Friday, March 7, 2014

Seam Sealing My Tent

After putting it off for too long, I decided yesterday it's time for me to seam seal my Tarptent Rainbow. I did it once, several years ago, but I figured it's safer to give it another go before I go out on the PCT.

I found an old tube of Seam Grip in my hiking gear closet, and I took some turpentine and went to my in-laws house to set up the tent on their lawn.

The "before" photo. Get ready, because the "after" photo will appear to be the same.
I watched Tarptent's instructional video (at the bottom of the page) on how to seam seal their tents, and went to give it a go.

The Seam Grip was mostly dry already, but I managed to squeeze a bit into a plastic container. The turpentine didn't impress it much, and it remain in the same general state as it was when leaving the tube. I went out to the nearest hardware store (which was quite near, actually), and bought a can of paint thinner and a new brush. They managed to swindle me out of an extra 2 shekels, because I didn't notice how much they charged me for those two items. Oh well.

Back at the house, I tried with some more mostly dry Seam Grip, and the pain thinner. No luck - still had a plastic cup with some thinner, and Seam Grip chunks floating about. It was getting late on Friday noon, and I figured the hardware store is closed by now. I was thinking about hitting the trail with my tent as it is, pushing through the first two weeks, and then getting someone to help me seam seal it at the Kick Off. Seemed like a passable plan.

Then I figured I'd give it another try, and headed to the store again. It was still open, and I said nothing about the earlier mistake in the bill, and bought a new tube of clear silicone gel. This time everything worked as planned - the silicone dissolved in the thinner, and I used the brush along the seams, with a paper towel to try and push the silicone inside them. I hope the paper towel didn't absorb too much of the solution, and left enough on the seam itself.
The "after" photo. Told you it's going to appear almost the same.
Well, the tent is still there, drying. I plan on passing through there and pack it up on my way to the Israeli Kick Off meeting that is planned for today. I just hope the seams are sealed properly.

I also had a tiny bit left overs to put some stripes on the tent's floor, but now I'm thinking I should have added some more, because it doesn't seem to be enough down there.