Chapter 11

This chapter describes the types of tents used in the USAP and offers some tips on using these tents in the field.

Four different tents are issued: the Scott Polar tent, the North Face® Westwind, the North Face® VE-25, and the Sierra Designs® Stretch Dome.

The following pages provide detailed information on the set-up and tear-down of Scott Polar tents. These tents are unique to polar travel and require some instruction to use properly, especially in strong winds.

The Westwind is packed in the BFC survival bags. It's easy to set up, secure in strong winds, and the flysheet provides extra room for cooking or gear storage.

The VE-25 and the Stretch dome are four-season self-standing tents. The hemispherical shape is extremely efficient in shedding both wind and snow.

11.1 Preparation for All Tents

Find a level site free of sharp objects and preferably out of the wind. In strong winds, if it is not an emergency, build a snow wall before erecting the tent (unless it is a Scott tent).

11.2 The Scott Polar Tent

The Scott Polar tent has been the standard Antarctic exploration shelter for almost 80 years; it has changed little in design since it's original concept. This tent is designed for two people, but four or more can be accommodated in an emergency. It travels assembled, sets up quickly, is very secure in strong winds (when set up properly), is safe to cook in, and as tents go, is quite warm.

11.2a Scott Polar Tent Set-Up

1. In high winds, raise the tent while belaying with the attached rope, allowing the wind to assist you, pulling the leeward poles into position. (See the diagrams on the following two pages.)

2. In hard snow, ice, or dirt, chop or scoop out small depr1essions (3-5 inches deep) for the tent poles to rest in.

3. Place heavy items in the valance (flaps), e.g., snow, ice blocks, food boxes, rocks, etc. If you use rocks, make sure the rocks don't rub on the main tent fabric.

4. Secure the stakes, and tighten all the guy lines. Use "slippery" knots that won't require a knife when it's time to take down the tent.

5. Spread the separate floor sheet inside the tent.

6. Insert the vent tube and tie it in so that it doesn't fall out.. It's sometimes easiest to insert the vent tube before erecting the tent. Do not operate a stove in the tent without the vent tube in place.

* [See figures ³TENT1² and ³TENT2²]

Note: Because of this tent's large surface area, anchors need to be especially "bomb-proof." In snow, deadman style anchors are the strongest and should be used for guylines. In the Dry Valleys, you may have to spend five minutes on each stake sledge-hammering it into frozen dirt and rock.

11.2b Scott Polar Tent Tear-Down

1. Fold up the floor sheet and secure it in a location where it won't blow away.

2. Uncover the valance and disconnect all but the windward guylines.

3. Tip the tent into the wind, collapsing the leeward poles. If the belay rope is still connected to the apex, take in slack to secure the tent. Lay the tent flat on the ground apex into the wind. Disconnect all guylines and neatly wind them up and lay them on the tent. (See the diagram on the following page.)

* [See figure ³TENT3²]

4. Pull the tent bag over the bundle, insert the floor sheet, and tie off the tent bag as shown below. * [See figure ³TENT4²]

If you find any tears or rips on the tent, repair them immediately with repair tape, duct tape, or needle and thread. If you don't repair these tears immediately, high winds could destroy your tent very quickly!

At the end of your field season, place tags on the tent indicating tears, rips, pole problems, and/or comments. This will enable the BFC staff to quickly locate the problems and fix them.

11.3 Setting up the Sierra Designs Stretch Dome Tent

To set up the the Sierra Designs Stretch Dome®, stake the floor before inserting the poles. This will allow for greater pitching ease and for greater safety and stability especially in high winds.

Next, stake each of the webbing loops at the back of the tent (points G and H in the figure below). Then move to the front of the tent and pull the webbing loops at points A and B until the tent floor is squarely and tautly positioned, and stake them down. Finally, stake the sides (points C and D) , again pulling the tent floor taut.

To erect the tent, inset the metal tips of one of the four long poles into the grommets at points A and H, and the tops of a second long pole into the grommets at points B and G. Next, poistion yourself in the open doorway and locate the double Swift Clips at the apex of the roof. Pull the two poles up so that they intersect at point I and attach both Swift Clips over the intersection of the poles as shown below. Follow the seams along the paths of the poles ant attach the Swift Clips to the poles.

Next, insert a long pole at points C and D, arching the pole around the back of the tent. Following the discontinuous seam along the path of the pole, attach all single Swift Clips, and the double Swift Clips located at the intersection points of the three poles. Insert the remaining long pole at points E and F, arching the pole around the front of the tent and again attaching all Swift Clips along the discontinouos seams as before.

11.4 Setting up the Northface Westwind and VE-25 Tents

The diagrams on the following two pages show how to set up the Northface® Westwind and VE-25 tents.

* [See figures ³TENT5² and ³TENT6²]

On to Section 12: Rope Use and Care.