Scarp 1 – a belt and braces approach

by backpackingbongos

After one slightly drippy night in the Scarp1 where I was not sure if rain had come in through the vents or a leaky seam, I thought that I would test its waterproofness in the garden.  I decided that I would pitch it during a rainy night or leave up whilst at work to see if any drippy spots appeared.  I then thought better of it as I started having images of my nice new tent not being there in the morning / after returning from work.  If some tea leaves have no qualms about nicking a buddha statue and a pop up plastic greenhouse out of our garden then my tent would be gone in a jiffy (ahh the joys of city life!).

Instead of worrying about its waterproofness on my next backpack I thought that I should go for the belt and braces approach to seam sealing.  It has already been done once by Henry at Tarptent, although so fine you can only just about see it in a certain light.  Seeing as today is warm and sunny I pitched the tent and did my best at re-sealing it this morning.  I mixed up silnet with white spirit (about 50/50) until it was nice and runny and applied along both sides of the outer pole sleeve, paying extra attention to the crossing pole loop.  I only went as far as the tops of the doors as I am only worried about drips on the inner.  The stitching on the roof vents got a good soaking along with the inside of the crossing pole patches.

All in all, much easier than I thought it was going to be.  It is drying in the sun and I have noticed that one side is nice and neat and the sealant is becoming almost invisible.  The thin sealant ran a bit on the other side so there are a few thick patches.  At the end of the day though any cock ups are only cosmetic and won’t affect the actual performance.  Insects are sticking nicely to the sealant as well!

I now hope that my Scarp1 is waterproof as well as wind proof!

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12 Comments to “Scarp 1 – a belt and braces approach”

  1. It seems so frustrating that you need to do that. That said, it’s rather like a house – get the structure right and make improvements yourself. If you’ve got a decent platform – a blueprint that you like – that’s the most important thing. Shelters are more personal than any other piece of kit. Getting one that is not too small, nor too big, that balances weight as against strength and comfort and meets your criteria (eg a porch big enough to cook in, in winter, is one of mine) is no mean feat. That said, your experiences, along with those of some others, as well the HH rating of silnylon, has put me off the Scarp 1. I’ve gone for the traditionalist’s choice for my winter shelter – the Hilleberg Akto.

  2. Stealing Buddha statues? Those tea leaves are storing up some seriously bad karma…

  3. You really haven’t had a good experience with that tent have you? Maybe it’s time you came over to the Tarp side…

  4. Maz it is very frustrating and the seam sealant was not cheap at £8 from Cotswolds. Add to that the cost of guys for the side poles and a pole bag which does not come as standard and the costs add up. Fingers crossed that all will be ok now. If it is then I will have a stable tent with two porches and lots of room in the inner. You have made a good choice with the Akto, I own two of them. I brought the original model when it first came out and a modified one from Geoff at v&g backpacking. A very well made bit of kit that lasts for years. You don’t have to seal the seams either which is great and neither of mine have leaked.

    Pete, they lost seven Karma points for stealing a buddha statue which had no money value. Bastards.

    Phillip, not a good experience so far indeed. I am determined to make it work out in the end though. One day I may try a tarp but not just yet!

  5. Unfortunate that things haven’t gone well with the Scarp as generally they are well liked, perhaps a case of increased demand leading to things being rushed. I agree with Maz though, if the foundations are good sorting the niggles is time well spent.


    • The foundations are there Richard its just that this particular builder and decorator is a bit cack handed, fingers crossed I did it right!

  6. Sold mine a while ago. There’s no need for tents in my life anymore, tarps and bivys is what I sleep in/ under =)

  7. A suggestion. Next time you go, don’t use the inner tent on the Scarp and just sleep under the outer. There, you have a tarp, that even has porches! You don’t even have to leave the inner at home. This is actually one of the things I like about the scarp. Multiple personalities.

  8. The one tube of SeamGrip I bought was never used in the end, it was for the LaserComp but I tamed the pole hood instead. I wasn’t relishing the thought of the sealing job at all, but this dilution in white spirit makes it sound easier.

    • Geoff, diluting in white spirit makes it much easier to do. To be honest I was nervous putting something so toxic on delicate fly material, but no holes burnt through! Diluting it was easy and you can make as thin as you see fit. I think too thick and it could flake off and is then much less flexible. Make sure you use the silnet stuff on silicon flysheets as there is one designed for nylon I think. I also brought premium non smelly white spirits too.

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