Tag Archives: mods

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Revised Scarp pole arch tension system

After my experience with the F10 Nitro Lite 200, I decided to revise the pole arch tension system on my Scarp. You can find the details of the old system in this post. The old system is shown below.

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The reason for the “dog leg” was that I thought the cord might compromise access to the porch. Having experienced the more direct system in the Nitro Lite, I decided that this wasn’t really a problem after all. The new system is shown below.

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At either end of the cord I’ve used a mini carabiner so the whole system can be easily removed if needed. When packing, I unclip the lower carabiner and tie the loose cord so that it doesn’t get tangled when rolling up the tent. On the lower attachment, I added a loop of cord to the small grosgrain loop on the ribbon that connects the pole grommets (see below).

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At the top, instead of tying the cord, I’ve used another carabiner. While this is not strictly necessary, I prefer to have the option of removing the cord quickly if necessary, rather than fiddle around trying to untie a knot (show below).

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How did it work? It gives the pole arch a lot more stability than being untethered or just using the side guys. In conjunction with the side guys, it makes the hoop a lot more stable, but still allows some modest flex. It can be used without the side guy on small pitches where space is compromised and has a similar effect to having the side guy. It doesn’t compromise access to the porch. It also has a secondary use as clothes line for drying socks!

All in all, I think this works better than my first iteration. Later this week, I’ll publish a post with all the modifications that I’ve made to my Scarp 1. I was going to make a video, but I chickened out and just took photos of the mods when I was on Dartmoor.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 2012 lid mod

I really like the new Mariposa. However, one thing I have found is that the shock cord that closes the roll-over lid keeps getting in the way when packing. Yesterday, I had a eureka moment, when I realised that a small karabiner could do the job just as effectively but get rid of the tangle of shock cord.

Old shock cord system before tightening

Shock cord system tightened

New system with mini karabiner

New system closed

It’s really quick and easy to use and much neater. The grosgrain loops are large enough to thread the opened end of the karabiner through easily.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 2012 mods

It doesn’t take me long to start thinking about ways of improving my gear, especially shelters and rucksacks. Naturally, on receipt of my new Mariposa rucksack, my mind turned to how I could modify it. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

1)  Map holder and bottle holder. I like utilising the shoulder straps on my packs to hold maps, bottles or sometimes an umbrella. The new Mariposa has two very useful small D rings above and below the grosgrain that secures the sternum strap. On one side, I’ve added two loops of shock cord with cord locks to secure a map case (right in picture). On the bottom D, I’ve also attached a ski pass zippy which links to the map case so I can’t lose a map (it happened once in the Cairngorms). On the other side I’ve attached an OMM bottle holder (the oddly named I-Gamy). Normally, I just use two loops of shock cord, but this is an altogether more elegant solution. Instead of the supplied bottle, I’m using a lighter old Lucozade bottle. On my old pack, I bodged an umbrella holder. I’m having a think as to how I might do this for the current model.

2) Side compression shock cord. The Mariposa comes with a length of shock cord and three cord locks. On the old version, I used two lengths on each side on the uppermost grosgrain loops. On the new version, the small uppermost is set higher than on the old one. So I’ve moved the compression cord down one set of loops, so it doesn’t get in the way of the opening. Rather than for compression, I tend to use these to secure things like cloths for drying or trekking poles.

3) Loop for trekking poles. At the base of the sack I’ve made a loop of shock cord to secure the handles of my trekking poles. At the top of the pack, I just loop the compression shock cord below the baskets. Perhaps I should have taken a picture with the trekking poles as well, but I’m sure you get the drift.

4) Zip pulls. I’ve put zip pulls on the hip belt pockets and the lid pocket zips. I’ve used a short length of knotted dyneema cord. The zips have quite small pullers, so this just makes it easier.

5) Pocket padding for camera. I’ve save the best until last. On one pocket I’ve used some silver insulating material that can be used for pot cozies, to create a padded pocket for a camera. I’ve secured the padding with some duct tape.

I’ve only padded the outside and bottom walls of the pocket as the hip belt wall is protected by the padding from the hip belt itself. The pocket is big enough for my Lumix TZ5, although in the picture I’ve shown my Olympus Mju 770SW, which is a bit smaller. The padding should be sufficient to protect a camera from knocks and will enable me to dispense with my belt pack if I wish.

Scarp pole arch tensioner

In contrast with both the Akto and the Laser Comp, the pole arch on the Scarp is quite flexible even if you use the side guys. This is not a huge problem as the critical structure of the tent comes from the PitchLoc system at either end. However, in gusty winds, it can lead to the side guys coming loose with the constant flexing.

I’m constantly looking at tents and thinking: can I improve this? On the way the Ffynnon Llugwy, I had a brainwave. The Vaude Power Lizard uses something they’ve called a “powerframe”, which, as I understand it, is a cord that is attached at various points inside the pole arch and helps to tension the arch.

I wondered if I could mimic the powerframe by threading a length of dyneema cord from the apex of the arch through the loops securing the inner tent and then via the loop inside the door to the foot of the pole. This might help to add a little bit of stiffness to the pole arch. Indeed it did help.

However, I decided it might be better to simplify it further by ending the cord at the loop securing the inner tent just above the door zip (see above). This gives two “fixed points” (one either side of the pole arch) rather than only one at the apex. It was definitely better. To achieve a good level of tension, I used a linelok. At the base of the pole, the cord is secured to a small loop on the grosgrain the connects the two pole ends (see below).

 The picture below shows the full system.

It definitely helps to stiffen the pole arch, although it still retains some level of flexibility. If I were re-designing the Scarp, I’d have two guying points on either side, like the Akto, but it’s difficult to retrofit a loop to the pole arch to achieve this, so this is the next best thing. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to reverse.

So there you are, yet another mod to my Scarp!

Re-guying the Scarp

You only find out the weaknesses of gear when the conditions get extreme. Last year, camping below Scafell, I encountered strong gusty winds overnight. The Scarp relies on the four corners being securely pegged to retain its shape and puts a lot of strain on these points. One of the guys slipped through the linelok, which lead to one corner of the tent coming half collapsing. It wasn’t a disaster and was soon rectified. However, it alerted me to the possibility that the combination of 2mm deyneema cord and lineloks was not always totally secure.

Last week there was an exchange on Twitter suggesting that the cord that Mountain Laurel Designs  supply with their shelters never slips (which I think is 2.5mm, but I can’t find specs anywhere). I’ve not guyed my Duomids with the supplied cord, so I have some surplus. I will guy the corner pegging points of the Duomids with the MLD cord, but I decided that I’d experiment first with re-guying my Scarp.

You can see the results in the pictures above and below. I decided to revert to the normal Scarp guy configuration, partly because it saves a bit of cord and partly because I think the modified system is overcomplicated, even though it does save two pegs. 2.5mm cord is awkward to thread through the lineloks, so a bit of patience is required. It also requires larger size lineloks for the side guys. Fortunately I had a couple spare from another tent.

It is impossible to thread 2.5mm cord through the retaining eyelets for the crossing poles, so these need to have their own cord. I retained the original 2mm cord for these as they don’t take much strain. It also means that the 2.5mm guys need to be tied off at ground level, to leave the linelok free for the crossing pole retainer. The fact that the guy can only be adjusted through the top linelok is not an issue.

I’ve also utilised some plastic sail rings on the corner guys for the pegs, which makes pegging and adjustment a lot smoother. The mod probably adds about 20g to the overall weight, but the issue of slippage is, hopefully, a thing of the past.