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Clam Shelter - blown away


topgun2
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I've boondocked at the Lower Sunshine Reservoir just outside Meeteetse, WY for a number of years.  Given that the camping area consists of basically a sagebrush "meadow" overlooking the reservoir, there is no shade other than what the Ollie provides either early in the morning or later in the day.  Virtually every time I've been there I've set up my small (four sided) Clam screen shelter not necessarily to shield me from bugs but more to give me an additional place to relax after a hard day of fishing.  When setting up my Clam I virtually always not only stake the four corners down but I also use the three ties that come off the side center hubs and stake them.  This is to protect the Clam from any sudden winds that just might come up and it has worked very well withstanding some fair strong winds - until this year.

I was in bed at about 11:30pm when the Ollie started rocking.  After about 5 minutes of this I got up to look out the rear window to see how the Clam was fairing - not well.  So not well that it wasn't even there.  Just to make sure or, perhaps, get the Clam before it was swept into the reservoir I jumped into a pair of shorts, donned a head lamp and ventured into that wind.  Yep - not there!  In fact, no sign that it had ever even been there!  Barely being able to stand I turned to get back into the camper and a light colored square object caught my eye about 150 yards away.  Could it be?  Yes it was.  The four sides of the Clam had collapsed but the roof remained fully open.  I managed to get over to it, I collapsed the roof, carted it back to the truck and did not inspect to see what was the extent of the damage to it until yesterday.  

Other than being lucky that the entire thing wasn't lost in the reservoir, I was reasonably certain that the screening or the nylon material or the fiberglass poles or the hubs that hold most of it together would be broken.  Perhaps I could salvage something from it for potential repairs to the new Clam that certainly was in my future.  Well, all of the screening didn't have a scratch on it and the poles and hubs were fully intact.  The roof does have two tears and three abrasions as well as each of the four nylon webbing tabs that are used for staking down the tent had been completely torn from where they were sewed.  The abrasions can easily be fixed with dabbing on a little "E6000" and the two tears (one at about 1/4 inch and the other at about 1 1/2 inches) can be repaired with "Gear Aid" repair tape.  Of course I also sewed the four tabs back on.  I'm not sure if the Clam was purposefully designed so that these tabs would "release" rather than tearing the tent apart, but, it worked that way in this case.

Finally, I should note that I found the four tabs the next morning after the wind storm, still staked to the ground as I had originally placed them.  And, one of the three ropes used to tie down the sides was broken.  I use short bungees that have metal hooks at the ends and place the metal hooks around the ground stakes.  All three metal hooks were straightened!

I've always liked my Clam but now I'm a true believer.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Bill, that must have been quite a wind storm!  We have the larger 5 sided Clam.  I use heavy duty cargo tie-down straps on the sides with 12” re-bar stakes to attach them too.  Not sure that would be enough to withstand the wind you experienced.  It’s been through some pretty bad storms but the worst that has happened is that the top collapsed.  Not sure what else you could do!  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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In researching weather data for Meeteetse, WY for July 15, 2021, Weather Underground shows a wind gust of 51 miles per hour.  Certainly I wouldn't call it a gust when the wind maintained its speed for about 15 minutes.  However, since the area I was camped is devoid of trees, buildings and even hills that could help block the wind, I suspect that the real wind speed was somewhat higher than this reported gust.

Another possible reason for the four stake tabs becoming detached from the body could be that the thread used to sew them had become "tired".  While I have used this shelter for 6 years, it has never been put away wet nor has it been abused.  But, as I mentioned above, Clam just might have engineered these so that they would "release" during this kind of event.  In any case, I would suggest that anyone who owns a Clam should take a look at the area where these tabs are sewn to the tent just to make sure that all is OK.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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We were camping in Colorado and a huge big wind came through the camping ground and ours blew totally down and some 50ft away, We did not have the straps (tiedowns) attached, but did have the stakes in the ground. Not so luck were the campers next to us with the $300,000 motorhome who lost there patio cover and the winder sensors didn't work fast enough to retract it. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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Hoo Boy...this post brings back some memories.

Friend and I were camping in Moab in the 90s, back when you could still disperse camp just about anywhere.  Set up our tent about 15 feet from the edge of a canyon.  Did our best to stake it out, but we were camped on rock and there were only the flimsiest of trees nearby.  So....we loaded our tent up with all of our gear, including the camp kitchen to give it some extra weight.  Bet you can guess where THIS is going.....Yep!  Went to town for dinner, and when we returned - nothing!  Every last bit of our camping gear had blown into the canyon, about 200 feet below.

Fortunately, there was an established jeep road right below, so we got a hotel for the night and then hiked in 2.5 miles to retrieve our stuff.

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MaryBeth
Boulder, CO

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Some tents are just bigger sails than others and are not possible to hold down without something giving in a sufficiently strong wind. That’s amazing how well it held up. Sounds like it did better than my grandmother’s clothesline (one of those with a post and rails making a square on top) which my father describes chasing partway across Southbridge MA during the Hurricane of 1938. He said the clothes weren’t much good by the time he finally got to them.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

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