A customer dropped his tent off to us this year with a common statement, “My tent does not fit my frame anymore. Fix it”.

I remembered this customer from our old shop in Englewood, so I knew the tent must be ten years old or older. I also knew what created the problem and an easy way to fix it. Rather than tell my customer how to do this himself, I decided to take the tent in, correct the fit, and take some pictures in order to explain how to remedy this “problem” for other customers who might have this same issue.

What caused the poor fit on this tent?

The best way to describe how this happens is — the tent was allowed to shrink.
Either by not being set up completely (all the ropes and stakes) or was taken off the frame wet and allowed to dry, then when set up the next time not pulled taught.

Fixing the issue – Day1

I set the tent up and took “before” pictures. Notice the sod cloth is seven inches away from the ground, the eve is three to four inches up on the roof, and the corner does not fit. This customer was short quite a few ropes and stakes; the reason the tent has a poor fit in the photos.

So I added 16 ropes and stakes, staked it off nice and tight, and took the following pictures…

I was probably a little too aggressive; if it tore, I knew someone who could fix it.

Then I staked the canvas down at the bottom just until the canvas was good and tight. I found that driving these stakes at an angle prevented the tent from pulling them out of the soft grass. I put one inch wooden blocks under the legs inside the tent to keep the feet from sinking into the grass. This also allows me to eventually pull it down further than needed.

Day 3

Notice there is not a “Day 2″…you need to let the tent set, which allows it to relax. After it relaxes you can pull it further. That is the trick to this process; Pull the tent tight, let it relax, pull it tighter, let it relax…

Next, I added a cinder block slab under each wood block. This raised the tent up another inch allowing me to pull it down even further around the bottom. Notice the eve is actually right where it belongs, or even down a little far, and the corner is perfect.

Day 5

Below are the “after” pictures. I removed the blocks from under the legs, removed all the stakes and untied all the ropes so the tent is just resting on the frame; just like the “before” pictures from above.

You can make a HUGE difference in the way a tent fits a frame with a little bit of work and a lot of patience.