Seam Sealing the SMD Skyscape Trekker

When I ordered my Skyscape Trekker from Six Moon Designs I opted not to have them seam seal it. I figured that I could save the money and do it myself. Up to this point I have seam sealed a few smaller items, and I felt confident that I could do the tent myself…

So, I grabbed a partially used tube of SilNet, a 30 cc syringe and a few latex gloves. I chose to use the SilNet because I have used it in the past and have been happy with the results, and then of course I still had some left over. However, when I started I did look at the tube and wonder if it would be enough to do the whole tent…

I also decided to seam seal the tent inside the house rather than outside. My reasoning for this is again based on my past experiences with using the SilNet inside. (Not to mention that our weather has been 100+ degrees, and finally today the humidity has slacked off some. It has been  super hot outside.) Also, by doing it inside I could leave it set up for a longer period of time. I had to work the next day and didn’t want to leave it set up outside with no one home…

So, of course I decided to do a little video on it as well…

As can be seen in the video, I ended up with not quite enough SilNet to get the job done. Like I said, I had previously used a small portion of the tube I used, however, I feel like if it were to have been a new tube, it would have been enough. So, I now need to order some more and finish the job. This is fine anyway, because I like to have some available for those other small jobs… Once I get the rest of it seam sealed though, then I will take it out for a water hose test!

Also, like I said in the video, I found that if I squirt the SilNet in a zig-zag pattern it seems to cover the stitches more evenly than just running a straight line. I would only run a bead about 2 feet long at a time, this way I could take my time squirting it out of the syringe, and the SilNet would not begin to set-up before I smoothed it out. Then I simply used my finger (with the latex glove on) and slowly wiped down the seam. I tried not to go back and fix spots unless absolutely needed because by going back it would sometimes make it worse. I found that if there were spots that needed fixed, it worked better to use a little dab once it dries.

This is the biggest “project” that I have seam sealed, but now that I have done it, I don’t think that I will ever pay a company to do it for me again. It really is not that hard. The biggest part for me was having an appropriate place to seam seal it at…and of course enough seam sealer…

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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12 Responses to Seam Sealing the SMD Skyscape Trekker

  1. Harley says:

    Any updates on how well this tent is holding up and keeping water out?

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    • Stick says:

      Harley,

      I have only used the tent in my yard so far. Immediately after I got the tent I also got my first hammock, and to be honest, I have been really happy with it. Not to mention that I have been pretty busy and not had as many opportunities to get out much this part of the year. To be honest, the rest of the year will probably not warrant many overnight trips at all… (Bummer).

      However, as far as the tent, I feel like the materials are sturdy enough to function fine. And actually this is the first tent I have used without a ground sheet. I see no reason why this tent won’t hold up. (Although, only real use will tell… sorry I cannot give you that info at this point…)

      As far as keeping water out, I tested it in a thunder storm one day and found a few areas I needed to hit again. I do believe that next time I seam seal an item, I will mix the mineral spirits and silicone rather than use the silnet. I think that I can get it a touch thinner and be able to work it into the seams a little better.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

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  2. Lukabrazi says:

    When I seam sealed mine I used exactly the whole tube. I wish I had watched your video first though. Could have saved me some time. I used the little brush that came with the tube… I have been really happy with the Skyscape overall. No condensation. Do you have any concerns about putting one of your trekking poles through the top of it during setup? I thought about trying to come up with some type of cap that would slip over the tip of my trekking poles. Do you put them in set at 45 inches or do you put them in and then expand your poles? Thanks for the video!

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    • Stick says:

      Lukabrazi,

      I don’t use the stock spreader bar. Instead I went and bought some Pex tubing and made another spreader bar. It is slightly heavier at 1 oz even, but IMO, I am happier with it. It is easier to use and seems to work better. And like you mentioned, I feel way less likely to put a hole in the top of the tent using this. Here is a link to a thread on it over at BPL:

      SMD Trekker Thread at BPL

      I do not put my poles inside it with them fully extended. My trekking poles are 3 pieces so I set one section at the 115 cm mark and then insert it in the Pex tubing sleeve. Then I extend the other section of my pole to the 115 cm mark. I do the same on the other side.

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

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  3. JERMM says:

    Stick- nice video, I just finished seam sealing my new tent too. Where did you get the syringe, I.m making a stuff sack and want to water proof the seams, and would like to try a new technique for me.

    http://jjmatheshikes.blogspot.com/2011/08/seam-sealing.html

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    • Stick says:

      Jermm,

      I actually brought the syringe home from work.

      As far as the seam sealing. I took the tent out last night when a sudden T-Storm popped up. It did a good job, but after about an hour I found a few spots that were letting water in at the seams. Granted I touched up some spots after the first seam seal, finding these spots again is a little disheartening. So, I carried it back inside and dried it off, set it back up and applied some more SilNet. The spots that needed it were obvious because the seams were almost black from where water came in. So, I slopped some more on and I actually just took the tent back down. I believe it is supposed to rain some more this weekend so I should be able to test it again…

      I honestly think that the problem is that I only got the top of the seams. I think that the spots are where water is coming in at the side of the hem. So, I will see…

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    • JERMM says:

      thanks Stick- I found one at the drugstore this morning

      hey, check out the link I posted in my first reply and see how I water test my seam sealing, you won’t have to wait for the next rain

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    • Stick says:

      JERMM,

      I checked out your post. Very nice. Thanks for the link. I like your idea about using a toothpick to get in the crevasses where tie outs are. That is one area that I had to touch up, but I think I have them now. Also, the next time I seam seal something this big, I am going to do the same as you and mix the concoction rather than use SilNet.

      The first time I tested the seam seal, I set my tent up outside and used the water hose. I let my children sit inside and told them to watch for leaks…well, that didn’t work out so well, but they had fun inside the tent! Haha. Anyway, I was hoping it would rain again today, but no go. And I have worked all weekend so I am too tired to go outside now and test it with the water hose. Maybe tomorrow….

      ~Stick~

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  4. Dave J. says:

    Great video. About time someone showed the sealing in detail instead of just talking about it. I think that will be a great help to a lot of folks.

    Like

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