Refurbishing a 1992 Moss Stargazer

12:28 a.m. on October 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Hello there,

First post on this forum, so bear with me!

I've just stumbled upon a Moss Stargazer at the local Salvation Army. Lucky me! It's got 1992 written on the warning stickers inside, and it's got the Camden, Maine logo on it. It cost me 5$, and it came with a Ridgerest!

I pitched it in the backyard, and the first thing that struck me was the beautiful design. I've been wanting to have a Moss tent for the better part of a decade - I remember seeing them pitched at the Mountain Equipment Co-op in the 90's when I was a teenager, and drooling over them.

The tent had a bad smell. I hesitate to say it, but it was a bit 'vomity' as my girlfriend put it. The fly and the floor were a bit sticky; it felt like the newer silnylon materials. None of the seams were sealed, but there wasn't any tape peeling off either.

With this said, there were no signs of mildew or mold, and nothing more than a bit of pine tar on the fly. There's not a stitch loose otherwise. It came with the original bags and pouches, and the Easton poles still had a good snap to them. It pitched very taut and true, with out too much tensioning.

Quite excited with the prospects of using it next spring, here in British Columbia.

What is the recommended course of action? Go the McNett Route - mirazyme, seam sealer, tent sure floor sealent, etc... ? Send it back to Camden? I don't want to do anything I'll regret, you see.

I've got a Kelty Vortex 2 that I can practice on. A nice old tent in it's own way, and it could use a bit of love.

The last question I've got - perhaps I should start a new thread? - is regarding the Moss Tentwings. I would love one of these, obviously, but the prices for them used is a bit silly. I've got a bit of experience making gear, and can use a sewing machine. Does anyone have the dimensions or specifications for these? And in what manner were they attached? I gather some sort of butterfly nut was used. I see the grommet it's supposed to attach to. It wouldn't be as pretty as the real thing, but I'd love to have a stab at it.

Thanks in advance for all you help,


3:45 a.m. on October 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Moss is out of the camping tent business. That's why you don't see them any more. I always wanted a Moss Olympic, but never got one. The company makes big fabric structures now. The recreational tent division was sold to Edgeworks who also owned MSR at one point and eventually MSR was bought by Cascade Designs. If some of the MSR tents look like a Moss or Walrus, that's the reason.

As far as the smell, I suspect the fabric is deteriorating, even if it doesn't look like it-sticky is a bad sign. Alan might know, he collects old tents. I wouldn't wash it with anything stronger than water and mild detergent then get it out into the sun. That might help.

My old SD Flashlight eventually deteriorated to the point where it looked ok, but the floor wasn't waterproof anymore, the coating had deteriorated. Not sure if there is a remedy. I gave it away with the caveat that it was strictly for backyard use.

5:25 a.m. on October 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi Mark, welcome to the forum. Outstanding find! Much of the smell will go away with pitching the tent and letting it air for a couple days. The smell is from chemical components of the urethane coating breaking down in a process called offgassing. This process accelerates in an anaerobic (no air) environment, so it's important to store the tent and fly loosely in and oversize breathable bag(cotton, muslin) or a mesh duffel bag to reduce further decomposition. While the tent & fly are set up to air out, try hosing it down to see if there are any leaks. If there are none I wouldn't worry about trying to recoat the fabric (rainfly and tent floor only) unless/until the urethane coating starts to flake and peel off. With proper storage this could be well in the future. The judicious use of Fabreze spray after the tent has been dried following a quick mirazyme dip should take care of any lingering odor. A Tentwing does attach to the tent with a plastic screw and wing nut. If you left click on abman47 or the tent, it will take you to a page where you can see my photos; select "view all 17" and the 2nd page has a couple of a Stargazer with a Tentwing.

5:04 a.m. on October 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Dr. Reaper-I deleted your two posts for you.

1:07 a.m. on November 14, 2010 (EST)
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hi folks,

first post here as well... i too consider myself one of the lucky ones to have found a moss tent recently. mine had been advertised as an nos (and it was evidently new, pristine, condition) little dipper on the local craigslist for $200! soon after purchasing the tent in early october i found myself lurking on this site to see what everyone had to say about the care and upkeep of these fine works of art. i've since also taken my new tent camping a few times so it's officially been broken in properly now.


when i got the tent it had a little bit of that 'vomity' smell too though i also remember the pungent smell of these polyurethane coated nylon tents from back in the day. these things were notorious for their 'new tent' odor when originally purchased and actually the toned down smell of this 20 year old 'new' tent wasn't too much of a worry for me now.

what i've done for the slight tackiness of the coated areas is to sparingly apply 303 aerospace protectant to the polyurethane coating and gently spread it about with a soft brush. so far i've found that this application has been helpful in making the coated surface feel less tacky. the company has products specifically designed for high tech fabrics which i think would be worth trying as well. i'd be curious to hear from others what they think about this as i've never seen any mention of this anywhere else on the web. it's been a few weeks so far and all seems to be faring quite well. i'll be sure to report from time to time on any developments and experiences.

all the best...

12:37 p.m. on November 14, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome to the forum Alan, you made a great score on your Little Dipper! I have no experience with 303 AP at all, and would have been hesitant to use it on a tent, fearing that an interaction between the chemicals in the 303 and the Urethane coating wouldn't end well. That said, I'm particularly happy to hear that you had no such problem. Keep us updated on this new hope for old gear!

10:18 a.m. on November 15, 2010 (EST)
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thanks man, from experience i was pretty secure that using this formula would be relatively harmless to the old tent. even so i tested it on the bag the pegs came in, then the ones the poles came and finally the tent bag just to be sure with no ill effect. these bags as you know are the same material as the tent floor and most likely very similar to the coating on the tent fly both which received an application of 303 aerospace protectant (corny name for a great product, eh?) 

anyway it is a non-silicone product which makes the polyurethane feel a little slick to the touch. debris seems to shed easier though carbon stains (from ash) seems to be a little tough to take out (then again, when is it ever easy) but i have yet to attempt to wash the area with soap and water. the product doesn't leave any smell either. i have previously used 303 to maintain the seals of drysuits and on wetsuit seams for it's spf factor as well as for protection on hypalon and pvc coated inflatables as well. so far so good...

7:12 p.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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Alan, did you get that tent in Chicago? If so, you beat me to it. I was away traveling and the lady sold it the day I returned. In either event I am happy that someone who knows and appreciates the Moss brand got it. Congrats on a great find

10:14 p.m. on December 3, 2010 (EST)
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yes, i believe so, the craigslist ad on 10/10/2010 read: "tent - $200 (lakeview)". thank you motiga... it's much appreciated.

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