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Can SoulPads be Used as Permanent Shelter?

Can SoulPads be used as a permanent shelter? SoulPads are intended for regular, light, leisure use and it is our opinion that they do not make for a suitable permanent shelter. They are primarily a temporary structure.

We are aware that some SoulPad customers do choose to use their SoulPad for long periods at a time, and in some instances as a permanent shelter (some with far more success than others). This is done so against our recommendation.

However, for those that are intent on using a SoulPad long term, we have the following tips and advice. The information on this page has come partly from the results of our own testing, but largely from SoulPad users. This information will therefore continue to grow as we all share our findings. If you would like to share a tip based on your own experiences please contact us, we will welcome your valued input.

Tips & Advice: -

1. Choose your pitch carefully (flat, sheltered and with good drainage).
    Check with the land owner on the best places to pitch. They will understand best how their land fairs during different types of weather.
    An uneven pitch will place uneven tension on the canvas, poles and other components, as will an overly exposed pitch.
    It is vital that you pitch on a well drained surface that is not prone to water logging.
    Pitching under a tree and in woodlands can present its problems. Falling leaves (left on the canvas to get wet can cause discoloration and degradation of the canvas beneath), bird droppings (birds like to rest in trees and leave deposits on your SoulPad!) and falling debris from the tree can penetrate the canvas. Mould and mildew formation can also be accelerated in woodland conditions, as it is here (damp, moist conditions) that moulds and fungus' can thrive on organic materials.

2. Protect your groundsheet (with a secondary layer).
    Your pitch might look like the perfect spot, but as your SoulPad endures more footfall, small objects in the ground can work their way to the surface and penetrate the groundsheet.
    Consider placing a secondary groundsheet or membrane under the existing one. Some of our customers have even laid decking to pitch on. It is a good idea to use a secondary layer that is slightly larger than the existing one. This will help to keep grass and dirt away from the canvas.
   A secondary layer can also help with insulation during colder months.

3. Erect your SoulPad correctly.
    Erect the SoulPad according to the instructions. Never assume you will remember the order in which to erect your SoulPad. Bad habits are easy to fall into and can have a negative impact on the longevity of your SoulPad.

4.  Keep grass short near to the canvas.
    The canvas needs to breathe. Grass limits its ability to breathe, and attracts moisture which is ideal for mould formation.

5. Check the guy ropes regularly.
    The moisture content of the canvas will be constantly changing. During dry, less windy spells slacken off the tension on the guy ropes. This will allow the canvas to relax and minimise the likelihood of stretch and distortion.
    Make sure there is enough tension applied during windier conditions. Loose guy ropes can cause pegs to unearth in a gust.
    Consider switching to wooden pegs on the guy ropes if the ground becomes very wet. Wooden pegs hold much better than metal ones under these circumstances.

6. Re-locate from time-to-time.
    Prevailing winds can cause your SoulPad to stretch unevenly. If you do not have space to re-locate your SoulPad, you should at least consider turning it around once in a while.
    Re-locating will also allow the ground beneath to recover.

7. Consider a heat source.
    A heat source like the Blaze stove will undoubtedly help prolong your SoulPads useful life. Even during the height of summer we can still experience high levels of moisture in the air (particularly at night). A heat source will allow you to dry your SoulPad from the inside out, leaving you less reliant on the sun alone.

8. Expect to Clean & Maintain.
    Being exposed to the elements for long periods, your SoulPad will need to be monitored carefully. Follow our care advice when dealing with any issues.
     Deal with any problems as soon as possible. They will only get worse and become bigger problems later on.
     Prevention is the key. For example: Don't wait for your SoulPad to leak before cleaning and re-waterproofing it, don't wait for fungus to show (once it's there it's almost impossible to remove) and don't wait for the canvas to fade under UV. All of these things can be prevented with regular cleaning and re-proofing.

9. Re-waterproof after cleaning.
    Always and without exception! No matter how big or small the area you have cleaned, always re-waterproof the same area with appropriate agents.