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Hacking a Spitefire 1


More living space, less bulk, more versatility

Topic: Bicycle Touring  
Categories: Camping
Keywords: tent, Eureka

Permalink: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/hackingSpitefire

Copyright © 2012-2014 By Jerry Harp - (contact)

Status: Completed Sep 2012
Last update: Wednesday July 17, 2013 20:39 (US/Pacific) (edited Mon 14 Apr 2014 05:26 (US/Pacific))
2,156 hits since September 29, 2012 (hitcounts updated nightly)
6 pics


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Get out the scissors

        
7/17/2013: Tour tested, 12 nights. No problems.

The Spitfire 1 is an inexpensive, tough, double walled tent nearly ideal for cycle touring, on a budget or not. But at 18 sq ft, a bit cramped, as are most solo tents. Making it more liveable(24 sq ft?) is what inspired this project. Less bulk/weight and more versatility were side benefits.

Minimally, you'll need string, grommets, and 2 mill plastic.

Cut four grommets from an old tarp. Or use washers with similar size holes. Connect the grommets with some strong string. One pair should be 55" apart, one 30" apart. These are pole tensioners, taking the place of the ones on the inner tent, but further apart. Store in the stake bag.

Get some 2 mill plastic sheeting(drop cloth, 9'x12')from your local hardware store. Lay it out. Your groundsheet.

Tension the poles with the grommets. Connect the poles to the fly using the velcro strips that are sewed to the under side of the fly for this purpose. (You may have never noticed them.) Erect the fly over the ground sheet and stake to the max. Trim the plastic to a rectangle around the fly. Your living space is now several sq ft larger than when using the inner tent and the bulk/weight is significantly reduced.

Here are some optional refinements.

1. Use duct tape to protect the plastic where the poles touch it.
2. Wrap a cable tie around each pole just above the tip. See picture.
3. Add stake points to the fly as desired, using cable ties. 
The fly only pitch just described works well in cooler weather when mosquitoes are not a problem. For warm weather camping, you'll want to add noseum to the fly. Here's how.

Get your hands on some noseeum netting. A cheap used tent, or a pyramid net tent for $10. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I66ZBY/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_5?ie=UTF8&smid=A29IFM5DKFRMRT Trim the netting for use as fringe around the bottom of the Spitfire fly. About 10" wide. Then simply staple the netting to the taped edge of the fly. Double the noseeum edge to reinforce. A little tedious but simple.

If rain is in the forecast, you'll want to lower the edge of the fly by moving the stakes inward a bit, and pull the excess ground sheet inside the fly to create a bathtub effect. (Rain at night, in my experience, is actually pretty rare.)

For hot nights, I find the inner tent, minus the fly, essential for ventilation. Just not enough air movement with the fly only pitch, so I pay the weight/bulk penalty, offset by the need for fewer/lighter clothes.

If you don't mind the weight/bulk penalty of the inner, always take it, but use only when needed. Have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.

Minus the inner tent, total weight, fly, poles, stakes, ground sheet, is 2 lbs, 3 oz.

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Fly pitched for maximum living space

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Put duct tape under pole tip.

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Weight washer

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Ground sheet pulled inside for rain. Pretty rare at night in my experience.

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Cable tie position on pole. Ensures the pole tension grommets stay put while manipulating the poles.

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Inner ready to erect if needed. If ends staked prior to need, can be erected without getting outside. You'll need to be pretty limber to do that.


"Hacking a Spitefire 1" Copyright © 2012-2014 By Jerry Harp - (contact). All rights reserved.
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