- Jul 11, 2019 at 7:20 am #3601514
For Sale – Two Man Three Pole Single-Skin Tunnel Tent
Some years ago the Product Manager at Easton Mountain Products attempted to have an Asian tent manufacturer reproduce my design of tunnel tents, under licence from me. The agreement gave me total control over whether the tents were good enough to carry my name. The project failed for two reasons.
First, the Asian factory was used to making simple pop-ups and tarps, and had a lot of trouble trying to copy my instructions for the far more complex tunnel tent design properly. In this they were limited by the fact that the factory workers could not read basic English. I sent them a comic book version, mostly diagrams, but … it was difficult.
Second, the Easton Sales Department was not interested in anything they could not sell from their desks by the thousands to the likes of Walmart for <$100 per tent. They were unwilling to get out there and sell a tunnel tent of any sort. Desk jockeys I think.
Given this attitude, it does not surprise me that Easton seems now to have got out of the whole tent market. There was no future (in my humble opinion)in trying to compete with cheap Asian tarps and pop-ups, but there was definitely an empty slot at the high end which they could serve.
Along the way, several prototypes were made, one after the other, and sent to me for evaluation. This is one of them. Now, let’s be VERY clear about one thing: while this looks like one of my designs, it is NOT a ‘Caffin’ Tunnel Tent. It is close, but not good enough to carry my name. That said, it is certainly not a disaster (see below).
The tent uses light-weight fabric for both the fly and the groundsheet. I think the fly has silicone on the inside surface and PU (possibly TPU) on the outside surface, but it could be TPU on both sides. I do not know the Hydrostatic Head rating. Per my specifications, the groundsheet is 2200 mm long and 1250 mm wide (quite enough for two good airmats with gear storage down the sides). It is coated (obviously), probably with TPU as the seams on the floor have been taped with clear PU seam-seal tape.
I do not know the HH.See later posting.
My practice has been to use a silicone aerosol spray on the outside of my silnylon tents every two years or so, but I have not tried this on a PU coating.
The current guy ropes are ~2 mm and seem to have reflective threads. The guy rope anchors project inside the tent (A) so you can fix storm guys across the interior in bad weather. Enough aluminium tent pegs (DAC angles and some Al wires) or stakes are included, and I have added 2 long (8″) tubular pegs for the windward end and 2 more almost as long for the lee end. These tubular pegs should resist just about any storm (but they are not snow pegs). The DAC stakes and Al wire stakes are just not good enough for that.
Obviously a critical specification!
Tent in bag: 1.537 kg
Poles in bag: 0.351 kg (with mods)
Pegs in bag: 0.211 kg (inc tubes)
Total in pack: 2.1 kg
The corner anchors at the windward end are short cord loops (as they should be), ~3 mm, and the corner anchors at the lee end are longer bungee cord loops (as they should be). When pitching I normally stretch the lee end bungees to almost double their relaxed length. The colour variation in this photo is due to shade.
The interior height at the peak is about 900 mm. The poles are carbon fibre with aluminium elbows – both probably from Easton. I think Easton made the poles up themselves after receiving each prototype. The three poles are all the same. The poles are the same size that I use on all my tents.
There is netting at the doors, secured by press-studs (snaps) and along the sides of the groundsheet. There are little bungee cord / cord loop things to hold the doors open at the lee end. The side netting has generous pockets (B) on each side.
The external hoods at each end provide shelter from rain for the top-opening doors.
The windward door only opens downwards, from the top. It can be closed at the top with Velcro under the hood in the case of really extreme weather, but that can lead to condensation. I never shut it right up. The lee door (shown here) can open either upwards or downwards. The upwards opening was for Easton marketing reasons: I never open the door that way. I always leave a window at the top for ventilation.
The short red loop through one bungee cord eyelet and around the other bungee cord loop is to take the load off the bottom end of the door zip. That prolongs the life of the zip. It could be run through both eyelets to advantage.
Faults on delivery
I had better list the principle defects on delivery as I saw them. Some have been corrected.
The bottom sections of the tent poles as delivered were about 60 mm too short, so the bottom edge of the fly could not be pulled down tightly or tensioned over the poles. The hem touched the ground, as seen here, which was not my intention or in my instructions. This was entirely an Easton mistake.
The pole feet go into eyelets, but the eyelets were almost (not quite) too large for the Easton stock pole feet. This too was a combination of a mistake in the Asian factory (they ignored my dimensions and probably used what they had in stock) and an Easton mistake. Easton tried to use their stock pole feet, which were just not big enough.
I have corrected the short poles by extending the bottom ends of each one, as seen here. Note that the hem here has been pulled up so you can see the fix. Easton CF tubing was used as a sleeve, with some added standard CF pole as the actual extension. I have made new pole feet with bigger shoulders on my CNC and replaced all the Easton ones.
All the elbows were meant to be about 30 degrees. They were about right on that for one pole, but bent too much on the other two, to about 35 degrees. This was very poor QC by Easton. I have managed to straighten the faulty elbows to match the good ones – an operation of some delicacy given the hardness of the aluminium tubing. A modification to one of my custom benders was needed here.
The weights given above are with all these upgrades.
The Hoods over the doors were stiffened with insulated copper wire, not heavy whipper snipper cord as I had specified. The copper wire works, provided you straighten it out every time you unroll the tent (see 1st photo at top). The wire was removed through a gap in the sleeve and two lengths of 3.3 mm whipper snipper cord inserted. The edge of the hood was not stiffened where it should be either: there was just heavy cord there. This too has been replaced by heavy whipper snipper cord.
Unfortunatly the hoods were made a little ‘full’, and they can still flop around a little. If I was keeping this tent for myself I would add to short guys from the hoods to the end guys, as shown by the blue lines. Doing so is left to the buyer.
The top guy rope anchor for the middle pole has been placed a bit high, partially above the elbow there (1st photo). This can be ameliorated by extending the guy ropes (next).
The guy ropes are all a bit short in my opinion. I would prefer to have most of the pegs further away from the tent. Replacing the string would be a dead simple task for the buyer. Yes, it means a bigger footprint of sorts IF you count the guy ropes, but I would be more concerned about being safe in a storm.
You could, if you wish, leave the guy ropes on the outer poles as they are: they are almost long enough. But the end guys, going from the tops of the pole arches, (see last photo) are utterly too short. The guy ropes on the middle pole are a bit too short imho.
The guy rope adjusters are very simple stock 3-hole things. I am not sure how well they would hold in a storm. They can be modified or replaced by the buyer very easily.
The two end guys, going lengthwise from the outer poles, are important to keeping the roof of the tunnel taut. You never want this loose and flappy in a storm. The guy ropes are there, but for some reason they are not quite symmetrical about the peak. In practice this does not matter, and I would not bother trying to move the guy rope anchors.
The netting doors correctly overlap in the middle at each end to keep insects out (C in earlier photo). The fly connects with the top of the groundsheet wall as it should. However, the sides of the doors should have been sewn to the ends of the side netting, but this was not done (D).
However, the edges had been neatly done, and I have joined them up with a bit of simple sewing.
The tent is for sale for US$500 + P&P, via Paypal for preference, with all the modifications as mentioned. Contact me for the Paypal address. Pegs are included (including the 4 tubes), as are bags for the tent, poles and pegs, but neither the string nor the adjusters have been replaced. If you are interested, I can recommend the ClamCleats CL266 things (from UK) for attachment up at the guy rope anchors. Having the dangly bits up at the tent end of the rope rather than out at the ground end means the ropes do not get tangled as much when unrolling the tent.
NO warranty is offered, none at all. I can’t, because I did not make the tent. We were getting close to a production state, but then Easton folded. However, any advice or support I can offer I will.
Roger CaffinJul 11, 2019 at 10:53 pm #3601572Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
Maybe I am not looking carefully enough, but I did not see a weight for this tent?Jul 11, 2019 at 11:52 pm #3601581
Our postings crossed in the mail. I woke up this morning and realised exactly the same thing. Weights added in initial posting, repeated here.
Tent in bag: 1.537 kg
Poles in bag: 0.351 kg (with mods)
Pegs in bag: 0.211 kg (inc tubes)
Total in pack: 2.1 kg
CheersJul 16, 2019 at 3:29 am #3602106
Hydrostatic Head for tent
It came to me in the middle of the night that I cannot sell a tent without knowing whether it is able to take rain! So I fired up my old Suter Tester and did some measurements.
Let’s start by noting that the industry target for a tent fabric is normally about 1,500 mm, but that more than that is normally required for a groundsheet as you get to kneel on it.
I should also point out that with these very light fabrics and very light coatings, some variability across the fabric is expected. It would in fact be startling if the fabric was dead uniform across a large area, and I would NOT believe any such claims.
Cover sack: Nylon with a silicone /TPU coating. As a warm-up.
Against the TPU coating: 2,300 mm
Against the Sil coating: 1,700 mm
The difference between the two sides (Si & TPU) is quite common.
Groundsheet: TPU coating, two measurements
#1: >3,300 mm
#2: >3,300 mm
My Suter Tester does not go above 3,300 mm at present, so that is where my numbers stop. The fabric bulged for sure, but there was no sign of any leaks at all. This is good.
Tent Fly: very light fabric, TPU coating. Not a silicone coating as far as I can see. Five measurements done at different places around the edge.
#1: 1,700 mm
#2: 1,400 mm
#3: 2,300 mm
#4: 1,600 mm
#5: 2,000 mm
Average: 1,800 mm
This would fit well with the specs which Easton had originally given the factory: >1,500 mm.
Roger CaffinDec 25, 2019 at 9:10 pm #3624148
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