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Thread: Tent Question

  1. #1
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    Tent Question

    I have a Moss Star dome two man four season tent. It's old, the fabric is in good shape, with a bit of a musty smell when it's unpacked. Cleaning the tent today and there are a lot of small dark spots on the outside surface of the tent fly. I am using NIKWAX Tent & Gear Solarwash with a follow-up of NIKWAX Tent & Gear Solarproof. I washed the fly per NIKWAX directions and rinsed it off. Still a lot of small dark spots. I'll wash it again but are there other ways of cleaning those dark spots out. Thanks.
    Lavafalls

  2. #2
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    In my experience the tent is "toast" The dark spots are usually a sign that the waterproof coating is breaking down (which also is the source of the musty smell). Some folks have gotten lucky with aftermarket products but the majority do not.

  3. #3
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    I don't want to hijack the conversation, but I have a similar question:
    I bought an REI Quarterdome T3 about 8 years ago. This is REI's version of an ultralight tent, and I've been very happy with it. I'm religious about airing it out and storing it dry in a bin in my garage (attached to house, doesn't get terribly hot or cold; is dry). This past fall, the fabric started disintegrating. Tabs used to tension the poles just ripped off under very light tension. Grommets that hold the tent and poles ripped and tore just setting it up. I'm thankful it was just a single overnight. Anyone had this experience with a not very old tent that was stored properly? This tent looks and smells fine, but the fabric is "toast." Is 8 years the lifespan of ultralight tents?
    Sure. Why not.

  4. #4
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    Not specific to ultralights is that UV and heat kills plastics. Outfitter tents used steadily especially in alpine areas only have a few years of reliable service. There are coatings applied at the factory that can extend the life but they add weight and act sacrificially to protect the underlying fabric so its just delays the failure Ultralight is generally a compromise between weight and durability and along with the high front end cost the trade off for light weight is shorter life. Its not a coincidence that the lightest high end gear is sold direct from small manufacturers, major retail chains generally don't want the warrantee issues especially if they have "lifetime" guarantees and folks who abuse them.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LavaFalls View Post
    ... I washed the fly per NIKWAX directions and rinsed it off. Still a lot of small dark spots. I'll wash it again but are there other ways of cleaning those dark spots out.
    I've tried to revive older gear with a good Nikwax wash only to have the much of the waterproof coating flake off. This has happened with tent flys, rain gear and even the inside of packs.

    I've found all gear has a finite service life, even the best cared for and lightly used. Like a hiker's knees, if the frequent use doesn't get it time will.

    cb
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
    .

  6. #6
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    There are folks on whiteblaze that have tried their best. They generally scrub the surface coating (usually a polyurethane derivative off the fabric and then recoat. I rarely hear of anyone that is successful with this method.

    Kids love tents and I expect the best thing to do with an old tent is set them up for the kids to use until they loose interest.

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