That Old Timberline Tent

I cleaned out the shop the other day and found my old 2 person Eureka Timberline Tent. I bought it in '73 when I got my first canoe. I can’t bring myself to throw it out. It’s been all over the country and envelopes a lot of great memories. So I cleaned off the fly and applied spray on waterproofing. It looks good. All of the factory waterproofing on the floor was flaking off. I put it in the washer on the mega delicate cycle and now it looks good too. Does anyone have any ideas on what to apply to the floor to rewaterproof it? Maybe something heavier than the scotch guard spray I used on the fly. This old tent doen’t have a tear in it and all the fittings are intact. It’s all ripstop nylon and a fine example of “old technoligy.” Advice appreciated, thanks.

Suggest a good ground cloth.

Stolen from Campmor
Stolen from the Campmor frequently asked Questions list:

You could, but it is a lot of work. By the time the coating comes off of a tent, the tent is usually in its advanced years (10-15) and maybe ready to retire. However, if you can’t bear to let your old musty friend die, it is possible to recoat the tent. Most tents have the urethane coating on the under side of the fly and the inside of the body. First, the surface must be cleaned with a light soap solution (see above) and dried. Then all the loose urethane must be removed. Then, and only then, can you apply a recoat. Follow all directions on the product carefully. Whatever you apply will not be as good as when the tent was new as it is only a surface coat and the original was sprayed on under pressure. Good luck.

me too
I got my Timberline in '79 and used it as a home on a 4 month cross country journey. and for years after on many backpacking trips. It has never leaked, ever. However, the zippers have failed, I haven’t used it in years, and I just can’t bear to throw it away.

Eureka 2 man Timberline, an old friend
I too have Eureka 2 man Timberline I’ve had for over 20 years now. (and still use occasionally) No flaking of waterproofing, no rips, snags, tears, poles and pieces still in 100% condition. Why ? I don’t know. God knows I’m not gentle with my equipment. It’s been put away wet, dirty, quicky crammed in the sack when breaking camp in a hurry. But if I took it out now and set it up you’d think it was almost brand new. (slight fading). Is it still waterproof ? I don’t know, I always have a 6x6 silver tarp over the top and a plastic sheet for a ground cloth. It was one of my most valued purchases 20+ years ago when I had quit boozing hard in my mid-20’s and decided to (re-) take up a more clean living lifestyle.

I 'll give the Eureka Timberline a big thumbs-up!

Use a liner
If only the bottom of the tent is in trouble, just use a liner piece of plastic (ala Cliff Jacobsen or Kevin McCallahan (sp?)). I did this for 3 years with a venerable Eureka Timberline 4 when the bottom waterproofing starting flaking off. I found it very easy to use a piece of 4 mil plastic drop cloth, cut to cover the tent floor plus up the sides 3-4 inches. Put it inside the tent and you’ll never get wet. Hold it up to the light to check for pinprick holes before each trip; repair with duct tape if needed.

Note this won’t work on the fly, but my fly was still waterproof and without damage. I finally stopped camping this way when we bought another Eureka tent, not a Timberline. I know this is heresy to many Timberline fans, but I really prefer a more dome-like tent than the A-frame style of the TL. I’ve got a Gunnison 4 I really like these days.


New Tents/Old Tent

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 7:02 PM EST –

I'm in the same boat, I like the dome tents. I have a Eureka Apex 2, the old style with the full fly. I also have a Kelty 2 man dome tent. Thanks everyone for the good advice which I will put to good use. I think I'll take that old Timberline out on a few more trips just for old times sake.

Don’t use water based

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 7:21 PM EST –

Bought a Timberline in the late 70’s and worked it hard through the years. I recoated the floor some years ago and it has held up well. Unfortunately I can’t recall the name of the stuff I used but whatever it was it was not a water-based sealant. I’ve used a water-based sealant on my North Face and don’t care for it at all. Doesn’t last long and gets sticky whenever it gets damp. Starts to flake off in one season. The stuff I used on the Timberline was probably acetone based, in any case was marked “flammable” and definitely needs to be applied out of doors, preferably on a breezy day. If you can stand the smell and loss of brain and/or liver cells when applying it I’d say it’s definitely the way to go.

I hear ya on the nostalga front, but my 25 year-old Sentinal (an expedition grade Timberline with a hoop in the middle) is now showing signs of tentatosis (that bad smell that coated nylon gets in its old age). Washing does not cure it -you just have to ante up and replace the thing. They still make Timberlines and the price is not so bad. Go to the factory store in Binghampton, NY and you can get a good discount.