Patched Tent Floor

9:49 a.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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I recently purchased a used Eureka Timberline 4 from the Eureka Outlet Store.  I opened up the tent in the store and gave it a quick once over.  It looked like it was in great condition and only used a couple of times.  Once I got it home, I set it up to give it a closer inspection, and I found 3 small patches in the floor of the tent (one inside, two outside).  The patches are nickel to quarter sized, and they look like they are good quality and were done by Eureka.  I did not see any obvious cuts or holes on the backside of the patch area, so they must have just been small punctures.  I have two questions about this:  Should I be worried about these patches since they are in the floor?  I am going to seam seal the tent (doesn't look like it was done by the original owner)...should I seam seal around the edge of the patches?  I plan on using a footprint or tarp under the tent.  Thanks!

Chris

12:18 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Go ahead and seam seal the patches, it cant hurt.

12:35 p.m. on April 27, 2011 (EDT)
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I agree with Mike. Better to be safe than sorry.

4:54 a.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Makes sense...I would.

5:07 a.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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I wouldn't bother seam sealing.  I think the stuff is a merchandising gimmick, as far as double walled tents go.  I have never sealed my tents in over forty years of camping, with no consequences.  The rain fly will keep water out of your tent, and as long as your don't extend your ground cloth beyond the edges of the tent or somehow end up in standing water the patches on the floor will be no problem.

Ed

8:12 a.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the advice guys!  This is a great forum...glad I found it!

8:30 a.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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I wouldn't bother seam sealing.  I think the stuff is a merchandising gimmick, as far as double walled tents go.  I have never sealed my tents in over forty years of camping, with no consequences.  The rain fly will keep water out of your tent, and as long as your don't extend your ground cloth beyond the edges of the tent or somehow end up in standing water the patches on the floor will be no problem.

Ed

Ed- Sorry, but I have to disagree with ya on it being a gimmick. During the manufacturing process there is a chance of pin holes being generated where the fabric is sewn together. Why find out when your out in the middle of nowhere with no other options for shelter? That can be a bad situation. Seam sealing can do nothing but reassure one that this won't happpen and obviously can't hurt so why not? I have had tents made by well known manufacturers that have leaked from different areas of a fly.

I also have a thought that the companies that make the tents wouldn't recommend that a tent be sealed if it was unnecessary. I know of a few that did when I personally called them directly.

Back to the hole in the floor patch thing. Things can happen. I have been in areas that have a tendency to turn into water run off areas when the heavy rains hit. Although it didn't look any different from other areas on the hillside. I have also been in areas that have turned into 1" deep giant puddles from heavy deluges. Not much a ground cloth can do for that. For the cost of a bottle of sealer and the time it takes to do it I just feel the pros surely out weigh the cons(what cons?)

"Hope for the best and expect the worst and you will never be let down."

10:34 a.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Differant stories from many people on seam sealing My story: 13 years ago I bought a Coleman tent on sale for $39. It was a simple dome 7x7. Its fly was taped. I never seem sealed it, and it never leaked in the 10 years that I used it....Last year I picked up a North Face tent used. The rainfly was shot. TNF replaced it for free. Guess what, It leaked.

Seem seal is cheap. And if you know that there are patches then you know you might have a problem. Seel them up. I did fix my leaks with TNF tent. And I love the little thing.

4:13 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Personaly I find seam grip (and other sealers) to be rubbery when it dries.  I've applied it to the bottom of tent floors and found that it will catch on everything as the tent floor is slick and the sealent is rubbery.  As your going to use a footprint I'd seal the underside of the patch on the outside of the tent usign a small brush to spread it thin.  If it's a high quality patch and was applied properly the patch will hold firm.  I have patches on tents that have lasted over 20yrs.  If the patch starts to come up then repalce it with a quality patch.  If you seam seal the patch and then it comes up you'll have a bumpy rubbery place on the foor that will still require a patch.  I've been on many a trip where everyone had to through there gear in my tent during a flash rain (Colorado Rockies) and then dry there tent (s) out when the sun came back out.  It's funny to listen to the debate of seam sealing a tent.  I have never met a person who was sorry they did seal their tent.  Met many people who wish they had.  Basic comfort and saftey requires us to keep our gear dry.  The first picture below is a professional patch job (approx. 6 x9 in.).  He put the patch on the outside of the tent (ring Oval Intention) so that I would not catch things on it on the inside.  It's heavy duty pack denim.  Before patching I dipped it in Tompsons water sealer.  It has not leaked since.  The second picture is the inside floor of the tent.  It's a 1 x1 in patch.  The patch is still holding after 15 yrs. but the sealer is coming off.  It's always been annoying as it's just by the door and always catches when getting in and out due to sealing it one the inside.

 


DSC03697.jpg


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4:34 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Ed- Sorry, but I have to disagree with ya on it being a gimmick. During the manufacturing process there is a chance of pin holes being generated where the fabric is sewn together. Why find out when your out in the middle of nowhere with no other options for shelter? That can be a bad situation. Seam sealing can do nothing but reassure one that this won't happpen and obviously can't hurt so why not? I have had tents made by well known manufacturers that have leaked from different areas of a fly.

I also have a thought that the companies that make the tents wouldn't recommend that a tent be sealed if it was unnecessary. I know of a few that did when I personally called them directly.

Back to the hole in the floor patch thing. Things can happen. I have been in areas that have a tendency to turn into water run off areas when the heavy rains hit. Although it didn't look any different from other areas on the hillside. I have also been in areas that have turned into 1" deep giant puddles from heavy deluges. Not much a ground cloth can do for that. For the cost of a bottle of sealer and the time it takes to do it I just feel the pros surely out weigh the cons(what cons?)

"Hope for the best and expect the worst and you will never be let down."

Why did the valley boy always practice safe sex by wearing two condoms? Just to be for sure, for sure.

IMO seam sealing a tent which has a fly is like wearing two condoms.  I also question the effectiveness of sealing a double walled tent’s seams, since a nylon tent wall itself has no other water repelling capabilities.  As I mentioned I have engaged in this practice for decades with no adverse consequences.  But then I also test my tents in the backyard sprinkler before heading out with them.  Thus no surprises of this nature await me in the backwoods. 

Your efforts should be focused on the rain fly, not the tent.  Driving this point home, that seam sealing and water prooofing are over stated: I have a thirty year old tent that has been used so much the fabric is faded and the coating on the rain fly is caput.  It kept rain out fine, but I had to relegate it to car camping status because the sun damaged fabric was getting brittle and may tear in a wind storm.  That and the holes the stitching passed through were stretched so wide you could easily see daylight marking the path of every seam.  In fact the old school canvas tents don't rely upon sealing technology for waterproofing; they rely upon surface tension to conduct water down the tent.  I have an old cavas cabin tent that has rode out several squalls that has no water proofing on the walls or roof.  It works fine.

As for what the tent ”experts” recommend:  doctors used to always prescribe antibiotics whenever Johnny came in with a runny nose.  We now realize such a practice rarely is warranted, and has potentially negative consequences.  Sometimes experts say what they do because it is what the public expects of them. 

Now if we were talking about a single wall nylon tent, my recommendation would be to seal the seams. But this is not the case here.

As for selecting tent locations, I had the problem of getting flooded only once.  I was a as a boy scout and one of the leaders decided to assign tent locations; otherwise I have never contended with casual standing water or run off flooding me out.  I just avoid level and low lying areas, and areas that could turn into runoff courses.  I also have never camped in swampy country:)

Ed

6:33 p.m. on April 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Ed- I can completely understand and respect what you are saying but my problem is this. With the way things are mass produced now a days I have doubts as to the initial quality control put into products in todays world. If everything was perfect there would be no need for defective product return policies etc.

Take for instance Mikes post about the 13yr old Coleman never leaking but his new TNF fly did. Now if I go and buy a Coleman(comparable model) today do I think that I would get the same results with the way todays economy is and how companies are skimping on everything and anything just to try and make an extra buck? No way. Now I am not saying this is the case with every company out there but from what I have seen over the years build quality/attention to detail has become questionable with so many companies as opposed to years ago and prices have gone up. I am not even going to get into the whole outsourcing thing.

Double wall tents.... I personally think that these need sealed up just as much as a single wall because if you take into considerstion that a tent inner has absolutely no waterproofing characteristics and so many today are predominently mesh why wouldn't one seam seal it? Also, alot of double wall tents have a fast pitch option just using the fly and footprint, so in essence doesn't that make a double wall tent a single wall? Hmmmm....

As far as only concentrating on the fly only I have to question that as well for this reason. Most of my tents have inners that have webbing at the corners. They are sewn in and pass thru to the inside area of the tent. Anything that has a thread thru it has a hole in it. Regardless of whether or not it is taped there still is the possibility of water making its way through. Why not spend the $6 and seal it. Seems to me to be a minor thing to do compared to what can happen if the tent starts leaking from a stitch point and your bag/gear get soggy.

One company suggested I use a sealer on the tent inner webbing points and they have been making tents since 1895(US military uses them) and to be honest if they tell me to seam seal I trust their recommenendation. It is quite apparent to me that they know what they are talking about being that they survived the Great Depression, WW1, WW2, and everything else to still be quite successful today(over 100yrs experience.)

As far as the whole waking up in a pond thing I was on a fishing trip up north a few years back, Well rather large storm kicked up miles up stream and dumped a very large amount of rain. Needless to say water levels rose very quickly and there really wasn't much anyone could do. I wasn't the only one. If I was to pitch camp at a guaranteed elevation as to where I wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of this happening I would have had a 2hr trek in one direction just to get to the stream. Gotta pay to play I guess.

9:52 a.m. on April 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks again guys.  A lot of great information in this thread....glad I stirred it up!  Ed - I also respect your experienced opinion and completely understand where you are coming from, but I think I would sleep with one eye open if I did not seal it up!  As Rick said, I don't want to be one of those who wished they had sealed.  The cost of two condoms is much less than the cost of raising a child!  :)

10:13 a.m. on April 29, 2011 (EDT)
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cminnich- out of curiousity how big is the patch on the floor? The reason I ask this is there are alternatives to what you can use to get the same results. I can see where apeman is coming from in the aspect of things catching on the seam sealer. I have an idea that will eliminate the possibility of this happening and will still give you great results.

10:43 a.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick - the patch is no bigger than a quarter.

Chris

2:59 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I think I would just seam seal the outside of the patches. That and the foot print should keep you dry. If there are any problems they would be small. And you could work on the problem areas later. Or you could set it up in the backyard and flood the area, see what happens. Then go from there.

TS is great for brain storming. :)

9:47 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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A whole thread could be devoted to tent floors.  Most tent floors fail after a few years, due mainly to low "hydrostatic pressure" whereby a person's body weight in a tent on saturated ground sponges up water thru a worn or weak floor.  I spent a couple years in a Timberline tent with this problem, and my old NF tent and a Mt Hardwear tent had this problem.  Most tent floors do not have the waterproofing needed to keep out weight-induced ground water or ground pooling except when they are new.  There are two tests of a good tent floor:

**  The above mentioned soggy ground body weight sponge test, and

**  The "lake effect" whereby a one inch pool of water surrounds the tent and you get a water bed floating floor. 

A good tent floor will keep out every drop of water in these two tests, and if any water comes in, the tent floor is substandard.  Unfortunately most modern tent floors are woefully thin with a low denier and woefully under-coated with waterproofing.  If you want to see the best waterproof floors in the world of tents, check out the Hilleberg line of 1800 Kerlon tents. As a comparison:

**  1800 Kerlon Hilleberg, 100 denier floors, triple polyurethane coated.

**  MSR Fury, 40 denier floors, single?? polyurethane coating. 

If a person camps out enough, he will find himself at a tentsite during a deluge which pools with a half inch or an inch of water, or a serious bout of ground water sheeting.  The best way to get a good night's sleep during such an event is to have a well thought-out and excellent tent floor.  Picking or sorting out a "better site" is often not worth the effort and is obviated when you have a shelter you know that can take the rainstorm. 

10:08 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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A whole thread could be devoted to tent floors.  Most tent floors fail after a few years, due mainly to low "hydrostatic pressure" whereby a person's body weight in a tent on saturated ground sponges up water thru a worn or weak floor.  I spent a couple years in a Timberline tent with this problem, and my old NF tent and a Mt Hardwear tent had this problem.  Most tent floors do not have the waterproofing needed to keep out weight-induced ground water or ground pooling except when they are new.  There are two tests of a good tent floor:

**  The above mentioned soggy ground body weight sponge test, and

**  The "lake effect" whereby a one inch pool of water surrounds the tent and you get a water bed floating floor. 

A good tent floor will keep out every drop of water in these two tests, and if any water comes in, the tent floor is substandard.  Unfortunately most modern tent floors are woefully thin with a low denier and woefully under-coated with waterproofing.  If you want to see the best waterproof floors in the world of tents, check out the Hilleberg line of 1800 Kerlon tents. As a comparison:

**  1800 Kerlon Hilleberg, 100 denier floors, triple polyurethane coated.

**  MSR Fury, 40 denier floors, single?? polyurethane coating. 

If a person camps out enough, he will find himself at a tentsite during a deluge which pools with a half inch or an inch of water, or a serious bout of ground water sheeting.  The best way to get a good night's sleep during such an event is to have a well thought-out and excellent tent floor.  Picking or sorting out a "better site" is often not worth the effort and is obviated when you have a shelter you know that can take the rainstorm. 

 

Im definitely with you on that one Tipi. Even the 70 denier(3x coated) in the Kerlon 1200 floors is more "robust" than most of what I have seen out there. I have 2 Eureka tents that have 5000mm coated floors that seem pretty good so far but the trade off is weight.

So I decided to get a light tent(Copper Spur UL1) and wow is this different. Ultra weight sil/nylon ripstop floor with a 1200 coating. I set it up without a ground cloth in the backyard(to get familiarized with set-up) and when I press the floor down I can actually see the grass thru it. Definitely have to use the ground cloth with this one. Wondering how this tent will fare in the long run. I guess time will tell. Guess I will just have to go to "higher elevations:" :)

10:41 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick - the patch is no bigger than a quarter.

Chris

 

Chris-check out Tear-Aid. I know Cabelas carries it and I have used it quite a few times to patch tents, a pair of red ball waders, and a few other things. I gotta say this stuff works very well. It comes in 2 different types(dependent on application) and is a great thing to have in your repair kit. I swear by it. I was thinking you could cut a piece larger than your patch and place it over top of it. It has a self adhesive side on it and it forms a water tight seal. Not to mention it is clear and flexible. Here is a link. Great stuff imho. Does well in all temps from hot to below freezing.

http://www.cabelas.com/boat-cover-accessories-tear-aid-patch-kits-1.shtml

I just noticed Campmor and a few other retailers carry it as well. I have a Cabelas close so I usually just pick it up at the store, around $8.00.

If ya want just Google Tear-Aid, you should get a few hits.

12:23 p.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi, I'm from Gear Aid, the makers of Seam Grip. We'd recommend testing the patches at home first to check their durability. If water seeps though, reseal the seams of the patch.

You may also need to restore the urethane coating on the tent floor and rainfly; try testing the water repellency and see if you get any absorption. If you do, consider getting a bottle of Tent Sure: http://bit.ly/mttYQo You can apply this after you seal the seams, while the test is still set-up. Allow to fully dry for 12-24 hours.

Remember to wear gloves!

Feel free to email us with any further questions. Here's a link to our tent repair guide with more tent maintenance tips: http://bit.ly/mLcQ2P

4:10 p.m. on May 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Keep an eye on the edges of the patches.

Do not use seam seal.

If the patches start to lift, consider removing the lifting patch and replacing.  Otherwise clean the lifted area of patch and floor where they contact together with a low strength chemical such as Denatured alcohol.  Then use seam seal only where the patch comes in contact with the tent floor material.  Wipe off all excess.

 If completely replacing stick a larger piece of stick on repair material underneath and a smaller piece on the top.  For this,

Step 1. - Round the corners or make completely round two separate pieces of stick on repair materail each being larger than the damaged area and each a differnet size (one larger than the other)

Step 2. - Remove old patch/es CAREFULLY and wipe with D-Alcohol and let dry.

Step 3. - Make sure to have repair site flat and evenly tensioned the apply.  Turn over and apply second piece.

Step 4. - Rub thoroughly

Step 5. - GO Camping.

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