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  1. #1
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    Pyramid Tent WIP

    I finally got started on my pyramid tent and decided I'd take some photos along the way and post it all here. I've gotten a ton of help and good information from this site, so if this somehow helps someone else, I'm happy to do it-especially if it's showing what not to do...

    I ordered all of my materials from Ripstop by the Roll and after much reading and research, I decided to go with Silpoly for the tent. I knew I wanted the tent to be big enough to accommodate me and the two kids comfortably, along with a cylinder stove (that I also plan on making). A friend has a GoLite SL-5 and he was kind enough to have me over and set it up so I could check it out. He had a lot of good thoughts from experience using his and I decided I wanted to go with the Silpoly XL 1.1 oz. The wider material would make things a lot easier in regards to getting a larger size with little waste and extra math (I'm not good at math...). I was still deciding on the color when I decided to check out RSBTR's outlet section and saw they had the material I was looking for as "seconds". 100% functioning, but could have some color streaking or otherwise not "perfect" aspect to it. It was green (foliage, I think?) and probably not the first choice I would have gone with, but the price was right, so I ordered a bunch of it. The 1.1 Silpoly XL actually has a higher HH than the standard 1.1 Silpoly, which was also a nice bonus.

    I ordered some noseeum netting, a number 8 coil zipper and two double pulls, as well as stove jack material. Also, I ordered two different heavier materials they offer (1/2 yard each) to reinforce the peak on the inside of the tent. I wasn't sure which I wanted to go with, so I got both to see which one might be "better". I'm still not completely sure which I'll use... Along with all of that, I have some nylon webbing, grosgrain, and a bunch of leftovers from the 3 quilt kits and the 1.1 Silpoly tarp I made. As a side note, I'm really glad I did those projects before the tent. I feel a LOT more comfortable with the sewing machine now than the first quilt and practicing the same seam on the tarp as I'd be using to join the panels on the tent certainly helped mentally. Also, I've noticed the 1.1 Silpoly XL feels noticeably different that standard 1.1 Silpoly that I used for the tarp. The standard stuff is "softer" and a bit more slippery. The XL crinkles a bit more when handled and I feel like it's been a bit easier when sewing it vs the standard.

    I have the first wall complete(ish), only 3 more to go. I used Sketchup to try and figure out some of my dimensions, which proved helpful. I knew I wanted the center to be tall enough so we weren't stooping over too much and could walk into the tent. I also wanted a decent angle to help shed water/snow. I wasn't sure how much I'd eat away at the width because of my seam allowances, so in the program, I figured 11'4" square foot print and a 7'3" center height. That gave me over a 50 degree wall angle. If I remember right, I think that meant my length (from bottom of the wall, to the peak) should be 9'3". I ended up cutting 4 lengths of the material at 9'6" to get me close to that height after rolling the bottom edge and the seams for the peak shrinking things down. Anyway, on to some pictures.

    Here is one of the four panels laid out on the dining room floor:




    Then it was time to cut the panels diagonally. It should be noted that while it's subtle, there is a shiny side and more dull side. Keep your diagonal cuts going the same direction and flip two of the panels over so you end up with all triangles with the same finish to the outside, or alternate your cuts accordingly for the same result. I used some homemade sand bags to help hold the light matieral and got some straight edges and channel I found in the garage. Once things were all lined up, I drew a line with a Sharpie and cut.



    I marked the dull side on all the panels (I want that side out) and stacked all the triangles up, then marked each 1, 2, 3, 4 so I knew which triangle would go with the other.




    I know some folks don't like to use pins when sewing up waterproof materials, but I decided to. I did it for the tarp I made and it worked well for me. I figured the holes I'm making are going to get enveloped in the seam I'm doing, plus I'm going to be seam sealing there anyway. I pinned beginning at the peak and wouldn't you know, at the base, the lengths were a bit off. The extra length I cut the panels at was starting to pay off. Plus, if I had something not quite match up, I didn't want that to be at the peak, so starting the pinning there made sense (at least for me...).




    I stitched the edge, removing the pins as I went, locking the stitches on both ends. I did that first seam with the dull sides out, shiny sides in, facing each other. I then flipped the material over, so the shiny sides were out and stitched again (I think that's somehow close to a French seam?) about 5/8"-ish from the now hidden first stitch. After that's complete, you open up the two panels. With the dull side down, there's a flap of material sticking up. Pick a side (left or right) and lay that material down and stitch it down. That completes the seam and the first wall is ready for the next steps.




    I plan to have two vents on two of the walls and a stove back near the peak on one wall. I'm struggling to decide where to put the jack-back wall, front one above the zipper...? I don't want to have it someplace where everyone is going to have to dodge a glowing pipe to get by, but if I put it on the back panel, I'm worried a kid's quilt, arm, or whatever else will end up getting burned... I suppose I could plan on always sleeping on the back wall. Thoughts?


    Jeremy
    Last edited by gudspelr; 06-18-2017 at 10:37 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member 530Chukar's Avatar
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    Nice work Jeremy. Looks like it's coming along nicely. PM me if you have anymore questions.

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    Well, I got the next two walls all sewed up tonight. The last one is still waiting for me because I need to decide how long I want the zipper. I also need to finalize (make up my mind...) where I want the vent(s) and stove jack. Once that's hammered out, I'm going to get those made and sewn into the correct panels, cut out the silpoly that's covering them, fold over the purposefully left over excess, and stitch again. The guy from Bearpaw Wilderness Designs has a pre-made stove jack that can be bought and has a video on how to sew it in. It was really helpful in getting my brain thinking of good ways to make all the pieces come together. I'm also going to sew up some "hoods" for the vent(s) and will need to decide on the material I'm going to use to keep that bowed up and open (potentials are weed whacked line or pieces of heavier zip ties).

    I didn't take any pictures of the walls sewn together-they're really big... From corner to corner (along the bottom), the panel is 11'8 1/2". That will shrink a bit with the seam allowances on both sides, but I'm liking the current dimensions and how it's coming out. Nothing that I think I can't "fix".

    I'd also like to thank live2hunt from the forum. He makes and sells shelters on here and was incredibly generous to offer me help should I need it. The more I think about it, the more I respect him for his offer. He's on here and provides a service. I'm some guy trying to make my own and not using him to make one for me. And he's willing to help with suggestions and his own experiences so I can hopefully have a better shelter when I'm finished. If that doesn't tell you a load about the guy, I'm not sure what would. And to add onto that-I can tell from our conversations that he's clearly thought out and come up with very good building methods for his products. So, if you're not the type to try making your own, I highly recommend him. Look up the threads of reviews on his tents and check them out. If mine turns out sort of close to what he makes, I'll be pretty happy.

    Anyway, once I get some more details finalized, I'll get to it and will add pictures here as I go. If anyone has any questions I'm happy to answer whatever I can.


    Jeremy
    Last edited by gudspelr; 06-19-2017 at 09:39 PM.

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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 530Chukar View Post
    Nice work Jeremy. Looks like it's coming along nicely. PM me if you have anymore questions.
    Thanks, Chukar. Looks like I was typing the same time as you. I really appreciate your help, as well. The info you gave me was really helpful as I've been planning for this.

    Jeremy

  8. #5
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    Thanks so much for posting this. I'm basically thinking of the same design for myself. I just need to learn to sew first. Would you mind sharing your sketch up file?


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  9. #6
    Senior Member realunlucky's Avatar
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    Can't wait to see this finished up

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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeroforhire View Post
    Thanks so much for posting this. I'm basically thinking of the same design for myself. I just need to learn to sew first. Would you mind sharing your sketch up file?

    No, I wouldn't mind at all-though, I'm not sure how I can do that...? It was the first time I'd ever used the program and had some hiccups along the way. Here's what I did:
    -I drew a square that was 11'4"
    -I found the center of the square and drew a line straight up, 7'3"
    -I drew lines from the corners of the square up to the top of the "pole" in the center
    -Then I found the center of one of the "walls" and drew a line from there to the top of the "pole"

    That basically sums up the "drawing". I didn't add anything like reinforcements, etc. The biggest thing I wanted was to see what pad sized rectangles looked like inside that 11'4" square footprint and get an idea in my head what it would look like. I used the measuring tool on the program to help me with what the lengths would be, but also googled a triangle calculator and entered some numbers to give me the hypotenuse so I knew what the length of my panels would need to be cut at (double checking). It also gave me what the wall angle would be with the dimensions I'd chosen. I basically chose to build mine around the silpoly XL. After I cut off the selvedge (unusable edges) my walls would be as wide as double the width, minus the seam allowances. One reason I went that route was laziness. Another was I wanted it about that big anyway. Since I was using the full width of the stock material, I didn't have to worry about more math and angles and there would basically be no waste. It only came down to how tall I wanted it, which was fairly arbitrary, to be honest.... I hope that helps and makes sense.

    Jeremy

  11. #8
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    ^ makes perfect sense. Thanks so much.


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  12. #9
    Super Moderator William Hanson (live2hunt)'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the good word Jeremy. I'm glad I could be of help. I'm sure yours will turn out great.

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  14. #10
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    How many yards of fabric did you get? About how much money do you have in it?


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    Only thing that concerns me is the seam style on the thin material, but perhaps its an unfounded concern. With that style seam the one side of stitching has no layers of material underneath it so when tension is applied to the seam and the stitching holes open up a bit (which they do on that stuff) you can see daylight through them. Not sure if seam sealer addresses that issue fully? It otherwise is a more convenient seam to sew on that slippery stuff that's for sure. William are you using that seam style or are you folding/pinning to get both stitch lines on stacked material?

  16. #12
    Senior Member realunlucky's Avatar
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    Silicone will seal it and stretch with the fabric. I will agree that's not the strongest seam stitch, a flat felled seam is folded back over itself to keep from pulling apart. Triple stitched one together once with one side back over itself and once holding the seam flat. The folds hold the tension preventing pulling on the thread itself. The silicone sealer will "glue" the seam which will help and doubtful you'll have issue but a shelter failure is at best case a trip ending event.

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  17. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pods8 View Post
    Only thing that concerns me is the seam style on the thin material, but perhaps its an unfounded concern. With that style seam the one side of stitching has no layers of material underneath it so when tension is applied to the seam and the stitching holes open up a bit (which they do on that stuff) you can see daylight through them. Not sure if seam sealer addresses that issue fully? It otherwise is a more convenient seam to sew on that slippery stuff that's for sure. William are you using that seam style or are you folding/pinning to get both stitch lines on stacked material?
    This was a concern of mine as I looked at the seam, first on my tarp, and again on these tent walls. When I was chatting with live2hunt, he got me thinking and I proposed a change. He agreed, saying it would help with seam strength. My "solution" is to roll the current seam once, adding another layer of material to both sides of the seam and stitch it twice like on a flat felled seam. I'm too late to do it on my tarp, but the walls of the tent are still easily changed.

    Jeremy

  18. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeroforhire View Post
    How many yards of fabric did you get? About how much money do you have in it?

    I ordered 16 Yards-way more than needed. It was "seconds", so it was a few dollars cheaper per yard than the regular priced stuff. I'd have to go back and look at what I paid to be sure... I ordered so much because I knew I'd want some extra for other projects, it was cheaper, and I only wanted to pay shipping once.

    The panel lengths were going to be just over 9 feet long and there would be 4 of them. Nine feet is 3 yards, so I knew I'd need a bit over 12 yards if I was going exact. But, I don't like to think of myself as not making any mistakes, so extra makes me feel a little better, anyway. Plus, I knew I'd need some more for the hoods over the vents and a stuff sack, etc.

    I'll try and remember to look at my order sheet tonight and see if it has the individual costs for the stuff I bought for the tent project and will post it up.

    Jeremy

  19. #15
    Senior Member realunlucky's Avatar
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    The fabric being stretchy will absorb some of the engery force that could other wise be applied to the seam. For example a regular sail couldn't use that type seam but you "should" be ok. I'd definitely add a fold for strength and piece of mind needed​ or not. Now is the time for sure

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    Quote Originally Posted by realunlucky View Post
    Silicone will seal it and stretch with the fabric.
    Man I'd hate to purely rely on silicone to fight/seal holes large enough to see light through in a single layer of material, at least in theory. When the seams are over a stack of material the holes that open are backed by other material and also seems like more places for the silicon to work itself into. But I tend to overthink this stuff...

  21. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gudspelr View Post
    This was a concern of mine as I looked at the seam, first on my tarp, and again on these tent walls. When I was chatting with live2hunt, he got me thinking and I proposed a change. He agreed, saying it would help with seam strength. My "solution" is to roll the current seam once, adding another layer of material to both sides of the seam and stitch it twice like on a flat felled seam. I'm too late to do it on my tarp, but the walls of the tent are still easily changed.

    Jeremy
    Sounds better in my head for sure.

  22. #18
    Senior Member realunlucky's Avatar
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    I'm no expert but I stitched a panel wrong and had to undo it leaving a line of holes I just silicone sealed them without issue. I also had my buddy run the pole though the shelter and cut a patch and "glued" in place with silicone. That's an area with tons of stretch/stress on the fabric without any signs of failure. It's been in over 30 mph winds. Silicone bonds very well with silnylon and as well with silpoly I'd bet.

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    Yup. Sometimes peace of mind doesn't come with a price tag. There's something about things going south in the middle of a storm when you're REALLY counting on your gear that scratches at the back of my mind.... Folding the seam over and adding two more lines of stitching is time well spent as far as I'm concerned.

    Jeremy
    Last edited by gudspelr; 06-20-2017 at 01:11 PM.

  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by realunlucky View Post
    I'm no expert but I stitched a panel wrong and had to undo it leaving a line of holes I just silicone sealed them without issue. I also had my buddy run the pole though the shelter and cut a patch and "glued" in place with silicone. That's an area with tons of stretch/stress on the fabric without any signs of failure. It's been in over 30 mph winds. Silicone bonds very well with silnylon and as well with silpoly I'd bet.

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    Good to know. Like I said I tend to over think stuff like this and hence my tent project sits off to the side.

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