Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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When good tents go bad...

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually, since this tent has served me well and faithfully since...1981? It was Constabulary Central, when I was in the SCA, and where Sasha the Eternally Charming Kitty was trained to go when she was through flirting her way through the tourney. It's been through rainstorms, snowstorms, and events for all sorts of different groups. I've shared its space with a large number of friends, because it's HUGE. Just the ridgepole (ridge loop?) is seven feet high. It's had a long and eventful life, but it looks like it's retirement time.

But camping this last weekend, at Charlie's annual camping party, two of the fiberglass pole sections snapped. One broke off inside the metal joiner, and the other didn't precisely snap...more like all the little fibers suddenly lost cohesion on one end, and became bushy. We managed to plug it into the joiner, and it held, but it was unsettling. The other pole wasn't one of the crucial ones, and we managed to tape it for a while, but it let loose later in the weekend, so one side of the dome got saggy at the back. And I started looking at the fabric of the tent itself, noticing tiny pinholes here and there. Too teensy to even let in a very small insect but...pinholes. But if you consider it's probably been to a couple hundred events, it's entitled. To say it doesn't owe me anything is putting it mildly.

Time for a new BIG tent, I'd say. (I already have a smaller dome, and a super-lightweight backpacking tent.) People have said you can get new fiberglass sections, so I could replace the broken ones, but it occurs to me that this could turn into piecemeal replacement, especially since the new sections would be stronger than the ~25-year-old ones. I didn't check the fly, but it might have pinholes as well, and that would be more serious than the ones on the main tent. This is probably a good time to check for a replacement. End of season and all that.

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