Scarp mods summary: part 1, major mods

I thought it would be useful to do a couple of posts summarising all the modifications I’ve made to my Tarptent Scarp 1. Feel free to copy and use these as you wish. Equally, if don’t want to use them, that’s no problem to me! I’ve divided them into two posts, major and minor modifications, to indicate those which I think are highly desirable and those which are more optional. However, none of the modifications are difficult to do. Some require a modest amount of sewing, but that’s all. Here goes!

Major modifications

1) Seam sealing. If you want the Scarp to be fully watertight, you really need to seal the seams with a silicone sealer such as McNett Silnet. The pole arch requires particular attention. It’s best to seal the outside, rather than the inside. I made the mistake of preferring the cosmetically superior route of sealing the inside. Later I had to seal the outside as well. On the pole arch you need to seal both sides of the arch from the zip to the apex. It is important to seal the crossover pole loop as well, otherwise it will wick rain inside the tent. It’s also worth sealing the seams that go from the corners of the tent to the pole arch. I’ve also sealed the seams around the vents. I’ve not bothered with the seams on the vertical walls at the end of the tent as these are unlikely to cause problems with water ingress.

DSC00561

Seal the pole arch, crossing pole loop, lateral roof and vent seams

2) Re-guy with 3mm cord. The cord supplied with the Scarp is 2mm and the end guys are a bit short. Initially I re-guyed the tent with longer 2mm cord. However, 2mm cord tends to slip through the lineloks when wet. You can prevent this by tying a slip knot after tensioning them. I had some spare cord from my MLD Duomid, so I decided to re-guy with this thicker cord (I’m not sure whether it’s 2.5mm or 3mm, I think it’s 3mm but someone can probably tell me). This thicker cord locks properly in the linelok and there’s no chance of slippage.

DSC00562

Re-guying the end guys with 3mm cord

On the lower linelok on the corners, I’ve tied off the cord through the grosgrain loop. I’ve attached the crossover pole eyelets to some leftover 2mm cord, so I can thread them though the remaining free lineloks. Slippage is not an issue with these when using the crossover poles.

The second mod is to add sail rings to the cords on the corners to ensure that the guys can be easily adjusted and stay securely on the pegs. These are available through yacht chandlers (a good source of bits and pieces). Alternatively, you could use a short loop of cord.

DSC00572

Sail ring mod

On the side guys, I’ve used the same cord (mainly to match the other guys). To accommodate the thicker cord, I’ve used some larger lineloks, which were leftover from another tent (!). Additionally, I’ve secured them to the grosgrain loop on the tent with a mini carabiner. This provides a neater connection and the option to remove them completely, which is useful on narrow pitches and camp sites.

DSC00563

Carabiner on side guy

3) Pole arch tension system. I think this is well worth doing and adds a lot of stability to the Scarp. Instead of repeating myself, have a look at yesterday’s post.

DSC00514

Pole arch tension system

4) Threshold cord. I know this hasn’t found favour with a number of Scarp owners, but I think it’s worthwhile as it takes the strain off the door zip. I know there’s a small connector at the bottom of the zip, but it’s quite fragile and I think the threshold cord is a much better solution (copied from the Hilleberg Akto, incidentally). It also takes the strain when the door is open and ensures the tent retains its rigidity.

Again, it’s really easy to do. All you need is some cord and a linelok. I’ve used 2mm as it doesn’t take a huge strain. At the pole end the cord is threaded through the loop beyond the pole eyelet and doubled back to a linelok. It is important, when pitching the tent that the cord is looped around the end of the pole underneath the grosgrain ribbon, so the pole takes the strain and not the grosgrain.

At the other end, loop it around the strut of the PitchLoc strut. Again, it is important that it pulls against the strut. To ensure that it doesn’t slip down, I’ve secured the cord with a couple of stitches to the strut sleeve.

It’s really important that the threshold cord is secured against both the strut and the end of the pole. Once the length is adjusted, it doesn’t need to be changed and it seems to stay secured in the linelok when packed.

DSC00566

Threshold cord

5) Inner/outer tent shock-cord connectors. On the original Scarp, the four corners of the inner are connected to the outer with a glove hook connector secured by a (very) short piece of elastic. The first time I pitched the tent in the garden I broke one of these. Because of the slope of our garden, when I got in the tent, the groundsheet slid downhill and ping, the connector broke. So to add a bit more flex, I’ve inserted a small shock-cord loop between the inner and the outer.Since then, I’ve never had a problem and there’s sufficient “give” to accommodate less than ideal pitches.

DSC00571

Inner/outer tent shockcord connectors

In part two, I’ll outline what I think are more minor, optional tweaks. In my view, they are still worth doing, but make less overall difference to the Scarp. Happy modding!

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35 thoughts on “Scarp mods summary: part 1, major mods”

  1. Really useful so thank you. I think the sail rings are a very good idea (I assume they are nice and smooth so dont damage the fabric on packing) to effect a secure pitch. Will think about a number of the others as well, particularly the ‘threshold cord’ (I like that on the Akto). I’ve just added some side guys with some 3mm Hilleberg cord (Alpenstock have Hilleberg spares) and it looks like it will work well. Mark

    1. The sail rings are smooth plastic. Small ones are difficult to find. The chandler that supplied mine, no longer stocks that size.

  2. Good stuff, Robin, as ever. Although I’ve replaced and extended my corner guys I found it’s important not to make them too long. If you align them with the roofline then there doesn’t seem to be sufficient downforce on the PitchLock struts to prevent the tent from ‘floating’ in strong wind. Since the inner has no corner pegs I’ve found the wind can lift the whole end up unless downforce is maintained. I can lengthen my guys to deal with bad ground at the optimum pegging point but usually keep them close in as Henry designed. I believe Franco has come to a similar conclusion.
    Can’t find any sail rings at the moment but strong metal keyrings have done the job temporarily, I’ve finished each end of each guy with a small bowline to prevent it disappearing into the linelok but giving me something to grab hold of.
    The pole arch tension system works a treat and saves putting out side guys on many occasions, keeping a compact footprint.
    Tried the threshold cord too but kept tripping on it. I’m sure you’re not as clumsy as me !

    1. I think you are right about not making the end guys too long. I have a loop on the end of the guy to aid pulling. I have to say, I rarely trip on the threshold cord. It’s only an issue on very uneven ground. As I said, it’s up to others whether they choose to do the mods. I guess I could make the threshold cord removable but that seems over fussy. I wish I’d bought more sail rings, they’re quite useful!

  3. Always fascinated by how well we users can adapt gear to our own needs. I’ve just picked up a Nordisk Telemark 2 (950g) 2 person tent and can’t wait to see what mods I can come up with. By the way, the Telemark 2 seems to have really slipped under the radar for tent buyers – 950g is a good weight for a 1-2 person tent and it went up in about 2 minutes the first time I tried it.. Quality looks spot on and it looks like being my tent of choice now for solo camps. If you’re interested, Robin, I could do a little review with pics for your other readers?

    1. Yes I’d be very interested in a review. I’ve looked at it myself (not in the flesh) and it looks good.

      1. Happy to oblige, Robin. Might take a day or two as this work thing is getting in the way :). Would it be best to email it to you once done (there’s half a dozen photos that will be included) and you can post it up or is there a better way for you?

  4. Hi Robin – wondered if you can help me out.

    I’ve just picked up a Scarp 1 (2nd hand but unused if that makes sense) and it came with the crossover poles.

    The previous owner had removed the crossover pole connection straps x 8 and left them in a bag for me. However, he also seems to have removed the grommets for the crossover poles to fit into: they’re in a bag too, but I have no idea how they reattach to the guy line. I assume they need to be at a specific spot on the line too, to get the right tension on the pole.

    Do you happen to know how they attach, or have a decent closeup of the grommet on a guy line? Many thanks for any help you can give….

    1. I don’t have a close up picture of how they are originally attached (you can get an idea from the Tarptent web site). I’ve attached the eyelets to separate cords, so they can be detached. When using them I thread them through the ground level line lok. For the guy tie outs, at ground level, I’ve tied it off using the grosgrain loop that secures the line lok. This means that the end guy is only adjustable with the top line lok. Personally, I’m happy with that arrangement. Hope that is reasonably clear. Have a look at the third picture https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/scarp-first-pitch/ n.b. I’ve reverted to the original 3 point guying system rather than the Akto copy.

  5. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the detailed info on your Scarp mods. After arriving back from a trip to Iceland I am not too happy with the performance of my Scarp 1 tent and will be adapting it with the help of your mods. The line slippage on the guys was a pain in the severe winds experienced.

    I was hoping you could tell me what size internal diameter sail rings you used. I’ve measured the peg diameter at 8mm but just want to be sure.

    I did have a couple of bent pegs on the trip.

    Cheers
    Dave

    1. Sail rings have an internal diameter of 13mm. A loop of cord is an alternative. You definitely need 2.5 or 3mm cord on the corners to stop slippage. The Kelty cord that TT uses is particularly prone to slippage. Happy modding!

    2. If you can’t be chewed with reguying, once you’ve got it pitched nice and taught you can tie a slack knot in the loose end of each guy point, up against the lineloc. That stops it being pulled through and loosening off. Mind you, I think someone from Tarptent (Franco maybe?) advised that the guy points should be fully extended at the corners anyway, so there’d be no slack anyway?

  6. Thanks for that, Robin. I think I will go with the sail rings as it is a much tidier way of doing things. I’ve ordered the lineloc’s from the Ray Mears website and the 3mm cord from Alpkit. I also have some mini carabiners so I am nearly there with all the bits I need.

    Thanks again.

  7. Thanks for the info, jinch. Once I had sussed out what was happening up in Iceland I did tie off the loose ends of the guy lines. I haven’t had the Scarp for long. I would have thought the guys at TarpTent would have upgraded the guy lines by now to the thicker diameter. I don’t mind having a play with it though. The effect of having the porch opened up on the rigidity of the tent was another concern so Robin’s mod on that front is a welcome read. In fact he has addressed all the problems I had become aware of during my 3 week tour. (nice one, Robin) I am going to have to have a think about the inner and outer coming into contact with each other. I use the tent for cycling so don’t have access to walking poles to run a guy line over the top of them. I do have the crossover poles but don’t really want to have to take them on every tour.

    1. Dave – do you mean you find the inner and outer come together at a certain point? I know mine (and some others on another forum) have had the inner and outer come together at the foot and head ends, where the loose carbon fibre upright pole is (midway between the two pitchloc corners if that makes sense).

      Only quick thought that comes to mind would be to fashion something like Lightwave used on some of their tents: a rigid-ish foam spacer that keeps the inner and outer apart:

      It would be tricky when there’s not much tension on the inner anyway, but maybe something could be fashioned around the inner connector point out of foam.

      Other thought that springs to mind would be to mimic a tent vent bar, like this:

      Again don’t know how feasible, just throwing ideas in the air.

      1. I’ve not had any real problems with the inner and fly touching. In windy conditions, you won’t get much, if any condensation. In still conditions, the inner should hang clear of the fly. I used lifters on the Challenge mainly to add some more stability to the fly. As I was using trekking poles, there was next to no weight penalty. I don’t think they were strictly necessary.

  8. Thanks for the feedback, chaps.

    It was on the sloping sections around, above and below where the middle lifter is. The point where you have attached the guy for the walking pole mod, Robin.

    I will see how I get on once the mods are in place as they might help to produce a better tensioned fly sheet and alleviate the problem. The weather in Iceland was wet and windy throughout so the guys were probably struggling to cope for most of the time due to the slippage.

    The tent vent bar looks a good idea, jinch.

    1. Not sure whether there’d be enough tension on the inner to just shove a tent vent bar type of thing in between the inner and outer if you sized it right? Probably not but there’s probably a solution in there somewhere…

      How about a 175g possibility? Instead of taking both crossing poles, take just one of them. Take your crossing pole eyelets off two of the corner guys and attach them instead to the middle guylines on each end of the tent (bottom centre in this pic:
      http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e389/Francophoto/Scarp%201/Scarp-FD1.jpg)

      Then, single crossing pole through the usual hoop loop and into the eyelet at each end. Move a crossing pole strap to each trekking pole pullout point and wrap round the crossing pole as you would normally. Give it a tug and pull the fly up at each end.

      You’d end up with one crossing pole running straight down the length of the tent rather than diagonally across, if that makes sense? No idea if this would work or how well – it just came into my head – but no reason why not. Each crossing pole is c.175g so a lot lighter than two trekking poles and a lot more rigid than a vent bar?

    2. On the Challenge there were some poorly pitched Scarps. I put that down to the corners not being tensioned enough. If the corners are pitched properly, then the fly sheet should be well tensioned. The middle strut properly tensioned should then keep the fly clear of the inner. In windy conditions, the fly can press against the inner, but the increased through draught should mean that condensation is not a problem.

  9. That’s sounds like a cracking idea, jinch. If I went down that line I’d probably just try to add eyelets to the middle guys rather than remove them from the sides.

    I was pretty meticulous about pitching the tent correctly. I think most of my problems were centred on the slipping guy lines and maybe a bit of play in the pegging as the ground was very wet and sodden.

    I’ll see how it goes after introducing your mods, Robin. I do like the idea of that centre pole option if I still experience problems.

    The Hilleberg Lineloks have already arrived from Ray Mears. I only ordered them yesterday.

    Thanks guys.

  10. I’ve been messing around with the Scarp today. Exchanged the guy lines to 3mm, fitted the shock cords to the inner 4 corners and tried carabiners between the crossover pole connection points and the cross poles. I wasn’t 100% happy with the cross pole arrangement and to be honest I think the cross poles are more useful in keeping the fly and inner sheet apart than adding more structural strength.

    Thinking about jinch’s idea about running a single pole across the centre line of the tent, I ended up with shortening a pole by 4 sections and fitting carabiners to the centre uplifters. Ran the shortened pole through the crabs and voila, a nice separation between the fly and inner. The tape clips from the uppermost crossover pole connection points could be connected to each other over the top of the pole if required.

    I’ll be happy with taking the shortened pole along with me on every trip.

  11. Photo’s here… (not sure how to post them up on a reply)

    The tape clips over the pole can be adjusted so that just the tape is touching the crossover pole.

    1. Top job, Dave. You took a daft idea and made it reality. Would love to see what Franco from Tarptent thinks of this!

      1. Mole on OM reckons there’s a danger the ends could be forced through the fly in a gust. A full pole would be heavier but would also have the central CF spar under it and no ends to worry about I guess. I have two spare eyelets so might try it with a full one for comparison.

      2. Actually i can get a small Alpkit carabiner through the centre lineloc loop so will try that rather than fitting an eyelet.

  12. Thatnks for the link, jinch. I’ll have a good look at that thread and your strap mods as I haven’t seen it until now.

    1. The pole strap mods may be less relevant if you go with your mod, Dave, as you are just clipping the two glove hooks together. The fiddly bit is the clipping the hook around the strap when used as standard.

      p.s. Have you got the facilities to weigh your altered pole, Dave? 175g or so as standard but would be interesting to see how much your shortened version weighs.

  13. Thanks jinch. I’ll probably leave the clips off. There is no real need to uses the taped hooks on this mod really. It uses 5 poles out of the original 9 pole crossover. I’ve found a website that states this Easton pole .344 weighs 17g at 18 inch length. (The length of my section is 17.5 inch) 5 x 17g = 85g then add the two plastic end tips and shock cord.

    The mod takes very little time to put into place and is rock steady due to the upward pressure from the pole. It doesn’t move about.

  14. Update: I kept the Scarp up for the overnight storm and was very pleased to see the results of the mods this morning. It is fairly sheltered in the back garden but it put down a heck of a lot of heavy rain last night. The separation between inner and outer is as it was when it was erected and Robin’s mods for the 3mm guy lines worked a treat. The real test will be out on the fells.

    I fitted the pole arch tensioner mod yesterday and just about to do the threshold mod.

    The Alpkit zip pullers are ace.

  15. I fitted dyneema loops between the crabs and the crossing pole strap attachment points and also placed crabs on the two top vent hooks to attach to the central pole. The vent hood loop can be secured to the crab as well. The crossover straps are not required and I have removed them.

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