You know that saying “All good things must come to an end”? That unfortunately was true for my 2010 Marmot Limelight 3 polyurethane windows.
Her debut circa May 2010
On a recent camp tear down I noticed that the glue surrounding my tear drop shaped windows was yellow, flaky, and failing. None of these things gave me the confidence to keep using the fly so once back in town we flocked to REI.
Shenandoah National Park, 2015
When we entered REI, pouty face in stow, the woman in customer service complimented my six year old tent. “You take really great care of your stuff,” she said. Well, thank you! But why are my windows taking a turn for the worse? She explained to me that this design has since been retired because there were known issues with the sealant giving out over time. Bummer. Rather than exchange our tent she advised we try regluing the windows. With not much instruction we headed home with our [complimentary] tube of Seam Grip Sealer and Adhesive. I was able to find some instructions but this was my baby we were talking about. We’ve been to Yellowstone, Tetons, the UP of Michigan, and Virginia with countless places in between. I couldn’t take on this project all willy nilly! I researched as many chat threads as I could handle until I felt comfortable enough to fix her. Here goes nothing:
Yellowing of the glue. Both windows were affected so I had two times the chances of getting it right. Score!
The windows were “hanging on by a thread” so I used one finger to lift away the window while the other steadied the tent. To prevent flakes of glue from gathering on the floor I performed operation on top of a cutting mat (found in the sewing section of craft stores)
Peeling off the window
Seam Grip to the rescue
Once the window was off I used my fingernail to scrap off the remnants of glue. While meticulous it was oddly calming. I tried to get every piece off of the window and the tent so that the new glue would be able to seal correctly.
To ensure the areas are ready for gluing I used 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol to clean off the window and the tent. It dried relatively fast and got all the extra dirt off.
Once you’re ready to glue make sure you’re in a ventilated area and have a fan going, the smell will be strong. I laid the tent as flat as I could and pre-lined up my window to make sure I knew how to lay it. I started with the tip and flattened out the sides as I worked around the dome end.
Placing the glue around the edges of the tent worked well. I carefully lined a small amount in the middle of the pre-existing seam. It was nice to have that as a guide! There are two small brushes that come with the sealant kit and I used the smaller one to paint on the glue. Since it has a 12 hour cure time I knew it would stay tacky for a while and made sure everything was covered. I only applied the glue to the tent. It seemed like an easier option, too much sticky can be dangerous.
Once my window was in place I laid a piece of wood over the top of the tent/window and stacked books on top. In my head it would be easier to unstick a piece of wood incase the glue leaked out of the sides (Note: the wood lifted off almost flawlessly but I had to pull off the cutting mat)
A day passed and to my excitement I found a new-to-me window on my tent. Everything looks fully sealed. If you have any places that feel tacky you can sprinkle baby powder on it (this goes for your fingers too, I can testify first hand. Pun intended)
Left; repaired. Right; to be repaired.
I repeated on the second window and both look like they’ll hold up great. We have a trip in two weeks and that will be her first voyage with Windows 2.0. Wish us luck!!