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“General” Burning Man, Included Parts

What parts are included with your tents?”

I need this tent for camping at Burning Man. What does the tent come with? What else will I need?

Our tents come complete with poles, stakes, guylines, ventilation tubes, spare parts and a Shelter Systems’ Instruction Manual that details floors, site selection, anchoring, cooling, winterizing, and stove installation–everything you’ll need, except a floor. You can use a large tarp or we make you a floor that is cut to fit with clips to tie it in. (For more info on floors, see the “Parts & Components: Floors” question.)

“General: SolarDome vs. Survival tent”

What is the difference between the SolarDomes and the Survival domes?

There is no difference. Our SolarDome is a strong, versatile tent which has many possible uses.

“General: Setting the dome on a wooden platform”

I intend to put my SolarDome 14 on a wooden platform. How large does it need to be, at a minimum? How do I attach the dome to such a platform?

The platform should be 14′ in diameter. It is best to put the dome up first and then cut the deck to fit so that water will not enter the dome. Use “eye” bolts to attach the dome to the platform. You can get these at a hardware store. See our online instruction manual for details.

“General: Plumbing”

Have you had any experience or ideas about plumbing?

Plumbing deals with two matters: water and sewage. Water is used for drinking, washing dishes and clothes, and bathing.

Disclaimer: the following information and ideas are provided in an attempt to be helpful to users of our domes, but we do not intend nor imply that you must or should implement any of these ideas. In addition, depending on where your dome is located, some of these ideas may be prohibited by local ordinances.

1) Carry water in jugs to your dome.

2) Connect a hose to a neighbor’s water line for pay. The water pipe carrying the water from your neighbor’s must be made of a material which won’t contaminate drinking water. Check with a plumbing or hardware store. Also, if there will be constant water pressure in the hose, check which fittings can handle the pressure. Storage containers come in various capacities. The large ones are available at plumbing supplies stores.

3) Collect rain water:
In a tarp–using Grip Clips tarp fasteners to suspend 4 corners of the tarp–one corner a bit lower and over a barrel.
Off the dome–by attaching and hanging a gutter, made from a long, 10″-wide strip or strips of plastic tarp, to the bottom of the overlapping 6″ skirt that hangs down and ends right below the horizontal pole. (Look at the first photo of the SolarDome page to understand more clearly where this is.) Fold the strip of tarp so it’s still the same length but only half as wide. Hold the 2 open edges of the gutter on either side of the bottom of the skirt and fasten the 3 layers (gutter-skirt-gutter) together with safety pins, placing pins about every 2′. (Safety pin holes in the skirt of an overlapping panel will not affect the watertightness of the dome.) Let one end of the gutter hang down and drain into a barrel.

You may want to filter the water for leaves, dirt, and insect particles, using a sand filter or straining it through a clean cloth. Depending upon the water’s purity, you may need to purify water to be used for drinking and washing dishes: 1) Boil it for 5 minutes. 2) Use chlorine tablets. 3) Use 2% USP iodine solution: 2 drops per quart if clear and 10 drops per quart if cloudy. Wait 30 minutes. 4) Use “household chlorine bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite solution). Do NOT use solutions in which there are active ingredients other than hypochlorite. Use the following proportions: Clear Water: 2 drops for one quart; 8 drops for one gallon ; 1/2 teaspoon for 5 gallons. Cloudy Water: 4 drops for one quart; 16 drops for one gallon; 1 teaspoon for 5 gallons. Mix water and hypochlorite thoroughly by stirring or shaking in a container. Let stand for 30 minutes. A slight chlorine odor should be detectable. If not, repeat the dosage and let stand for an additional 15 minutes.” (1999 Pacific Bell Directory. For Palo Alto, Redwood City & Menlo Park. page B6). Contact a city or county agency to find out where to have your water tested.

4) Collect water from streams, creeks, ponds, lakes or springs. If a spring is uphill from the dome, pipe it directly to your dome or collect it in containers. Depending upon the water’s purity, you may need to purify water to be used for drinking and washing dishes.

5) Collect snow and melt it slowly indoors or over a fire. To protect your pot, put some water in the pot before you put the snow-filled pot over the fire. Depending upon your water’s purity, you may need to purify water to be used for drinking and washing dishes.

6) Drill a well.
Note: I have used all these methods, except for drilling a well.

Heating water:
1) Heat it on a stove in a pot.
2) Heat it in a solar water heater (such as hanging 3-gallon bag). Check solar energy companies’ websites.
3) Use a wood-fueled water heater, marketed online through solar energy companies.
4) Use a propane-fueled water heater.
5) Use a water heater which attaches to a wood-burning stove, marketed online through solar energy companies.

Washing dishes:
1) Use a pot or bowl and then toss the used wash water. Soapy water doesn’t hurt plants or animals. However, it will harm life in streams; soap is a nutrient for algae which will “bloom” and can eventually crowd out and kill fish.
2) Buy a sink with a drain, from a building supply or hardware store. Build a wooden box to hold the sink at desired height and after washing, direct the used water where you want it with a hose, flexible black plumbing pipe, or PVC.

Rigging up a shower:
You’ll need some water pressure. You can achieve this by either using a hanging solar bag or positioning a water storage tank uphill from shower, with a water heater in-between. Build an enclosure for privacy. You can let the water drain away.

Washing clothes:
1) Use a large container or a sink, as for dishwashing. Buy a wash board at a hardware store. Dry clothes on a clothes line or inside dome in wet weather.
2) Use a neighbor’s wash facilities for pay.
3) Go to a laundromat.
4) Buy a stainless steel, hand-powered washing machine. Wringer attachments are available.
5) Buy an efficient electric washing machine which can be powered with solar energy, marketed online through solar energy companies.

Outhouse function:
1) Use a neighbor’s facilities for pay.
2) Dig a one-use-only pit privy. Dig a 6″-deep hole with a shovel, use it, and then fill it with dirt. Each time. For rural use only.
3) Dig a hole, which is 3′ in diameter and 3-5′ deep, and cover it with a piece of plywood with 12″-diameter hole cut in it. Make a cover for the hole. Keep toilet paper stored nearby under a can. For privacy, build a fence or enclosure, with or without a roof. After using it, put a shovelful of dirt or lime in to minimize odor. When full, cover with about 1′ of dirt.
4) Buy a chemical toilet (used in airplanes, RVs and houseboats), which allows you to have an inside toilet. When the container is full, you have to take the container somewhere to be emptied. Purchase from RV supply or boating stores.

Be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent the freezing and/or bursting of your plumbing. These could be insulting your plumbing, heating it, or burying it below the permafrost.

You may want to purchase a SolarDome 8′ to cover your outhouse.

“General: 18′ Yurt Dome”

I’m interested in your 18′ Yurt Dome. I plan to use it to live in from late May until October this year. I will be in central Utah. Some considerations: may not be able to set up under a shady tree, will have to move periodically, have several dogs, may be hot at times if I’m not up in the mountains (Manti-LaSal National Forest), one person living in it.

Would the Yurt Dome suit my needs? What accessories would you recommend? How large is the yurt when packed? 

I think the Yurt Dome would suit your needs well in central Utah.

If you are unable to set the dome under a tree, you may want to consider our shade cloth (SunShade). The dome goes up in 30 minutes and down in 5, so moving periodically is no problem. Having several dogs in the dome should be no problem. Tents can get hot. However, there are four doors for ventilation.

The 18′ Yurt Dome, when packed, is the size of two large duffel bags, each weighing 30 pounds.

“General: Can domes be linked ?”

To what extent can shelters be linked together? For example, can a 20 or 30 foot Yurt Dome be joined to a smaller diameter dome or to a Crystal Cave?

The domes can be linked door to door by installing a U-shaped “wraparound” made of the woven ripstop fabric to enclose, join, and seal the two touching doorways. On the inside of each doorway are 4 Grip Clips, 2 at the top corners and 2 at the bottom, for a total of 8 inside both doorways. You hang the U-shaped enclosure from these 8 Grip Clips.

To join two doorways having the same dimensions:
Make the “wraparound” by cutting some 24″-wide fabric the length of the two sides plus the top of a doorway plus an additional 4′–this extra is for attaching 8 additional Grip Clips and forming 2 gutters to drain any rain away from the joined doorway. (See Accessories to buy the additional fabric and Grip Clips needed for this.) Determine the midpoint of the strip you’ve cut and mark it–the midpoint will enclose the center of the top of the doorway. Hold the center of the strip up to the center of the doorway and mark on the strip where the 4 Grip Clips at the top corners of the 2 doorways touch the strip. Attach 4 Grip Clips to the strip at these 4 places and enclose the 2 doorways with the “wraparound” and using the cord supplied with the additional Grip Clips, fasten the 4 Grip Clips on the “wraparound” to the 2 Grip Clips at the top of each side of the doorway. Lastly, attach 4 Grip Clips near the ends of the strip so you can fasten them to the 4 Grip Clips at the bottom corners of the doorway.

To join two doorways having different dimensions:
Cut the “wraparound” 6′ wide to allow yourself plenty of material to work with. Cut away the excess when you’ve finished. Proceed as above.

This enclosure is watertight. Any rain collects in the “wraparound,” which acts like a gutter, and drains onto the ground, not into the doorway or your dome.

Both doors, which we install at the top of each doorway, will be enclosed in the “wraparound.” If you still want to have a door covering between the attached domes, you can hang some material or a blanket in the doorway when desired.

The Crystal Caves are more difficult to link since their openings are so large, but a smaller door could be cut in their ends and then joined as above.

“General: Stoves”

Can you put a gas stove for cooking in a yurt?

Yes, you could hook up to a natural gas line or use bottled propane gas.

Do you provide fire-retardant, heat-resistant material specific for stove cutouts?

No. We suggest you roll up one of your 4 doors and shingle in a section of plywood slightly larger than the door opening. Then use standard fire-resistant stove pipe fittings.

“General: Cutting additional openings in the dome”

If I cut windows for my telescope, how would this affect the strength of the structure? If I install additional windows, will the dome be more difficult to assemble?

Yes, you can cut an additional window for your telescope. You should cut between the poles on the dome’s covering and not directly under them. If you do cut near a pole, I would leave at least a 1′-wide strip of fabric under the pole. It is true that the dome will be slightly weaker by cutting the covering. Understand that the more openings you cut and the larger they are, the weaker the structure will become. It should only be slightly more difficult to assemble.

It is possible to install a wood-burning stove in the middle of the dome by cutting a hole near the top. In this case, you leave a 2′-wide strip of fabric under the pole, to protect it from the heat.