Taping My Hexamid

A while back I picked up the ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tent, which has replaced my SMD Skyscape Trekker as my solo tent. When the tent arrived it was not seam sealed, so I had to seal the tent myself. To do so, I used the tube of SilNet that Joe sends with the tent, as he does all of his tents. I found seam sealing the white cuben fiber to be a bit tedious as it was simply hard for me to see the seam sealer on the tent as I was sealing it. So, I did my very best, and hoped for the best.

Well, I didn’t have to wait very long to find out how I did…the weekend before last we had a bit of a storm come through and I managed to get the tent set up in time to weather it. All-in-all, the tent did pretty well, although after about an hour of rain I noticed a few drops making their way in. As well, I realized that I should have sealed the seams at the corners due to the fact that when water saturated the seams here, the water came right on down the shock cord which attaches the bathtub floor to the tent. The water did not come into the bathtub floor because the mitten hooks created a drip point, but the water got closer than I had liked.

So, at this point I decided that I was not going to add any more seam seal to the tent. I did not want to continue gobbing on seam sealer in hopes that I got the right spot and continue to add more and more weight to the tent. Instead, I decided that I would try a different method to seal the tent up. However, the only other “method” that I knew of was to tape the tent. But, I was in luck, Joe sold the cuben fiber tape in his store! So, I exchanged a few emails with Joe trying my best to figure out how he turned double-sided tape into single-sided tape…turns out to be quite simple…just stick one side of the tape to some cuben, and then cut it into strips…BAM…single-sided tape.  🙂

So, I was saving the money to get a roll of tape and a yard of cuben and then next thing I know, Joe had added some single-sided tape to his store! Yeah! Not only that, but the tape is 1″ wide rather than the 1/2″ wide roll…double yeah! These strips though were not sold by the roll, but rather in 54″ strips and used green 0.51 oz/sqyd cuben as the backing. Being that my tent is white though, I contacted Joe again and asked if he could do me up some of the tape using the white 0.34 oz/sqyd cuben rather than the green 0.51 oz/sqyd cuben. And of course, Joe being the awesome guy that he is said sure thing…

Today my tape came in. So, I laid my tent out on the floor (per Joe’s instructions) to apply the tape and got to it.

When it was all said and done I have used approximately 220″ of the tape on the tent, however, I did not tape the entire tent. I did tape the 4 corner tie-outs, the back center tie-out, all 4 of the upper tie-outs and the major seam that runs up the center of the tent on both the front and the back side. Of course I took time to tape around the reinforcements around the apex of the tent and at the center of the beak as well.

The only places I did not tape is across the front seam where the beak is attached to the tent and along the 2 smaller seams that run at an angle on each side. The reason being for this is that these areas did not leak when I had set the tent up in the rain, as well, I did not want to try to tape around the area where the mesh is attached to the tent. Also, I taped everything from the inside of the tent, and this is simply because I had already applied the seam sealer to the outside and I was not sure how the tape would do if applied over the seam sealer.

So, the tent should be pretty dang water tight now. So, for the bad news…

Before I started applying the tape the entire tent, with ground sheet, guylines and stuff sack weighed in at 15 oz (this also included the seam seal that I had preciously added to the tent). After I finished taping the tent it all weighs in at 15.8 oz…so I added another 0.8 oz to the total weight of the tent. Still not a bad weight for a fully enclosed shelter of this size, however, it irks me that I know it didn’t have to weigh that much if I had done it right to begin with…

But, we live, we learn.

And now I have a sweet tent!

Thanks for reading.

~Stick~

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 Taping My Hexamid

  1. Aaron says:

    Stick,

    Thanks for the video – This looks like the way to go. At first glance I thought it would be best to apply the tape when the tent was pitched (Just so the seams would be taut) but I can see how there would be an advantage applying the tape unpitched and against a hard surface so you have something to press against.

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    • Stick says:

      Aaron,

      I agree, I love the tape and at this point I feel like it is the way to go. Although, this is not based on a whole lot of experience. I feel that the tape provides a better seal to allow a more waterproof seam, as well as strengthens the seam and in fact the entire area where the tape is applied. If the tape ever does start to peel, I can simply remove the tape and then reapply new tape. But, of course all of this is in theory so I will see…

      And yes, I exchanged a number of emails with Joe about the tape as well as the best way to apply it. Some people recommend a small roller to roll across the tape to remove and small air bubbles and allow better a better seal. I simply rubbed it with my finger tips over the hardwood floor. It appears to be done well. No complaints.

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  2. Dave Jenkins says:

    Great video. Looks to me that taping is way easier and less messy than sealing.

    I went and ordered the Lightheart Solo cuben instead, but your reviews really helped in the decision making. In the end, I could not get my head around the floating floor idea.

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Dave,

      I agree…the taping is awesome. I thought I would have a little difficulty in taping the longer seams, but it really went much easier than I had imagined. I would rather tape all day than seam seal one bit…but that is me. Obviously some others are quite good at seam sealing…just not me I guess… 🙂

      I am sure that you will love the LH tent too…I really want to be able to see one in person one day. And I am glad that my reviews helped you to make a decision one way or another.

      ~Stick~

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  3. JhauraW says:

    Great post and video, Stick. The only thing I would do is to angle off or round the corners of the tape before applying it. One downfall of the tape is that it peels up over time, that’s why a lot of manufacturers do a small stitch the the junction of the tape and at the ends, mainly for single sided applications, not overlap. If you round the corners, they will be less likely to peel without the stitch.

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    • Stick says:

      JhauraW,

      That is a good point…I thought about it when I was taping the tent, but didn’t do it…I will try to keep it in mind for any other items that I tape though. Hopefully though the tape will stick pretty good…I guess I will see though…

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

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  4. Wild Trout says:

    I am deffo paying to get my tent seam sealed when I buy it. I am not very coordinated and would deffo seam seal myself to the tent. Your video is great. I am excited to follow your blog and a few of my other friends. I cant wait for 2014 to embark on the amazing journey you about ready to undertake. I hope you have a great night 🙂

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    • Stick says:

      Wild Trout,

      That would be a funny sight…seam sealed to the tent… 😀

      I am all about some DIY stuff, but me and seam sealing don’t work out…so for me I will continue to pay someone to seal it if it requires SilNet…however, if it is cuben, I am really liking this tape. At least so far…like we mentioned in some other comments, only time will tell how it does in the long run. But at the moment, it is easy to use, and looks to be promising…

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoy my blog!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Trace says:

    Another great video … I read about your previous issues with seam sealing and talked to Joe about it …. I’m having them seam seal my current hexamid twin order with silnet … he said the newer tape is better than the old tape, but not a lot of people have used the newer tape since they typically use silnet with few issues …. will be interested to see how this works for you. If I have issues, I will either silnet leaky spots or apply tape in problem areas if they exist … I’m going with green though, so might not be as hard to see seal as white tent …. we’ll see what happens. 🙂

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    • Stick says:

      Trace,

      Good choice letting them seam seal it for you. I really am done with applying seam seal. Not saying anything bad about it, but that is just something that I can’t seem to get right, and after a while it can get costly, or add a lot of extra weight…or worse, both… So, it is just me.

      I figured that this tape was different from the older tape. It seems like he has some faith in it though because a few items he sells comes taped. Of course though you are right, the only way we will know if it is any better is with use, and time…so I have my fingers crossed…although my tent now has tape and SilNet…

      My problem with sealing leaky “spots” is that it can be hard to locate that spot. Water will seep through a hole, or through the thread and then run down, and I just found it hard to be sure of where exactly it was definitely leaking from. So, for me I felt like just taping it was my best bet…but again, that’s just me…

      So, how much longer you got before you get your tent?

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. John Abela says:

    Do you think if you were to do it all over again, would you have ZPacks seamseal it, or have them bond it with tape?

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      Knowing what I know now, I would have ordered the tent and the strips of tape at the same time. It would have been cheaper for me to get the tape and do it myself, and taping it is actually quite easy. I bought 8 of the 54″ lengths and only used 4 full lengths, and 4″ off of another. Of course though I did not do all of the tent. I think that 7 strips may do the entire tent, but I would get 8 to be safe. But even 8 of the strips will only cost $24, and you will end up with some left over for repairs, or taping other cuben items you may have…

      However, if Joe does some sort of priming before taping, then I would ask him to tape it for me.

      ~Stick~

      Like

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