- What is Tent Guard with Ultra Fresh and how does it protect my tent?
- Can you help me get replacement parts for my Sierra Designs tent?
- The zippers on my tent have stopped working. What can I do?
- How do I clean my tent?
- What is mildew and how do I clean it off my tent?
- What is the best way to store my tent?
- How should I fold my tent for storage?
- What are some general guidelines for seam sealing my tent?
- How can I minimize water seepage into my tent?
- How do I get sap or pitch off my tent?
- Do you have tent pitching instructions online?
- What's the difference between 3 & 4 season tents?
- How are your tents tested?
- Can I use a candle or candle lantern inside my tent? How about cooking in the vestibule when zipped up?
- What side of Footprints should go up?
1. What is Tent Guard with Ultra Fresh and how does it protect my tent?
We began using Tent Guard Ultra Fresh in 2004 (a Sierra Designs exclusive at the time!) and with great success. Applied as part of the PU coating to our rain flies, floors and footprints, Tent Guard with Ultra Fresh extends the life of a tent by thwarting mold, mildew and fungus. Particularly on extended trips or in damp climates, Tent Guard protects a tent if it is packed or stored temporarily while wet—another bit of peace of mind.
2. Can you help me get replacement parts for my Sierra Designs tent?
Our Warranty and Repair department stocks some parts for late-model tents, including tent rainflys and poles. Contact them with your specific needs by calling (800) 736 8551, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mountain Time. Or write to them at:
Sierra Designs Warranty Department
6235 Lookout Rd
Boulder, CO 80301
3. The zippers on my tent have stopped working. What can I do?
Most of the problems experienced with tent zippers are due to wear in the zipper sliders, rather than a failure of the coil itself. (The slider is the metal part that you move to zip and unzip the zipper.) Particles of dirt and grit on the coil, accumulated during use, abrade the mechanism inside the slider head. When the slider becomes sufficiently worn, it will stop engaging the teeth of the coil correctly and cause the zipper to open up behind the slider. Common symptoms of slider wear include rough operation of the slider, and the zipper opening behind the slider when the tent is zipped up.
Obviously, keeping your tent as clean as possible will slow this process. The more exposure to sand and grit that the zippers see, the more quickly the sliders will wear. Lubrication of the zipper teeth helps as well. We recommend using McNett's Zip Care which is a cleaner and light lubricant and is available in most outdoor stores. You can also use paraffin wax or lip balm if you're in a pinch. Petroleum based lubricants are not recommended.
If the sliders on your tent start to fail, the situation can often be helped by squeezing the slider head (from front to back) firmly with a pair of pliers. Eventually however, during the course of the (long) life of your Sierra Designs tent, you may need to get the sliders replaced. Sierra Designs will always replace the sliders on SD tents at no charge. Other types of damage which necessitate replacement of the zipper coil (including, but not limited to damaged coil, mangled or missing teeth, and worn coil) can be repaired at a reasonable cost by our repair department.
4. How do I clean my tent?
Proper cleaning and storage of a tent will prolong tent life. Your tent should be cleaned of all mud, loose dirt and debris when you return from your camping trip. Shake out any loose dirt, and wipe the floor and fly clean with a sponge and water.
Make sure your tent is completely dry before you pack it away. A tent that is packed away while damp will mildew. Storing your tent loosely in a large stuff sack or box may help prevent the formation of mildew, especially in humid climates.
For a more thorough cleaning, hand wash your tent in a mild, non detergent soap and water solution. Down Soap works well. Do not soak your tent. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight. Never machine wash or tumble dry your tent.
5. What is mildew and how do I clean it off my tent?
A musty odor, and/or small cross-shaped spots on the tent fabric indicate mildew formation. Mildew, a fungus spore, requires a dark, warm, moist environment to grow. Mildew uses the dirt and soil found on many tents as nutrients to grow and reproduce. This fungus actually penetrates the urethane coating of the tent fabric and grows between the tent fabric and coating, eventually lifting the coating from the fabric. Waterproofness is thus lost and the fabric is eventually destroyed.
Should mildew begin to form, immediate action can be taken to retard further growth. Wash the tent as instructed above. Next, sponge-wipe the tent with a dilute solution of McNett MiraZyme. Sponge over the affected areas and allow to air dry, out of direct sunlight, without rinsing. This will kill the mildew on the tent, and prevent it from getting worse, but it will not remove the mildew marks.
If your tent has developed a bad odor it is probably due to an advanced case of mildew, which can cause the urethane coating on tent fabric to break down and start to delaminate. Because of this, washing your tent can cause the deteriorated coating to peel off completely, so proceed with caution. Sponging the tent floor is likely to be the kindest way to clean your tent. If the mildew advances and the coating begins to peel, further measures can be taken to kill the fungus and retard the process. However, the damage that has already been done cannot be reversed. Prepare the following solution after washing the tent as previously instructed: 1 cup of salt, 1 cup lemon juice (concentrated) and 1 gallon hot water. Rub the solution into visible mildew. Set up the tent with the affected areas facing the sun. Allow to dry. Once dry, remove all peeling coating. Apply a coat of McNett Tent Sure to the areas where the coating has peeled. This will help restore water repellency. (For more information on McNett Mirazyme and McNett Tentsure visit www.mcnett.com)
6. What's the best way to store my tent?
Before storing your tent, ensure that it is completely clean and dry. Moisture wrapped up in your tent for extended periods will promote mildew growth.
Your clean and dry tent can be stored in its stuffsack or loosely in a box or oversized cotton storage bag. Avoid sealing your tent in a plastic bag or any other airtight, confined space. Find a cool, dry spot to store your tent such as a closet inside your house where it won't be exposed to humidity.
7. How should I fold my tent for storage?
Actually, it is best to roll/stuff/fold your tent a different way each time you put your tent away. This way you will not create permanent creases in the same place of the tent. A good way to store your tent is to fold the body of the tent in thirds length-wise. Drape the rainfly over the folded body so that no part of the rainfly is wider than the folded body. Lay the collapsed poles and the stakes across one end of the folded tent. Roll up the tent from one end to the other, rolling it around the poles and stakes. Insert the rolled tent into the stuff sack.
8. What are some general guidelines for seam sealing my tent?
The rainfly and center floor seam (if applicable) of your tent have been taped at the factory. While seam tape significantly increases the weatherproofness of your tent, additional seam sealing will improve the performance of your tent in rainy conditions. For additional weatherproofness, seal all places where attachments are sewn to the fly, including webbing, Velcro, snaps, guy-outs, and zipper tracks. The best way to seal your tent is to use a urethane-based seam sealer (We recommend Seam Grip by McNett. For more information visit www.mcnett.com) and run a thin bead around the base of the attachment, where it is sewn to the fly. Do this to attachments both on the inside and outside of the fly. Additionally, the perimeter seam of your tent floor cannot be mechanically (factory) sealed. To complete the barrier against water seepage through the floor of your tent, seal this seam by running a bead of seam-sealer around the inside perimeter of your tent floor. Make sure the seam-sealer is completely dry before re-packing your tent.
9. How can I minimize water seepage into my tent?
If you have a Catenary cut floor in which the perimeter has a ground level seam, there will be a few seams you should seal on your tent to help you stay dry in very rainy weather. We tape all the seams that we can in the factory, but there are some that are just impossible to tape. The most important one is the perimeter seam of your floor. Another important location is the underside of the rainfly, anywhere where Velcro or webbing is sewn into the rainfly. This is a potential water path between the fly fabric and the attached material.
Use a product called "Seam Grip" made by McNett (www.mcnett.com). It's a polyurethane sealant that, in effect, works the same as taped seems when applied correctly. Put a layer of Seam Grip over any place that is exposed to rain, has punctured holes through it (like thread holes), and isn't taped.
Make sure you take the time to dry that wet tent out properly, leave it set-up until you are really sure it is totally dry. Then apply the Seam Grip and give that time to dry.
Since 2004 we have been designing our tents with SuperSeal Floors. The raised perimeter seam means guaranteed waterproofness, and no need to seam seal your floor. The SuperSeal Floor combines the benefits of catenary and bathtub floors. It also maintains a tighter pitch with a better wind line to prevent flapping.
10. How do I get sap or pitch off my tent?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Freeze the tent and pick off the pitch with some duct tape rolled back on itself.
2. Use mineral oil to clean it off.
11. Do you have tent pitching instructions online?
Yes we do! Click here to download information on how to pitch our current line of tents.
12. What is the difference between 3 & 4 season tents?
There are many differences between 3 season and 4 season tents that all boil down to one main point: 4 season tents are built for the worst of conditions—winter and expedition.
Our 4 season tents do not have mesh panels, they have mesh doors that can be sealed-off by canopy doors. That means extra zipper tracks, extra fabric, and therefore extra weight. 3 season tents have exposed mesh panels that cannot be sealed-off. If you take a 3 season tent out on a cold winter day, you'll get pretty chilly.
Our 4 season tents have wider pole diameters, these poles are heavier, but stronger. Also, our 4 season tents have poled vestibules, because we expect you to have to spend time inside your vestibule when the storms are raging outside.
Those are some of the main differences. Others are more subtle, like tent geometry. We wouldn't recommend purchasing a 4 season tent unless you expect to camp in winter conditions on a pretty regular basis. For the occasional winter trip, but mostly summer camping, you may want to consider a convertible tent. (Alpha, Omega)
13. How are your tents tested?
We test all new four-season tent designs in the severest of conditions. Prototypes of new four season tents are given to selected guides to test on mountaineering trips. They do a detailed write-up of a tent's performance and also return the tent to us for inspection. We also test four-season, convertible, and three-season tents in the wind tunnel, to fine-tune features of the tents so they are as strong as possible.
14. Can I use a candle or candle lantern inside my tent? How about cooking in the vestibule when zipped up?
It is not safe to use a candle or candle lantern inside the tent. It is also not safe to cook inside the vestibule. There is a warning inside your tent highlighting all of these precautions. Basically: no flames anywhere inside the tent or fly.
15. What side of Footprint should go up?
Shiny side up.