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Subject Topic: Exploding Tents
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Message posted by Tonymciob on 18/8/2015 at 11:52am
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I've been thinking about buying an Outwell Concorde Air tent but am getting increasingly concerned about reports of exploding air beams (Outwell & Vango reports).
There must be a few scientist campers on UKCampsite who can do the necessary calculations to predict at what temperature an airbeam might burst. I think I've read that Outwell test to around 24psi but that's no good in the South of France if the temperature takes the pressure higher. If Outwell want to give me a tent I'm happy to take it to the sun!
Comments invited.

Message posted by duffs54 on 18/8/2015 at 4:46pm
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I think you just need to take air out, if it gets hot, outdoor revolution tents apparently do it automatically.

we have camped in the high 20's in July this year in our Kampa Croyde, we didn't have a problem, just let a bit of air out.



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Duffs54      


Message posted by mirfield on 18/8/2015 at 11:05pm
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Hi Tony ...

This thread contains details of three exploding Outwells.

Exploding Outwell Tents

Message posted by oohmyback on 19/8/2015 at 9:19am
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Quote: Originally posted by Tonymciob on 18/8/2015
I've been thinking about buying an Outwell Concorde Air tent but am getting increasingly concerned about reports of exploding air beams (Outwell & Vango reports).
There must be a few scientist campers on UKCampsite who can do the necessary calculations to predict at what temperature an airbeam might burst. I think I've read that Outwell test to around 24psi but that's no good in the South of France if the temperature takes the pressure higher. If Outwell want to give me a tent I'm happy to take it to the sun!
Comments invited.




Got my own post running about the same thing

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/chatter/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=7&TopicID=329865&PagePosition=1&ThreadPage=1&get=last#4498621


Seems to be an issue imho.



Message posted by Blue Sue on 02/9/2015 at 2:35pm
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Our Outwell Corvette XL experience -

Firstly the bag I huge and very heavy but this seems to be the standard for air tents. A preliminary pitch in the back garden went well despite the pump supplied not working. A quick to trip to buy another and it went up smoothly. We left it standing for a few hours in pleasant warm sunshine in the UK.
Then a two week trip to the Vendee. Arrived late but we were relaxed knowing it goes up so quickly and it did. We chose the lowest advised pressure due to the expected warm weather.
The next morning we woke to the front porch completely collapsed. We took the tube out of its casing and put it in a bath onsite to try and find a leak. The tube was fine turned out to be the valve. A call to our online suppliers (who have been brilliant)and they sent a replacement and two more (just in case) to the campsite.
Over the next couple of days the temperature soared. It was at least 28degrees ambient outside. We released pressure again in the mornings. Sitting having lunch what sounded just like a firework display right beside us. We could tell by the fabric round the beams that all was not well. When we took them out and inspected the evidence was obvious. The plastic inners were intact but the main sleeves had shattered. Close inspection showed the glue had melted on the seams opposite the zip and this had eventually slid enough for them to explode. Another call to our supplier and to Outwell this time. Again both were brilliant in that they offered as much remote help as they could. Our supplier even offered to courier another tent out to us. We just used our initiative in the end and bought lots of rolls of gaffer tape and wound them round the whole length of each beam. This worked because the internal plastic bags were intact. A thermometer showed we had 38 degrees inside the tent and as we were in direct sun on the top of the tent we reckon closer to 45plus directly on the beams which are NOT reflective. It was impossible to touch.
We survived the rest of the trip basically on the verge of collapse with as little pressure as we could. This caused the tent to take on a very strange shape sort of low and flat and doors no longer closed.
On a positive note it did not leak during the huge thunderstorm which broke the heatwave.
The tent has been returned to Outwell together with pics and all the pressure/temp readings we took and we have had a full refund from our supplier - they really have been great.
This technology offers so much but its just not there yet. This tent would probably have performed brilliantly in the UK but it is not suitable for direct sunlight campsites in high temperature. Outwells rather daft suggestion of basically sitting by the tent all day regulating the pressure was not helpful.
Why introduce another potential point of failure with a seam on the rigid pole material, there is a zip fastener at the front of the pole?
Was the tape used to cover the seam suitable (when I felt between the pole and tent material it was hotter than I could touch)
Why not make the exterior of the tent reflective above the seating of the poles?
Was the design ever tested in direct sunlight which we know produces a hotter environment than ambient temperature?
If there is a specific operating temperature? As this is associated with recommended pressures then this should be clearly stated – I do notice there is recommendation to ‘regulate’ pressures (this in itself is a step backwards from normal poles) but in reality this would entail the owner being next to the tent at all times just in case of large temperature fluctuations. Clearly this is not feasible.
We await a response from Outwell and will review the tents again next spring but would definitely not buy unless there has been some significant improvements for 2016.

Message posted by Tonymciob on 02/9/2015 at 3:21pm
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I've since had a reply from Outwell UK (see below)but it suggests that you stay by your tent if it's hot and let the air accordingly. I wonder if Outwell sell these tents in France or Spain?
I'm still totally confused with regard to purchasing one as Outwell don't appear to be taking the issue seriously by making such ridiculous suggestions to people on holiday. They're also not telling else whether they recognise the issue and are making drastic improvements to their 2016 range. Karsten have been making inflatable tents since 1981 so I wonder if any owners have had any problems in hot climates?


We do understand the concern regarding air tents, as they are a quite new concept many people have not experienced yet.

I can assure you that our air tubes are made to last and if they are treated right they will serve you for many years to come.

The only problem you can occur when having an air tent is the air to expand too much causing it to damage the tubes.

However, with some common sense this will not be a problem. Just make sure to keep an eye on the air pressure, especially during the day when it gets hotter. If the pressure rises you can simply just deflate it a bit, and later on when the temperature is falling you can inflate the tent again.

I read the review on UK Campsite, and they unfortunately did something unfortunate, by leaving the tent during the day without keeping in mind that air is expanding when it gets hot. Therefor it is always a good idea to deflate the tent a bit before leaving it as this will give the air space to expand.


Message posted by Flintymutt on 02/9/2015 at 3:26pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Tonymciob on 02/9/2015
I've since had a reply from Outwell UK (see below)but it suggests that you stay by your tent if it's hot and let the air accordingly. I wonder if Outwell sell these tents in France or Spain?
I'm still totally confused with regard to purchasing one as Outwell don't appear to be taking the issue seriously by making such ridiculous suggestions to people on holiday. They're also not telling else whether they recognise the issue and are making drastic improvements to their 2016 range. Karsten have been making inflatable tents since 1981 so I wonder if any owners have had any problems in hot climates?


We do understand the concern regarding air tents, as they are a quite new concept many people have not experienced yet.

I can assure you that our air tubes are made to last and if they are treated right they will serve you for many years to come.

The only problem you can occur when having an air tent is the air to expand too much causing it to damage the tubes.

However, with some common sense this will not be a problem. Just make sure to keep an eye on the air pressure, especially during the day when it gets hotter. If the pressure rises you can simply just deflate it a bit, and later on when the temperature is falling you can inflate the tent again.

I read the review on UK Campsite, and they unfortunately did something unfortunate, by leaving the tent during the day without keeping in mind that air is expanding when it gets hot. Therefor it is always a good idea to deflate the tent a bit before leaving it as this will give the air space to expand.





That's is a p155 poor response. I bought an Outwell Concorde L a couple of months back and I'm now concerned that if there's any decent heat I'll come back to find the tent deflated.

Time for Ann Robinson??


NEARLY-NEW-TENTS

Message posted by Mountain Runner on 02/9/2015 at 4:02pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Tonymciob on 02/9/2015
I've since had a reply from Outwell UK (see below)but it suggests that you stay by your tent if it's hot and let the air accordingly.





Hilarious response

Why would anyone buy a £1000+ tent to sit & watch it all day?

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"Why is your caravan all covered up?"

Message posted by phathamster on 02/9/2015 at 4:04pm
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it seems poles are better than air, flawed concept imho, and really not that much quicker to erect from what i have seen.

Message posted by in4apenny on 02/9/2015 at 5:06pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Mountain Runner on 02/9/2015

Why would anyone buy a £1000+ tent to sit & watch it all day?



You can almost hear the conversation with passers by.

Passer by to owner--- Ooh What a lovely day , not had it this hot for ages.We've been admiring your tent , is it easy to put up.

Owner--- yep it's a doddle , only takes a few minutes.

Passer by--- That sounds great we'd love something like that, are they expensive?

Owner--- They're not cheap( cough).

Passer by---- how's it been in the wind & rain these last few days.

Owner---Hmmm not too bad , just a couple of small puddles around the pole bases when it's really heavy.

Passer by--- Must look into one, might be just what were looking for.-----Have you any plans for today?---




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The cheap tat was much better quality when i was young.

Message posted by in4apenny on 02/9/2015 at 6:03pm
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Quote: Originally posted by phathamster on 02/9/2015
it seems poles are better than air, flawed concept imho, and really not that much quicker to erect from what i have seen.



I would say it's not so much a flawed concept ( Karsten for instance seem to have it right)as a flawed application ie make it as cheap as possible . Rather than base the air chambers on something as durable as say car/bike inner tubes they've opted for something resembling air cushion packaging( bubble wrap).

Steel poles for me too , durable, reliable & not required for the last 30 yrs repairable.


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The cheap tat was much better quality when i was young.

Message posted by Trekkin Tekkie on 02/9/2015 at 6:38pm
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Very amateur PR by Outwell, with the 'stay around the pitch all day' business. Not good.

As for the pressure, I think I saw a theory on this forum a while back suggesting that temperature rises are not likely to be enough to cause enough of a pressure increase to blow the tubes. I'd agree. By my school-boy physics, (rusty these days, I'll admit) a temperature rise from say 20 degrees to 40 degrees is only an increase of less than 7% (measuring from absolute zero of course...). So, if you've inflated to 0.7 bar at 20 degrees and the temp rises to 40 degrees, then the pressure would still be less than 0.75 bar, which is within the recommended limits. Feel free to shoot me down, I'm no professor.

However, if the reinforcing sleeve, which gives the inflated tube its strength, splits, either through disintegration, or because the seam glue gives up because it's hot, (not necessarily because the force of the pressure within is too high), then yes, you're in the 5h1t.

TT


Message posted by in4apenny on 02/9/2015 at 6:51pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Trekkin Tekkie on 02/9/2015

However, if the reinforcing sleeve, which gives the inflated tube its strength, splits, either through disintegration, or because the seam glue gives up because it's hot, (not necessarily because the force of the pressure within is too high)




Really the sleeve seams are glued and not stitched?


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The cheap tat was much better quality when i was young.

Message posted by Trekkin Tekkie on 02/9/2015 at 7:10pm
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I don't see any stitches here.



TT

Message posted by fran1000 on 02/9/2015 at 7:23pm
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If Outwell are serious in their suggestion that people "make sure to keep an eye on the air pressure, especially during the day when it gets hotter", then they're as good as admitting the tents aren't fit for purpose imo.

Absolutely ridiculous suggestion. Do they actually realise what people do on camping trips?


Message posted by in4apenny on 02/9/2015 at 7:32pm
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I can clearly see the tape on the upper half of the pic, what's holding the bottom half together (glued) & why no tape there.

What gauge polythene( i presume that's what it is) would you say they use for the inflation tubes.



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The cheap tat was much better quality when i was young.


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