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Waterproofing damaged silnylon

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Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby trav867 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:49 am

Last fall, I bought an REI Chrysalis solo tent at an REI used gear sale. For $40 I got a once-used tent in decent shape. I've only used it two nights and have never needed the fly sheet- thankfully, because I realized that the silnylon fly is in rough shape- it seems that somehow the silicon part of the silnylon has been damaged. I tested it, and the fly is no more water resistant than standard nylon. I assume it was like this when I bought it because I haven't used or stored the tent in any extreme conditions.

My question, is whether the fly sheet is repairable. Is there anyway to remove this old silicon, or can I wash in or spray on a new silicon waterproofing?



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Re: Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby Hetchy » Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:35 pm

I don't know how to get all the old silicone off the nylon. I assume you mean coated nylon as opposed to impregnated silnylon.
I had gone through several silicone coated nylon jackets until I realized the misty oil spray from my 60 year old jeep was ruining the coating and causing it to delaminate.
The only solution I have found besides buying a new jacket is to spray on Kiwi Camp Dry 13% Silicone. This stuff is for Tents, Tarps, and Boots. Though my can says it works on breatheable fabrics I noticed Kiwi also makes a similar product for Goretex type fabrics.
The stuff stinks to high heaven for about 24 hours. But as the directions on the can said "When thoroughly cured, article will be odorless.
It worked on a delaminated Red Ledge rain jacket and an ancient Sierra designs jacket.
I even sprayed it on my Marmot Precip Jacket after a recent rain test found it lacking. Seems to have restored it's water repellancy(tested indoors) though I am a Poncho Man now and have not tested it since the last true rain.
I would definitely give it a real good water test at home after treatment before depending on a tent rain fly treated in this manner. :bear:
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Re: Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby trav867 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:00 am

Thanks for the response, yes it is actually coated ripstop nylon. When looking at the fly last night, I realized that the entire thing is uniformly sticky- ever heard of that? Presumably its the remnants of the silicone... I'm laughing at myself for buying the tent at all, but I guess I was blinded by the price. I'm thinking it may take something like mineral spirits to remove this sticky coating, but will that damage the fabric as well?
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Re: Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby Hetchy » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:01 pm

Yep, I bought some silicone coated nylon fabric by the yard from the Military surplus store.
I had big plans of making my own tarp with a beak like those Henry Shires tarps.
I started to work with the stuff and the coating began to peel off in my fingers.
I have a piece left and just now I was able to roll the coating off most of it. You could try that method of removal.
I don't know if the spray with help you at this point.. maybe a new fly.
I do know that when the make silicone impregnated nylon they stretch the fabric and apply the silicone hot with a large "paint scraper" type tool.
I have heard others say they use store bought clear silicone sealer diluted with mineral spirits I believe.. but I have never done it.
Maybe you could order up a rain fly from campmoor or some such place. I sure would hate to see you spend a wet night in the tent far from the road due to a boogered up rain fly.
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Re: Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby trav867 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:47 am

I was able to get most of the old stuff off with some orange pine sol floor cleaner. I think one more wash should get the rest of it off. After that, I'm going to hit it with a few coats of "Camp Dry" silicone aerosol spray. If that fails, its probably the end of the road for me and that tent- at 3lbs it's really too heavy to invest much more time and money in. I bought it to tide me over until I could afford a Tarptent and maybe that time has come.
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Pensioning Off Old Gear

Postby Hetchy » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:19 pm

No doubt! :D I have been in the same position for months. I kept setting up the Choiunard Pyramid, the Eureka Solitaire, the Sierra Designs Divine Light, the MSR E-wing, several different ponchos, and that big chunk of coated nylon I got from the Surplus store. I kept trying to convince myself that if I trimmed this and seal that I would come up with a viable shelter. The E-wing and Home made bug bivy came the closest at 27 ounces and reasonable rain coverage and ventilation.
Finally I broke down and bought that Gossamer Gear The One tent I had been drolling over for the last 3 months.
The body of the tent is indeed 18 ounces(after seam sealing). And the poles, stakes and stuff sack bring it up to 24 ounces total. it allows me to sit up and has a huge bug mesh front panel and 360 degree lower mesh.
It is, in fact, 1lb 11ounces lighter than the Pyramid, 1lb 9 oz lighter than the Solitaire, and 3 ounces lighter than my home made shelter.
But I can sit up in it and have bug protection.
The exact features I am most likely to need in Mosquito Hell (Sierra in June).
I am not saying to go out and buy a bunch of expensive gear.
Only noting that the price paid for gear seems to be of lesser importance than it's functional value to it's user in the backcountry. And that disparity only increases the further one gets from the road.
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Re: Waterproofing damaged silnylon

Postby copeg » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:34 pm

Here's a link to a discussion on another forum about coating nylon yourself - mainly check out the third post by 'spock'. Personally never tried it. Bummer to hear about the fly, if you have any sewing skills you've got a perfect pattern to work from.
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