SlingFin HardShell and OneUp - Design Details

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SlingFin Tents have recieved some well-deserved attention. A bit of that is referenced here. This is part 2 of a two part discussion of what went into making these tents. Part 1 looked at the WebTruss. Part 2 here fills in the details.


Devon Brown:  Nothing on the SlingFin tent is there by accident. All the little pieces and parts that we put on the shelters are there because either somebody asked us to be there or we know that it should be there from personal experience. One of those things is really small and I don’t know if you can see it but the way that this is sewn is actually really vital to the life expectancy of a shelter. What we’ve done is taken a material called grosgrain which is normally not very resistant to UV degradation and we’ve wrapped it in our special custom-made titanium dioxide coated fabric and that allows the tent to last for a lot longer. Because normally here’s your chain, this is the link that’s holding your tent body to the frame and if that’s not very strong then your whole thing is going to fall apart. So all these little details that we’ve seen things break down over the years and the experience of the design has allowed us to figure out where and why to put certain things that will give you a much longer lasting product.

Martin Zemitis:  The webbing straps at the bottom opening of the WebTruss where we have a reflective strip where at night is much easier to see, this way at night with our continuous pole sleeves you can just slide all the poles in and the fabric hubs here help guide the pole so it’s very easy to set up. You can set up this tent by yourself in just a couple of minutes.

Devon Brown:  Tying down a tent at high altitude is really important. So on a SlingFin tent everywhere you see a tie down like this it’s going to be triple stitched across and past the material itself. Here’s a tied down on the side of a HardShell tent. It’s sewn through with a triple stitch that goes past the material on both sides so it’s extra strong. And if you peel back the rain fly here you can see that it’s actually sewn through another time to another piece of fabric that wraps around the WebTruss and the tent pole which locks the entire thing together. So when you’re tying out to this you’re actually tying out to the frame of the tent which considerably increases the strength of your entire structure, whereas if you’re just pulling on the rain fly you’ll be pulling on a bag wrapped around a cage. This way you’re pulling on the cage too and it allows you to have a lot more strength. If you do that evenly throughout the perimeter of the tent, you’re going to be sitting pretty for the rest of the night.

Martin Zemitis:  Just set up and we have at all of the openings reflective grosgrain here and then we have some tensioning devices at the end of each of pole sleeves which allows you to even further strengthen the structure. People ask us about the color of our tents. Why would you make a mountaineering tent white?
And the orange is obvious you can find your tent. The white what it does is it allows more light into the tent, which is actually very nice especially when you’re camping for days and weeks on end and especially at altitude where you’re in the tent a long time. But you still need to be able to find your tent and that’s why we have reflective guy-out loops on the flysheet and we have reflective guy-out reinforcements on the WebTruss especially at night or when it’s starting to get dark with your headlamp you can see this from ways away. So it really helps to find your structure, which is kind of your life support system so you really need to figure that out.

Devon Brown:  Something you commonly encounter in high altitudes and cold weather is spin drift. And spin drift are really tiny particles of ice and snow that get blown around by the wind. They’re famous for getting up and under and in everything that you have when it’s a really windy night outside. Most conventional mountaineering tents don’t have a snow flap, some of them do. Snow flaps are good because you can take them out like this, pile some snow on top of it and it stops the spin drift from coming up underneath the tent.

Something that’s totally unique to SlingFin tents is, not only does every mountaineering tent we have come standard with the snow flap, but our snow flaps have the ability of going underneath the tent. So there is a little black ring that hooks into a hammer head and that clips underneath the bottom of the tent, which essentially seals off the perimeter of the skirt all the way around. You can repeat this every time you go around the tent where the two points of the corners meet and that will really seal off the bottom of the tent and seal off all of the spin drift that’s going to try and get into your shelter.

Martin Zemitis:  And in this way also with the flysheet only by having that feature, by being able to put it underneath, if you don’t have the tent body then you have a very – it’s very secure even without the tent body. Normally when spin drift comes in the tent body will deal with whatever it does come in. Here if you did want to save some weight and you want to leave the tent body behind, this way at least you would have that option because you can seal it up a lot more.

Devon Brown:  Conventional tent flies stop here allowing spin drift to come up underneath. Slightly more developed tent flies have snow flaps that come down like this that you can close off. And the ultimate SlingFin design has a closure system that needs this bottom piece, something like that.

Martin Zemitis:  Then with our tensile structure it’s all about the details. The tent, the shockcord, the pole diameter, the tube thickness, the alloy, the yield strength, all those things – every one of those details when it’s very windy and the conditions are very serious all those little details count. And it’s very easy to try and save money or try and use the wrong stitch or use the wrong stitch length or use fabrics that aren’t counted properly. It’s very enticing to save a little bit of money here and there but if you want to make a product that really lasts and works when you need it the most, you need to go that extra length and worry about those details.


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