View Full Version : Wedge tent - Blockade Runner vs the rest
11-14-2008, 08:56 AM
I'm going to be buying a wedge tent before too much more water passes under the bridge. So far I really like the looks of the "large" A-tent from Blockade Runner.... 7' tall, 8' wide and 9' long... 10.38 ounce Sunforger canvas. Would be ordering with full sod cloth and double doors. I especially like the overlapping door flaps. Would be just under $340.00 by the time it gets to my doorstep.
How do their tents as far as quality and durability? Do you own this particular configuration and would you buy it again? Any other tents I should take a close look at?
11-14-2008, 09:34 AM
I've purchased multiple Blockade Runner tents over the years, in various configurations (lots of young folks to provide for). I've found them to be well made, durable, properly seamed--and I'm still using some poles and ridges I purchased from BR over a decade ago, survivors of some years where I spent 26 weekends in the field.
This particular configuration and size of BR tentage--I've had at least two of, possibily more. It is a very versitile tent--realize that you can also stake down one side, and lift the other side up on short poles, making a larger shelter. We have slept 8 in the rain with the tent shebanged out--not throughly dry, but better than wet.
The giant wedge I own is not a BR, though has the same configuration you are buying. It came to me used in a massive trade for dyeing goods. I've found this to an extremely versitile tent, and have slept as many as 10 in it. We've used it in temperatures down to 15 degrees with a fly over the top and the sod cloth properly tucked. I won't say we were happy, but we did not go home either.
Over the long haul, the BR tents hold up very well. I've always been well pleased with them.
A couple of years ago, as I divided tentage to young folks and sold off others, I purchased a small tent for just me--what I considered to be my 'last tent'--at that point, I did not choose a BR, but choose one from Tentsmiths, because of a particular unique configuration and construction method I desired. It was a much more expensive tent.
Dollar for dollar, and considering the treatment of the canvas, construction features and durability, for the frequent user, a Blockade Runner tent is an excellent choice, and one I would make again were I starting over.
11-14-2008, 09:53 AM
The nine foot deep tent is about two feet longer than I understand the standard CW tent to be (6' 10"), and it would have but one door rather than the two.
Disclaimer: The only A-frame I own is also a nine footer, so I'm not running down your selection, just pointing out the original dimensions.
You might also check out the material weight of the origiinal specs compared to the BR version, to see if it's a similar or heavier weight canvas.
11-14-2008, 11:19 PM
The BR stock canvas is definitly a heavier canvas than that used for an authentic repro of a tent d'abri. Its also treated for both fire and water resistance.
11-14-2008, 11:46 PM
Its also treated for both fire and water resistance.
Given some of the fires that have broken out at reeactment camps and then spread to multiple tents, fire resistance could be seen as a plus by many.
50th VA Corporal
11-15-2008, 04:36 AM
I own or have owned many BRI (Blockade Runner) tents. When I first started re-enacting I purchased the exact tent you are considering with the sod cloths, one door, and ground cloth. I was satisfied and at some point wanted a tent with two doors and no sod cloth. I hated the sod cloth on the door as it seemed impractical going in and out of the tent all of the time. I also decided I did not care for the side wall sod cloths as I do most of my re-enacting in nicer weather I wanted the ventilation.
A year ago I sold the tent and bought a new two door non sod cloth tent from Fall Creek at a re-enactment. Having done that I wished I had ordered the two door non sod cloth tent from BRI.
First off the BRI tents have ties both inside and outside for tying the doors closed; Fall Creek "A" tents do not. Plus the BRI ties are a lighter material than Fall Creek's and much easier to tie. Plus, the BRI tents have ties that enable you to roll up the doors and tie them off, Fall Creek's do not. The overlap on the doors is also more generous on the BRI tents.
For me it is real inconvienient to be tying the doors closed while I am on the inside with the ties being on the outside with the Fall Creek tent, and then not liking the heavy canvas ties. Then, if I want to leave a door open I have to tie a string on one of the doors of the FC tent and tie it off somewhere.
I don't know if it is a fluke, but one of our members bought two FC tents at a re-enactment two years ago and has four of his stake ties ripped off or in half. I have not experienced that problem with mine.
Having said all of that, my next "A" tent will be again a Blockade Runner but that may be some time off as I cannot cost justify it right now over the inconvieniences. And now tenting without sod cloths I find I like the lack of that feature better. Sod cloths are nice if you want a totally closed enviorment or cooler weather camping.
Now, that is not my only tent.... I have a set of shelter halves made by an authentic campaigner I use when I go alone and light (boy, I sure like doing that... ...going light, that is). But when the Mrs. goes it requires either the "A" tent (going "light") or the BRI wall tent, the fly over top of it (won't set the wall tent up anymore without the tent fly over it - makes a difference in the inside temp - cold and hot), the dining fly, and all of the kitchen ware, etc., etc., etc.... And that is ALOT of labor... However, the BRI wall tent has two doors and no sod cloth and is by far my favorite tent despite all of the labor involved.
I am sure you could compare features of other tentsmiths, Panther, etc., but after buying four BRI tents I have found them to have the right features for the right money for me. Plus, you can get all of the poles, stakes, and ropes, in the same pucrhase package from BRI - a big plus if you want or need it now and don't, or can't, make your own poles.
A big thing to remember is to take care of your canvas tents and they will take care of you and give you many, many years of service. NEVER put them away wet. I have had to dry my tents out in the living room / great room many times coming home from wet weather camping. NEVER set them up over-stretching them on the stakes - the weather will do that for you - taut, but not over tight. Keep them clean and fold them up for storage. I canvas bag my tents for travel and store them all in a special large wooden box.
While there are some re-enactors who like the vintage look of a scruffy tent, they generally look scruffy due to poor handling. I have too much money into all of my canvas tents to accellerate a vintage look. They will look vintage enough in due time from proper general use and care.
Jas. T. Lemon
50th VA Corporal
11-15-2008, 09:52 AM
I am unfamiliar with a sod cloth as it is described on their website. Can anyone provide some documentation for such a peice? You may want to reconsider that with your mess mates depending on what research shows. As flatop has pointed out, 6 foot is the regulation size and I share it with my mess mates when the event calls for an A- and we have never had a problem! Jas. is also correct, both my canvas peices are not treated for mositure or fire, however if they are put away dry they will last for some time.
Hope this helps.
11-15-2008, 04:46 PM
Sod cloths, rot cloths, or mud cloths are seen in tents back into medieval times.
The CRRC II quotes from the 1865 Quartermaster's manual:
Sod cloth: Specifications call for the sod cloth to be made of a lighter material than the rest of the tent........even a different color.......even present on the bottom of the doors.
You'll find a 9" deep sod documented in the same volume sketches drawn from Stephen Osman's work In that case, the tent is constructed of 10 ounce cotton duck, while the sod is of 7 ounce cotton or linen drill. A second door is not noted in the specifications.
In various incarnations of the BR tents, which are made with 10.38 ounce rather than 10 ounce duck, I've seen sod cloths from 9 to 12 inches wide--with the 12 inch ones seeming to fit better over time to accomodate overall skrinkage. Now, most folks don't see the sort of shinkage I have on tentage--having had more than one tent completely under flood waters, I've also had to wash a tent in a commercial laundry machine, and dry it. Not something normally done.
Much of this discussion can be reduced to some of the same parameters contained in the 'shoddy goods' discussion. Certainly an item made to exact specifications and measurements is a 'better' item for accuracy--even when it contains the requisite amount of shoddy, or is tight on size. What it may or may not do is hold up over extended useage. BR presents wedge tents of various sizes and configuations, along with certain concessions to modern safety needs.
Choices made as to tentage will depend on the year, theatre of the war, scenario, and the uniformity requirements of the particular reenacting group. Each organization's mileage will most certainly vary. Most will not require multiple tents for multiple impressions
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