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Tent Garage—Need Recommendations

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by TruePatriot, Oct 25, 2008.

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  1. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Hey all,

    I would like opinions/anecdotes/recommendations on good brands of “tent garages” from those with experience in same.

    I want to get my 1997 F-250 4x4 SC LB under cover

    Here’s what I’m looking for:

    1. I would like a tent long enough to run inside it with the plow hooked up.

    2. I need doors at both ends, so I can drive through it, if need be, given where it’s going to be sited.

    3. I’m in NYS, so I need it to be able to handle the snow load—I understand I may have to go out and gently jiggle the underside of the roof, occasionally, with a broom, to get the snow to slide off.

    4. I don’t mind spending for quality, but I don’t want to spend more than necessary to get a tent that would last 4-5 years. I’ve seen some Rhino models for $1,200. which is way more than I want to spend.

    5. Does anyone have any brands/styles they would NOT recommend?

    6. I’m assuming I can use “screw anchors,” similar to what a dog run is achored with, and simply screw them into my lawn, instead of pouring concrete anchors?

    Thanks in advance.

    TruePatriot

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I've noticed more and more of them popping up around here too...I got a catalog from one jobber and they sell the anchoring hardware too. You can do an online search. To support the snow load I'd recommend the quonset hut style...it's just a big arch. Also you can double 'em up to make them as long as you want.
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I have a Shelterlogic portable garage that I've been using for several years now, I purchased it used from a friend of my neighbor who got "dot.bombed" in the last financial crunch :coolsmirk: I had to replace the door end because the zipper on one side lost it's slider, cost wasn't unreasonable... I'm not sure just what the size you need is, mine is 12' x 24' by about 10' in the center, in the more or less house frame shape. My neighbor has the same size in a quonset hut style, both work well though I think mine seems to have a bit more usable inside space.

    I've had no problem with snow loading in MA, including the fact that I dump on one side with the snowblower (only place I can put it...)

    Shelter logic seems to have lots of different sizes and configuration options available, and their prices seemed pretty reasonable.

    I put down some gravel to make a level space, and then fastenned it down with the earth augers, haven't ever seen sign of it wanting to go anywhere. The only thing I would say in 20/20 hindsight is to build it exactly the size they tell you in the manual, I tried to "cheat" a little by spreading the frame legs to get closer to 13' wide, and this has caused me some level of problems with the fit of the ends...

    Gooserider
  4. MANIAC

    MANIAC New Member

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    I have a 12X20X8 Round Style with doors on both ends and I love it. It's sold under the name Shelter King I believe. Do a search on MDM Structures, Shelter King or Rhino Shelter.

    As far as snow load, I was very impressed with it last winter. By the end of the winter there was so much snow around it you could only see very top from the outside and it never failed. I store my snowmobiles in it and it is really nice to be able to drive in and drive out. Mine uses tie downs with cable attached to them that you drive into the ground.

    Not sure if these are what you had in mind but I have been happy with mine so far.
  5. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I "had" a Cover-It-Shelter 24 x 32 house style that I used here in Northern Maine for about 6 years. I stored a lot of equipment in it. I saw that thing take tremendous snow/ice loads though I did routinely remove the heavy loads as they accumulated. One time while I was gone two years ago we got 2 heavy spring storms back to back. While my family and friends watched the snow build up it finally got crushed to the ground. It took me a while to remove it via a sawzall. The junk I am still getting rid of. The moral of this story-buy the narrowest unit that you feel will do the job, preferably a quonset style, leave plenty of room around it for snow removal, and have someone you can trust to watch it and help out during snow storms when you can't.

    Mike
  6. Turbozcs2003

    Turbozcs2003 New Member

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    I have a Cover It 8x12x24 round type, going on about 13 years old. Has held up well, but you must clear the snow off it after every storm which isnt a big deal. I think I paid about 400$ back in 1994 or so. Keep my Shelby in there and some other odds and ends.
  7. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Hey, everyone,

    What a great bunch of responses!

    I apologize for not getting back sooner, but I’m been having some computer problems, that started soon after I made my garage tent post.

    So, you’ve all given me some great ideas/things to consider/brands to check out.

    I especially appreciated the comments regarding snow handling.



    Now, For Some Individualized Comments/Questions:



    Savagefactor7
    Thanks for the input on the Quonset hut style.

    I also appreciate the tip on doubling them up, for greater length, but for my application (trying to keep my truck dry) I don’t think that would work too well, as rain would come down between them, no? Or did you figure out a solution for that? If so, I’d like to hear more about it.


    Gooserider,
    Hey man, how are you? I know I’ve been away awhile, but I’ll be more of a presence real soon, as I belatedly either get serious about my stove install, or hire it out--either way, I’ll have lots 'o questions! LOL

    Your 12’ X 24’ X 12’ sounds like exactly what I need--how high are your door openings, roughly?

    Against advice, I too will have a problem with snow on one side (chicken wire garden fence will be less than 2’ away) and on the other side, too, actually, as my “junk pile” of covered OPE is about 2’ away on the other side. I know that’s not ideal for the shelter (OR for the OPE) but I anticipate selling/junking/moving that pile out, possibly by next year, and I’m hoping some of the snow will melt/flow through the chicken wire fence, so your report of blowing snow right on the side of the shelter makes me feel better about my situation. (Other potential sites on our property are either in the “free fire zone” of falling limbs, suffer poor drainage, or are not level (or a combination of all three).

    How many earth augers did you use? How deep did they go?

    Thanks for the brand recommendation and suggestions!


    MANIAC,
    I’ve posted this query on a total of three sites, and so far, you win the award for most outrageous report of snow-survivability!
    I saw “MDM” associated with Rhino, I believe, but I have not seen the “Shelter King” name. I’m sure if I call Rhino, they’ll explain the name game to me. Given it’s snow performance, I’ll try to track down the “Shelter King” brand and check it out.


    Mike,
    I’ve heard some great things about the Cover-It brand (like 11 and 13 year lifespans!)

    24’ X 32’ is HUGE my man! Makes me feel better about managing a 12’ x 24’ job.

    That SUCKS that your family and friend watched it collapse! (They must be related to some of my own tribe---LOL).

    I can run a snow blower down one side of it, to remove the snow, and I guess it’s gonna suck on the fence side. I’ll try to keep it as narrow as possible, but I don’t think I want a 10’ wide tent with an 8’ snowplow (not sure how wide the doors would be on a 10-footer, so I was thinking of going with the 12-footer, as even with the plow angled, I have visions of knocking it down by accident, in a blizzard….)

    You register another vote for the Quonset-style’s superior ability to handle snow--duly noted.

    I will definitely task my neighbor with the snow removal, if/when I am away. Let me ask you, is all that is required, is to “fluff” the underside of the roof, with a push broom to get the snow to migrate off of the roof, and down the sides? I mean, I’m sure it would help to blow the snow away from the sides, but can the roof be cleared from the inside, in the manner I describe, or is there something else that is required?


    TurboZ,
    Wow--13 years--awesome! Let me ask you--was yours completely in the shade, or is it not very windy, or to what do you attribute that extra-long lifespan to?

    Another happy “Cover-It” owner, and another vote for the Quonset hut style. Hmmm….

    Do you clear the snow off of it in the manner I describe above (“bouncing” it off of the top, by pushing up on the inside with a broom?) or do you have another method?

    Really appreciate the brand/style recommendations.

    A Shelby, huh? Damn! :coolsmile:



    I have one additional question for the assembled: What types of doors do you recommend?

    Some have the option of either roll ups or zippered “barn” doors (I guess?).

    Re: doors, here is my intended usage:

    I want to get my truck, WITH plow, inside. The truck, a super cab/longbed, with plow, will be 24’ long (that seems outrageous, doesn't it?) :bug: . So I’ll need a 12’ X 24’ tent, IMO, minimum.

    For the first time in 20+ years, I have a vehicle whose finish I care about, hence my desire to get the new (to me) F-250 inside. The best place I can put this (out from under the perennially-falling tree branches) means I will have to be able to drive straight through it, on occasion. So, re: door types, I would like to know:

    a) Are roll-up doors less likely to result in paint damage? (I fear that an unzippered, “side-hung” door might come loose, and the zipper could beat up the paint on the truck, if it were at all windy out (and it's often windy here).

    b) Which doors are easier to open and close? I would like to leave them open as much as possible (at least on one end) but anticipate closing them during snowstorms (after I get the plowing done, of course.)

    c) Which doors are more durable? At $100. for a roll-up door--apiece--(if I recall correctly) I don’t want them to fail before the rest of the tent does.

    d) How do the roll-up doors actually work? By that I mean:

    1) Do they zipper down the sides, when down, and how are they raised (I.e., is there some kind of cord you pull, or do you just wind them up around a pole and tie them in position?

    2) How difficult are they to put up--can ONE PERSON do it easily?


    Thanks again, everyone, for all of your thoughtful comments and suggestions. I especially enjoyed hearing how long your shelters lasted, how much they were, and what you liked/didn’t like/would do differently if you were to get another such shelter.

    All the best,

    Peter
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not my question, but I'd think that you wouldn't get that much weather through the gap... If all else failed, I'm sure you could overlap the tent covers, though presumably that would also mean you'd need to shorten one of the frames.

    Doing pretty well, just got a new splitter, and keeping busy otherwise...

    [/quote]Your 12’ X 24’ X 12’ sounds like exactly what I need--how high are your door openings, roughly?[/quote]

    My doors are fairly low... Depends a bit on how hard I "scrunch" when rolling them up, but I usually have to duck a little when walking in and out - I'd guess about 5.5' on average, might be able to get them up to 6'. The guy I bought it from was storing his Porsche in it, I don't think a big truck would fit. They make taller versions in the same footprint sizes, including ones billed for motorhomes and busses, so it should be a solvable problem.

    IMHO side loading isn't likely to be as big an issue as top loading, but having stuff next to the shelter might actually help keep some of the snow weight off the thing. (Not my situation though, as my garden patch is on the south wall, and a drive way is on the north side (which is where I have to do most of the snow blowing on it)

    The augers were either 3' IIRC, and I used 3 or 4 on each side, almost one at each vertical frame. At the front I put in two 4x4 posts buried about 2-3' in concrete filled sonotubes as errant vehicle protection, and hooked the front corners to those. I'd also put 6-12" of gravel down to level the ground - so the augers were really only going about 18" into "virgin" ground.

    No problem. As a side note, I think Cover-it is one of the brands associated w/ Shelter Logic - another link to look at is Berkshire Coverit - They have dimension charts among other things.

    I suspect the quonset style would shed snow better, but mine I find is variable on clearing, depends on temps, snow type, etc... Sometimes it clears itself, sometimes it will avalanche of by poking the inside of the cover, and sometimes it doesn't seem to want to move for nothing... I tend not to make a big deal of it - if I'm out there for something else, I will try to bump the snow off, but if I don't make it, or it doesn't want to move, I don't worry about it.

    (To be continued)

    Gooserider
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I have a zippered rollup door on my shelter, not sure what you mean by a zippered barn door... Mine has a zipper on each side, that has to be (un)zipped, and the door rolled up. Might be a challenge to reach w/ taller doors, but I think they have stuff intended to help with that... Zipping is a minor PITA, but not a big deal if the building is properly put together.

    Re: doors, here is my intended usage:

    Might be - I can't compare... However my slightly modified rollup door doesn't noticably flap in the wind if I leave it unzipped, especially if I leave something heavy on the floor inside so that it has a "stop"

    W/o a rollup kit of some sort, (I made my own) it is a real pain to put up the rollup doors. With a kit (which I made for about $10) they are no problem... (I put a pole in the bottom sleeve of the door and ran a couple ropes down the outside of the door, then back up the inside and through a couple of small pulleys, now it's just a case of undo the zippers (which have double pulls, so they can be worked from inside or outside the structure) and haul away on the rope to lift the door, then tie the rope off to hold it up.

    As to sizing, figure that from the nominal outside dimensions you lose 6-12" on each side due to the tent overhang, and about 2' off the top clearance because of the peak, door height, etc. This is just at the door, you get the nominal dimensions (more or less) once you are inside... Looking at what you give for your truck size, I'd guess you'd want the 14' wide, 28 or 32' long, 12' high style - that gets you about 10' door height, and 11'7" clearance at the bottom of the door, about 7'6" near the top...

    Gooserider

    No idea, however the weak link is the zipper, mostly the slider. The material holds up fine, it's the zipper that lets go 1st. They probably could be repaired / replace if you have a good heavy duty sewing machine, the challenge would be finding the appropriate grade of zipper.

    Yes, a zipper down the sides. In minimal stock form, there is no pole at the bottom, you are supposed to just roll or bunch up the fabric, and come up with some form of tie to hold it up. However there is a pocket formed by the bottom seam, so it's trivial to add a pole of your own, or I think one comes with the optional rollup kit.

    See my comment above about adding the rollup mod - W/O it, I found that it was a real PITA to put up the door, especially in nasty weather that wants to dump snow off the roof down your neck :bug: With the kit, it is trivial, no harder than a manually operated rollup door on a conventional garage...

    Overall I like mine, especially given the bargain deal I got on it.... If I had to do it over again, I certainly would, though of course I would have liked to make it bigger.... The other big change I might have made is to look at trying to put down a slightly better / more rugged floor - possibly something like crushed asphalt or mixing some concrete in with the top layer of gravel... Not a problem for storing a vehicle, but I use mine as a general storage shed, and find some stuff tends to chew up the floor more than I'd like, for instance moving the solid axle snowblowers around...

    Gooserider
  10. sergio

    sergio New Member

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    Slightly off topic. Anybody ever put a canvas door on a metal quonset style building. Put one on for a friend's airplane hangar which was slightly different shape and it blew apart, both zippers and material, in the wind we had here in eastern MA, in late October. It was only up for about a month. Any ideas?
    Sergio
  11. MANIAC

    MANIAC New Member

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    MANIAC,
    I’ve posted this query on a total of three sites, and so far, you win the award for most outrageous report of snow-survivability!
    I saw “MDM” associated with Rhino, I believe, but I have not seen the “Shelter King” name. I’m sure if I call Rhino, they’ll explain the name game to me. Given it’s snow performance, I’ll try to track down the “Shelter King” brand and check it out.


    Peter,

    I recall getting an email a while back from MDM that the Shelter King was now renamed something else but I am not exacty sure. I did look on the Web Page last night and I believe I have the Green 12x20x8 model that sells for 499.00. It came with two roll up doors too.

    If your handy at all I wouldn't waste your money on the Roll Up door kits they sell for 70.00 each. You can buy the pulleys, S-Hooks, cloths line rope and a 20' section of electrical conduit and make it yourself for 30.00 or so and thats for both doors.

    As far as the snow, I really wish I took a picture of it. After every storm I would go out and push up on the inside of the shed to get the snow to roll off but after the 20 or so storms we had last winter all you could see was a 2' stripe of green roof and the rest was covered.
  12. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Goose,

    *Phew!* If you’re not careful, you too could be maligned on hearth as one of the “wordy ones”! Just kidding--LOL. I know it’s my wordy questions which prompted you to respond in kind, and I really appreciate you taking the time, and making the effort, to respond so thoroughly. To me, more information is…more, and I really appreciate it!

    Congrats on your new splitter! Does it go vertical? If I ever get another one, that’s what I want. But the price was right on my little horizontal job (free) so I can’t really complain.

    Thanks for everything--I checked out the Berkshire Coverit link and I will be very sure to nail down the company I ultimately buy from, re: usable door height--you’re right, my 4x4 F-250 cannot duck under the same door heights that a Porsche can--LOL

    I like your home-made roll up door kits, but I have one question: what did you fasten the ropes to, on the outside of the tent/structure? I’m sure there was some frame on the inside you could hook the pulleys to, but I’m wondering if you had to make a hole in the tent, to get to the frame, or how exactly did you accomplish this?

    I’m assuming the pole goes up the outside of the tent, rather than the inside?

    Re: this:



    I too was wondering if a 24’ length would not be enough for a 24’ long truck (20’ without the plow attached). I was already thinking that the tent would be abrading the tailgate area, and that, with the plow connected, I might have to leave that sticking out, which then exposes the hood/grill to some weather, to avoid the rear door rubbing on the tailgate. So you’re thinking 24’ is too short, too, huh?

    Re: width, if I lose “6-12” on each side”, with a 12’ wide structure, that would still leave me with a 10’ opening for an 8’ wide truck, so I was thinking that would be okay--do you believe that would not be enough width? Just curious as to your thoughts here, as you recommend a 14' width. Obviously, more is better, but I’m somewhat limited, width-wise, on my proposed site, unless I do a major reorganization of my “junk pile” which, while doable, is not something I’m looking forward to, right now. If I move it, I’ll be recovering it, and my project list is overflowing, as it is--LOL.

    Maniac,
    Thanks for the headsup on possible name changes, re: MDM/Rhino, et al.

    Also, I appreciate the words of confidence re: making a door roll-up mechanism. Between your comments and Goose’s experiences, I think I’m comfortable making kits for both doors myself.

    I wish you had taken a pic of your “snow igloo” too! Maybe, if you get another winter like that one, you can sell such a pic to MDM, or authorize them to use it, in exchange for a discount, or something? It would make for a **** of a testimonial ad, IMHO.

    Thanks again, everyone.

    Peter
  13. MANIAC

    MANIAC New Member

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    Truepatriot

    My doors had holes with grommets near the top of the doors that I was able to pass the rope through and down around the bottom of door and back up to the pulley system on the inside.

    This is the company/unit I have http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/for/907844847.html

    PS. I am moving to Maine permanently in January so I will be sure to get some pics this winter.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Yup, it goes vertical, which was my primary purchasing requirement - I've never seen any real advantage to horizontal the way that I work. - I've got a thread where I go into it in considerable detail, so I won't do so here...

    The pole goes into the pocket in the bottom of the door fabric. It acts as a stiffener and a weight to help pull the door down when you unroll it, so you want something moderately hefty. I used some scrap bar stock that I had laying around, but if I was purchasing something new, I'd probably use a length of 1/2" or 3/4" schedule 40 pipe...

    To make the rollup, I had to make a couple of very small holes in the tent fabric, but nothing that would let weather in. I started with two long peices of rope (I used ~3/16" braided nylon cause that's what I had, but anything of approximately clothesline diameter would do...) and tied a loop around the top frame on each side of the opening about 1/3 of the way in. This is where you need to make a very small hole in the door fabric to get the rope through, but the hole will be covered by the main body fabric, so it isn't a problem. On the INSIDE of the door I put the eye of a small single sheave pulley on the rope before tieing the loop, which I made so the long end of the rope came on the OUTSIDE of the door. I then ran each rope down, under the pole in the bottom of the door, and back up through the pulley. If you pull on the two ropes, they lift the pole, somewhat rolling it to the inside, and somewhat just lifting the fabric and piling it up in between the two ropes.

    However if you leave it like this, it is hard to tie the ropes off without having them partly blocking the opening. To fix this, I then used a double sheave pulley that I tied to the next frame in, on one side, and ran the two ropes through it. This holds the ropes up near the roof when I pull the door up, and I then just tie them off to the shoulder height frame cross-member. If you had a taller / wider structure, you might need two of these guide pulleys instead of just one.

    Well I'm not sure how wide you are with the plow, and I think I saw you (or someone) saying you wanted a couple feet extra on the sides so you wouldn't have to worry about getting perfectly centered going in.... Figure that with a 12' wide, you have a 10' door, and w/ a 14' wide you get a 12' door - it's a question of how much extra room you want... Ditto on the length... From what I've seen you get a little flex in the doors from the wind, so I think you'd be cutting it way fine with a 24' truck in a 24' building (especially if the plow is angled) 28 or 32 feet should be plenty... Of course the other aspect that might come up is how much other stuff will you want to put in the shelter once you have it... It's amazing how that can add up as well.

    Given that the incremental cost of going bigger is fairly small, I'd suggest getting the biggest unit you can make room for, but that's just me...

    Gooserider
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