Reinforcing The Canopy

By Staff
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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

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

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