Review of 3 person

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oldhikerQ
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by oldhikerQ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:11 am

The main door zippers on my lightweight 2 person tent (named after some insect and a small river) stopped working the afternoon that i patched the hole in the floor. It took about 40 minutes for 2 of us to get one of the main door sliders back in operating shape. It made it through the night and then failed again the next morning. The fly zipper also failed sometime during the night. When i woke up at o-dark o'clock, i could see stars through the previously closed rainfly door. That zipper was only attached at the bottom of the fly opening. Part of the blame should go to the fine grit that the wind was blowing around for the last 2 days of our trip. The rest belongs to a design that is made for mild conditions with limited ambient dust.
Quite disappointed. Won't be seduced by ultra low weights again. Instead, i'll be reviewing specs and corresponding with the manufacturer regarding things that are not listed (like zipper size). Live and learn, i guess.


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost






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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:45 am

I've had zippers fail due to conditions on two occasions. Once was in freezing rain. The ice jammed things up and we carelessly tried to force it. The other time was in the desert and there was a ton of fine, silty grit everywhere. Every day I used my toothbrush to get that zipper to work again but by the end of the trip that wasn't working very well anymore (and my toothbrush was disgusting).

Zippers are a weak link. They're almost always the first things that go. What will we be using in the future?

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oldhikerQ
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by oldhikerQ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:23 pm

Don't see a way around zippers (caveat-my wayback machine is currently out-of-service). Perhaps a better zipper in the future? Many current tents use ykk #3 zippers, as a nod to the gram counters. Doesn't seem that it will change in the near future, as everyone (myself included) considers weight at (or near) the top of their list when comparison shopping for a tent.
Assume that your tent and fly have a total of 8 feet of zipper tape and 3 sliders (2 for the door, 1 for the fly). A #3 coil, weighs 3 g/ft and the sliders about 1 g each. That puts your zipper system weight at 27 grams. For a #5 coil, the weights are 6 g/ft (coil tape) and 1.5 g (slider). This system would weigh 52.5 grams. That difference of 25.5 grams is 0.9 ounces. You would think that it would be easy to explain to people that for less than an ounce of additional weight, you could have a much more robust zipper system. However, it is probably not an easy sell. Would you want to be the first manufacturer to increase the weight of you tents? The competition would likely love that, as their tents just became easier to sell to all of the gram counters.
Since the sliders are most likely to fail, perhaps more robust sliders could be made? If the #3 slider weight was doubled to 2 grams, would that result in a more reliable slider? Any materials folks out there who could weigh in on this? Would anyone notice the 3 gram (0.11 ounce) increase in the weight of our hypothetical tent? Probably not, since your tent probably has more that an extra 0.11 ounces of dust when you pack it each morning.
I'm guessing that tent construction does not drive the zipper market, so the chances of more robust zipper pulls being developed are slim and none. Until zipper construction changes, i guess you may have to sacrifice your toothbrush when the grit begins to fly and/or bring a small pencil stub to lubricate the zipper teeth. A multi-tool to gently press the zipper plate together could also help. But i'd guess that the weight of the pencil sub is close to the weight of a more robust zipper.
:confused:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:58 pm

I doubt that a beefier zipper pull would make much of a difference. The internal pathway has to conform to the zipper size so you can't just beef that up. You could use a more durable alloy I suppose. But in my experience a failing zipper pull is usually just a warning sign that the zipper itself is wearing out. You can crimp the pull with pliers or replace it and get some more life out of the zipper. But the writing is on the wall by that point.

Are most tents really going to #3 for the fly these days? I've owned (and currently own) a lot of tents. Except for the one I made myself none of them have #3 zippers on the fly.

I think that zippers, as we know them now, will one day be obsolete. I don't know when, and I don't know what will replace them. But I think it's inevitable.

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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by mrphil » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:54 pm

Micro magnets?

Maybe it's not the zipper itself, but the way in which the teeth interlock.

When all things are considered in tent weight, Wandering Daisy made a great point in that, when it comes to weight, all the tent manufacturers are lying, either outright or by omission of essential components. If we need six stakes instead of a couple, adequate guy lines, a footprint, even a set of trekking poles to hold the thing up, none of which are included in the weights, but realistically required to make it work as intended/expected, we have an incomplete product, and really, a gross misstatement for the sake of touting weight as the single most important consideration we should be focusing on (aka- false advertising). The manufacturers might consider these "add-ons", but skimping on zippers that weigh 20 -30 grams more, but that are integral to the structure and performance of tents that are regularly running $400-500, and therefore expected to stand up to what users are buying them for, in the conditions they're likely to encounter, is completely inexcusable.

So instead of having to reinvent zippers, maybe it's time to tell the companies responsible that "enough is enough" by demanding changes in the form of not only making quality products, but stopping the lies in order to win a race to the bottom weight shaving game, or we'll boycott your products and go somewhere else until you start getting it right and being responsible.

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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:03 pm

I replaced the mosquito netting zipper on my TarpTent twice. Although it adds a small bit of weight, I simply sewed the new zipper to the old one, so I did not have to take out the old one. That saves a lot of work. The original zipper was one long zipper. I prefer two zippers that meet in the middle. So I replaced the one original zipper with two, which were the kind that did open at the bottom. The only problem was the zippers I used did not have pulls on both sides, so one had to be accessed from the outside.

You could do without zippers. Sierra Designs had a tent without zippers, but it did not sell well. I do not think they make it anymore. You could also have two overlapping vestibule pieces with a wedge with enough room to exit. MSR has a tent with a large awning that eliminates need of zippers, however, I think the tent still has a zipper.

Maybe you can find stick-on Velcro tabs to put in your repair kit. I also take lots of safety pins that sort of work if the zipper breaks.

Not that you guys would have this problem, but I find that long strands of hair that result from combing my hair inside the tent, can jam the zippers. Dirt and sand can do the same. Cleaning the zipper regularly with a tooth brush helps.

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:15 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:03 pm
Maybe you can find stick-on Velcro tabs to put in your repair kit.

When you find a type of tape that sticks well to silnylon please let us know.

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bobby49
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by bobby49 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:01 pm

You can stick Velcro tabs onto silnylon, but it may not be permanent. Additionally, I put a stitch or three through the tab and the silnylon, then seal that with good seam sealer glue.

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longri
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by longri » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:46 am

bobby49 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:01 pm
You can stick Velcro tabs onto silnylon, but it may not be permanent. Additionally, I put a stitch or three through the tab and the silnylon, then seal that with good seam sealer glue.
Sure, it sticks. About as well as most other tapes. Which is to say, very poorly. For something that is meant to hold the door of the fly closed, particularly in the wind, it wouldn't work well.

Of course you could sew and seal the tabs. But there are easier ad hoc emergency repair strategies.

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oldhikerQ
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Re: Review of 3 person

Post by oldhikerQ » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:31 am

i was envisioning a more robust slider material; perhaps stainless steel or a high strength aluminum alloy. i'm convinced that the slider body deforms with use because it is not designed to handle the stress encountered in a real world application.
Hope that longri is right, and that a more efficient closing system is developed. Don't think that it will happen before i hang up my boots though.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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