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Old 03-17-2008, 11:57 PM   #1
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Kelty Carport

http://www.rei.com/product/732929

I'm not the first on the site to purchase one of these but I was asked to post if my mounting scheme worked. I think it did. I should point out I did not get this as shelter from torrential downpours, but I think it would do OK in that regard if it's staked properly. We mostly needed an awning as protection from the constant winter drizzle of the Pacific Northwest. We wanted a portable awning that could stand up to some mildly nasty weather if needed but that would not require drilling more holes in the van and that wouldn't take up too much storage space. The awning works pretty well mounted over the cargo doors. I haven't figured out how to mount it over the rear doors yet.

My solution for mounting the awning to the van was pretty simple. I use the large carpenter's alligator clamps found at almost every hardware and home improvement store. Mine are Pony brand which has been around forever and are really well made. Don't remember where I got them. The clamps fit into the gutters pretty nicely. A small piece of rubber or foam between the awning pole and the rain gutter wouldn't be a bad touch as long as it didn't reduce the friction. I'll use at least 3 or 4 clamps, depending on the weather.





One problem is that if you place a clamp on the gutter above a door then the door won't open. Enough of these and you could trap someone in their van... till they opened a window.






The other issue is that there is a gap between the awning and the side of the van. From 2 to 4 or so inches, depending where you measure along the length. Neither of these are big problems for us. The gap problem could be overcome pretty easily with a two by ten foot length of Visqueen and some clothes pins. I could see pretty easily coming up with some simple pieces of wood or flat stock that would clamp to the gutter instead and move the edge of the awning more inboard. Part of our reason for the awning is to cover our cooking area so I'm looking at the gap as a feature not a bug. We'll see how it goes.





Obviously I'm going the low tech/KISS route with this. Overall I think It works pretty well. I'm looking forward to trying it in the field. It should work with the penthouse top up or down.

The awning itself seems well made. It's a little more complicated and time consuming to put up than a backpacking tent, but nothing horrendous. I'm sure once I've done it a couple times it'll just take a few minutes. What I really like is that you can have the outward edge of the canopy up on poles or staked down to the ground. When down you can lower the wings to create and fairly weather tight space. In the down position I'd probably put a towel or the like over the corner of an open door to prevent any wear and tear on the fabric. The fabric would rest on the door when I had it open.


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Old 03-18-2008, 09:44 AM   #2
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Great writeup Velogeo! Thanks for taking the time. One question, How big is the package when packed up for transport?
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:17 AM   #3
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Thanks. An alternative to the permanently mounted awning seemed worth posting about. Especially since it's more flexible.

I haven't packed it back up yet. It rained as soon as I got it up so I still have it hanging up to dry. I'll put it away this afternoon. It came in two sacks. Total weight was about 10 pounds. The longest of the two was about two and a half feet, maybe a little less. We'll see how much I can pack it down when I put things back together.
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:18 PM   #4
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Do you think your setup would work with the rear of the van ??
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Old 03-18-2008, 04:26 PM   #5
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Velogeo - thank you so much for taking the time & effort to post this, I really appreciate it. I definitely like you solution for mounting the Kelty Carport, very ingenious (and simple). I will be curious to see how it stands up to the wind, especially since setup is not as quick as an attached awning. You also have good potential solutions to the door clearance and the gap at the gutters.

The Kelty Carport is a very cool "awning". I agree that it is probably along the same lines in difficulty/time as setting up a 3 - 4 pole tent. However, you also don't have to deal with a rain fly or ground tarp. It stores pretty compactly. I don't have one right now (returned our's when I couldn't figure out how to attach it), but I would say it is about 1/3 the size of a 10' EZ-Up.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:28 PM   #6
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No problem, sdwindansea. I'm really curious how it'll hold up to a strong wind too. My oldest son and I camped at a landing at the middle of a clear cut -- anyone else watching Ax Men? -- last month and it was pretty windy. I wouldn't enjoy putting up anything thing that big in that kind of wind. I do think with 4 or 5 clamps and the thing staked down properly it would stay put. I'd feel better if I could think of a way to tie it to the van, though.

Greg, at this point I don't see it working very well on the back of the van, unless you don't mind moving clamps every time you want to open a door. I'd really like to get it figured out. We do all our cooking at the back. I also wouldn't mind figuring out a little tray or table top that would attach to the rear Aluminess bumper while I'm at it, but that's another thread. I have two work lights mounted at the rear of the PH top. I could see tying into the mounting brackets if the tops down and there's no wind. I have an idea to just use a couple pieces of say 3/" PVC pipe notched to allow better clamping and hold the awning rod, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet. I'll post when I figure something out.

You can see there's no place for a clamp that doesn't wedge against the door. In the summer it might now be an issue if you'll keep the doors open.




This one's here for no real reason. Fun night with my son.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:32 PM   #7
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Veloego:

Check out this YouTube video about a cover for the rear door area. I know that it's a mini van & works off the rear door lifting up but I think it will get you thinking on how you can make it work.

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Old 03-20-2008, 01:35 PM   #8
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OK, Sam, that van is just cool in general.


Here's the prototype of the PVC piece. Other than rec room furniture from the 70's I'm not sure this stuff was meant to be a structural element. With a piece on each side of the van I think it'd be OK for sun shade use with no wind. I still need to figure out a way to support the awning pole above the middle of the door. The notch to hold the awning pole can obviously be moved -- within reason -- fore and aft a bit.

I have to admit to being a Dremel virgin. Hopefully the finished version will look better.



The curved cut to the bottom right above fits over the back edge of the rain gutter.



If I didn't think this would all work pretty well I'd be a little ashamed of that it looks like such a cobbed up piece of crap -- Within language policy, Jage? Maybe I can paint it.
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Old 03-20-2008, 03:04 PM   #9
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piece of crap -- Within language policy, Jage?
Contrary to popular belief I don't have time read every post!

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Old 03-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Having the time and spending the time are two different things.
[EDIT] Kind of like credit cards.
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