The Ray-Way Net-Tent Kit
Keeping Out the Bugs
Ray & Jenny Jardine
The Ray-Way Net-Tent
is a tent-like enclosure made of netting that clips very simply under a Ray-Way Tarp
. You sew the Kit yourself.
We offer three basic designs of Net-Tent, with several sizes each:
- Net-Tent Flap
- Net-Tent Quadratic
- Net-Tent Spitfire
Ray-Way Tarp and 2P Quadratic (Net-Tent with zipper closure)
Ray-Way 2P Quadratic (Net-Tent with zipper closure)
See our Order Form for more info.
The Ray-Way Tarp Book Essential contains a wealth of info about using a Ray-Way Net-Tent.
Ray demonstrates how he uses the Tarp and Net-Tent in his AT Gear Video.
We offer three basic types of Net-Tent kits (with various options)|
All three models look about the same, and have the same waterproof bathtub floor.
1) The Net-Tent with Door-Flap closure is the lightest, and also the easiest to sew by a wide margin. Recommended for blocking flying insects such as mosquitoes and back flies, and the vast majority of crawling ones. This version of the kit will make a one-person or a two-person Net-Tent.
Our Net-Tent with Door-Flap Closure comes without zippers to add simplicity and to save weight. To keep the bugs out, you simply lay the the netting headwall extension (door-flap) on the floor, and then place a few objects (water bottles, pillow, clothing bag, etc) on top of it, or you can tuck the door-flap under the floor. You can make an even better seal by placing the headwall extension flush with the edge of the bathtub extension of the floor, and rolling them both up a few times. Then you would place some weight (water bottles for example) on the roll to hold it in place. This method is very effective. But if camping in a place where the bugs are especially
numerous, you might prefer a zipper closure instead.
A 2P Net-Tent with zipper closure on Ray's 2011-Moto-Prudhoe trip.
2) The Quadratic (Net-Tent with zipper closure) would be the most suitable for most people, because it keeps the ticks out better than the flap version, and it is easier to sew than a Spitfire. The zipper version is a bit heavier than the door-flap version, due to the weight of the zippers - but not by much. And it takes a little more time to sew, again because of the zippers. But the design is very simple with only four pieces of netting to sew ogether (like the door-flap version). Order the one-person version, or the two-person version. Ray used a 2P Net-Tent with zipper closure on his 2011-Moto-Prudhoe trip.
We have recently re-designed our Net-Tent with zipper closure Kit, and named it the Quadratic. The name comes from a part of the math that we used in the design. Quadratic Formula Song.
The Quadratic Net-Tent is meant to be used under a Ray-Way Tarp. But it can also be used alone. Here, we have removed the Tarp, and pitched the Quadratic with the same poles and cords, although we had to use short (16") extension cords on the corner and side guys.
Our basic 2P Quadratic Kit (Net-Tent with zipper closure) has plenty of room for two people. If you want even more room, order a 2P Large kit (6" wider, 6" longer) or a 2P X-Large kit (12" wider, 12" longer)
2P Quadratic, view of interior.
Jenny and the 2P Quadratic
Quadratic (Net-Tent with Zipper Closure)
Large (6" wider, 6" longer) or X-Large kit (12" wider, 12" longer)
|1P Large||36"||87"|| |
|1P X-Large||42"||93"|| |
|2P Large||54"||87"|| |
|2P X-Large||60"||93"|| |
The Quadratic's floor is 81" long, same as the Spitfire, both 1P and 2P. If you are unsure about the length you need, place two cardboard boxes on the floor, 81" apart, and lie between them. If you need a longer floor, opt for the 1P or 2P size Large (6" longer) or X-Large (12" longer).
Note that when laying down, a person is actually several inches longer than his or her height, due to the flexing of the ankles. When standing, the ankles flex 90 degrees to the legs, unless ballet dancing - standing on the toes. So for example, a person 6 foot zero inches in height, will require a bed length of at least 72" + 6" at the minimum. this is well within our 1P or 2P floor length of 81". If a person is taller than 6', and wants to save the most weight, he or she might do the box test (two cardboard boxes on the floor, 81" apart, and lie between them) and see how much room is needed. The size 1P-Large is 6 inches longer, and most of the added weight is in the floor. So imagine a strip of floor fabric, 6" wide by 87" long, and that is about how much weight is added. This might be huge for a distance hiker, but not much for everyone else.
We are now offering a Quadratic Kit Sewing Video
The Spitfire version of the zippered Net-Tent, 11.6 oz.
3) The Spitfire version of the Net-Tent is a one-person netting enclosure designed to fit under a Ray-Way one-person tarp. It comprises 10 pieces of netting and extra seams for strength. And again it has a zipper closing door. This model is its more durable because of how the seams add strength, so it would be more suitable for a summer-long hike. However, it takes more time to sew.
Ray used a Spitfire on both his 2009 AT and 2010 thru-hikes, and on his TransAm-2010 cycling trip. Comes in a one-person version only. More info about the Spitfire Kit
Contents of the Net-Tent Kit
Our Ray-Way Net-Tent Kit comes with full sewing instructions.
The kit also contains the no-see-um netting for the roof, side walls, headwall and footwall; urethane or silicone nylon for the floor, and all the suspension lines, reinforcement material, cord locks and suspension hooks.
The cord locks included with this kit (for the adjustable suspension lines) were custom made expressly for Ray-Way Products to be small and lightweight.
Not included in the kit are sewing machine, Ray-Way thread and a zipper foot for your sewing machine, tape measure at least 15 feet long, “straight edge tool" at least 53” long, or a straight board, Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker or an equivalent, adhesive tape, and few sewing notions (seam ripper, straight pins and so forth).
Before starting with this kit, please read our "Sewing Tips". Along with many other tips, we show how to adjust your sewing machine to achieve a balanced stitch.
In addition to the kits, we are also selling what we consider to be the world's finest Sewing Thread. This thread is not included in our kits, but is a separate item listed on our Order Form.
A 2P X-Large Net-Tent in use during the 2011-Moto-Prudhoe trip.
* The completed one-person Net-Tent with a silicone floor weighs only 9.0 ounces!
* 1-P Net-Tent w/ zipper and urethane-coated floor (or Spitfire) weighs 11.6 oz.
* 2-P Net-Tent with urethane-coated floor: 19.1 oz.
* 2-P X-Large: 24.6 oz
However, in most cases the Net-Tent would serve also as the groundsheet. So when figuring your load and adding the weight of the Net-Tent, you would subtract the weight of the groundsheet. For a small Net-Tent, the resulting increase is minimal.
Note, too, that the Net-Tent can be used as a groundsheet - with or without the tarp - when the bugs are not a problem. Simply spread it on the ground, floor side down, fold the netting on top of the floor to keep the netting clean, and lay your insulating foam pad on the netting. This gives you an additional layer under your pad, for a little more comfort and warmth. This option can be especially attractive when carrying a minimal foam pad.
For more info about this, please refer to The Ray-Way Tarp Book Essential.
Note that the Extra-Large 2-P Net-Tent with zipper closure fits under our standard size 2-P tarp. But because it is quite a bit heaver and more bulky that our standard size 2-P Net-Tent, it is designed primarily for car camping (or motorcycle camping) where its weight and bulk is not so much of an issue.
We offer two types of floor material for the
Net-Tent Flap-Closure, Quadratic (Zipper Closure), and Spitfire:
Please see our Order Form. We recommend urethane-coated nylon, and we use this type floor on all our trips. It is a bit heavier than a floor made of silicone nylon, but much more durable and not as slippery against the ground. It is also more waterproof when pressed hard against the ground.
Most commercially manufactured tents come with urethane-coated floors.
Despite the weight increase, we use a urethane floor whenever we use a Net-Tent, which is on most of our trips. However, we are still offering floors of silicone nylon for the person more intent on saving the most weight.
- Urethane-coated nylon
- Slicone-coated nylon
Standard size two-person Net-Tent on our "CA Mountains & Coast" trip
Standard size two-person Net-Tent on our "CA Mountains & Coast" trip
Extra-Large Two-Person Net-Tent used during Ray's 2013-07-GDRx2
trip. This photo, and the one that follows, doesn't give a very good idea of how much larger the Extra-Large Net-Tent is, compared to the standard size. But the first time I used it, I found the size difference was huge.
Extra-Large Two-Person Net-Tent used during the 2013-07-GDRx2 trip.
Spitfire Kit::Ray-Way Spitfire Expedition Net-Tent Kit
Our 1-P Spitfire Net-Tent is a one-person model, designed to fit under a Ray-Way 1-Person tarp.
The Spitfire version of our Net-Tent, 11.6 oz.
Ray used a 1P Spitfire during his TransAm-2010 cycling trip. Notice the excellent ground coverage under the 1P Tarp after a heavy rain - despite the steeper pitch to avoid the trees on either side.
The Spitfire is designed specifically for the AT where pack-weight is critical, and space on the ground is sometimes at a premium. It is for serious hikers who will be in the wilds all summer, and who want to minimize their pack-weight while maximizing their protection from bugs. I designed and used the Spitfire during my 2009 AT thru-hike. It was my favorite piece of gear. Since then I have used it on several more trips.
As usual I design all my gear for personal use, but make the kits so that other people can use them too. All told, we think this is one of our best kits.
Size L = up to 5' 11"
Size XL = 5' 11" on up.
The size L is for a person no taller than 5' 11". Someone taller would still have sufficient room to lie down, but would not likely be able to turn around (head to toe) unless they were more flexible.
If you are taller than 5' 11", we recommend the size XL. It is 4" wider, 3" taller, and 4" longer. Or if you are more concerned about weight, order the Size L.
Note: as shown on our Gear Video, a person doesn’t turn around while inside the Spitfire. It's too small for that. This is to save weight and bulk. Instead, one simply crawls in, feet first.
The Spitfire requires a few added attachments on one's tarp, but these are easy to sew onto an existing tarp - and our instructions show how.
A stealth camp on the AT, looking at the foot end of the Spitfire. (The head end is higher.)
In addition the Kit, you will also need:
1) Sewing machine and thread (of course), and a zipper foot.
2) Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker, or equivalent.
3) Tape measure with a metal or plastic strip at least 15 feet long, incremented in 1/16ths of an inch. Search "Tape measure," and see Tape Measure Tool
4) A Straight Edge at least 53" long. Search "straight edge tool," or you can use the edge of a straight board or some such.
We have put a great deal of time and effort into the Spitfire kit, with me designing the general layout and the specific parts, and also writing the instructions, and with Jenny sewing prototypes. Why so much effort? Because because we wanted this kit to be easy to sew with clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
However, for the casual weekend hiker we recommend our standard Net-Tent Kit because it's much more simple and quicker to sew. But if you have made a Ray-Way Kit or two, then you will likely find the Spitfire easy to sew also. Or if you are a beginner, and can read and follow directions to a "T", then you will likely find the Spitfire easy as well. The Spitfire is no harder to sew, but takes more time because of the additional seams. The Original Net-Tent is made up of only 5 pieces, and has no zippers. The Spitfire has 11 pieces and 3 zippers. I didn't have the zippers during my AT hike, but could have used them - since ticks have become such a hazard. So now the zippers come standard.
Generalizing: the Original Net-Tent is intended for weekend hikers; the Spitfire is meant for summer-long thru-hiking.
The Spitfire Kit has a few options for the floor. You can choose our urethane nylon Spitfire floor, which I recommend for extended use, like thru-hiking. Among our color options is Urethane-Light-Gray, which will help you spot any ticks crawling around that you had brought inside on your socks or whatever. Or to save 4.5 ounces, you can choose silicone nylon. Personally, I like the Urethane much better, but to each his or her own.
My first Ray-Way prototype with a gray polyurethane floor weighs 11.6 oz. It took Jenny about 4 hours to make.
"I ordered my Spitfire kit on October 25 and finished it on November 12. I worked on it about an hour each night. The hardest part was convincing our new kitten that I really did not need her help while laying out the fabric on the hardwood floor. The kit did go together easily after I was able to visualize what the instructions were trying to convey. Once I got the mental image and reviewed the 2 pictures on your site it was smooth sailing. It'now ready for my NFT. It weighed in at 11.7oz and 11.9oz with it's stuff bag [green polyurethane floor]. I really enjoyed sewing the netting to the floor. After turning the enclosure right side out I checked the corners. The netting seam and the floor corner seam lined up perfectly. I was very proud of that." -John G.
Note: Jenny takes about four hours to make a Spitfire, and only about a third of that is the sewing.
Urethane-coated nylon for the floor of the Ray-Way Net-Tent kits, and sometimes for the Tarp itself.
- Ray first made his first tarp of urethane-coated nylon in 1973, and made several others after that.
- On our 3rd PCT thru-hike (1994), we used a homemade tarp of urethane-coated nylon. This tarp weighed less than half of our light-weight tents that we had used on our previous thru-hikes, and yet it preformed much better than the tents. This tarp is still in good shape and we still have it.
- On virtually all of our trips we use a Net-Tent with a urethane floor. For wilderness camping, a urethane-coated Net-Tent floor is not as slippery as silicone nylon, and longer lasting; but is somewhat heavier.
Our urethane-coated nylon fabric is a lot stronger than any silicone-nylon, It stretches less, and is more durable. It might be the preferred choice for someone who frequently camps in high winds.
Urethane-coated nylon = 2.7 oz/yd2
Silicone-coated nylon = 1.3 oz/yd2
Our urethane-coated nylon is first quality fabric only; no "seconds." This material is 1.9 ounces per square yard prior to coating; and after coating it is around 2.7 oz/yd2.
The digitals make great backpacks.
A Ray-Way tarp made of our digital material would work well for low-profile wilderness camping, when you want to blend in with the natural surroundings.
The digital camouflage pattern is what the US military uses in many areas. If you know someone deployed in the Middle East, they might like you to make them a tarp of our digital material.