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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a tent from WAY back in the day (ems thunderlodge) it is roomy, sturdy in wind when staked, and now is leaking like a sieve. I found that out this weekend on the hudson when we got oh, almost 1.4 inches of rain. It was a rough night. The rain was so loud, I kinda wish I had ear plugs, After drying out the gear, I noticed that almost all the seam tape has failed, and more of the urethane is flaking off. The tent has served me well and does not owe me anything, but, I would like to keep using it (sentimental value) . I have been reading about Seam grip tent fabric sealant Seam Grip TF Tent Fabric Sealant, and I am willing to put in the work, and seam grip all the outside seams, but I do not want to spend a day coating the floor and the fly and find out it really is not worth the time.
Has anyone used the stuff? Other recommendations? Time for a new tent?
 

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I have used these products on an old NorthFace ve-23, 2 man tent. The gear aid seam grip tf is for the floors and wall pans and works well. It is recommended by major manufactures for re-coating old products. The coverage is not as good as advertized. It will take 2-3 bottles to do the tent and fly. For the seams use seam grip fc or seam grip wp on the seams. They also make a spray called revivex you can use on the fly. The application for the two man tent took about an hour. The hardest part is cleaning the tent and removing peeling old coatings.

PW
 

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Might be new tent time, bud. Sorry to say if the seam seals are going and especially if the floor urethane coating is flaking, it likely won't be worth the effort to restore now what at best might be marginal waterproofness. Sure, cleaning and re-sealing the seams will help with a light sprinkle but any real rain and/or that which saturates the ground will eventually bring the water through the compromised floor unless that is also stripped and re-sealed (or you used a tarp as a groundcloth, etc). There are new, modern fabric for tents which are impregated and that does wonders for repellence, resiliency, as well as weight. That said, I certainly know the sentimentality of stuff like tents/shelters....as just went through this rigmarole with only some of the stuff sacks that accompany my Moss Parawing (thank god, which is still in great condition). And let's just say the chemical stripping and scrubbing off of the urethane was a real PITA on just these small items. Now wondering whether if even want to bother re-coating them in urethane since everything lives in a long drybag on trips anyway and is only garage stored in the red bags.
 

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Isn’t it Maravia that uses a urethane coating over their pvc boats? Hmm, that sounds like a good solution. You’d have a 40 pound tent that you can float the Salmon River with.
 

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I have a marmot tent from 2001 ish has been sent back 2 times and has come back new both times. Minor cost 💲 100 bucks or so but best tent ever hopefully will out live me
 

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What I know, is that in auto paint stores they have 2 part Clear Urethane spray can packages for about $20 where you plug a module of part B ( Catalyst ) into a regular spray can, which is Part A ( Urethane ) , shake it and spray it on vehicles for a tough, fuel proof and UV proof finish. That's likely what was sprayed on the tent's nylon when it was new. What I don't know is how flexible it is at what spraying thickness. , IE... Can it withstand being sprayed thinly on a flexible surface like a tent fly or floor and remain pliable and not crack, and therefore leak and also not add significantly to the weight. It doesn't seem like a problem as the origional urethane coatings on tent fly's usually wear out rather than crack.

Down side is that once mixed, the 2 parts must be sprayed in a ceratin amount of time then they are spent. They can't be saved for later. Like Epoxy.

The other option is just regular old spray or brush on 1 part Urethane like Spar Urethane, etc. I've used both, though, and was not happy with the Spar Urethane coatings outdoors. It seemed to flake off when it dried for a long time in the sun. The 2 part solution is way tougher.

I have an old Sierra Designs tent that I love for car camping, but not backpacking, with the same issue. One of these days I am going to get the 2 part spray, set it up and go over the whole thing, inside and out. Maybe when my 3 man SD tent needs it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just explained the whole process to my wifey, and she said, awh, that's sweet, but, we could just take a picture of the old tent so you can remember it for sentimental value and just get a new one. I think I will call eastern mountain sports and see if they do the recoat, someone else doing it with pro gear is very tempting.
 

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What I know, is that in auto paint stores they have 2 part Clear Urethane spray can packages for about $20 where you plug a module of part B ( Catalyst ) into a regular spray can, which is Part A ( Urethane ) , shake it and spray it on vehicles for a tough, fuel proof and UV proof finish. That's likely what was sprayed on the tent's nylon when it was new. What I don't know is how flexible it is at what spraying thickness. , IE... Can it withstand being sprayed thinly on a flexible surface like a tent fly or floor and remain pliable and not crack, and therefore leak and also not add significantly to the weight. It doesn't seem like a problem as the origional urethane coatings on tent fly's usually wear out rather than crack.
My ASSumption is that this formulation is pretty hard so it can be polished and take a shine.
Urethane for fabrics wouldn't need the gloss and could be formulated with a more resilient cure.

There are also single part moisture-cured urethanes that cure with the moisture in the air (like Aquaseal)
 

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I still miss my vintage Early Winters "Light Dimension" tent, which was the first outdoor product ever made with GORE-TEX and seemed like would last forever. But every dog has its day...so maybe tis better something be allowed to gracefully retire and live on through all the good memories than risk ruining what remains with slapdash solutions.
 

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One thing I remembered and need to mention about the 2 part sprays is that they are pretty wickely toxic. You wouldn't want to go inside the tent and start spraying and breathing. A fly splayed out outside, maybe. I used it on some motorcycle parts outside and was OK, but there was a breeze and I stayed upwind of the fumes.
 

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It's time for a new tent. Spending even one night under a freshly coated rainfly will kill brain cells that cannot be recovered. Tent materials and designs have vastly improved over the last 10-15 years and a new tent will be lighter, sturdier, more waterproof and more comfortable. Keep an eye on the outdoor store sales and you will likely find a good, name-brand tent (Marmot, REI, Alps Mountaineering, Kelty, Eureka) for under $150. It will set up easier and will come with features that you didn't even know you needed.
Really. Get a new tent.
 

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Or could make the alternate argument that tossing the tent and buying a new one is adding more plastic to the cycle.
If your old tent fabric/poles are in good condition, I can't argue against wanting to recoat it.
 
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