Saturday, 18 September 2010

Vaude Power Lizard UL, Waterproof? Updated

I wanted to make a lightweight groundsheet for the Power Lizard to provide a dry place to sit to hook up the inner and to keep the groundsheet dry for packing separately from the fly. I'd thought about silnylon or double glazing film but hadn't really made a decision. However I was in 'Poundland' last week and noticed packs of temporary double glazing film at £1 each, the sheets were only 157cm x 107cm so I bought 2 packs with the intention of taping them together.

It's was pretty miserable today with constant persistant rain which was quite heavy at times but not wind driven but I wanted to make a start. I pitched the fly 1st and then went to tape the 2 sheets of film together. They obviously needed trimmed to size so I laid them under the fly before hanging the inner tent.

I'd been messing around in and out of the tent a few times and was lying in the inner when noticed a few drops of water on the inner tent at the apex of the roof. I unhooked the inner, simply letting it lie flat and rubbed my finger across the inside of the fly just down from the seam tape and definitely felt that it was wet. On closer examination I noticed a few droplets starting to form again on the inside of the fly, now it's just possible that by wiping my finger across the inside of the fly I encouraged water to penetrate but that doesn't explain the droplets that had caught my attention in the 1st place.

As I had to go out for a couple of hours I left the tent as it was with the inner dropped and when I returned there was a wet patch on the inner. This time it looked as if water had been dripping from one of the hanging loops. I checked the other loops and there was a droplet of water on each together with the loop that the pole tension cord runs through although I didn't see any droplets on the inside of the fly.

To be honest it wasn't much but considering that although the rain was constant and at times heavy it wasn't being wind driven and to be fair I'm not sure that it's acceptable that there was water seeping through. It looks as if the water is getting through the seams where the pole clips are attached as the inner hanging loops are directly opposite on the inside.

I was going to modify the inner tent attachment loops but don't want to do anything now until I contact Vaude, I'll e-mail them again and send them the photographs/video clip to see what their response is although I'm getting to the point where patience is running low.


I was having another look at the fly as it's currently hanging in the garage to dry out and I've found why water is dripping off the hanging loops/tension cord webbing. The webbing loops have been sewn on after the main seams have been taped and obviously the stitching goes right through the fly sheet, when the tension cord is tightened it pulls the webbing which in turn pulls the stitches. Now that I know where the water is coming from it'll be easy to seal the stitching with silicone sealer. I'm still not sure about the droplets forming on the inside of the fly fabric but I'll just keep an eye on it. I'm happier now as I was initially worried that the seam tape was faulty.

In response to the comments I thought I'd add the following shots illustrating how Phoenix attempted to minimise the problem of having to sew loops to the flysheet to attach the inner tent. This flysheet is the newest of 3 Phreerangers I own, all purchased used. The best 2 are ironically the pre 1988 un-taped versions, the taped one while being the newest is in the worst condition. It may be difficult to see in the shots but the elastic loop has 1st been sew to a small square piece of fabric, the fabric has then been sewn to the fly using a row of stitching either side of the loop. The square piece of fabric is then taped which means that the un-taped stitching holding the loop to the fabric isn't sewn directly to the fly. While it would still be possible for water to penetrate eventually it certainly minimises it. Of course doing it this way involves much more work and goes some way to explaining why my original Phreeranger EB cost almost £200 back in 1990/91.


  1. As you know from my experience with my Scarp, webbing seems to be very vulnerable to wicking water to the inside of the tent. You might want to apply some sealant to the webbing inside (just work it in gently with a brush) as it will stop it wicking.

    It is concerning that maufacturers don't seem to consider this and that their testing doesn't seem to reveal basic design and production flaws.

  2. Seems a bit shoddy, one way or another. Any response from Vaude yet?

  3. I guess it's an easy fix with some seam sealer, but what a stupid error by Vaude!

  4. It does seem pretty obvious that if you sew through the seam tape it'll leak but to be honest it was never going to flood the inner tent, my concern was that the seam tape and/or fly coating was faulty. I'm sure it'll be fine once sealed with silicone. I'll take your advice on the webbing Robin.

    I'm not expecting a reply from Vaude until Monday at the earliest, hope they get back asap as I want to get on with modifying the inner/fly attachment points.

  5. the thing is, quite often these tents are made en-masse by semi-skilled people and in countries far away from the point of sale/use. If the manufacturing process is sub-contracted out (usually to SE Asian companies) then there is a possibility that small errors will be missed
    Still, its unusual for Vaude given their reputation

  6. I don't think it's a manufacturing fault as such, just a design oversight or something which was deemed to be unimportant. More than likely it wouldn't be a problem as it's only wicking down the webbing and runs off the inner tent anyway but I'll seal it because I can :-)