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tarptents and down bags?
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ronald liljedahl
tarptents and down bags? on 10/13/2005 18:05:18 MDT Print View

I am looking for a 2 person shelter for myself and my wife. I am considering a Squall 2 or a Europa 5 tarptent. I would like opinions on using either of these in the Southeastern US where we get up to 55 inches of rain per year? Additionally, I would like opinions about using a down bag or down quilt in a tarptent. Is condensation really an issue?


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: tarptents and down bags? on 10/13/2005 19:24:36 MDT Print View

I own a Europa 05 and have been very happy with it. I bought it to use with my 8 year old son. No problems with rain, even blowing rain. I use a down quilt.

Condensation has not been an issue with this tent so far. Depending on the conditions, I've had from zero to lots of condensation, but even in conditions with lots of condensation it has not been an issue. It's nearly impossible for your bag to come in contact with condensation since most of the tent is double wall, except for the top third and ceiling. The condensation has not dripped down onto me or my bag yet.

Edited by DanG on 10/13/2005 19:26:22 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
tarptent and down bags on 10/13/2005 19:28:26 MDT Print View

I have a Virga and use a Western Mountaineering Ultralight. I have had some heavy condensation with my tarpent. It actually made me go back to using tarps with a bivy. I have had rain, severe condesation, and perfect conditions. It just depends on where you set it up and as long as you don't touch the side or top, then you will be ok. The condesation is not going to be to the point of soaking your bag. As for rain, last Oct. I was stuck in a freak "winter" storm in the Sierras and had around 3 inches of rain and sleet fall on my tarptent. I was as dry as can be.

David White
(davidw) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: tarptents and down bags? on 10/13/2005 22:11:06 MDT Print View

I've got a Squall that I've used quite a bit with a down bag. Although I love the Squall, I've got to admit it does seem to have a lot of condensation (I suspect that's largely true of all single-wall shelters).

When going solo, there's so much room in the Squall that I never worry about the condensation at all. When I've got a partner some of the condenstation inevitably gets on my bag -- but so far the DWR finish on the bag has been more than adequate to prevent any wetting of the down.

I also recommend always using the "optional" side stakes with the Squall. They will give you just a little more side clearance and they also make the tent MUCH less likely to trickle water in during a storm (I learned this the hard way my first night out with the Squall).

All said, I really enjoy my Squall.

Edited by davidw on 10/13/2005 22:12:12 MDT.

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
Tarptent condensation and down bag on 10/14/2005 06:09:37 MDT Print View

Condensation in a Tarptent is a fact of life, but it is easily dealt with. My version is a two year old Cloudburst which has quite steep walls. Since I'm always the only one in this shelter, there is no reason for for my Marmot Hydrogen to come in contact with a wet tent wall - I'm in the middle with scads of room to spare. Sometimes in a driving rain I have had a fine mist and a few micro droplets sift through. I have always worried about this of course, yet the bag has always been fine. Most high end down bags are sufficiently water resistant to repel condensation. Unless you are lying in a puddle of water, you should be OK


Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: tarptents and down bags? on 10/14/2005 07:14:31 MDT Print View

Ditto. Yes, there can be condensation but I've used the Squall as a solo shelter and never had a problem with my sleeping bag getting damp.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: tarptents and down bags? on 10/14/2005 13:51:36 MDT Print View

All tents have condensation under some conditions - even top end double walled ones. In conditions with lots of rain, a *well-ventillated* tarp is as dry as anything else, and drier than some. One advantage of a tarp with a separate groundsheet is you can vary the ventillation for the conditions you are facing. Also, the exposed ground will soak up drips, whereas an attached floor keeps them handy so they can run downhill to your sleeping bag.

Regarding down and wet conditions: I've seen lots of newbies thruhiking with down bags - despite total ignorance about how to care for them. I've never seen anyone wet out a quality down bag to the point that it was useless. Not saying it can't happen, but I use down bags on river trips now instead of my (several) poly-fill bags.

I think the *main threat* to a down bag is washing it. I suspect that soap residue compromises the natural water resistance of the down. Having used down bags for as long as 9 months at a time without washing them, I can truthfully say they may start to smell like a warm puppy, but rarely do they become so totally disgusting that a good airing won't fix it. This is assuming you don't have a problem with incontenance.

Edited by vickrhines on 10/15/2005 13:15:02 MDT.