Alaska Tested

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Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 – 1:11:39 PM
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Alaska Tested

By Brent Henderson

Dec 6, 2008 – 7:00:40 AM

The sound of pounding rain and howling wind awakened me at 2:00 AM in the small fishing town of Deep Creek, Alaska. Our tent was pitched in an open gravel beach area with no trees or brush as a windbreak, or cover from rain. Previous camping experience in the wild Alaskan wilderness had left me worried and anxious about the worsening weather conditions. Storm fronts in Alaska can last for days or even weeks, and whatever gear you’re relying on had better be the best, because one simple mistake in this place can cost you your life!

We camped in the shadow of a smoking volcano, Mt. Iliamna, for 8 days while it rained. It was the coldest and wettest summer on record in Alaska. A dry tent is a must.

Several times that first night, I got up and checked the seams and floor of our tent to make sure we weren’t waking up in a movie set for the Poseidon Adventure. I didn’t mind being cold, but cold and wet together spells trouble. I had recently learned that a nylon tent left out in the sun can begin to fade and degrade because of UV rays in just a few weeks, and that’s a recipe for trouble in a cold, wet place like Alaska.

The key to protecting your expensive gear from rain is to waterproof it with something that works. One treatment with Silicone Waterguard will ensure that you stay dry.


The week prior to our trip, my friend and fellow adventurer, Wade Nolan, sent me two spray bottles of ATSKO U-V-Block for our tent. The application was extremely quick and easy. Before applying U-V-Block, I washed down the tent with ATSKO Sportwash, and allowed the tent to dry overnight. The next morning I grabbed a small, stiff brush from my garage, spread the tent out evenly over the ground, and began to apply U-V-Block to the fabric.

It went on smoothly and quickly, and the froth made it easy to see what areas I had already applied it to. After the application, I set the tent back up and let it dry for 24 hours. It’s a good idea to set the tent back up after application and fasten any snaps or zippers in case there are any shrinkable materials. I even applied U-V-Block to several of my hats and t-shirts as U-V-Block permanently increases the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of light summer clothing as well, and blocks both UVA and UVB.

UV Block does not necessarily come as standard equipment even with high end tents. One treatment with U-V- Block will add years to the life of your tent.


As I stated earlier, tents can begin to fade and sun rot in just a few weeks if not treated with U-V-Block. Even the material used in an inflatable boat like a Zodiac, can fade and break down within just a few years. Ultra-violet radiation is a relentless source of decay. That’s a really big investment to allow damaging UV rays to rot away its years of fun in the sun. U-V-Block will make nylon based fabrics last many times longer.

Just the day before we left out of Anchorage we needed to have some valves replaced on our Zodiac, so we loaded the inflatable boat on the trailer and headed to the local boat marina. When the mechanic came out to take a look at our boat, he commented that he’d never seen a Zodiac as old as the one we were using in that good of shape. When we told him that it had been stored inside a barn during most of the year, he immediately said; “Well, that explains why it still looks almost new. “UV”, he said, “will destroy one of these boats within ten years. The boat we were using was almost 20 years old! For the next seven days, we trusted that boat to take us miles out into the potentially deadly waters of Cook Inlet, and I’m happy to say that every night we returned to our tent with fresh Alaskan Halibut, we were high and dry in our ATSKO UV protected tent.

If you have a quality tent or other outdoor gear that is nylon based it is in your best interest to protect it from the degrading process. You can go to www.atsko.com for detailed info and ATSKO U-V-Block spray.

 

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