnets on the tent to hold something over said mesh. So if dust comes through, it will be caught by your covering. Great, but now the dust will just collect there. If it is on the ceiling, it becomes a bowl of dust. (See what I did there? You thought I would say "dust bowl" and enact some Grapes of Wrath joke.) If it's at any sort of angle, the dust will just slide down and pour out of the closest, non-magnet'ed opening.

That being said, I will admit I thought about magnets last year on our Moroccan tent flaps. Turns out I wouldn't have needed them anyway.


You got my plan reversed. The covering for the mesh would be on the outside of the tent (between the rain fly and the tent itself), laying directly on top of the mesh (secured with magnets inside and outside the tent). Anything that got past the covering on the outside will surely fall thru the mesh behind it, but the thought is that the majority of the mesh will be covered (assuming the cover doesnt blow off in the wind, as some predict).

To someone else's suggestion about magnet strips -- I do like that idea. I may get some thin steel bars (like a steel ruler or something) to use on the outside with a few magnets inside along the length of the steel ruler. That will give me more surface area that is sealed. More stuff to pack from Atlanta, though, so we'll see.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Bob » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:34 pm

For an even better test, fill a shop vac with boxful of cornstarch or baby powder and switch the hose around to blow.

Set up the video camera first. Feel free to youtube it.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:40 pm

Eric wrote:
trilobyte wrote:I don't think even the fanciest of rare earth magnets would be able to hold during even a moderate dust storm.


I've got some magnets I bet would hold up through a dust storm - as long as they were attached directly to metal. The problem with this plan is that there will be at least one layer of fabric between the magnets, probably two layers. That is a major point-of-failure.


You certainly have a point there. My major concern is that there will be little friction keeping the fabric between the two magnets (in other words, even if the magnets are holding pretty strong, their surface is very smooth, so the fabric may pull/slide out from between them. That may mean the fabric pulls away and the magnets (or magnet & piece of metal) are stuck to eachother with only tent material inbetween. I will certainly test this. As for the magnets being pried apart by the wind, I'm betting/hoping that my full rain fly and monkey hut will break the strong wind such that there will be little force applied to the fabric being secured. Luckily, unlike your magnet/led design, the tent isn't going to be walking around the playa :), so there shouldnt be too much shifting of it (again, assuming I can stop the wind for the most part).

I ordered the magnets through Amazon Prime, so I should be able to do some testing this weekend. w00t. Glad to hear someone else doesnt think it's TOO crazy of an idea.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:42 pm

Bob wrote:For an even better test, fill a shop vac with boxful of cornstarch or baby powder and switch the hose around to blow.

Set up the video camera first. Feel free to youtube it.


I'd actually be happy to do it, though I wouldnt want to blow corn starch on my tent (corn starch + water = gloop). I'd find some fine dust though! Would just need to find a good place to try it. Could even try it with the rain fly off. Of course I'm going to end up being too lazy to actually do this (since I dont have a backyard to run such a test in), but it'd be fun. :)
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby skippy3k » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:30 pm

MacGlenver wrote:You got my plan reversed. The covering for the mesh would be on the outside of the tent (between the rain fly and the tent itself), laying directly on top of the mesh (secured with magnets inside and outside the tent). Anything that got past the covering on the outside will surely fall thru the mesh behind it, but the thought is that the majority of the mesh will be covered (assuming the cover doesnt blow off in the wind, as some predict).


Doh! Details, details. Carry on then....
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Eric » Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:40 pm

MacGlenver wrote:(again, assuming I can stop the wind for the most part).


I read this & went "hmmmm, 2011 must have been his first year", and then looked at your profile. It cannot be emphasized enough how much of an anomaly last year was. The playa doesn't have "normal" wind, it shifts around so it can come from any direction during the day (and night), as well as letting out furious microbursts that can wreck steel domes & send them flying, let alone little magnets under a rain fly (that itself is liable to turn into a sail).

I know you don't want to alter your tent, but there is a reason so many veterans, who've been out there when it gets biblical, recommend a really strong point of attachment like sewing or glue.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Rice » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:10 pm

MacGlenver wrote:
Bob wrote:For an even better test, fill a shop vac with boxful of cornstarch or baby powder and switch the hose around to blow.

Set up the video camera first. Feel free to youtube it.


I'd actually be happy to do it, though I wouldnt want to blow corn starch on my tent (corn starch + water = gloop). I'd find some fine dust though! Would just need to find a good place to try it. Could even try it with the rain fly off. Of course I'm going to end up being too lazy to actually do this (since I dont have a backyard to run such a test in), but it'd be fun. :)


Wind gust:
Image

Somehow, I do not think magnets would stand up against a basic wind gust. The wind will come up under your fly. twirling gusts of wind, that whip lawn chairs around like feathers, will blow wherever they feel like it...

Didn't see those in 2011. I did see them in 2010, 2009, 2008 & 2007. I have seen pictures of previous years.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby Eric » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:47 pm

This is some wind from '07. Will your magnets hold against this?

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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:49 pm

MacGlenver
Don't listen to the negative nellies. You do exactly what you want with your tent. Just let me k now where you're camping and I'll put up a video camera to capture the catastrophe I'll bring you a patch or something.

And certainly don't listen to AntiM and her wild idea of spring clamps with fabric over mesh. That woman is a menace, I tell you.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:20 am

Points taken. I did acknowledge that last year was my first, though I figured that the wind last year was fairly typical and that it was mostly the hard packed playa and the dust situation that was the most abnormally easy.

Well, I've already ordered the magnets, and I certainly dont plan on permanently modifying THIS tent, so I'll press on and be sure I write my name/address on my mesh covers (and they'll have the pole straps threaded thru, so they shouldnt fly completely off). I'm all for learning hard lessons, and a bunch of dust in my tent doesnt sound like too painful of a lesson if this idea doesnt work out.

Crypto -- feel free to stop by (Camp Toga @ 7:15 & F) to see the epic win/fail ;). Either way, I'm going to try to make the BDC Meet & Greet on Thursday, so I'll let you guys know how it's going.

This is why I post on here, afterall -- to get some advice from the pros.

Thanks guys!
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby garyt » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:36 am

What I did last year was duct tape furnace filters on the mesh and on both sides to create cross ventilation. It worked great!
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby AntiM » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:02 am

Oh yeah, spring clamps and a cheap pressed felt blanket. Keeping us dust free since 2001.

Leave off the rainfly, it is a dust-scoop.
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Re: Covering Tent Mesh with Magnets & Fabric

Postby MacGlenver » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:15 am

AntiM wrote:Oh yeah, spring clamps and a cheap pressed felt blanket. Keeping us dust free since 2001.
Leave off the rainfly, it is a dust-scoop.


Hmmm, yeah I suppose if i have a solid enough dust solution I could leave off the fly... What do you attach the spring clamps to? A seam of the tent? A pole?
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