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Initial care for a new REI tent


myownlittleworld
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myownlittleworld

Although I do not hike beyond day hikes (at this point), I figured you all would be the best place to ask a question about care for a good quality tent. Growing up (more years ago than I want to think about), the general wisdom or custom was to put some sealer like Camp Dry on a new tent. I recently bought REI's Kingdom 8 for beach camping. We will be on the Dry Tortugas (and elsewhere for 2 weeks), and want to be prepared in the event that there is bad weather (and no way to bail and check into a hotel). I know that REI says sealer isn't necessary, but I don't expect them to say anything different. In addition to the waterproofing issue, I also wonder about UV protection. So, should I treat this tent with anything? I plan to use it for many years to access remote beach camping locations, and I want it to be as well cared for as possible.

Thanks!

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Quality tents come with the seams already taped & sealed. I haven't sealed tent seams since the last time I bought a $15 pup tent. But it won't hurt if you want to do it. Make sure the sealer dries really good before taking the tent down.

I don't UV treat my tents either. They just wear out after a half dozen years and I'm ready to buy a new one anyway.

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I have a Kingdom 6 and it has been great in the rain, no "sealing" needed.

Please post a trip report after the Dry Torgugas. I grew up in FL and always wanted to go camping there, but never made it down.

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Check the coating on the tent fabric before you apply sealer. If it is Silicone, then you need a silicon seam sealer like SilNet. If the fabric is coated with polyurethane, you need a sealer like SeamGrip. There are a lot more Polyurethane products out there than Silicone. Some may be usable on different coatings, but all the recommendations that I have seen say to use the same type of sealer as the fabric coating.

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Taping and sealing is a great idea. I would like to try it some day.

Make sure your tent is dry before you put it away. 

Don't leave tents out in the sun and UV rays except when you are using them.

That's really all there is.

Some people like to was their cars every Sunday. If that is your personality go ahead and mess with your tent, but it is really not necessary.

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  • 1 month later...
myownlittleworld

Thanks for the advice and sorry for the delay in responding after asking the question. Things of a medical nature intruded, and I am now getting back to less critical issues. We still managed to go and ended up taking our older tent after being unsure about the size of the camp spaces on the Dry Tortugas. We are going to take the Kingdom 8 out on a weekend trip in a state park, and then later to Ocracoke, NC, so it will soon get its first use. 

Edited by myownlittleworld
typo
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So you made it to the Dry Tortugas? How was it?

I also want to see the outer banks, so please post something after that trip :)

I'm taking my Kingdom 6 to SE NC this weekend, looks like a lot of rain.

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myownlittleworld

I am waiting to see if any of my pictures from my disposable underwater camera are worth sharing, and I will post a report. For now I will say that they could leave me in the Dry Tortugas for a month (with some books of course) and I would be happy. Best trip ever!

Here's a few pictures before I write up a trip report.

floridavacationdownload 037.jpg

floridavacationdownload 043.jpg

floridavacationdownload 118.jpg

floridavacationdownload 121.jpg

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That first picture looks awesome. How were the campsites? The crowds? Weather/bugs? Feel free to dump these answers in a trip report if that would be easier.

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myownlittleworld
6 hours ago, wspscott said:

That first picture looks awesome. How were the campsites? The crowds? Weather/bugs? Feel free to dump these answers in a trip report if that would be easier.

 

I did post a report, but it is rather long, so I will also answer here. Campsites range from complete open sun to a couple of complete mangrove tree cover. Some (primarily the full sun locations) are large enough to handle any size tent you bring. Others, like ours really need a smaller tent. We chose ours because we ended up bringing the small 2 person backpacker tent, and we could fit. All the best sites were already taken, as ours probably would have been if it would have fit other campers tents. Some people move as campers clear out (every day there is some turnover), but we decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

There weren't any bugs, which I understand is due to the lack of fresh water. As for weather, it seemed to be low to mid 80's and slightly humid, but not too bad. It didn't rain, and according to the park staff, it doesn't rain unless a storm front is coming across the Gulf of Mexico. There isn't enough land to heat the atmosphere around the Dry Tortugas, which would be necessary for rain generated by convergence of different temperature air masses. 

My husband (who is not a big fan of heat) was quite comfortable. Any time you got a little bit hot, you could just go get in the water (10 yards from camp). 

As for crowds, the ferry (with appx. 150 day trip passengers) was docked from 10:30ish till 2:45, but it didn't really seem crowded because everyone was spaced out between the different snorkeling areas, touring the fort, and (sadly) sitting in the air conditioning of the boat. When it was gone, it was just the campers (and park staff who inhabited a converted side of the fort). It definitely had that semi-deserted island feel for the rest of the day. 

Here's a map/image of the island.  FDryTortugasSnorkelingMap.jpg 

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