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  1. #1
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    Default 20 year old tent any good?

    hey all;
    I've got a 20 year old Mountain Hardwear 'Night View' 2 person tent which has been used lightly and stored in a closed container (not airtight) in the attic.
    I haven't taken the tent out for quite a while, so I don't know its condition at the moment. But I'm thinking that eventually, the fabric - especially sealed seams - will break down, rendering the tent useless.
    I know I need to take it out and set it up to see what shape it's in, but in the meantime, can anyone tell me whether a tent like this one should last 20+ years.

    Thanks
    Arden

  2. #2

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    It's UV which breaks down nylon fabric. Stored in an attic, it should be mold and mildew free. It's easy enough to reseal the seams if it needs it.

    I have a tent which is nearly 40 years old which I still use typically once a year for a weekend car camping. It still works fine. When new, it was my backpacking tent, but at 6+ pounds, not any more!
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  3. #3
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    I still have all but one of my retired tents, the oldest being 25yrs old. They are all still fine except for the tent fly seams leaking in spots (reason I retired them). I keep them around for the kids to play with. Set yours up in the yard and turn the sprinkler on - see what happens.

  4. #4

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    If its sticky n smells funky.. .save the poles n throw it out!

  5. #5
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    My 1st tent started having the waterproof coating delaminate after about 15 years (Kelty Vortex).
    My 2nd tent is about 10 years old and is still in great condition (Big Agnes Lynx Pass).

  6. #6
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    please try it out and home with a hose and be sure it does not leak. I tried a 30 year old tent without a home test and was flooded.

  7. #7

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    ^^Definitely try it at home first. Don't get your hopes up.
    I cleaned out my attic last year, and the nylon stuff had broken down. Had some things stored in old duffel bags that just fell apart when I tried to pick them up.

  8. #8
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    Im one of those guys who will ever try to save and repair old stuff.
    Have an ancient (~40yrs) Salewa dome tent which had served me perfectly fine for many trips.

    Tried it out for a family camping trip, and got flooded in a downpour.
    The PU coating was partially delaminated, all the seams leaked and at one point the fabric started to break.

    You better try out your old one back home to be safe.

  9. #9
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    I had a EMS tent that I used only for winter hiking. After about 15 years it started to smell and delaminate. I had a Sierra Design tent that was over 20 years old and it bit the dust 2 years ago. In the past 10 years I used it only for when I did trail work. I was in Maine two years ago on trail crew and it rained every night. I had sealed the seams before I left but I was still getting leaks. After further investigation I discovered the waterproofing just wore out and after the fly wetted out and then it would leak.
    More walking, less talking.

  10. #10

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    Heat will weaken manmade fabrics (especially with older fabrics) much as UV light will. Attics are not known for their low temperatures in summer so there may be some heat damage that won't be realized until it has been set up and used a few times. The advice here to set up and use the tent is good, I would add to set it up and use it a few times (especially in bad weather) before you have to depend on it for shelter only to find the fabric(s) starts to fail.

    REI suggests the following for tent storage:

    Upon returning home from a big adventure, it can be tempting to plop your gear down and not deal with it for a while. But taking the time to unpack and put items away properly will help ensure you get years of faithful service out of your equipment.
    This is especially true for your tent: Improper storage can quickly lead to mildew growth and material breakdown. To help prevent issues like these, simply follow two key steps for storing your tent:

    1. Make sure your tent is completely dry.
    2. Store it loosely in a cool, dry place.

    Step 1
    If you do nothing else, make sure that your tent is dry before you store it. A tent that is put away damp will develop mildew, which will give your tent a funky odor. The moisture can also potentially damage the polyurethane waterproof coatings beyond repair. If you’ve ever had a tent that became flaky, tacky or smelly, that’s likely because it was not dry before you stored it.

    To keep this from happening, dry your tent out by setting it up indoors or in a shaded outdoor spot. If you don’t have enough space to pitch it, drape it or hang it until dry.
    Keep it clean: If you returned home from your outing with a dirty tent, taking the time to clean it can help improve longevity, especially if it was exposed to sand, fine dust, bird droppings and tree sap.
    Use cold water and mild, non-detergent soap to spot clean dirty fabric. To get sap off, let the sap dry and then try gently spot cleaning with mineral oil or other alcohol-based products, like hand sanitizer or wet wipes. Be sure to rinse well with water afterward.
    To keep your zippers running smooth, use an old toothbrush to remove grit. Learn more about cleaning your tent.
    Step 2
    Keep it loose:
    Though nicely compact for backpacking, the stuff sack that came with your tent is a poor choice for long-term storage. You want tent fabrics to relax and breathe. An old pillowcase or similarly sized mesh bag will work well. You can neatly fold your tent up and place it in the bag or simply stuff it in.

    Reduce tension: For tent poles, you can extend the life of the shockcord by storing the poles partially assembled to take tension off the cord. But not everyone has space to do this, so another option is to break the poles down by starting in the middle and working toward the ends. Collapsing poles down like this evenly distributes tension along the cord.
    Keep it cool: When looking for a place to keep your tent, try to find a dry, cool spot in your home. This means avoid storing it in damp or hot locations like a basement, attic or car trunk. A gear closet or garage are both good options.

  11. #11
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    We have a bunch of the Eureka green tents that were popular at one point in our Scout Troop store room and they are in that range (20-25 years old). For the most part they aren't bad, though a couple have leaked, which may just be need for re-sealing.

    You'd think they wouldn't last that well, but then again they don't all get used frequently (the group is smaller than when they were purchased and more people buy their own tents now).

  12. #12
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    Thanks for your advice guys;
    I will take the tent out and hose it down before trying to use it on a trip. But at 8lbs, this tent is not for backpacking. I used to carry it when I was a lot younger, but I'm trying to cut the weight of my pack down, so I bought a Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1-person a couple years ago. It's only about 3lbs, and great for my backpacking treks.
    Still, if the MH Nightview is still good, I can use it for car camping. I could use it if I ever become homeless...

  13. #13

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    Before I got into the Hilleberg brand of tents all I used were Mt Hardwear tents---(and before that North Face tents).

    I have a whole catalog of Mt HW tents---the Muir Trail, Mt Jet, Light Wedge, Hammerhead.

    They all have a terrible flame retardant chemical stink and they all died due to UV poisoning, i.e. fly rips. And the floors quit being waterproof. I used them extensively for backpacking.

    Pull out your 20 year old tent and set it up in the backyard and use a water hose to create a rainstorm and stay in it for the night. Taste test.

  14. #14
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    I have one that is that old and still in use. They were much heavier back then though. ;-)

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by camper10469 View Post
    If its sticky n smells funky.. .save the poles n throw it out!
    I recently tossed an EMS tent that was about 25 years old for this reason. I could also see spots through the coating where it would leak.

    BTW, camper, if you're in the Bronx now, be careful and stay healthy. I'm hearing some rough stories from family in the area.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevperro View Post
    I have one that is that old and still in use. They were much heavier back then though. ;-)
    Ain't that the truth.
    My 1st tent was the Kelty Vortex 2... it was nearly a 9 pound tent.
    Years later, it was replaced by the Kelty Gunnisson 2 and it was only about 6 pounds.
    Of course the design had changed. The vortex has an inner door that could open or closed while the no-see-em netting could still be closed.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arden View Post
    hey all;
    I've got a 20 year old Mountain Hardwear 'Night View' 2 person tent which has been used lightly and stored in a closed container (not airtight) in the attic.
    I haven't taken the tent out for quite a while, so I don't know its condition at the moment. But I'm thinking that eventually, the fabric - especially sealed seams - will break down, rendering the tent useless.
    I know I need to take it out and set it up to see what shape it's in, but in the meantime, can anyone tell me whether a tent like this one should last 20+ years.

    Thanks
    Arden
    I also have a a 25 year old mountain hardwear tent. Mine is a a re-badged Easton tent. I think it was before MH was doing there own manufacturing. I forget the model, but it is really well built. It even has a storm viewing window, lol. I can't part with it but no longer carry it back packing. It is great for canoeing. I spray the fly with Kiwi Camp Dry. It still stays dry

  18. #18
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    "I think it was before MH was doing there own manufacturing.'
    Maybe their own designs, not manufacturing.

  19. #19

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    ^^^^lol, i was wondering when someone would correct this egregious misstatement!

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