Monday, 19 May 2008

Tent mods ready - two weeks to go

tentipi varrie light - photo courtesy
I finally finished the time-consuming task of building a hat for the tentipi that can be adjusted from inside the tent - from my sleeping bag, in fact. This involved a week of late nights on the sewing machine and a greater appreciation for why these tents are so expensive: there's a lot of work in running one up.

The original hat for this basic tentipi model is a simple wrap-around cone with a cut in the side and four one-metre lengths of 2mm bungie cord to hold it to the outer tent - so adjustment is done by unclipping a bungie at the bottom and walking around the tent to clip it on further around if you're trying to close the vent in the hat, or to open it on the lee side so that the breeze sucks smoke out of the tent.

My new hat is much closer to the hat that comes with the top-of-the-range Varrie Light - in other words, you don't have to leave the tent to adjust the hat, instead you pull a cord with a toggle on it in a narrow sleeve secured to the inside of the tent at waist level: four cords run up to rings at the top of the pole and down to the four corners of the hat, where they are sewn to an anchor point and join bungie cords permanently attached to the outer tent. So you pull a cord on the sleeve, and the corresponding side of the hat rises at the top of the tent a metre or so above you.

There are two more cords to control the smaller "top hat" - visible in the picture above - which sits over a cone made of mosquito netting to provide ventilation when the main hat has to be closed to keep insects out.

The tent material came mail order from PointNorth in Hollyhead - 2 metres of ripstop nylon tent material, and a metre of mosquito netting, plus sundry toggles, rings, and 2mm bungie cord. Once you've worked out the angles involved in making conic sections of the tent, it's fairly easy to come up with the patterns required.

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