Monday, April 28, 2008

My Tent is Fucked

A few years ago my father bought a Marmot tent with a yellow rain fly that he gladly lent me for my firs two seasons. It is purple on the interior, made of a thin gore-tex material, and held up quite well if I remember correctly. It is small: just big enough for one person and his things, provided that person is comfortable changing while laying down.

This particular tent had seen active duty since I had last used it. My father has been building a cabin on a remote island north west of Vancouver, and has used the tent when out overseeing the construction. He didn't mind if I borrowed it again, he said, though it may be a little worse for wear.

Yesterday, I set-up the tent in his living room and found a massive hole, about two feet long: a right angle, on the floor near to where my head would rest. It is bigger than a cat door. I had no idea how to fix it, so I called Lauren, who is a fashion designer, and knows how to fix bits of fabric together. She told me that, if she were in my position, she would sew it.

Surprisingly, my father had a sewing machine. I stitched the thing up by folding the gore-tex over itself, as Lauren had instructed me to do. I was left with an oddly shaped pinch that left errant folds all around it. Threads were hanging off of the pinch on the outside of the tent, and though I thought it would be impermeable to insects and small animals, it didn't look like it could keep water out.

So, I opened the tent instructions and found two 2 x 2 inch vinyl patches - far too small for my purposes. Not really hopeful, I recognized an area of my sewing that was particularly loose, and I used one of the patches to cover it, like a band-aid. I continued to read the instructions, and found a mention of someting called seam-sealer, so I went to MEC to get some seam-sealer. They sell tents, I thought, so they must surely have it - and I can ask one of their employees how to fix a big hole in a tent. Conor came with me and we chatted and played pool at a nearby hall. The MEC employee was unhelpful, but I returned from my errand in possession of a small, six dollar bottle of goop and renewed hope. I glopped it over the entire hairy wound and waited. Twenty minutes later I pulled the cut apart to see if it had dried. As I pried, the gooey seam sealer stuck to both sides of the gape and stretched out in long, saliva-like strands. I was getting nowhere, so I gave up for the time being.

Today, I woke to find the hole a sticky, porous, threaded mess. I still had no idea what to do. Time was running out. I would leave Tuesday. I debated buying an entirely new tent. What would be worse? Being soaking wet for a few days and nights or spending the money on a new tent? Do I have to make that decision? I began to improvise. I found some super glue in a cabinet, and glued the folds, giving the dressing greater strength. I then used the remaining vinyl patch over a particularly troublesome area. When the glue had stiffened, I decided to be safe and duct tape the whole thing, in a massive 12 x 12 inch square.

It is raining hard and I am unsure as to whether the water will be deterred by my handiwork. Gotta be careful.

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