Sealing the Seams

Shaky weather nonwithstanding, we are still planning for a camping vacation. Last time we pitched our tent I found that it starts to show its age. It is a WeatherMaster plus by Coleman purchased in 2002. We have used it since then for a total of maybe seven weeks, during one- or two-week holidays, the two-week periods spent in the Netherlands near the coast. The tent withstood some wind and rain with bravado, overall we're quite happy with it.


The last time we've been using it (a couple of weeks ago), I noticed that the textile tapes which seal the seams between floor and walls from the inside are going off at several places.


It seems that the glue is losing its function. Therefore, I went down to the local outdoor store where they recommended me a tube of seam sealer by Edelmann & Ridder, Isny (it rains a lot down there, so they should know their job). The dealer said that this sealer works on 70 per cent of the tent fabrics being sold, so good luck to me.

This was on Monday. Eager to get things done, I pitched the tent and re-glued the tape on the seam. I put a bit too much tension on it, so I ended up with some spare tissue which forms a small noose now. Then I left the tent pitched to have the sealer dried. The dealer said something like 24 h before it could be safely rolled in without gluing what's not suppost to be held together. The following day it drizzled. The next day also. The next day as well, with intermissions for slightly harder rain.


So went the fourth day. It is not unusual to have four days with occasional rain, but four days of more or less constant drizzle in the mid of summer is uncommon here. The upshot is that we get some proof if our tent still withstands the elements, I thought. And it turned out to be wise to have it undergo such a test. The Weathermaster did not quite live up to its name anymore. Reopening the tent after four days and 32 mm, I found that some water has crept inside and formed puddles.


The puddles were of a size that called rather for a cup and a bucket than a mop.


. I bailed a total of 3 liters. At least the floor is still tight. The tent covers an area of about 10 m2, which means that about 99 per cent of the precipitation went into the tent. Given the amount of water the average human sweats out a night, 3 liters does not sound a lot in a four-person tent. Still, even if the dripping fails to hit your face at night, the sound of it can be unnerving enough for this fair-weather camper here. Now on the first dry day (on which the outer walls dried up at an instant), I was putting the seam sealer to good use, paying special attention to the seams above the puddles.

Wish us luck.

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