Category Archives: Rectangular tent

Prototype review

We went camping and wanted to travel light, so we took the new tent for a road trip.

The tent is a good size, fitting our double bed, a comfy  dressing space at one end and space for armour storage at the other.  At the end of the week, we reduced the size of the dressing space and put our daughter’s rope bed at the end.

It was pretty easy to put up in the dark, and easy to fiddle with the next day and later in the week when I added the ridge pole.  I could have put it up by myself.

We tried doorways on the side and at the ends, and in future I will set it up with a doorway at each end.

Here’s the tent set up:

This is after I added a ridge pole and did some substantial fiddling to get it as good as I could.  Here’s what I’m going to do to make it better:

  • Stiffer ridgepole or a frame  (I made this ridgepole onsite with a length of scotia and some fibre tape for extra stiffness)
  • A valance will look better and make it more water proof (the eave is too short)
  • Move the location of the guys to be in line with the poles
  • I think I will replace the end triangle.  The walls have a generous overlap, so I’ll still use these walls.

Here’s a picture before I put in the ridgepole:

Looking at the photos, I think I have the width of the roof triangle incorrect.  I think the base of the triangle should be bigger. See?

I’m also feeling like I need an internal frame to get that really straight roof eave and perfect corner.  My corners just sagged until we move the rope to the corner.  Not a full frame, just a rectangle at the eave.  Like my bed curtains, and those circular tents with electrical conduit you see around the place.

Otherwise, I should have used option 1 for my guy pattern.


Details of the arming tent

Edit:  this guy pattern didn’t work well.  I should have gone with option 1.

I’m up to working out how to do the guy ropes for the arming tent.

There are two details of guys from my previous post about this tent.  See the two ropes coming off the single guy?  We call them crow’s feet.

Based on my experience with other rectangular tents, the most important guys are at the corners.  From these pictures, it looks like I have two options;

  1. A crows foot going around the corner, with the main guy at the corner.
  2. Two crows feet, one at 90 degrees to the other.

I think I’m going with option 2.  Ideally, I would space the guys so I can change my mind, but I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning so here’s what I’m doing;

That’s 12×3=36 cringles.  the set of 3 are 15cm apart, and there is 700mm between them on the sides. The ends are set 20mm from the corner.

I’ll be tying the guys on (no time to make hooks and these pictures don’t show them).

The guy ropes (measured from my drawing +1m) will be 3.3m long, I’ll also need 0.5m per foot, so 4.3m per guy/crows foot.  Total rope required = 4.3m x 6 x 2 = 52m.

The new, rectangular tent

A friend has made a very beautiful rectangular tent. It doesn’t have any guy ropes, it is based on an internal frame with welded connectors, similar to the cheap sunshades you can buy.  It’s very popular because it doesn’t need extra space for guy ropes.  Also, it’s beautiful.  The small tent in the foreground is a soldier’s tent.  There’s more information about it here.

There are a number of rectangular tents in the Froissart Chronicles.  It’s a 15th Century French manuscript with lots of battle scenes.  Almost all of them have guy ropes.

So, I want to make the same canvas shell, but use 2 poles and forked guy ropes.

This is theEdward III of England besieging Reims (1359/60).  (BNF, FR 2643)   Jean Froissart, Chronicles fol. 253 Flandres, Bruges 15th Century. (100 x   90 mm) only one I have found that doesn’t have guy ropes.

And here are the pictures that show rectangular tents with guy ropes.

From Froissart

The French lay siege to Duras (1377).  (BNF, FR 2644) Jean Froissart, Chronicles fol. 9 Flandres, Bruges 15th Century. (185 x 200 mm) Charles of Blois, duke of Brittany, is taken prisoner at the Battle of La Roche-Derrien (1347).  (BNF, FR 2643) Jean Froissart, Chronicles fol. 180 Flandres, Bruges 15th Century. (170 x 200 mm) French and English forces at the Battle of Chizé (1373).  (BNF, FR 2643) Jean Froissart, Chronicles fol. 406 Flandres, Bruges 15th Century. (170 x 200 mm)

And another one:

A nice medieval picture with tents. Someone told me that this  comes from the Romance of Alexander, but it doesn't look anything like  the c. 1340 manuscript mentioned above; the style looks maybe 50 years  later to me. The tents in this picture are basically white, with  elaborate painted designs. Thanks to Mary Hall for finding Stephen Bloch  this picture.

I would like to make a red one.  I can get cheap red canvas.  But a friend recently found some bargain canvas, so I’ll be making a white one.  I’ll probably paint it similarly to the tent shown in the Romance of Alexander above.

I want to use the tent as a light weight camping tent and also for an arming tent at tourneys.   I’ll make 4 removable  wall sections that will overlap to make an opening in the centre of each face.  Each wall piece will be half an end and half front/back.

It is big enough to fit a double bed between the poles, and a bit of storage space at the ends.

Here are the proportions and sizes I’m using.

Here’s my cutting pattern.  Click for the link to a printable pdf.

The dimensions are the cutting out dimensions, including seam allowance.  I’ve allowed a 40mm seam allowance for “vertical” seams and 100mm for the top and bottom of the walls, and the bottom of the roof.

See the dining tent post for examples of the sewing and painting set up.