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Condensation in Ultralight Shelter Systems
This thread is associated with the article, M Nighttime Condensation on Tarp and Tent Fabrics by Mariah Walton, and is designated as an appropriate context for discussing condensation and how to minimize its effects in ultralight shelter systems.
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Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Condensation--drying on 11/23/2004 15:49:24 MST Print View

There are conditions where you will get condensation inside of a tent/tarp no matter the fabric or pitch configuration. My cold and rainy night on the Lost Coast last March is a good example. When this occurs, I keep a bandana by the sleeping bag and wipe down the inside of the tent/tarp once in the middle of the night. Despite the worst condensing/moisture conditions I have experienced, once in the middle of the night (and once when I am getting up in the morning) has been enough.

Stuart Bilby
(StuBilby) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Tarp condensation and wind on 12/06/2004 22:15:40 MST Print View

There was a lot of really interesting stuff in Mariah's article. I always assumed that wind reduced condensation because it carried moist breath away from the tent. This interestingly showed that the wind helps even with no people. Even very low winds appeared to reduce condensation even though they didn't seem to reduce the temp difference between air and fabric. That seems surprising?

How much warmer is it for someone sleeping under a tarp even if the tarp isn't stopping wind just radiation? (I spent several nights lying shivering all night wondering about this. At high altitude in Nepal in very dry conditions it seemed so much colder than the thermometer said.)

Colin Thomas
(fullofadventure) - F
why is Epic not used more in UL gear on 12/11/2004 10:00:04 MST Print View

I wonder why Epic is not used more in the making of UL shelters/gear instead silnylon. It breathes better so you would have less chance of condensation and it is water resistant enough for most people’s uses. So why not make tarps, ponchos, and tarptents out of Epic?

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
tarp color on 12/12/2004 18:51:38 MST Print View

Did she forgot to test color? Seems like tarp color could make a difference in amount of radiant heat loss leading to more, or less. condinsation.

Seems like I remember reading that light (white) tarps have less condinsation than darker colors.

John Walton
(JohnCWalton) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
tarp color on 01/28/2005 17:46:39 MST Print View

In the infrared band (all that is important at night), most dyes/colors are "black". Color mostly makes a difference during the day. Many statements about condensation or night temperature vs. color (e.g., Ray Jardine's)are incorrect. During the day color makes a difference and white is coolest based upon tests of roofs.