Light weight backpacking is the craze and its expensive. You have two choices to get into the fad? Either drop the cash or attempt to make the gear yourself.
First lets be real. If you are a beginner (like myself) in sewing, then your quality outcome might not produce a tent that you completely trust for the long haul on the trail.
This is what the tent tarp looks like from the entrance. Not the best tent pitch in this photo. You have a zipper mosquito net door and a flap/ door that is held into place with Velcro.
So you can order a kit online for around 103.00 dollars, plus maybe some extra thread. The kit comes with instructions and very slippery sil-nylon fabric that is difficult to sew. Give yourself a good 30 days to enter the realm of sewing insanity.
The sil-nylon fabric is very difficult to work with. I used a carpenters chalk line to mark the long lines of the fabric to cut. For short lines a small piece of soap works well.
I bought the one person tent with 2nd quality fabric. The fabric might have some cosmetic flaws, but it is structurally sound. My fabric looked perfect!!!!
My biggest gripe on the instructions is that they do not include enough pictures. But if you read the instructions 5 or 6 times you usually can figure them out.
So after you finish the sewing you need to pitch the tent tarp and seam seal it against the rain. When I seam sealed the tent I was very liberal and sloppy in using plenty of silicone/paint thinner mix on my seams and flaws in the sewing job.
In this photo you can see where I seam sealed it with a two part mixture of GE silicone II and paint thinner. Mix it to the consistency of warm honey.
I’m not to crazy about this part of the design of the Bilgy tent/tarp. You sew two velcro pieces to the roof and floor, which helps keep the tent off the ground when you set it up. This allows you to crawl under the tent and put down your ground cover piece. Why risk the chance of a leak in the middle of the roof and middle of the floor? I would probably leave this part out if I was ever to make another tent. I did seam seal the hell out of it and it never did leak in a moderate rain.
This picture is of the end straps that the tent stakes hook to or you can hook guy lines on to raise the tent sides up for more ventilation.
This is the peak entrance of the tent. The grommets that come with the kit are cheap aluminum. Here I used a bigger brass grommet on this end, because I destroyed the first one by accident. Bigger brass is better!!!
Myself being around 6 foot 2 inches tall the tent is more of a tunnel. Meaning you can’t sit upright in it and pretty much you have to enter feet first. On the plus side there is plenty of leg room.
Mistakes in my sewing skills. I had plenty of these little tucks in some of my side seams on the roof. My only solution was to use plenty of seam sealant and hope for the best. This photo was before the seam sealant was applied.
This is not a tent you would want to sit out a 3 day storm, in my opinion.
This is the final shot after the seam sealing was complete. Still not the best pitch due to the slight sag in the center. The seam sealant caused a slight shrinking effect on the seams. But overall not bad for my first attempt in my opinion.
Overall when the project was complete I learned a lot about sewing and how difficult it can be to make a tent. Plus you learn a little about knot tying and pitching a tent using your hiking poles. Which it not as easy as it sounds. A side entrance tent seems like a better idea for tall people. Do you really save money? Well possibly if you sew very carefully and don’t make a major mistake. Lightweight tents have come down on prices and you can get into a basic no frills lightweight tent for under 150.00 dollars these days. So take that into consideration.