Making my Own 3 Season Tent – Part 11: The Result

With the tent “finished”, I was obviously itching to see what I’d ended up with, so put it up in the garden. I knew it wasn’t the neatest sewing job ever, but was hoping it would look ok. Results are a bit mixed, to be honest.

Your eyes do not deceive you – it is a bit wonky on the beak.
With a 3F UL Gear Lanshan 1 inner in it
Doors closed. The gap above them has turned out a little bigger than I was expecting, but this isn’t of itself a problem.
Doors “flying”
With extended beak clipped in. This gives the ability to effectively close up the shelter
Inside with the extended beak deployed in low mode

Appraisal

I mentioned in one of the captions above that it’s a bit crooked on the beak seam, and this does distort the look of it quite noticeably. It’s not that far off though, but it has the effect of drawing the eye, so looks worse as a result. The back seam (the one that was so difficult to get aligned) is also wandering all over the place, as indeed are parts of some of the other seams.

It looks very much like what it is: a homemade tent, made by someone who’s not very good at sewing. None of the big name tent manufacturers (or even the smaller cottage makers frankly) are going to be worrying much about the competition I’m posing.

I don’t think I’ve done the tieouts especially elegantly, sacrificing aesthetics for security throughout. It would probably look better if the thread was a closer match to the fabric, but that wasn’t really an option.

I think a mistake was made on the side panels by not putting in a seam where the side and side front would have met. This would have helped the tieout strength and alignment.

I am pretty happy with the front corners though, where 3 separate panels all meet at a point.

Some of the seams look like they’re straining a bit when I try to get a tight pitch, which is not surprising as force isn’t distributed evenly around the tent due to the lack of symmetry caused by sewing mistakes. I did also notice that my staking wasn’t 100% lined up in some places so that won’t be helping either.

Against this, I’m sure it will look better when seam sealed, and feel stronger. I need to decide what, if anything, I’m going to do about the beak first though – either live with it, and go ahead and seal, or attempt a reworking of that part first. If I can think of a reasonable way of just replacing the very topmost part, then I may do that. I have enough fabric left.

But what’s it like inside, where I’ll be spending the time ?

The space behind the pole is about what I was aiming for, although the inability to get an even and taut pitch in places is hampering that a bit. It’s also clear that the higher the pitch the better – which is fine, as this is not a shelter I’ll be planning to take for conditions I know I’ll have to hunker down in.

The vestibule space is fine too – enough to be workable, but not so large that it’s wasting space. With the doors closed or extended beak dropped down, it’s good. Indeed the larger than expected ventilation gap above the doors will be a positive boon for cooking. Of course the size of that same gap also means I’ll probably be taking the extended beak with me most of the time. So much so that I’m considering permanently fixing it to the main tent (it would then just roll up into the peak).

Follow-up

The shelter’s been pitched a couple more times in the garden for seam sealing (I ran out so had to abort and do a second session), and each time I’ve got a better pitch on it, and it doesn’t look as bad as I first thought. Ok, get up real close and you can see a lot of imperfections, but from a distance it looks like a shelter.

I have been liberal with the sealant, preferring security to aesthetics in this case. There is one patch on a back corner seam where under tension you can see under the seam and not just the stitching but daylight too. That got a big dollop of sealant, but ultimately needs a sewn reinforcement.

The beak looks less crooked with each pitch, so at least part of the problem is in the pitching itself, and in gradually working out the best way to do it.

Despite all the thought that went into attachments for inners, actually attaching an inner has been a problem. I had to resort to pegging out the cheap Aliexpress inner I still have, but when I did it looks workable – at least until I can get my custom made one done.

*Yes I know the garden is in a bit of a state!

6 thoughts on “Making my Own 3 Season Tent – Part 11: The Result

  1. I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself mate! It certainly looks like a shelter and even in these pics it looks good – even without the caveat ‘for something you made yourself’. It has a pleasing shape and the door options are great – probably better than my Stratospire.
    You’ve done a great job, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
    You should hang your head in shame about the state of the garden though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, the garden is currently being worked on after having neglected it during lockdown. It looked much worse before! I think the tent will actually be fine, once I’ve dealt with the few items of “snagging”. Probably taking it out for a run this weekend.

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  2. Brilliant project, well done! Cutting and stitching big pieces of stretchy stuff is so hard. I made just a tiny tarp out of silnylon and it looks like a complete dog’s breakfast, but it works well.

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    1. Thanks. It seems a dog’s breakfast is quite easy to achieve, as I have one too! But I had it up in the garden today, and having got the pitch right and sat inside, I was reminded of why I did it. It looks shocking up close, but it’s exactly what I was looking for functionality-wise.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have something similar. As well as the attached partial doors, I also made a diamond shaped curtain that I can raise and lower in a similar way. However, it was conceived as being more of an awning / extension to the beak, and because it is staked out quite far forward at the bottom, it essentially imprisons me inside, making ingress/egress difficult. So I’d already started thinking about installing a roll-down curtain, which is controlled mainly from the inside.

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