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Thread: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

  1. #1
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    Default Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Looking around on the forum I found a few good threads on boat tent designs and ideas for camp cruising an open boat, but I haven't found a thread where we got to watch someone actually making one. So, here it goes. (Disclaimer: I'm just a guy without much experience who thought this would be a fun project, mistakes will be made.)

    Here's what I have to work with,
    10 yards of 60" wide 140 denier ripstop nylon that's coated
    Seam stick tape
    UV resistant thread suitable for marine use
    48- 18" aluminum tent pole sections and enough elastic cord to put them together in whatever length I need.



    The tent will need to cover the middle section of my Caledonia Yawl between the fore and aft decks. At the widest point it will be 6'2" and will run 10' in length. My goal is for it to look something like this.



    I have decided to go with big diagonal poles across the tent with the idea that it will be slightly more wind resistant than a simple hoop setup and because my boat is set up as a yawl, I'll be able to guy off to the main and mizzen masts as well as the gunwhales.

    Another forum member suggested to me that the easiest way to get started would be to just build the tent right on top of my boat, and I totally agree. But the boat is upside down on the beach about thrity feet above the high tide line and tucked away for winter. So, I decided to go with the next best thing.

    I broke out my plans and mocked up the sheer line for sections 2 through 6 in my basement, and dummied up a couple of masts to use as my building jig.





    So far things have gone pretty smoothly, but I have had alot of help from my shop assistant and shop assistant in training.



    They're pretty sure this whole tent idea is about he coolest thing ever. We shall see.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Jim, I can't wait to see how this turns out. The kids will probably enjoy the tent while the boat is sitting on the trailer, too.
    Denny Wolfe
    www.wolfEboats.com

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Pretty good start...I'll be interested in seeing how it works out.

    Did you consider going with a heavier fabric that would not vibrate as much in a breeze?

    Have you thought through the steps you will go through to set up and take down the tent? If so, does it seem like it will be fairly easy?

    Will the ends have mosquito netting?

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Thanks for starting this thread! I will be watching, and learning form your mistakes!

    I too have been looking around for ideas for cockpit covers /tents. Some luck, but I always find searching this forum, brings alot of the bottom and other fish up with the catch, so to speak.... Can you point to some threads you have looked too....

    I have wondered about the question of setting up the tent-pole style in a stiff breeze. what do you plan for a procedure?

    Cheers and good luck to you!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Deleted

    double take...... sorry......
    Last edited by chainyank; 01-28-2010 at 06:25 PM. Reason: double post

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Pretty slick idea you have there. I like it.

    Are you going to have clips of some kind? I envision a quick clip on the end of the pole that attaches to a loop that is permanently attached to the gunwale of the boat.

    Do a good job, Patent it, and sell the pattern!
    Member of the Loyal, Mostly-Noble, Elite and Most Ancient order of the Laughing Polar Bear Cap Society.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Jim - have you considered something a little lighter and brighter for the boomtent? Check out MEC's Guides Tarp. They're 75 denier coated ripstop - light, bright and tough. They stretch to form nice tight panels - just like a mountaineering tent.

    Another thing to consider is that as soon as the sun comes out it gets HOT under the tent and you have to ventilate or you'll roast. It's surprising. Even in the shoulder seasons the slightest bit of sun warms up the inside tremendously.


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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Im looking to do the same in my open coble for the Alaska summers. I looking for lots of ideas keep them coming.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Hi everybody,

    I spent a few hours today fiddling with the poles for the tent and trying to work out the configuration. Darroch, I must admit that I love your tent and I'm doing my best to steal your design. Do the poles on your tent follow the seams?

    As far as choosing a fabric goes, I looked at several different weights and colors before making a selection. What I wanted was a medium weight fabic that would be strong and fairly easy to work with. I thought about the lighter fabric like what Darroch used but I was concerned that 75 denier was just too light. The color does look a bit dark folded up on the floor but looked like the best choice for light penetration out of the colors I had to choose from, it was certainly the brigtest color. After I ordered it I had a moment of doubt, worrying that it would be too transparent and it wouldn't keep out enough light on long summer days (we have a tent like that, all in all it lets in too much light).

    My boat has open inwales which allows for a lot of flexibility in tying off.



    I was thinking of simply sewing loops into the bottom hem of the tent and then running lines from the loop to the inwale. That way I could easily adjust the tent and allow it to open up a bit on the sides, just like (big suprise here) Darroch's. I do like the idea of quick release clips and long straps though. It would be quicker to set up and easier to adjust, thank you for the suggestion Mr.BBSebens.

    On the ends of the tent I was thinking of sewing in zippers and then making a mosquito net door or a solid panel door that could be zipped in, depending on conditions. In our neck of the woods the mosquitos can be miserable on shore but seem to not be much of an issue just a little ways off on the water. In my experience the horse flies will sometimes put in an apperance but the mosquitoes like tierra firma.

    With set up, well I think it will be pretty sraight forward, but it is definitely going to take some practice. Standby on that one.

    This,http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50623 , has been the best thread I've seen on open boat camp cruising, with several posts on boat tents. There were a few others but they escape me at the moment.

    Here are a couple of shots messing about with the tent poles.



    I really like the aluminium poles, they are super easy to trim with a tubing cutter.



    Ofcourse, it took me three tries to get the section I was trimming right, but...

    After I got the poles set where I thought I wanted them I threw a sheet over it just to get an idea of whether I was onthe right track or not.





    So far so good, I think. I'm alittle bit nervious about actually cutting out the panels, but worst case scenario is I may need some more fabric.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Clear plastic sheeting makes pretty good patern material when you're trying to figure out pieces for a complex shape. You can see structure through it if needed, tape sticks pretty well to it for pulling sections tight and you can make marks and notes on it with a magic marker.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Todd,
    That's brilliant. Thank you. I'll pick some up tomorrow.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Yep, I think you'll find it quite handy and it's also reasonably dimensionally stable, so your pattern pieces don't change shape as soon as you take them off and lay them on the floor to transfer the shape to the real cloth.

    A couple other things to keep in mind - If needed on a tent or domed boat cover, a halyard hooked to the top can make a very solid lifting or stabilizing force. Also don't underestimate the value of the canted arches at either end of your structure. There have been quite a few very solid tents that used nothing other than those two arches to form the entire pole structure. They do it by anchoring the ends of the tent to the ground out past the arches and a lot of these tents are perfectly stable in most conditions with nothing more than a stake or two at each end. This one, for example (Kelty Windfoil Light) has two important stakes at the front end, which is squared-off on either side of the door, and a single stake at the back (which comes to a point out past the rear arch). Any other stakes used are for adding a little more stability in high winds or guying the fly farther out for a bit more flow-through ventilation. The pole sleeves on these Keltys, by the way, are made from athletic jersey mesh (fabric stores have it) which is a really great idea. It's tough, it has some stretch - so you can use slightly longer poles and get some tension on the sleeves, and if your design calls for a rainfly over the sleeves, air can still flow through the sleeves for better ventilation.



    It does require something at the bottom of the pole sleeves (the bases of the arches) that keeps the arch base from spreading. On a tent, the floor does that. For a boat tent, the arches would be anchored to the gunwale. I always figured that if I built another boat tent, I'd pirate this basic idea and see if I could get it to work. The wide-in-the-middle-with-tapered-ends shape fits pretty well with the top view gunwale shape of a lot of boats and the tapers on each end could be adjusted to fit the boat's gunwale beam at those spots. The depth of the side profile could then be adjusted as needed to match the sheer line. When you run into a large panel, like you would have in the center section (or even a big flat panel) they will usually pitch tighter if you catenary-cut them. This means that you split the panel down the middle and sew it back together, but you make a slightly hollowed seam. Your normally straight ridge line on a pup tent, for example, would purposely be cut to have a little bit of hollow in the middle. Then when you pull out on the ends of the ridge, it tightens up the entire ridge line. The harder you pull, the tighter it gets. My theoretical plan would look something like this and then probably have a fly that rode on top of the arches.


    And when adjusted for gunwale beam and sheer line curve, it would hopefully look kind of like this. Lots of tedious work figuring out the pattern though and I probably should build a boat to hang it on before I actually do any sewing.

    Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 01-29-2010 at 03:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    We cruised for years with a small wall tent that hung from the boom. It gave us screened openings with covers, etc. The idea of looking for a small tent that fits the cockpit still seems the best way to go. We slit the floor down the middle, and cut it away so that two flaps of nylong hung over the seats, then put cushions on top, so that it secured it along the edge. The lines normally staked ran to the lifelines to pull the top tight.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    We cruised for years with a small wall tent that hung from the boom. It gave us screened openings with covers, etc. The idea of looking for a small tent that fits the cockpit still seems the best way to go. We slit the floor down the middle, and cut it away so that two flaps of nylong hung over the seats, then put cushions on top, so that it secured it along the edge. The lines normally staked ran to the lifelines to pull the top tight.
    This has been suggested to me and it may be true, but I've rarely ever been caught doing things the easy way.

    The truth is, when I thought about this option I just didn't think that I would be able to find just the right tent and then be able modify it in such a way that I would be happy with it. This way I get to control the whole process from start to finish, and since I have the time and space to do the work it just felt like the right option for me.

    And if this doesn't work out so well there is always plan B... Poly tarp and a ridgeline.

    Todd, thank you for the pointers. I especially like the one about cutting a slight hollow in th eridge so that it pull taught under pressure.

    I picked up some 6 mil clear plastic sheeting today so I'll be able to start on patterns this evening.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post

    The tent will need to cover the middle section of my Caledonia Yawl between the fore and aft decks. At the widest point it will be 6'2" and will run 10' in length. My goal is for it to look something like this.



    I have decided to go with big diagonal poles across the tent with the idea that it will be slightly more wind resistant than a simple hoop setup and because my boat is set up as a yawl, I'll be able to guy off to the main and mizzen masts as well as the gunwhales.

    Jim
    I think you're on the right track with this drawing, depending on the bendability of the poles. If you start with the diagonals first that should give you a good idea. I found a couple of more pics that might help you visualize. The only difference in my setup is that the fore and aft poles are set in the middle pockets (if that makes sense) whereas the diagonals are set in the pockets at either end (pockets being the rather unattractive black cordura rectangles - it was meant to be a prototype but it works so I haven't changed anything)

    All the tent poles go over the ridge line (the front and rear poles are actually held up by the ridge line. Anyway, I'll post the pics and see if it helps. Maybe I could make a short video of the setup this weekend if I get a chance. That might help.


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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising



    Here you can see the diagonals - the toggle holds everything tight to the ridge line.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Here's another shot of the pockets - the middle one for the front and rear poles.


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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Darroch, those photos are very helpful, thanks. It looks like your tent is essentially made up two large panels with a seam down the ridge line. Is that right? I seem to have it in my head that I need to make panels that join together along the poles(if that makes sense) and also a major seam along the ridge like you have. If it's not too much of a bother a short video of the set up would be great.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    You're right - they've essentially sewn two panels together to form the tarp - all I did was add a couple of panels up front to close it up. These things can be stretched quite a bit for a nice tight surface. It's dead simple, really - not much sewing at all. I'll try to put some kind of video together for you tomorrow.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Well, I did promise that mistakes would be made, and today seems to have been full of them. When I got home from work this afternoon I was excited to get started cutting out patterns for the panels I'll need and first thing I broke out the sheeting I'll be using and cut the first section.

    But, as I was dragging the cut section over the poles I knocked one loose and pow! tent poles every where! Put it back together and knocked it apart again. Did I mention I was a slow learner? After much under my breath cursing I finally got the frame reassembled and this time Tied the darned ends down.



    An hour gone getting everything line up correctly again, but that's alright we're making progress. Time to start cutting.





    The first panel went on easily enough but I couldn't get it to lay just right so I fiddled with it, and fiddled with it some more, until I thought it was pretty good. Then I moved on the the second section and it went really smoothly. It looked much better than the first one, which sent me back to messing with it again, a little tighter, not quite, tighten it again. Finally, I got to the good enough stage and stood back to admire my handy work.







    Do you see what I see? It turns out you should build a tent like you plank a boat. If you hang a panel on one side you should then hang one in the opposite position on the other side to keep it balanced. I was so focused on trying to get a tight panel that I did not notice that I pulled the center out of line by a full six inches! Oh well, you live and you learn. Tomorrow he whole mess is coming off and I'll try it again.

    Yes, mistakes were made! But all in all it was still a good day. Plastic sheeting is cheap and I feel like I learned something.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Excellent stuff Jim! looks like great work! I hope it works out.
    Member of the Loyal, Mostly-Noble, Elite and Most Ancient order of the Laughing Polar Bear Cap Society.

    I ask out of Ignorance, not Criticism.

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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    If you will be sleeping on the boat at anchor, you need the fore end of the tent closed off but the aft end can be open. If you plan to beach the boat that's different.
    Yes, I see what you mean. The plan is to use the tent at anchor. There are lots of little sheltered coves for anchoring but not much in the way of nice haulout or camping beaches.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
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    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    This is a sunbrella tent we made up for a Drascombe lugger.
    It uses 4 collapsable tent poles, is lashed in place to each mast and held down with nylon snap buckles like those used on a backpack.
    The ends are zippered on and reversible ford and aft so you don't have to think much or fumble around in the dark to set them up. They have screened (mosquitos!) and roll-up canvas covered windows. It can be used with or without the ends.
    The boat can be operated under power with the tent in place (in the event that your anchorage conditions change unexpectedly!) and can be entered and exited from a dock. It will stow rolled up like a bed roll along the rail with the poles in place and it can be set up in about two minutes if stowed like this. If the poles are removed it can be stowed in a locker. All in all, it worked out very well, and has withstood strong winds while on the hook.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Canoeyawl,
    Very nice and straight forward. I like that. And That's exactly what I was thinking about for the ends.

    Well, enough playing around on the internet. Time to get to work.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  25. #25
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    Red face Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    So I get the tent all set up in the driveway and find it's too dark to film anything at 3:00... I'll try again when the sun's out.

    Canoeyawl's tent looks awesome too. My beam is only 4'6" at the widest point - too narrow to bend poles athwartships - your boat is closer in size to the lugger so it might work nicely for you.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    So, as I was taking apart last night's mess and thinking about what to do next, it occurred to me that making a pattern for each side might not be such a good idea. Odds are I'd just end up with a lopsided tent. So I hit upon this solution instead.



    I used packing tape to tape all the joints so that there was no chance of them moving again, that way I could just make patterns for one side and things will at least be semetrical. One thing to think about, for anyone who is thinking of trying this, that packing tape sticks really well to the tent poles, and I'm pretty sure it is going to be a real bugger getting that tape off again.

    After the first panel was up the rest went pretty smoothly. I just put up a section of plastic.



    Trimmed it with the knife or scissors.



    Then mark the seam intersection with a sharpie.



    And this was the end result.





    All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the way things have gone so far. Tomorrow I'm going to take all the patterns off the frame and start cutting the actual pieces. How exciting!

    The other things I noted on each pattern was its location in the grand scheme and the location of the top, bow, sheer, etc. and the pole pockets that will be required.

    All told there are six panels per side, which is going to be a lot of sewing. I know there are lots of ways to mak this a simpler setup. The two things that I think are driving the complexity are the diagonal and canted poles, and the fact that the material I have is only 60" wide so a two panel solution just isn't an option. From the sheer to peak at the widest part we are looking at 77". I guess the thrid thing that is driving the complexity is that I just like all the sexy curves and angles, what can I say.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Darroch,
    Thank you for the effort, I sure understand how it goes sometimes.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Yep, I think you'll find it quite handy and it's also reasonably dimensionally stable, so your pattern pieces don't change shape as soon as you take them off and lay them on the floor to transfer the shape to the real cloth.

    A couple other things to keep in mind - If needed on a tent or domed boat cover, a halyard hooked to the top can make a very solid lifting or stabilizing force. Also don't underestimate the value of the canted arches at either end of your structure. There have been quite a few very solid tents that used nothing other than those two arches to form the entire pole structure. They do it by anchoring the ends of the tent to the ground out past the arches and a lot of these tents are perfectly stable in most conditions with nothing more than a stake or two at each end. This one, for example (Kelty Windfoil Light) has two important stakes at the front end, which is squared-off on either side of the door, and a single stake at the back (which comes to a point out past the rear arch). Any other stakes used are for adding a little more stability in high winds or guying the fly farther out for a bit more flow-through ventilation. The pole sleeves on these Keltys, by the way, are made from athletic jersey mesh (fabric stores have it) which is a really great idea. It's tough, it has some stretch - so you can use slightly longer poles and get some tension on the sleeves, and if your design calls for a rainfly over the sleeves, air can still flow through the sleeves for better ventilation.


    I can attest to this. I have a Kelty mountaineering tent just like this. It's stood up to real howlers up above treeline at 11,000 feet.

    Does have a tendency to just bend over in the big gusts, though. Nothing like being wakened from a sound sleep at 0-dark-thirty in the morning by having your tent pressed down on your face. Very startling if you weren't expecting it.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Last night I was sitting in my chair minding my own business when SWMBO walk into the room and said, "what are you doing? Are you sewing paper?". Yup, I was sewing paper. She was pretty sure that I'd lost it when I started building an imaginary boat in the basement, and this pretty much confirmed it for her. But, there really is a perfectly reasonable explanation, honest.

    And the explanation is, that I wanted to figure out how I was going to sew sleeves into the seams for the poles to go through and how much extra material I would need on each edge of the panels.
    I started out by marking out the lines to follow for stitching. I put my lines at 1/4" back from the edge, 7/8" back from the edge, and 1 3/8" back from the edge. I just picked these numbers as place to start that seemed reasonable. First I stitched the 1/4" line, and folded it back on itself.





    Then I stitched the 1 3/8" line to create a pocket.



    Then I stitched the line at 7/8" to give a finished size to the sleeve and make the seam stronger.



    And test fit a pole section.



    It looks like it will work. The sleeve is a little on the snug side, so I'm going to add a bit there and I might throw another line of stitching into the seam, but other than that...



    Oh, and yes Wolf Tree, we have a couple of hens and an onery old rooster. I do like fresh eggs.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Keep in mind that you will want to "bunch up" the fabric to fit it over the poles (and to remove it) and there can be a lot of fabric on one pole.
    When we made the tent for the Drascombe boat the "sleeves" were never big enough, even after several tries! (we ended up having to sew on individual "pockets" or "sleeves" after the tent was built... Hindsight is 20/20!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Keep in mind that you will want to "bunch up" the fabric to fit it over the poles (and to remove it) and there can be a lot of fabric on one pole.
    When we made the tent for the Drascombe boat the "sleeves" were never big enough, even after several tries! (we ended up having to sew on individual "pockets" or "sleeves" after the tent was built... Hindsight is 20/20!
    That's a great point. I would guess that the heavier the fabric the the more room you need so the fabric has some place to go. The nylon I have is lighter than sunbrella, does a 2" sleeve sound reasonable for a 5/16" diam. pole?
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    From here it looks perfect!

    But - It needs more room than you might think.

    It is a little different when you are setting it up in the boat, you can't move around as well, you won't be standing up,
    And the wind may be blowing. If it all stretched out and catches a little gust, things can get interesting.
    Especially if you might have had a little drinky after dinner!



    And you may find that a 5/16 dia pole is not sturdy enough for seagoing work, and should allow for something heavier (just another detail!)
    A wetted tent at sea in gale might just flatten out more than you want. (Don't ask!)
    You could make trial run in the back of a pick-up at about 20 mph...

    Edit to add; looking at your pics again, the folded piece inside the sleeve may want to jam up as you insert the pole. We had to have the sleeve "clean" inside. After several trials we made the sleeve larger and applied it after the tent was built because the poles were so much trouble to install/remove. In fact this is reason enough to Not remove the poles and just strike it, roll it up and lash it to the inwale. It's a nice back rest.
    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 01-31-2010 at 03:33 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    You could also sew in velcro tabs (both sides) at strategic points (like at the cross over pts. etc) and avoid the sleeves altogether.

    Have attachment points on the bottom edge of the fly that hook up to the gunwale and then slip poles underneath, place into position and wrap and stick velcro tabs together. Might save a bunch of time on the sweat shop machine and if you don't like it you can always go back and sew in the sleeves later.

    Todd Bibler built mountaineering tents with this set up and mine has worked just fine through the years.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    I'm not sure how you're going to assemble that if you're at anchor, even without wind. My thought would be to have a system where the poles are secured to the boat first, and then then tent secured over the poles. Velcro tabs come to mind. There will be high-stress points that will need more than that, of course.

    I made a cockpit tent once. I kept it really simple -- an aluminum ridge poll was hung athwartships from the boom, and the sides were lashed to eyestraps. The ridgepole was a permanent part of the cover -- I just rolled the ten around it to pack it up. I rigged it sideways to retain sitting headroom on the benches. Not fancy, but I could reliably set it up quickly in any weather.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Thanks for the advise fellas. I think you're right about the sleeve idea being a pain. What I would really like are some quick connects like on my regular tent.



    But I haven't had any luck tracking them down. What I really need to know before I start cutting material, is whether or not I'm going to include long sleeves as part of the panel or not. At this point based on my own misgivings and your fine advise I think not. I'm still thinking to include some sort of short sleeve at strategic locations that will be around three of four inches in length. This should work alright since the fabric is laying on the poles verses held up to the poles from underneath.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    I've been experimenting with a full tent for my Nomans Land boat, and it's my priority for the coming year. (For Maine, I'll include full enclosure with mosquito netting.) Can you tell us your source for tentmaking supplies, like lengths of pole tubing, clips, etc?

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    For fabric I ordered from Seattle Fabrics, http://www.seattlefabrics.com/?gclid...FSgtawodimOcaQ . At just over 900 miles away, it's darn near a local business and the descriptions they supplied were very helpful to me.

    For tent poles a all the parts and pieces you need for a tent I used Quest Outfitters http://www.questoutfitters.com/tent_...T%20POLE%20SET. This site was also very helpful with a fair amount of technical how to stuff aimed a the do-it yourself crowd. I also liked the fact that a real person emailed me when my order was shipped to let me know what was going on.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Sounds like you're doing good and can make all the mistakes for us before we make our tents for our boats.

    One thing to keep in mind for your sleeves for you poles, you need to make the sleeves loose enough, especially where two poles are crossing. Like the top where 3 poles cross, on the sides where 2 poles are crossing, etc. In my REI dome tent, the sleeves are 3 to 4 sizes bigger then the poles and are on the outside of the tent to pull it up. You poles are in the tent pushing up, so I don't think sleeves are that important. You may want to just have a few tie points to the poles (velcro or those hook things) to keep the tent where you want it. Plus you'll be tying the edges down to the boat to hold it down.

    On my son's tent he has those hooks like on your tent. I'm not sure how well they will work as the poles will be pushing up on the inside of the tent versus pulling the tent up. When the poles are on the outside pulling up, the hooks are in tension. If the poles are on the inside pushing up on the tent, the hooks won't be in tension and the hooks could pop off. I'd lean toward using velcro or tie straps.

    I hope this wasn't too confusing, I visualize exactly what I said, but maybe I'm the only one that will under stand it. Bottom line, you can put the sleeves in and if the don't work, you can sew on velcro, hooks or something else later.

    Keep having fun, we're cheering you on.

    -- John

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    Thanks for the advise fellas. I think you're right about the sleeve idea being a pain. What I would really like are some quick connects like on my regular tent.
    While that is a really nice little hook, if you can't find something like that, what about using one of the many varieties of plastic snap hooks that are available? These may be a little slower to use but have the possible advantage of being less likely to get blown or knocked off.

    By the way, you have found two of my favorite sources for this sort of stuff (Seattle Fabrics and Quest). Have you found The Rain Shed ( http://www.therainshed.com/ )? I end up getting more from them than from either Seattle or Quest.

    Another useful place to know about is Rockywoods http://www.rockywoods.com but I never seem to end up ordering from them.

    Ditto for Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics: http://www.owfinc.com

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Some of the others bring up good points. If your poles are on the inside, sleeves or snaps seem a bit pointless. On a mass-produced dome tent, the fly, which has poles underneath the fabric usually use pockets and a tie in the middle. something like this might work.

    Im really excited to see how this works... I'd like to fit something like this to my boat as well....

    Keep up the great work!
    Member of the Loyal, Mostly-Noble, Elite and Most Ancient order of the Laughing Polar Bear Cap Society.

    I ask out of Ignorance, not Criticism.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    I've actually reconsidered the sleeve and hook style approaches for the very reasons that you guys have brought up. One of the drawbacks of never having done this before is that there's a bit if trial and error involved. I really apperciate you guys chiming in, it helps a lot to have other perspectives. Instead I've decided to just sew in a few loops of 1" webbing as guides for the poles.



    It will be easy to incorporate into the seams at various spots, and it is tough and slick so the poles will go through easy. I've also decide to put a loop and toggle at each place where the poles cross each other to tie them together. I see the utility of velcro but I just like the simplicity of the toggle better.

    I started cutting out panels today. It was the first time I had laid out my fabric and it was immediately obvious that I had only been sent 5 yards instead of the 10 yards I ordered. Not so good news. It was also obvious that I had way underestimated how much fabric I was going to need. So I called Seattle Fabric and they are sending me the other five yards plus another ten. Now I will undoubtedly have way more than I need, but I only want to wait on fabric once, and if there's enough left over I'll make a nice bag for the whole thing to fit into.

    I did manage to get four panels cut, two for each side. To accomplish this Ifolded the fabric in half, attached the pattern with double sided tape and cut out two panels at once. That way the two panels mirror each other and are exactly the same. I used a rolling fabric cutter and mat, and let me tell you those cutters are razor sharp! I bumped my thumb ever so lightly (I almost didn't feel it) and it bled alot. It would be very easy to end up with several stiches and a trip to the emergency room using one of these suckers.



    Here's a shot of a template and panels after being cut.



    I went a inch over on the seams that connect to other sections. This should give me enough to have a 1/2" to 5/8" finished seam, that is sewn flat with the raw edge rolled under. I also left 4" of extra material where the tent meets the sheer. I'm planning on a 2" finished hem that will drop over the outside of the gunwhale.

    And that's all the news that's fit to print.

    Jim

    P.S. Thanks for the links Bruce. It's always nice to have additional sources.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  42. #42

    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    I used a rolling fabric cutter and mat, and let me tell you those cutters are razor sharp! I bumped my thumb ever so lightly (I almost didn't feel it) and it bled alot. It would be very easy to end up with several stiches and a trip to the emergency room using one of these suckers.
    Indeed. In fact, the last emergency room visit I had, there was a woman there for exactly that reason.

    Looking forward to future updates as this is something I've been wanting to do myself.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    I hope everyone will excuse a little thread drift.

    While waiting for the rest of my tent fabric to show up I decided to make a handle for a chisel that I just got off fleaBay. I had never done this before and I was so tickled at the way it turned out I just had to share. I don't have a lathe, but I saw a guy using a drill as an impromtu lathe on another forum and decided to give it a shot.







    That was so much fun it makes me want to buy more chisels so I have an excuse to do it again.

    Okay drift over. My fabric went in the mail yesterday so I should be back in business on the tent next week.

    Jim
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Good thread,but your first pic raised a smile. A bevel gauge? to make a tent?
    A

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewe View Post
    Good thread,but your first pic raised a smile. A bevel gauge? to make a tent?
    A
    (sheepish grin) I had to go back and look at the first picture.
    The bevel gauge is left over from setting up my fake boat. As much as I'd like to say that a bevel gauge has an integral part in making a boat tent, in reality, the only thing it demonstrates is my lack of follow through in putting tools away when I'm done with them.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    An excellent thread ...thanks .

    Over here mosquito netting would be necessarry too .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    (sheepish grin) I had to go back and look at the first picture.
    The bevel gauge is left over from setting up my fake boat. As much as I'd like to say that a bevel gauge has an integral part in making a boat tent, in reality, the only thing it demonstrates is my lack of follow through in putting tools away when I'm done with them.
    Ummm, not exactly innocent on that score either.
    A

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    While you're waiting for fabric, it would be worth doing a bit of pondering about cutting it. Ripstop and all light nylons and polyesters are much more stable square to the weave than they are to stress on a bias (diagonal to the weave). When you start making tents out of triangles and other odd shapes, you start running into this. You will likely find that some panels may show far more stretch in certain directions than they do in others. There often may not be one best answer to the question of "what direction should I point the weave on this particular panel?" but you may decide that the panel and the tent's structure may tolerate some stretch in certain directions better than others. The end result can sometimes make a big difference in how firmly the tent will pitch and how much it continues to stretch in use.

    Back in the days when dome tents were being pioneered, it was very common for the good tents that showed true innovation and design skill to be copied and produced overseas at a "bargain" price within just a matter of months. The copycats would literally take one apart, trace the pieces and then have them sewn together by someone who would work all day for little more than a bowl of rice. Many of these wouldn't pitch properly, despite having the same panel shapes, seams, etc. As it turned out, the copied panels were often nested on the roll of cloth just as closely as possible, with the main goal being to use as little fabric as possible to get out the required panels, saving money. This usually meant ignoring the weave direction and was a primary reason that the finished tents didn't pitch well. The folks who had actually designed the original tent and had worked out the bugs were well aware of the weave orientation and knew that sometimes you had to generate a little more scrap fabric in order to lay out certain panels in certain specific directions for good pitching.

    As I said, there isn't always a clear answer for each panel, but it's worth thinking about before you cut, and worth being sure that the weave on a port-side panel mirrors the weave of its counterpart on the starboard side to avoid a lopsided tent.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    Thanks Tood. That information about the weave strength is very good to know. The first panels that were cut with the fabric I did have do match port to starboard in weave orientation, but I didn't give any thought to stretching. Must admit I was more concerned about maximizing the use of the material.

    In thinking about it, I would say that the main stretching forces are fore and aft, and side to side. So, I should try to line all the weave up square to the ridge line. Does that sound right? Or, is it better to assume that there is stretch at every seam and try to orient the weave so that all directions of the panel get more or less the same amount of stretch? A lot to think about.
    Eternal optimist and a slow learner.
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow
    SOF Ruth Wherry
    and a new SOF Whitehall too.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Boat tent construction for camp cruising

    I suspect that I might try to orient all of the panels so that the weave follows the ridge line in use (warp yarns of all panels running fore and aft on the finished tent) and avoid the temptation to rotate some of the odd shaped panels on the roll of cloth just because they might fit in a given available space and save a little fabric. This might also help you keep the "grain" (amount of bias) fairly similar on the diagonal seams. It doesn't always have to be a perfect match, but usually a seam that joins one hunk that's pretty square to the weave, to another hunk that's heavily bias-cut is asking for trouble. The bias fabric on one side of the seam wants to stretch, the square fabric on the other side other side doesn't and you can end up with some pretty funky sag or tension wrinkles in use.

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