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Freestanding winter/summit tent
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Ivo Vanmontfort
(Ivo) - MLife
sleeve fabric on 09/30/2013 01:26:12 MDT Print View

What fabric have you used for the sleeve?
It looks different from the flysheet.
Have you used the seam Roger Caffin suggests for tunnel tents (and the tent pole sleeve design connection to the flysheet)?
Most (but not all) of the pictures of the diagrammatic cross-section’s are removed from the web.
Right at this moment I am busy with making a wooden frame for a tent (soulo hilleberg style)
A lot of questions …will make a new topic about tent clips versus tent poles and its implementation

Chris S.
I think it’s almost impossible to give a pattern because not all lines are straight some are curved.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Freestanding winter/summit tent on 09/30/2013 05:15:14 MDT Print View

Thank you, Roger.

In my architect's imagination, I was seeing numerous poles transferring their "compressive" energy into the ground below them, like lots of little point loads. (Insert architect joke here...)

But I thoroughly understand what you speak of and will gladly enjoy re-reading it the next time I'm out in a gale at 2am. That would be a much better place to be than where I am right now...


marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Freestanding winter/summit tent on 09/30/2013 05:25:47 MDT Print View

"When the tent has enough inherent (freestanding) structure, then there is a greater potential of lateral forces (wind) to be resisted by compressive forces of the structure, and not just by the tension of the guy lines..."

This was not my intention. I would say this is only true when the wind is coming from the rear of the tent, the 2 alloy poles act like compressed springs to resist the wind forces.

My primary aim was to achieve a fairly rigid pole structure that doesn't distort in strong winds and have fabric panels flapping about. I hate that feeling of being stuck in a plastic bag that has been caught in a tree, it doesn't make for a good nights sleep.

A secondary aim was to reduce the reliance on stakes if possible. I often struggle to find a site where I can get 6 or 8 stakes securely in the ground. I don't think lightweight pole structures in themselves are capable of resisting wind forces, it would take quite a lot of poles crossing each other many times and with small fabric panels to achieve this, but then the weight goes up.

What I am finding is that this tent is placing less load on the stakes than previous tents I have used. I don't have scientific data to validate this, but I have never had to get up in the night and re-set a stake with this tent, which was a frequent occurrence with other tents. Wind loads aside, it is not placing any loads on the stakes, unlike for example, a pyramid type tent that needs to be tensioned onto the stakes just to stand.

In this video ( the tent is being hit by winds in the 30 - 40mph range directly side on from the right. The frame itself doesn't move out of position, but the lower part of the right pole below the cross over point is getting slightly pushed in. Without the guy line there, it might fail at the joint.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Plan/Patterns? on 09/30/2013 05:51:14 MDT Print View


I would love to try hammock camping, but the Scottish Highlands just isn't the place for it.

Tent plans here:

plan inches

plan mm

Unfortunately, when I made these tents, I didn't make templates. I had no idea if they would even work. I will be making another sample of each tent in October though, incorporating some minor improvements. I will take notes and make templates as I do them.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: sleeve fabric on 09/30/2013 06:16:46 MDT Print View


The sleeves use the same PU coated 40D nylon that I use for the floors. I think they will be less sticky in frosts than silnylon sleeves, but have yet to test this.

I can't seem to find Roger's seam that you referred to. I have used flat felled seams throughout, where the 2 edges overlap each other twice, and have 2 rows of stitching going through 4 layers of fabric. I believe this is the way Hilleberg do them.

For the sleeves, I cut a length of fabric 100mm wide, fold it in half, and run a line of stitches 5mm in from the cut edges. This edge of the sleeve is then inserted 10mm into the top fold of the flat felled seam and pinned. I then sew the seam so that there are 2 rows of stitches going through the panels and the sleeve, so that the stitches are going through 6 layers of fabric.

There may well be better ways of doing this, I have not had any problems with the seams this way though.

I initially used full length sleeves for the poles in this design. I found in strong winds, the sleeves at the top of the tent were catching the wind and putting a strain on the poles at this point, so I changed to the clips, which work far better.

Chris Stafford
(chrisman2013) - F
Re: Re: Plan/Patterns? on 09/30/2013 08:21:43 MDT Print View

Thanks Marc that's exactly what I was looking for. What minor improvements are you thinking of incorporating? The tents already look as good as anything that's on the market.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Plan/Patterns? on 09/30/2013 08:50:24 MDT Print View


Venting mainly. The single pole tent has a 60mm gap all round the bottom edges, and a high level vent, which seems ok. The 2 pole tent has the hem of the flysheet right down to the ground, as this one is intended for winter use. I think the front vent should be lower and larger, then a high level vent added, to make it breathe better.

Also, I have put in too many inner tent hangers, adding to the weight and time to assemble.

I have a trip to the Outer Hebrides coming up, and I will be camped mainly on remote beaches, in amongst the sand dunes if possible. Those storms that roll in from the Atlantic will probably reveal other improvements that can be made as well.

Chris Stafford
(chrisman2013) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Plan/Patterns? on 09/30/2013 09:08:32 MDT Print View

Could you describe how you set up the hangers for the inner tent? Does the inner tent hang from grosgrain loops on the flysheet?

I also noticed that you use a pole sleeve for the bottom half of the poles, but switch to clips on the top half of the poles. Was this for extra strength? How do you think the tent would perform if using only the clips?

Thanks for all the information!

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Freestanding winter/summit tent on 09/30/2013 09:20:37 MDT Print View


Here's another example of a side entry tent/tarp. It's more like mine than yours.


marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Plan/Patterns? on 09/30/2013 09:45:53 MDT Print View

The inner tent has elastic loops that are sewn into the top seams, the elastic loops go through bullet shaped toggles (cant remember the exact name for them).

The flysheet has grosgrain loops sewed into the flat felled seams, 1/2" stuff is fine, there is not a lot of stress on them. The grosgrain goes through 15mm 'O' rings. To attach the inner tent, feed the toggles through the O rings.

I changed to clips for the top half of the poles as the sleeves were catching the wind and appeared to be putting a strain on the poles up top. My knowledge of aerodynamics is extremely limited, but I suspect the wind hits the side of the tent then accelerates upwards. Either that, or the wind is just stronger at that height, or just catches on the lip formed by the sleeve.

The clips definitely work better, and the fabric is still plenty taut. Whether this would work the full length, I don't know. I prefer to have the poles in continuous sleeves built into the flysheet wherever possible, preferably flat pole sleeves, like in the single pole tent.

Bear in mind that if it is all clips, it is going to take longer to set up. Not what you want with cold hands and dodgy mountain weather. I can feed the poles through the clips at the top, rather than clip them on, as the poles are already pretty much held in place from the sleeves lower down. Clips are also heavier than sleeves.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Freestanding winter/summit tent on 09/30/2013 09:54:30 MDT Print View


That is impressive, thanks for the link.

I need to start reading me up on cuben fibre I think!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Freestanding winter/summit tent on 09/30/2013 17:41:25 MDT Print View

"Either that, or the wind is just stronger at that height"

Yes it is.
Next time you are out in the wind lay down flat on the ground and that will become very obvious.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: sleeve fabric on 10/01/2013 04:08:32 MDT Print View

> a length of fabric 100mm wide, fold it in half, and run a line of stitches 5mm in
> from the cut edges. This edge of the sleeve is then inserted 10mm into the top fold
> of the flat felled seam

IF I understand this correctly, which is not guaranteed, that gives you a 40 mm wide sleeve? If correct, then I would guess it is far too much. Even my winter tent has only a 25 mm wide sleeve, and that handles getting frozen solid. It also is much less susceptible to the wind.


marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: sleeve fabric on 10/01/2013 14:58:32 MDT Print View

"IF I understand this correctly, which is not guaranteed, that gives you a 40 mm wide sleeve? "

Yes, 40mm is correct. I used a 30mm wide sleeve on the single pole tent and the pole doesn't run as smoothly as I would like.

Anthony Britner
(ant89) - F

Locale: North Wales, UK
Poles. on 11/04/2013 13:59:01 MST Print View

Hope you don't mind me asking, but have you got any Easton poles available that I could have for my own shelter project? Happy to pay to cover the cost of the poles plus postage from Scotland to Wales.

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Poles. on 11/04/2013 15:35:52 MST Print View


Just enough Easton to fulfil orders at the moment, should have more in about a week. PM me and I will see what I can do.

Anthony Britner
(ant89) - F

Locale: North Wales, UK
Windy on 12/08/2013 04:32:17 MST Print View

I hope you had these tents pitched during the recent storms!

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: Windy on 12/08/2013 05:39:36 MST Print View

I hadn't checked the forecast and wasn't able to get out in the hills anyway, but I had left this tent out on the timber deck in my garden, not staked down.

I had tied one side panel guyrope around a heavy hardwood bench. In the morning, both the tent and bench had travelled about 30 yards, stopping against a fence. The tent is Ok but the bench is a bit smashed up. Even concrete paving slabs were airborne, wild!

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
NIce! on 12/08/2013 06:40:53 MST Print View

That is a seriously impressive tent! I got halfway to building something like this (before other projects took precedence), but yours looks to have a better design, (by finishing the alu poles at the beak of the tent and putting the hiking poles out front).

Although the concept of 'freestanding' could be misleading in extreme environments, man it is useful in many moderate ones. I recently came back from a 5 day hike through Tenerife where the soil is often very hard but also very brittle (like super compacted sand) and having a tent like this would have saved me 30 minutes of searching around for suitable rock anchors!

marc D
(mareco) - M

Locale: Scotland
Re: NIce! on 12/08/2013 10:09:51 MST Print View


I never hiked in Tenerife, but sounds like a great trip! I do recall there being a lot of dark, hard soil there, probably remnants of lava deposits from its volcanic past.

I like to do the occasional overnight summit camp, where the ground is often rocky. Although no tent is truly 'freestanding', I would not like to risk attempting this in a tent that is not self-supporting.