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Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

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Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 1]

Throughout the year on just about every hunting forum elk hunters bring up the subject of traditional canvas wall tents. The weather in mountain country is all across the board from unseasonably warm to rain to heavy wet snow to overnite powdery snowstorms and of course gale force winds. A wall tent went set up properly can handle any of those elements.

They give hunters adequate space, including head room, to place cots for sleeping, store gear, cook and eat, and of course keep a wood stove with several days worth of dry wood next to it to stay cozy and dry off clothes for the next say of battle. One big advantage of canvas is that it breathes just enough to eliminate any interior condensation that is common with synthetic materials. It’s also a great insulator and a slow simmering fire is all it takes to maintain comfortable conditions. Campers, hunters, old time trappers, outfitters, and the military have put them to the test for centuries. They have stood alone as the shelter of choice for those who spend lengthy amounts of time living outdoors. Not only do they serve their purpose extremely well but if taken care of properly they will last for decades.

The only price to be paid is their weight. Below is a chart from the Wall Tent Shop showing the weight for different size tents. You’ll notice that fire treatment adds weight. All of my tents are fire/water/mildew treated. The idea is for the tent to last for as close to forever as possible. Most any size will fit on one side of a horse or mule so for outfitters or hunters who use livestock they are still feasible for back country use. For those of us who hunt from a base camp next to the truck it’s a no brainer.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 2]

There are two options for erecting wall tents. The first be being the old school method using lodge pole pine common to elk country to construct two As and a ridge pole. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The As have to lean inward a bit so the tent doesn’t fall forward or back ward. No question it takes at least two people to use this system. For both simplicity and a rock solid setup I use one A... in the front, and ratchet strap the ridge pole to a live tree in the back. Foolproof! It sure does have a nice look to it with a pile of firewood and of course a couple elk racks leaned up outside. Heaven on earth!

You’ll notice my tarp extends beyond the roof. This serves two purposes. First and foremost it drains water out away from the walls. The dryer the tent stays the easier it is to dry in the end. The oversized tarp also gives you a place out of the weather for coolers as well as tools such as a shovel, splitting maul etc.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Swede » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 3]

Another thing I like about the canvas is that it is light inside the tent during the day. Sometimes I have reason to be in camp during the day, and it is nice to have ample light without opening the doors or turning on some artificial light. A lot of the synthetic tents are dark even during the daylight hours.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Swede » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 4]

Joe, I will point out that your floor tarp extends well outside the tent. I do the same thing as it helps keep the tarp clean inside the tent. You are not tracking in so much dirt and pine needles that way.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 5]

The other method is using an internal frame. Those have several advantages. For starters you don’t have to hunt down suitable lodge poles. Better yet when cut correctly they keep the canvas tight. Tight canvas doesn’t flap in the wind which can eventually shorten it’s lifespan. A taught roof also supports and sheds snow way better. If the roof is loose snow will slide to the edge of the eave and cause a sag where it stops instead of sliding off of the edge. Another huge plus of an internal frame is unlimited places to hang gear and clothes. The entire frame is one big drying rack. You can hang a couple extra section horizontally from the rafters around the wood stove to ensure that the wettest of pant legs and boots are dry come morning. A huge plus when using the metal frame is that not only is setup super fast but also one guy can set up a tent as large as 15x18 by himself. The toughest part is literally folding the tent up after you take it down. It may not look as “mountain man” as a lodge pole setup but it’s definitely more functional.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 6]

When you first buy a new wall tent there are some things to be done. It starts off as three bags, the tent, angle kit, and couplers.... and a pile of poles. The poles which fit perfectly with all angle kits are 1 inch emt electrical conduit. They come in 10 foot sections at about $10 each. Lowes ;and maybe Home Depot) gives a 15% discount if you buy 10 or more. The tent pictured is a 14x16 and takes 21 sections.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 7]

The first step is to cut the poles to length. This tent has a 5 rafter frame. That means a total of 10 legs, 10 rafters, and 12 eave/ridge sections. The Wall Tent Shop supplies a cut list. I use a pipe cutter and make sure each section is right on the money. Measure, mark with ballpoint pen, and cut. And cut and cut and cut! Lol
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 8]

I use a piece of emery cloth to deburr the sections to eliminate any sharp edges. The Wall Tent Shop also sells rubber caps for the bottom of the lags. Three purposes... first, you know they are the legs! Lol. I’ll put electrical tape on either my rafter sections or the ridge/eaves to identify those. The third group is unmarked. This is important because my ridge and rafters only differ by about an inch and I don’t want to have to lay them all out to sort them. The rubber caps also prevent mud from clogging the inside of the bottom of the legs. But the most important function is that it ensures that the legs won’t cut or puncture the vinyl sod cloth that runs around the perimeter of the floor.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 9]

Once the cutting is done the fun begins! First a lay out the angles. I use a tape measure to make life easy so they are sitting at the right length and width. Then I lay the length sections down followed by the rafters. I mentioned couplers before. The rafters for this tent and most tents are fairly long. In this case 92 1/2 inches. That makes them cumbersome to transport and also susceptible to bending. So I split them into 2 smaller sections and put them together during setup with the couplers pictures below.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 10]

Next step is to assemble the raters and install them and then install the legs on one side. The bottom of the legs need to be exactly where you want the tent positioned.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 11]

Time to break out the canvas. This particular tent has doors on both ends so there’s no front or back. If it had one door you’d need to position it where you want it. When ordering from the WTS you have a choice of a rear screened window or rear door at no charge. I used to get the window but rarely used it. In the past I’ve had to replace door zippers. It’s not cheap. So now I get the rear door. If anything ever happens to one of the zippers I’ll just use the other door.

Lay the canvas along the side with the legs.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 12]

Now unfold the canvas enough to locate the bottom of the opposite side and pull it up over the frame. You can walk inside between the rafters so it’s very easy to do.

Pull it all the way until the eave or edge of the roof where the guy lines attach is up over the ridge or peak of the roof.

Note in the bottom picture that once the canvas is up to the ridge you need to walk back around to the side with the legs and lift all of the canvas up over the eave. At that point the bottom of that wall is where it belongs at the bottom of the legs and the rest of the weight is up over top of the top of that wall (the eave). With all 5 legs already in place the weight is easily supported when you lift the other side BUT you won’t actually be lifting that weight very much.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 13]

Ok now we’re getting somewhere. Back around to install the last set of legs. Notice in the top picture they are laying halfway inside the frame. That’s important because when you lift that eave it’s going to swing over toward the side that is already standing on the legs. Since I’m setting the tent up alone I need to be able to reach down and pick up the legs... or at least the center leg while I’m holding the eave up.

Go ahead and lift the eave section. Since the majority of the canvas is up over the peak of the roof it’s very easy to lift. Put the center leg in and set it down GENTLY so you down put too much downward pressure on that center frame angle.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 14]

Now work from the center out and install the rest of the legs. When you lift on the eave it helps to hold the previous leg a bit so it doesn’t fall out. Once all of the lags are in you can pull the canvas the rest of the way over the frame using the guy ropes. Start with the center. Then go right then left and back to the center until it eventually falls completely over the frame.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 15]

Now that the canvas is basically in place walk all the way around and make sure that all of the corners including both ends of the ridge are positioned correctly.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 16]

Now go inside the tent. Go to the four corners and lift the legs. Move them inward toward the zipper so the canvas isn’t spread way out and zip the zipper shut.

At this point the sod cloth is still outside of the legs in the bottom picture.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 17]

Now go around and lift each legs and work the sod cloth underneath them.

These are 5 foot walls. On the cut list it says 59 inches. The angle adds the other inch. BUT I cut a 10 footer right down the middle at 60 inches making my wall high. The reason is so that my canvas doesn’t actually touch the ground. At the end of the hunt for obvious reasons that’s always the wettest spot on the canvas. When the rest of the tent is completely dry it can take another week before that lower seam is truly bone dry and that level of dryness is key to avoiding mildew which breaks down the canvas.

You can see that the seam in the canvas is off the ground... at about the top of the rubber cap. But the sod cloth keeps any air and moisture out.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 18]

By the way instead of a 3 way angle above my door I installed a 4 way. I’ll use it to add an 7 foot pole extending my ridge. My tent is 16 long and my tarp is 24 which gives me a 7 foot front porch and a foot of tarp hanging down over my back wall. Again.... keeping the canvas especially the seams dry. The bottom pic is a friends tent. He forgot his extra ridge pole but if you look closely you can see the angle poking out for it at the peak of the canvas.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 19]

The last thing is to stake the canvas around the perimeter and also stake the guy ropes out to pull the roof tight. When you pit the legs on the sod cloth inside you can move the corner legs back out. But do NOT pull the door wall tight putting pressure on the zipper. Instead make sure there’s a bit of slack so the zipper goes up and down easily. A zipper is to close the door NOT to pull the canvas together.

When I initially set my tent up I hose it down good. Soaked! It swells the canvas some to close the needle holes on the seams and also gets the shrinkage process underway. I may even do that twice.

In this last picture note one thing: The angle of the rope. It follows the roof line exactly. It doesn’t pull the canvas downward over the eave poles. If I put the stake too far out and pull the rope tight it will actually lift the canvas off of the eave. I don’t mind that a little bit. The tarp will weigh it down. I just want to be able to pull my roof super tight so everything slides off over the eave but I don’t want a bunch of pressure on my canvas where it rolls over the top of the side wall.

Leave the stakes up about an inch. I use paracord for my tarp guy lines because it doesn’t stretch. Once the tarp is all set I’ll tap the stakes the rest of the way in. On the corner guy ropes I’ll hang a couple pieces of blaze orange flagging tape so we don’t trip over the lines. I don’t mind if one of us trips and splits our head open.... it’s all about not damaging the tent or tarp. :D

Final step install the floor. I use mesh tarps. Keeps the grass matted down. Keeps the dust down. Lets water drain through. After that in goes the cylinder wood stove. I don’t care for flat sided stoves because they warp easier. Throw in the cots, hang the lantern, position the table and then add whatever your heart desires. When you get back from a day of hard hunting and see that lantern glowing and a little plume of smoke rising out of the stove pipe you know you don’t have a worry in the world! I’m right at home living in my wall tent. Remember before you ever put your tent away for the off season... BONE DRY!

That’s all folks!
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 20]

Wall Tent Shop plug: I’ve used so many brands of tents it’s not funny. Colorado Tent, Davis, Montana Canvas. Big Sky Tents just to name a few. About 10 years ago I bought a tent from Rich. I figured I’d try it because the price was right especially with the angle kit. Also because the shipping is free. I didn’t have super high expectations because the price was so darn good. When I got the tent I was shocked! It had features I’d never seen. Seat belt strapping on the eaves and heave D-rings attached to it instead of grommets punched through the canvas. Double canvas on the ridge. Reinforced corners. Not just a zipper but also strap and buckle closures. A buckle on the corner of the tent so the bottom corner of the door can be snapped to it to hold the doors open. Not all tents even come with a sod cloth unless you want to pay extra for it ... and it’s a must have! I struck gold I tell ya!. Best tent I ever owned at the best price around. I’ve been to Rich’s place. Picked up 6 tents and 6 woods stoves once. Super nice guy. Tyler helped me with my latest order. You guys know me... I had questions. He responded every time in like 5-10 minutes! Also a great guy and very knowledgeable. AND... the Wall Tent Shop has sponsored this site for many moons. If I remember correctly I signed him on when Elknut was the owner here. By the way his tent is from the Wall Tent Shop too. Need I say more?
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Swede » 05 26, 2020 •  [Post 21]

I just ordered the rubber feet for the tent poles. Either they did not have them when I got mine, or I just did not see them. I know there are other ways to protect the tent canvas, but there is nothing easier and no better way to keep track of upright poles and horizontal poles that are close to the same length.
One thing I have done differently than you is I just put together the roof frame then I stead the canvas over it. That leaves all eight legs to put in place. I think it is easier to place the canvas over the lower height roof frame, but I pay for it when I set up eight legs instead of four.
I never thought of having a four way angle piece on the outside top of the frame. I would do it if I was reordering, but what I have works. I just have to tie a pole up to the frame. I can see you have done this enough to see all of the short cuts.
Good thread, and I agree the Wall Tent shop is great to deal with.
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Re: The Birth of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Tactics

Postby Indian Summer » 05 27, 2020 •  [Post 22]

I’ve done that Swede. But when the canvas is all up on the frame it presents two problems. One you have to lift 100% of the weight to install the legs. Two the canvas is centered over both sides instead of resting on the first set of legs so when you lift the other side you are supporting way more weight. Not only is that harder when alone but it puts too much weight on the center angle when you have only the first leg installed.
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Swede » 05 27, 2020 •  [Post 23]

Well, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I am going to do it your way. I see what you mean. It looks easier in the long run and lighter to lift. win-win. :D
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Lefty » 05 28, 2020 •  [Post 24]

Well done Joe
Thanks

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One of my biggest failings as a father
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Tom Grates » 05 28, 2020 •  [Post 25]

Indian Summer, we should do a You Tube how to video this year, it is amazing how fast you do it by yourself.
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Indian Summer » 05 28, 2020 •  [Post 26]

Tom Grates wrote:Indian Summer, we should do a You Tube how to video this year, it is amazing how fast you do it by yourself.

Just keep splitting wood brother! I’ll have the tent up, stove in, cots set etc etc long before you’re done. I gotta give you credit you’ve split a mountain sized pile of wood the past 2 years! We live like kings don’t we! Lol :lol:
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Swede » 05 29, 2020 •  [Post 27]

The patas (feet/paws) for my tent poles came today and are now on. The Wall Tent Shop was quick and perfect as usual. The patas look to be very well made.
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Indian Summer » 05 30, 2020 •  [Post 28]

Swede wrote:The patas (feet/paws) for my tent poles came today and are now on. The Wall Tent Shop was quick and perfect as usual. The patas look to be very well made.

The rubber caps or the metal frame leg anchors?
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby Swede » 05 30, 2020 •  [Post 29]

I got the rubber ones like I saw in your pictures. I think they should be easy on the canvas. I am sure I could put a small piece of plywood under the bare upright poles and it would work, but the rubber tips are easy and they won't slide off the plywood. Cardboard would be fine with metal end caps, but I like what I saw in your pictures. I had some duct tape on the upright poles for identification, but this is even better. It will be easier to train my grandson too. "The rubber patas go to the ground."
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Re: Setup & Care of a Wall Tent/Solo Setup Techniques

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 06 03, 2020 •  [Post 30]

"Stuck" on top. Excellent tutorial thread mister!
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