Broken Zippers in Mountain Hardwear Skyview 1.5

10:20 p.m. on July 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a Mountain Hardwear Skyview 1.5 (http://www.trailspace.com/search/?q=skyview+1.5&cx=partner-pub-0371674458961916%3Atv23gf-hn6j&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8#1200) that I bought in 2000, so it's 10 years old.  It sat mostly idle for several of those years due to personal circumstances.  It's gotten moderate use over the past several years including a few several-night backpacking trips and a number of car camping trips.  Now due to its 8lb packed weight, it's relegated to car camping.

I used it this weekend and both of the two door screen zippers broke.  Also the zipper on one of the panels that covers the doors showed signs that it will break soon.

It's been a good tent for me, surviving everything from high wind (in a couple of late season storms in the Sierra) to hot sun (eastern Sierra etc).  And it's versatile, with lots of mesh for good weather, and all of the screens have closable panels to block cold wind.  But frankly it doesn't seem like it's gotten enough use to warrant such breakage.

Still I don't think it's reasonable to contact the vendor for support after 11 years.  I'm contemplating whether to replace the tent or have the zippers replaced.

So my question to you all is ... what kind of experience have you had with tent zipper replacement?  What kind of place did you take it to for the repair?  How much did it cost?

OK, that's several questions :) but I'm interested in your experience with such things to factor into my decision.

Thanks in advance!


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11:01 p.m. on July 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm wondering why your hesitant to use a life time warranty.  For me, that's one of the things that tips the scale I'm when buying a tent.  TNF replaced all the zippers in my Oval Intention after 25 years.

bheiser1 said:

So my question to you all is ... what kind of experience have you had with tent zipper replacement?  What kind of place did you take it to for the repair?  How much did it cost?

 

All the zipper's I've had to have replaced on tents were done by the tent manufacture's themselves.  It has never cost me anything to replace a tent zipper as I only buy tents with lifetime warranties.   Lucky for me none of the tents I own from companies that have gone out of bussiness or been bought out have had any zipper problems.

Even if you can't bring your self to use your warranty I would still contact Mnt. Hardwear to find out who does thier zipper work as they will be most famaliar with that tent.

11:13 p.m. on July 5, 2011 (EDT)
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@apeman, thanks for the quick feedback.  Honestly I had no idea this tent had a lifetime warranty.  I guess I didnt' think anything had lifetime warranties anymore :).   I feel like a dunce for not checking that first.

Even so, I'm reluctant to send this tent in, because it's dirty from the various places it's been set up, laid out, rolled up, etc.  I live in the city and seriously don't have a place to set it up to wash it.  Anytime it's set up, it's in a place inappropriate for a soapy wash.  But I can figure that out somehow.

Anyway I'll check out the warranty, and if that doesn't work out, then at least their recommendation for repair, and report back - thanks!

 

1:13 a.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Actually, They ask that you clean your tent before sending it in.  Let us know if you need advice on doing that.  Please, make sure not to place it in the washer to clean it.  If you can't do it where you are I would take it to the park and use a couple of 5 gallon buckets and a sponge and or light brush.  You would want to use just a little non detergent soap to clean it.  Worst case scenario you could send it to a member like myself to have it cleaned as it only take a few min. to clean a tent before sending it on to Mnt. Hardwear.

1:14 a.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Mountain Hardwear is great with their lifetime warranty. I don't see why you would have any issues getting it fixed under warranty what so ever. Here is a link to customer service to get in touch with them. If it doesn't work(in the extremely odd scenario that they say they can't do anything) feel free to email me on the email link on my page. I know of a company that does this work and they are really good. Good enough that they handle alot of the warranty work for these companies. I don't see why you should have to pay out of pocket for the repair though. Hope this helps.

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/FAQ-Details/FAQ_MHW_Detail,default,pg.html?rnurl=%2fapp%2fanswers%2fdetail%2fa_id%2f860

Also for cleaning your tent look towards NikWax. I forget what product it is called(even though I have some in my mancave.) Like previously stated. Cleaning a tent is a pretty easy procedure. I would also suggest hitting it with a product like NikWax Solarproof. It can definitely help in the aspect of keeping your tent fabric in good shape.

Go to the gear care and maintenance section under gear reviews here. Click on NikWax. I am sure the products are listed there. I am having one heck of a brainfart at the moment.

8:02 a.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Send it in! At least for me, one of the man reasons I can justify buying a more expensive "brand name" tent is their warranty. And MH is one of the best. I am very weary of a company that will charge me an arm and a leg, and lets face it outdoor equipment is expensive, and then not back up this same product they sold me.

Rick- hahaha mancave. I guess we've all had that warning from the spouse the get the gear together in one place, outta her way? I'm building a large shed in my backyard this summer for my gear, and for the sake of my relationship!

6:40 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Absolutely get MH to fix / replace the zippers!

I have a MH Skyview 2 myself and it is a great tent, quite versatile.

They are heavy, but split between two people they aren't bad to carry, and they make a great winter tent.

8:59 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks everyone, for the warranty info, and for the cleaning suggestions.  I contacted MH support via email last night, and the responded today with an RMA number and warranty details.

Here's the gist of it:  I need to get the tent to them to determine whether or not the repair will be covered under warranty.  If they can repair it, it's covered.  If they have to replace the whole zipper, it's $35 per zipper.  I guess it's not that bad since it probably costs them more than that in labor/handling.  But it's not "covered" (as in "free") as was suggested here :(.

I'll try the cleaning suggestions you've offered, and take the tent in to have them check it out and see how it turns out.  I agree with TH, it's a good, versatile tent, and I'd rather keep it than spend $300+ on a replacement.

The funny thing is, I had a Eureka Timberline, for far longer than I've had the MH, and never had the slightest issue with it.  The warranty (or lack thereof) was irrelevant.  I upgraded to the MH hoping for something better suited for use in the high sierra and on the shoulder seasons (or even winter).  I never expected it to fail this way... frankly I'm disappointed.

As I mentioned, the MH has taken on some varied conditions - but I figured that was what it was designed for.  If I was only camping in dry, calm, summer weather, in family campgrounds, I wouldn't need a MH, I'd buy a Timberline, for 1/4 the price.

Sorry, I'll stop ranting now & just get to the cleaning :).

 

 

 

9:19 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I would question why a tent with a lifetime warranty would cost ya $35 a zipper. I am kinda confused. I could understand if it was caused by user error, but if it was not it should be covered. Like I said I am confused.

I've dealt with situations like this before. I have yet to have to pay for warranty work.

This kinda gives me an iffy feeling about MH.

Funny you mention Eureka. I have 2 of the Mountain Pass XTE tents(2p n 3p.) I have used them in snow, massive rain, etc. They are heavy but they take a pounding and never shudder.

9:32 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah - this is what they said:

"There’s no way to guarantee warranty on anything until we can inspect it here
physically. If the zippers just need new sliders, that will very likely be covered under warranty. If any entire zippers need to be replaced, there may be a charge of $35 or so per zipper replacement."

So I'll clean it up (should do that anyway, IF it'll still be servicable), and send it in, and see how it goes.

The plus side is their repair depot is here in the Bay Area, just a half hour from me (on a weekend, not counting traffic), and apparently they have a warranty drop-off facility on Saturday (nice!).

I'll post an update when I see how this goes :).

9:40 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Honestly I can't see them hittin ya for it but in todays world who knows. I am not surprised by anything.

Honestly, I hope they cover it for ya.

10:55 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm hoping that they repalce the zippers for you.  If the damage to your zippers was caused buy you or negligence or improper use then it may be that they wouldn't cover it.  Please let us know what happens after you send them your tent.  Here is a easy to do tip reagarding the cleaning of your tent.  Fill your tub with cool water and put in two caps full of Woolite.  Soak for a few min and then agitate by had for a few min paying attention to the dirty spot's.  If the inside is dirty as well, turn inside out and repeat process using new water and Woolite.  Rince with cold water until you see no suds. If  you can set it up, I then use a bucket and sponge and clean with woolite and then rince.  It goes much quicker if you can set up the tent, but the bathtub will work.  Do not use your washer or dryer as it very well can destroy your tent.  As other's above have mentioned,  Nikiwax seems to make quality products but,  they are a little pricey and I think that home made cleaners can sometimes be just as effective.  The Tent Sun Block  Product Nikiwax makes seems to be a quality product that works and I would get that as it very well may extend the life of your tent and tent fly.  I have started using that in an effort to determin if it works as I don't have a home made recipe for tent sunblock.

From Mountain Hardwear Warranty  site, link below:

"Mountain Hardwear guarantees that every product we make will stand up to the use for which it was designed. In standing by this guarantee, Mountain Hardwear provides a limited lifetime warranty, to the original owner, on all products against defects in materials or workmanship. All defective or damaged products should be returned to us for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at our discretion. Rips, burns, tears, and damages due to accident, normal wear and tear, improper care, mis-use or the natural breakdown of colors and materials over time are not covered by warranty, but can be repaired for a nominal fee at Mountain Hardwear’s discretion. Products sent for repair must be cleaned prior to sending. Mountain Hardwear does not process returns or exchanges for undamaged product. Please visit the dealer from which you purchased your Mountain Hardwear product should you need to return or exchange an undamaged item."

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/FAQ-Details/FAQ_MHW_Detail,default,pg.html?rnurl=%2fapp%2fanswers%2fdetail%2fa_id%2f860

2:43 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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At least get a price to have MH replace the zips, they may even give a deal on a new tent.

6:49 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Zippers must be kept clean to operate properly; sand, dirt, etc. left in the zipper coil will eventually lead to failure if not cleaned. This is true of tents, packs, bags, and so on.

I haven't had any trouble out of mine since I started cleaning my gear after trips, something that I didn't always do. After all, when a trip is over it's supposed to be over, haha.

I (if it were me) would definitely send the tent to MH and let them fix it because the Skyview was a very good design and you should get several more years of use out of it. The only thing I would add to mine would be a vent in the fly, and a Sil-Nylon version would be cool too.

6:57 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

 The only thing I would add to mine would be a vent in the fly, and a Sil-Nylon version would be cool too.

 

!!!GORE-TEX!!! ;)

10:12 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

Zippers must be kept clean to operate properly; sand, dirt, etc. left in the zipper coil will eventually lead to failure if not cleaned.

 This is a very valid point that many tend to over look. Then again I feel that it has to do with the type of environment you are subjecting your gear too. If for instance you are always in sandy terrain cleaning may be a big deal as opposed to those who play in the snow mainly. Never the less it is a good idea to clean them regularly to keep them working properly and not having them fail when you least want them too.

Good stuff th....

12:48 a.m. on July 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Trouthunter, Rick-Pittsburgh - yup, I understand the issue about zippers & dirt.  When I said the tent was dirty, I didn't mean it's *that* dirty :).  I just meant there are dirty spots on the fabric (e.g. laying it down, rolling it up).  It's possible there's a dirt issue with the zippers, but I doubt it.  As I mentioned, I never had this problem with my Timberline.

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback, it's 'preciated :)

I'll let you all know how it turns out!

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