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Parachute canopy Shelter

Parachute Canopy Shelter

There are occasions when it is useful to protect a larger space from the worst of the weather.

A surplus parachute canopy can be effectively used to make a practical and economical shelter for a workspace or campfire area.

Such canopies are usually rendered unserviceable by cutting the cords or in some cases the material itself. 

Such cuts are quickly and easily repaired with a sewing machine which leaves you with a large amount of useful material for making a weather resistant shelter.

It is important to realise that the nylon material is not waterproof but it will tend to channel the water down the material to the lowest point which is usually round the edge. In heavy rain a certain amount will go through the canopy in the form of a fine spray but this does at least reduce torrential rain to a mere drizzle.

On other occasions the same shelter may provide a shady area in the heat of a summer day without blocking the light and making it difficult to work under.

Parachute canopy shelter in day

I use a large “Irvin” canopy that I think came from a pilots emergency ejection seat and as supplied from Endicotts there was a heavy net attached to the circumference which I quickly removed with a pair of sharp scissors.

The next thing I removed was the drag chute and some internal lines which were designed to scallop the canopy when deployed but for my purposes, prevented the chute from hanging properly. I used the residue of these lines to make simple loops that can now be used to spread the material when the shelter is set up.

Parachute canopy shelterat night

To set up the shelter we need two strong trees either side of our intended space and a good length of rope or strong cord.

Using a catapult to shoot a line over a high branch (Thanks to MartinK9 for the use of the picture.)

I use a catapult with a heavy hex nut to launch a thin cord over suitable branches and then draw the heavier rope over and across the space between the trees.  The cords across the air vent in the centre of the canopy can then be attached to this line with a strong karabiner and hoisted up.

To spread the material over your working space you can just tie it directly to suitable trees or bushes but a better way is to make a perimeter line around the outside with another strong line and then attach the edges of the chute to this with lighter cord or even “bungees”.

In use you will find that the outer edge drips through as rainwater soaks though and anything attached to the inside of the chute will make a drip point too but as these are in a fixed position they are easily avoided.

Certainly if I am running workshops or even just enjoying company round the fire in the evening, I find such a parachute shelter very useful on a static camp.

 

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