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090 Mega Duty 2009-06-01

mega lite tent

I have always been a fan of the Megamid tarp/tent. The ease of setup and versatility have made me keep one at the top of my favorite’s list for many years. The one drawback to the tarp design is that it allows the mosquitoes free reign of the interior. A personal head screen helps deter the blood thirsty, sleep depriving, pests; but unless you can sleep with one hundred percent of your body covered, they will GET you.

A few years back we upgraded the Megamid to a Mega Light. The new design featured a new lightweight fabric. To thwart the bugs we used a mosquito net, designed to cover a bed, like in a Tarzan movie. It was partially effective but the setup for a mosquito free zone was difficult. We next purchased a screen insert made by Black Diamond. It worked but the weight of the tent more than doubled for the added screen and floor combo and the setup was frustrating at best.

We finally decided to ask my mother in-law to sew netting onto the Mega Light. Diane was still recovering from a plate and nine screws added to her right forearm in order to mend a break and has hardly any pain free movement. She was still game for trying.

The Mega Light is basically a square with four nine foot sides. The netting sewn around the perimeter is thirty-six feet long. Sewing a thirty-six foot seam around anything is time consuming, but sewing netting to slick lightweight nylon is doubly so. We would stop the process from time to time to check on the progress. Rats. We were not even half way there. My wife helped move the fabrics, readying them for sewing. I stood by ready to help, but was only occasionally called into service. At the end of the day we had a netting apron around the edge; but now for the door.

The next day we rejoined Diane to finish the job. Diane had envisioned a plan to screen the door, one solid seam attaching the netting to the tarp and then velcro (only the male side) sewn to the opening side of the entry way. Sewing the velcro was more manageable than a thirty-six foot long piece of netting but it still required an expert as the fabrics were of such different weights and textures. Thread was flying, bobbins bobbing, and needles bending as she finished the job.

The next day I sat the Mega Light up in the backyard and sealed all of the seams. Everywhere there was a hole, I added glue to seal off the potential leak. They had done a great job with the sewing. The netting looked like it would work. Oddly enough Diane had never seen the tarp set up.

So if you are thinking about doing a "mod" so some outdoor gear. Be brave, you don’t have to settle for gear made for someone else. You can customize it. All that you need is a sewing machine, a tube or two of glue, and a great mother in-law. If you don’t know a good mother in-law, email me, I might be able to rent you a good one. Thanks, Diane!

We are still busy working on Cloud Hiking. We are predicting that it will be up on Wednesday.


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