Reinforcing The Canopy

Smooth surface

Content Tools

2722 Vinton Street Lafayette, Indiana 47904

How many times has a quick but small gust of wind taken your tent down, dropping the center pole on you, pulling up those dainty plastic stakes, or worse yet, buckling those weak aluminum poles?

If you have ever experienced any or all of the above-mentioned frustrations and would like never again to have such an experience, this essay should give you field-proven methods to improve your tent's performance. Our suggestions for materials and designs will place tent improvements easily within your reach. You may make all of the suggested improvements at once; but, if you don't, you will eventually find it necessary to make each one.

The most important components of your tent are the poles. Thin wall electrical conduit will make poles that are much stronger than the aluminum poles which came with your tent originally. The corner poles can be made of ' conduit. The points can be made by slipping one of the original poles inside the conduit and securing it with a no. 10 machine screw, as shown in fig. 1. The center pole is made by using ' conduit for the outside of the pole that telescopes over the upper pole (which is made of ' galvanized pipe). The upper pole will need a series of 9/32' holes drilled 1' apart for adjustment. A ' eye bolt will make an excellent stop bolt for the pole. The eye will provide a place to tie the tent's peak, the pole, and the base weight all together. The base weight may be the disc brake rotor off of a car or small truck (see fig. 2). It will be necessary to have a smooth surface at the top of the center pole so it can't cut the fabric. You will find it quite easy to put a Tee on the top end of this pipe which is smooth and can't cut the tent.

If your tent has no grommet in the peak, you may wish to add one so the fabric can be tied securely to the pole. This is done by first sewing a patch of approximately 12' x 12' of heavy canvas or leather to the inside of the peak for reinforcing. Next, install a brass grommet in the center. The grommet should be large enough to accommodate the pole's point and the peak cord that will have a ring tied to it (see fig. 2).

If your tent has no corner line buckles, they may easily be made from metal or wood. You will find these very helpful when your lines need adjustment (see fig. 3). Most of the line adjustments can be eliminated if a heavy screen door spring is installed in each line to keep them taut at all times.

Your original plastic stakes may last a couple of years, but much better ones can be made from W concrete reinforcing rod. These stakes will hold better in the ground than the slick plastic ones (see fig. 4).

If your tent is made of fabric it may need to be re-water-proofed from time to time. Most tent and awning suppliers have very good tent waterproofing liquids. These materials are excellent for your engine and tractor canvases too. It costs about $10.00 per gallon and may be sprayed on or brushed on. Once you see the results, you'll wish you had used it sooner.

After you have made these improvements, you will find using your tent much less troublesome and engine shows will be much more enjoyable.