Is my tent a goner?

8:37 p.m. on June 27, 2016 (EDT)
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Howdy all, new to Trailspace and I am trying to learn the proper maintenance of a lot of my gear that I am starting to get my own of finally. I do have one tent though that I have had since elementary or middle school, so 11 years, and I am wondering if the damage it has seen is irreparable. Largely there are lines of fading that you can see if you're inside and have the sun shining in. It looks like they are actually where the creases are when the tent was folded last, and has been in a friends car for a few months. I know, not a good idea, she borrowed it a while ago and I didn't know she was storing it in her car. So lots of sun exposure while folded I am thinking may have caused it. Anyway, the tent looks really thin at those points and I am wondering if there is a good way to fix that with a spray waterproofer or something? I know the liquid stuff is better for seams, but the fading is all over the tent. It also seems like it would tear easily at those points, so even if not a waterproofer, then something to reinforce the tent. Or should I just sell it to someone who only wants to use a tent for backyard use? Its an Ozark Trail 9x7 Dome Tent.

11:39 a.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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If you are getting serious about backpacking, then it is time to retire the Ozark Trail tent. Ozark Trail gear is ok for inexpensive car camping, but not for backpacking. Take a look at the tent gear reviews here on Trailspace (you won't see any Ozark Trails gear there - it is pretty low quality and just does not last, as you are finding out). Maybe you can give it to someone who has kids to play in the back yard.

12:11 p.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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Hey Todd, welcome to TS!

I agree with Bill...  I for example, have found a en entry level backpacking tent on craigslist for a client for $50 (earlier this week). I also found & bought a Mountain Hardware tent on craigslist a few years back for $100 that was only used once... That same tent was for sale new on the MH website for over $300. Save the tent though! I keep one that is dedicated to beach camping, so I don't ruin my nice stuff. 

Don't hesitate with questions here, there are lots of folks that are happy to help! :)

4:09 p.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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There is great budget gear out there...but Bill is right...shelter is just one of those areas that you want to invest because it will save you a lot of weight and peace of mind. By all means buy used...Sean's right...people buy new and give up shelters with years of life in them at steep discounts all the time (take your time and be picky!).

If $50 dollars is beyond your budget for whatever reason (and there are many good ones) the very least I would set it up at home or in a local park and give it the hose or pitcher test. If it doesn't leak that does not mean you are in the free and clear...but it does mean you could use it in fair weather with a degree of confidence.

If the tent leaks but you want to spend as little money as possible to enjoy the outdoors by using what you got...I have seen people use thin plastic from the paint-section at Walmart between their fly (outer material) and inner-tent (meshy part) with amazing effectiveness. The cheap lightweight plastic ($5) is protected from wind under the original fly...and the water that makes it through the fly in heavy rains is directed away from the inside and mesh parts of the tent. I know it sounds a little hobo (and it is)...but the plastic cost little + weighed next to nothing...and went on and off with the original rain-fly using just 4 safety-pins. The waterproof sprays might look less hobo (and they do)...but their application has a lot of variables and I have never known it to be a particularly reliable option.

6:16 p.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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Oh I'm not planning on using it for backpacking, I have a very nice lightweight tent for that that has an amazing fly. I just wanted to use it for car camping possibly, but I think Bill is probably right in that it has run its course as a true camping tent, but I might save it for future kids to camp in the backyard, or something to that effect. Just wanted to know if there was a way to repair for actual camp use. I also just bought a Kelty Yellowstone 4 clearanced to only $25 brand new, and so I have a good car camping tent, but I have friends who like to go too, and plan to have a family someday. 

I don't mind spending the money on the good gear either Joseph, just wanted to know if this guy was salvageable.

Thank y'all for your input!

6:21 p.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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That being said, do y'all have any suggestions on how to prevent tent fading? Ive seen some "UV sprays" and such, but want to know if they have any negative effect on the gear?

7:36 p.m. on June 28, 2016 (EDT)
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I don't see why you couldn't spray some 303 Aerospace protectant on it.

And if you do want to re-coat the Ozark Trail, look for McNett's Tentsure. It's a spray on polyurethane.

6:32 p.m. on June 29, 2016 (EDT)
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Give it away and buy a new, better quality tent.

8:30 a.m. on June 30, 2016 (EDT)
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I must agree with Sean. If there is no holes at this point, save it. You can use it for something later probably. I always regret getting rid of ANY of my old gear at some point down the line. There really is no way to save it and you are right it is getting weak. I was suggested quite some time ago to "stuff" everything NOT "fold". This alleviates it having the same creases over and over and improves rigidity over time. It will still fit in the same space so no worries there. I am a huge fan of NIKIWAX products. There uv protector and water proofer really is great stuff. Just make sure you use the product as recommended. On a damp surface with plenty of time to dry. You can get some great entry level tents for fairly cheap brand new, but like the guys mentoined abnove, there are tons of used options at a really great value. Check out this link. You can get this tent brand new, warrantied for around 100 bucks. I have several seasons and more than 1000 miles on it. Its a great entry level 1 person that is seam sealed from the factory yata yata yata. Its worth looking at as a long term entry level priced tent. Good luck out there happy trails.

11:00 p.m. on June 30, 2016 (EDT)
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I have given away equipment for 45 years.  Some one can always use it.

6:58 p.m. on July 6, 2016 (EDT)
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Saving it for a future family...  Nah!  By the time that happens you will have additional, worn out tents.  Speaking from experience.

If a tent doesn't get ripped or mildew, I find most tents made today last about five years, then the rain fly either has WP membrane issues (peeling) or the exposed fabric becomes UV brittle and unreliable.


7:55 a.m. on September 26, 2016 (EDT)
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Time for an upgrade :-)

February 22, 2020
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