We are out of Egyptian Cotton fabric. Stay in touch with an update!
Lightweight Expedition Tents
TENTSMITHS offers classic wilderness tentage for the experienced and discriminating outdoor person. Our tent designs are based on original structures proven to be effective in extreme environments. This section of our online catalog lists some of the many styles we can build.
TENTSMITHS “designs” very few tents – we are copiers. We believe our job is to learn from the past and repeat it. Our tent designs have come from such notable outdoor writers as RUTSTRUM, NESSMUCK, WHELEN, CONNOVER, CABOT KEPHART and the many indigenous peoples that roamed the roamed the northern reaches of the earth.
Please remember that we are a custom tent making company. We would be happy to construct a tent you will be happy to use and proud to own for many years to come.
Peter & Deborah Marques
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A word or two about Egyptian Cotton…
Fabric for our offerings of lightweight tents has stabilized at one; Egyptian cotton. Why? Because it works!
History repeats itself and so will the wonderful properties of this fabric. Famous and not so famous travelers have extolled its virtues for over one hundred years. Unable to find Egyptian cotton suitable for making tents we contracted to have it woven for us. Our 4.5 ounce ELS (extra long staple) cotton has over two hundred threads in each direction per square inch. This ELS cotton is very strong, abrasion resistant and has a natural tendency to turn water. The tight weave builds a fabric windproof but still able to breathe. More threads per inch means it is time consuming to weave and therefore more expensive than a lesser quality cotton. We believe it is worth it. Nothing else compares to the naturally “hard” finish of Egyptian cotton. This hard finish allows snow to slide easier and has less tendency to attach itself to the frozen ground.
At first a 4.5 ounce per square yard seems excessively heavy, twice as heavy in fact as a nylon tent with its 2-3 ounce floor and 2 ounce roof. A waterproof coated nylon floor may be fine but not a coated waterproof roof, so a breathable roof is necessary with the addition of a waterproof coated fly adding more weight. The weights become similar the performance never comes close. While both tents will hold the wind and snow outside, the cotton tent will be a great deal more livable. Cotton is more breathable so in a winter situation it rids itself of moisture faster. Nylon (good nylon) has an industry expected life of six weeks in the sun (longer in winter and northern climates)- a short life for the investment in raw materials. Cotton, if card for, can last many years. Nylon is a terrible choice for any tent that may be asked to hold the heat from a wood stove. A tent fire is always a possibility and while no fire is ever going to be a pleasant experience, cotton burns up fast and is gone where nylon catches easily, melts, sticks, and continues to burn with toxic fumes.
In fact we have had all of our Egyptian cotton fabric treated with a durable water resistant and flame resistant finish. Our fabric has been delayed almost a full year while we waited for a new finish to be developed, one which would not alter the wonderful properties of the Egyptian cotton we spent so much time looking for. We have done this to be able to produce a safer tent. Our intention is also to be to provide to people living in the states and countries which require flame resistance for all tents sold. All of our Egyptian cotton expedition tents meet CPAI-84 flame resistance standards. Nothing is flame proof but the degree of safety this finish adds is remarkable. We are proud enough of this new standard in cotton performance to trademark the name “Pathfinder Performance Finish”.
You will see PATHFINDER on many more TENTSMITHS tents in the future.