Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent

by Todd Johnston

I wanted a tent large enough for my elk hunting trips that would comfortably sleep 4 people with a stove and all our gear for 3+ weeks in the backcountry of Washington, Idaho and Oregon. I wanted it to be compact and light enough that my pack goats could easily carry it. It needed to be frame-less, using rope and brush to set it up. 

I stumbled upon Ripstop By The Roll as a possible material source and couldn't be happier. I got a cheap ($60) sewing machine and some thread that seemed tough enough (Coates Outdoor thread). I made my order with ease, and the material showed up quickly. This tent will far exceed our needs this fall. The finished product has a 7.5' peak height with about 4' wide of me standing up (I'm 6'2"). The finished total carry weight is 7.6#. I used a 35 degree angle for the roof as that seemed to be a good compromise for width, height, and rain run off. Each end has a zippered door, so the tent is identical front-and-back. 

Since the stove jack is centered in the tent, and there is no ridge pole to support it, I put a loop on the jack material to use 2 ropes to guy out perpendicular to the ridge rope so my Lite Outdoors Titanium XL stove pipe will be solid in any wind angle. The ridge peak loops secure it in one direction, and the stove jack loop secures it in the other direction. 

Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent
Customer Project: 8x16 Wall Tent

Materials

120' (40 yards) 1.6 oz Silpoly PU4000  
(Used about 86')
2' stove jack material
18' of #8 zipper
2 double zipper pulls

I also used:
2 spools Coates Outdoor Thread
16' of 1" nylon webbing
22 aluminum stakes
100' parachute cord (550 cord)
50' 1/4" spectra for peak
1 ratchet strap to tighten peak rope
3 tubes Seam Grip sealant
Related Products:

How do I make it?

I designed the tent to utilize the full width of the material I'd ordered (59-60" or so). I cut four pieces in my driveway at 16'4" to leave some for seam allowances. You'll notice in the photos that I'd labeled each panel in all 4 corners (this ended up being very helpful throughout). I cut 20 reinforcement pieces from the same material. The rope and stake loops are 1" webbing from a couple cheap ratchet straps in the back of my pickup. I used a 4' spacing between reinforcements/guy loops/stake loops. 

My assembly strategy was to put everything possible together before joining the panels. I hemmed the wall bottoms and sewed in all 20 of the reinforcement pieces in their respective places on the different panels. Then I put on the webbing loops with a X pattern of sewing attempting to spread the forces over as much fabric as possible. I sewed in a 10"x12" stove jack piece and a flap with tie straps to cover the hole when not using the stove. 

With everything attached, I proceeded to sew the panels together. I wanted to use a flat felled seam for its inherent strength, but there was so much material that it quickly became apparent that my $60 Brother sewing machine and I weren't going to be able to feed a full width panel through. (It'd be possible by someone with sewing skill, but that's not me.) I settled with a rolled seam that allowed me to keep both panels on the outside of the machine. In this manner, I got a wall top attached to a roof bottom: a roof top attached to a roof top to make the peak: a roof bottom attached to the other wall top.

At this point, I measured the finished roof length and wall height (both in the 57-58" range). Using a 35 degree angle for the roof, I measured and cut the door end pieces. You'll notice a seam in each door that came from the fact that I could get 2 triangles from one fabric width, thus I saved about 6' of material. I sewed a loop at the bottom of one door on each end to stake it down to help with zipper function. I put 7' worth of zipper in each door. I also hemmed a small gap at the door top for the peak rope to go through. 

Once the door ends were assembled, then I attached them to their respective wall and roof panels to complete the enclosure. 

Lastly, I made a bag for the tent and one for the stakes and ropes. It folds and rolls down to about 9"x16".