The use of an ultralight single wall shelter with a folding wood stove is becoming more and more common. There are only a couple of companies selling shelters with jacks already in them, but there are lots of suitable shelters. So lots of folks opt to buy the shelter they like and install a jack in it themselves. The GoLite Shangri La 4/5 is a very common choice, and with good reason. It could well be the best all around 1-3 person with woodstove shelter going.
This page shows how we install our jacks. There are lots of other good ways to do it, but this has worked for us:
- Assemble materials
- Stove jack material (source from Seek Outside)
- 69 pound thread. Sold in fabric stores as upholstery thread and can be run on home machines.
- Silicon and mineral spirits
- Disposable paint brush and mixing container
- Seam tape if desired
- Create a pattern. I always lay a pattern out so it follows directly on top of existing seams. That way when I sew it in I'm sewing it into a reinforced area on the tent. I try not to cross a seam if possible, but there is no choice on the SL4. If you want, you can use the pattern I created for a SL4. In the pictures of the SL4 above, I got the jack where I wanted it on the seams, but I was using a jack I took from another tent so the hole cover direction and shape of the jack aren't the way they'd be if I was starting from scratch. Look at the pictures of the Megamid to see another example of a pattern that follows the seams.
- Cut out your pieces from the pattern, including the hole cover.
- Stitch the hole cover on. At this point, you can also go crazy with edge binding on perimeter of the jack if you want. I don't do this for my own jacks because it isn't strictly necessary. I have done it for friends because it is a more finished look and may have more longevity by preventing fraying. Note also the box stitch I used on the SL4. That's because after several years I melted the single line of stitching on the megamid. Keeping the stitching far enough away from the hole and box stitching it should prevent that.
- Take the completed jack and pin it onto the tent so it lays right on top of the seams like it should.
- Stitch it on. I usually double stitch. For the bottom edge of the jack that doesn't fall on a seam, you can back it with seam tape for extra strength. I didn't with the megamid and it has never been a problem. Doesn't make it a bad idea though. Verify that it lays properly and you didn't bunch the tent somehow. To make doubly sure, pitch the tent.
- Now that the jack is stitched on, cut out the tent around the perimeter of the jack, leaving half an inch or so.
- Pitch the tent if it isn't already
- Thoroughly mix the silicon with some mineral spirits until it is the consistency of warm honey
- Brush the mixture over all of your stitching, including where the hole cover is stitched on
- Let the silicon dry
- Wait for some cold weather and fully enjoy your heated shelter!
If you have any questions or comments, refer to the discussion on the general section of our forum.