After looking around for a short while, we managed to run across a drive-away Westy tent that was/is commonly used with VW buses. We’ve seen these range wildly in price and picked this one up for a descent price. There are a few pin sized holes, a couple zippers that need replacing, a peg hold missing in one of the corners, and two of the hooks are missing from the exterior to hold it to the frame. Sounds like alot, but really…not too bad.
Nothiing needs to be done in order for us to use it immediatley if we desired.
First off, I want to note that these tents are not all that hard to set up. I have heard horror stories over the years about the amount of time and effort it takes to put one together, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. The hardest part was managing to get the rubber edge of the tent over the rain gutter of the bus. And even that just took a minute of looking at to figure out the right technique, then it was cake. Total setup time for my first crack at it was about 15 minutes. I have no doubts that I’ll be able to get it under 10 the next time. Thanks to my lovely wife for figuring out the easy way to put that seal over the rain gutter. I’d probably still be there otherwise.
A couple things we wanted to do was use colored electrical tape to color code the poles for easier assembly the next time around, and apply a silicon-based water repelent to the canvas. We were able to get the labeling done, but it’s recommended that the water repellent be allowed 24 to 48 hours to cure before putting the tent away. With damp weather incoming, we decided to put the tent away and erect it in the garage later for the application. We picked up the water repelent spray from a local outdoor/camping store. Although we went with Kiwi, I have read that 3M also makes a reliable product.
Some notes on putting this tent up that we learned today. Alot of this I am sure is beginner stuff to many but I will post anyhow. Of course, you should make sure that you have all the poles for the exterior structure and have stakes for the perimeter (I believe it takes 10.) It seems easiest to peg the floor down first. Then erect the exterior poles. Once you have the exterior pole construction assembled, do NOT raise it to your desired height yet. First connect the top of the tent to the poles via the hooks. After they are all connected, then go to each corner and raise the tent up. The unit becomes amazingly stable once this is done, even without having lines pegged to pull the corners of the tent poles tight. I’d probably only tie it down if it was known that it would be windy. As far as applying the rubber seal to the rain gutter of your bus, we found the following process fairly easy. Of course, YMMV depending on the condition of the seal your are using. From inside the tent, facing the bus, grab the seal in such a way that you can push the bottom section of the seal to the bottom of the rain gutter. The, while keeping that portion on the outside of the gutter, apply pressure to the top of the seal to pop it over the gutter. In this move, the bottom area of my palm ends up pushing the bottom part against the outside of the gutter while my index and thumb work on the top portion. Leave a comment if you would like an image of this while its being done, to help clarify.
Alot of other useful information can be had in the Type 2 library, which also link’s to Joe Clark’s very useful compilation of tent facts.
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