Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

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

Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby DangerDanger » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:46 am

Long time reader, first time writer, first year to playa.

I'm started to get worried with all these weather updates coming in. I know very well these conditions are to be taken seriously, so I'm hoping someone with experience can tell me how my structure will do.

Image

Image

Image

It's a 16x10 tent, I've already sealed EVERYTHING super thoroughly.
The shade will float above the tent a little more than the photo shows, and I will have guy lines to anchor.

Is there anything I should be concerned about? What would be the best way to face this?


[EDIT] Ignore the stock stakes, they're all replaced with rebar
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Bob » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:19 am

Um, sure, fine. Any tent is workable. Read the tent threads, which should make clear rebar stakes aren't magical unicorn horns.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby zifra » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:49 am

Be prepared to take your shade down durinng a dust storm.

Or perhaps anchor it to your vehicle when you set up.

Good luck!

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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby DangerDanger » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:10 pm

There are a lot of tent and rebar posts that I've read through. Bob, could you possibly point me to a specific thread, I haven't seen anything negative about rebar (as long as your using the proper length and diameter.)

And thank you, I won't have a vehicle out there.

With all this talk of dust storms and microbursts, should I even bother with a personal shade structure if I'll just be taking it up and down a lot?
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby dragonpilot » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:36 pm

A personal tent surviving the high winds is not proportional to the size of the stakes you use...rebar or whatever. Tent survival is more dependent on wind blockage. All things being equal, a personal tent set up in the middle of the playa will likely get shredded before the same tent surrounded by cars, trucks, other tents, etc.

That said, larger structures on the scale of Center Camp, give or take, require heavier supports and guying by virtue of their excessive weight and exposed surface area.

Try to pitch your tent behind another structure, RV, truck, etc...it should be fine. If not...welp...lesson learned!
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Jackass » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:45 pm

DangerDanger wrote:There are a lot of tent and rebar posts that I've read through. Bob, could you possibly point me to a specific thread, I haven't seen anything negative about rebar (as long as your using the proper length and diameter.)


Translation: It doesn't matter how much rebar you have if you don't properly utilize it.

Have good cord, maybe some poles and rope to keep the tarp off of your tent, add some extra grommets if necessary, tie it off well, keep it under tension and try to set up next/close to larger objects (a windbreak). It can/may survive.
Last edited by Jackass on Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby vapor » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:47 pm

2 general types of wind events will cause failure . . .

First is force . . . think of a 60 mph sustained wind pushing on any direction. What does that do to the poles and support system ? What will break and what can you do to avoid the breaking ? There's just too many variations of pole size, pole material, connections, ropes, seams etc. to say for sure what gives in a particular scenario, but it can help to physically push on your structure to see what happens, then visualize how it may go bad. Remember that strengthening one area will pass the load on to another area.

The second, and more common issue, is constant flapping and fluttering, which can work stakes loose, fray and break rope, pull pole junctions apart, etc. This then causes a failure in the structure and resulting coming apart of lots of parts which then flutter more and then . . . bam, nothing left but shreds of fabric and broken poles. If you want to geek out search for aerodynamic flutter and how it can cause catastrophic failure.

Anyway, the perfect storm of destruction combines both of the above, where you have a force that is distorting the tent structure, which is causing the connections to start to slip. Then fluttering, which loosens them more, then one joint slips out, which causes a rope to go slack and then everything collapses. A common failure point is the slip together poles with bungee in the middle, the can pull apart. Or the fiberglass breaks right at the edge of the aluminum connector. Double check after the tent is pitched to see if the poles are all fully seated in the connectors. Check again after a storm.

So, yeah, to start with use rebar, that way at least fluttering won't pull your stakes out and most of your tent at least won't blow away. Second thing I recommend is using bungee cord or bungee balls on every guy rope. This will hold the rope in tension but provide some give and reduce flutter destruction. The other, and equally important, thing is to be at your camp during the first big storm so you can watch what fails and fix it.

There's not really a good way to orient your tent for wind in my experience. The prevailing winds are often from Gerlach (SW) but storm winds (strongest) can be from any direction. My preference is to orient the tent so I maximize the cooling effect of the shade given the sun path.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby burner von braun » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:09 pm

Examine Your Fly

(Good on ya for acting responsibly regarding your tent, and those around you. I hope you have a great burn!)
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Savannah » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:38 pm

Wind tends to come from the SW (if you're on the 9 o'clock side, it means wind tends to come sort of from the direction of Center Camp 5ish, 6ish, towards the high side of the clock). You'll notice people will put a vehicle between themselves and center camp. 10"+ tent stakes work pretty darned well. That's what I have. My heavy shade uses 2 foot rebar pounded halfway and I stake the hell out of it in lots of places.

It's sometimes claimed that the 3 o'clock side is slightly less dusty. :) Then again, the only fully destroyed theme camp I ever saw with my own eyes was at 2 or 3 o'clock. *shrug* Your mileage may vary.

Good luck! And over-engineer yourself. You'll probably be fine.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby CornMan » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:49 pm

My game plan would be to bring a large, comfortable tent and a small backpacking tent for storing gear and have it serve as backup if the winos come around and knock your bigger tent down.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby PlayaPatrol » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:14 pm

every sites weather current and long term forecast for gerlach is for 12 MPH or less winds. so either its mellow out there and people are exaggerating and panicing or every weather website is wrong.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Jackass » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:21 pm

PlayaPatrol wrote:every sites weather current and long term forecast for gerlach is for 12 MPH or less winds. so either its mellow out there and people are exaggerating and panicing or every weather website is wrong.



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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:24 pm

Find a BIG RV and set up down wind.

If all else fails you can sleep in your car or center camp.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:54 pm

PlayaPatrol wrote:every sites weather current and long term forecast for gerlach is for 12 MPH or less winds. so either its mellow out there and people are exaggerating and panicing or every weather website is wrong.

Or things were bad last week, but currently not so much.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby MacGlenver » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:03 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
PlayaPatrol wrote:every sites weather current and long term forecast for gerlach is for 12 MPH or less winds. so either its mellow out there and people are exaggerating and panicing or every weather website is wrong.

Or things were bad last week, but currently not so much.


Or things on the playa are worse than in Gerlach... It's so close I don't know if that's really true, but I recall Gerlach being less flat than the playa itself.

Anyone know some rules of thumb between Gerlach weather vs Playa weather (in terms of wind)? I've been cross checking the on-playa reports against the weather forecats & the site that tracks playa wind/humidy/etc, and nothing from either site matches what burners are saying (eg. highest wind gust I've seen on the wind meter is ~30mph, vs on-playa reports of 50-60mph).
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Jackass » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:41 pm

30 mph will still jack shit up
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby Lonesomebri » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:06 pm

Well, if the wind is only going to be 30mph, and not 50mph, I'm gonna shave 6 inches off my rebar. Why panic?
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby CrispyDave » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:17 pm

If it gets real bad you can take shelter in a porta-pottie.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:37 am

Lonesomebri wrote:Well, if the wind is only going to be 30mph, and not 50mph, I'm gonna shave 6 inches off my rebar. Why panic?


Who said I was changing my prep? This is the climate prediction center after all.
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Re: Getting a little worried / How's my tent?

Postby DangerDanger » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:45 am

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I just got the layout map for the camp I'll be with and it looks like I'll be blocked by RVs.

I may be able to tie to the top of the RV, and the added heigh should keep my shade above the tent as opposed to stretching over it.

We'll definitely know for sure soon enough.
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