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Wet Weather Drying Techniques in Fog, etc.
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Sean Miner
(kromangun) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Wet Weather Drying Techniques in Fog, etc. on 09/25/2006 13:22:23 MDT Print View

Fellow Enthusiasts,

I've been doing a great deal of packing through the SF Bay Area Coastal Region lately: Skyline (Big Basin), Coastal (Marin Headlands), Point Reyes (everywhere!), and anywhere else in between. My pack is light and my supplies are to the bear minimum. I'm using a Integral Designs SilPoncho for rain/shelter, the FireFly Stove from Mo-Go Gear and a Snow Peak spork, and all the other typical goodies (Komperdell C3 Airshock poles, Gossamer Gear Whisperlight pack, Integral Designs Primaliner for my Sleeping Bag, etc). I feel safe, comfortable, warm, and for the first day at least, dry and happy. So here's my problem: every single morning of day two, I wake up COMPLETELY drenched! Not in sweat or from a heavy rainstorm, but from the FOG! That's fine. I actually love the fog and welcome it. But I need to know from my fellow uberlighters how to dry-out my gear enough to feel comfortable on night two and day three. Sure, the fog MAY leave by around 9AM, but I'm an early riser and I need to get out of camp by 6AM to get my morning rush.

ANY ADVICE ON DRYING/WET WEATHER TECHNIQUES???

All the Best,
-Sean Miner

Edited by kromangun on 09/25/2006 22:24:04 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Here's a crazy idea! on 09/25/2006 15:59:52 MDT Print View

This suggestion will probably sound odd and is most likely ludicrous, but here goes.

I'm wondering if using a tent will, at least partially, solve the problem. More accurately, prevent the problem.

I realize that we commonly think of tents as condensation generators and therefore, sometimes the culprit in getting our gear wet, but how much worse could it be if you are in dense fog? Maybe, in this extreme case, would "protect" your gear from the fog!

I give this solution a low probability of success but, if you have a friend with a tent that wants to go hiking in the fog, you could take your setup and compare in the morning whose gear is wetter!

If it does work, you'll have to pay the price in the extra weight of a tent but, these days they are getting lighter. Maybe you could pack lightweight pyramid tent from Black Diamond or similar. I have a Golite Hex 3 and love it for winter camping. You would need to stake it flush with the ground to keep the fog out.

Just a whacky idea that popped into my head when I read your post. Off course you could carry a solar powered hair dryer :-)

Sean Miner
(kromangun) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks on 09/26/2006 21:35:11 MDT Print View

That's a good idea and worth trying for sure!

Hey, I was thinking about buying the GoLite Hex, whaddya think? Was it a worthy purchase?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Here's a crazy idea! on 09/27/2006 04:21:09 MDT Print View

> I'm wondering if using a tent will, at least partially, solve the problem. More accurately, prevent the problem.

Well, let's walk through the problem. I am going to assume that by 'fog' you mean 'fog' rather than a passing cloud. This needs explaining!

What causes fog? It happens when humid air cools down to the dew point, and water starts to condense out of the air. (This is technically different from having your head in a cloud. The air can actually be above the dew point then.)

Now, what happens inside a tent? Well, you have this heater inside the tent, warming up the air - it's called a human being. The heat from the human warms the air inside the tent, and this may, if you are lucky, mean that the air inside the tent is now warmer than the dew point. So dew or fog stops forming. Actually, this works even better with two humans inside the tent because there is twice the amount of heat being generated.
So a tent can be a real winner under these conditions. It should not be closed right up, but it should limit air flow. That's why a tarp simply won't behave the same: no control over air flow.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Bivi sack on 09/27/2006 05:56:35 MDT Print View

To keep the fog from codensing on gear that should stay dry (sleeping bag/quilt) use a bivi sack or near bivi cover ... Either choice should be breathable.

Pan

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Yeah, what Roger said! on 09/27/2006 06:02:00 MDT Print View

Sean,

I'm glad (and surprised) that I wasn't off my rocker on the tent idea. Roger has given substance to my gut feeling. Thanks Roger!

Sean Miner
(kromangun) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Oh boy! on 09/27/2006 22:59:22 MDT Print View

No, no, that's not what I needed to hear...now you guys have helped this gear-obsessed junky decide he needs to buy the Six Moon Designs Gatwood Cape!!! :> Now that should do the trick, right? A lightweight rain-cape for the bod during a storm, plus a lightweight "tent" to beat the fog. Maybe the small volume of the inside of this cape in Shelter mode will work for the body of one human (mine) to heat the air enough???

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Oh boy! on 09/27/2006 23:43:44 MDT Print View

> Maybe the small volume of the inside of this cape in Shelter mode will work for the body of one human (mine) to heat the air enough???

Dunno. Can you close the front of the Cape enough to get a tent effect? Can you get enough ventilation in from the ground level and out at the TOP? Not always simple with a Cape.
Try it maybe?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Gatewood Probably Won't Work on 09/28/2006 00:07:44 MDT Print View

When you've got very moist air (fog) outside AND a human generating moisture inside, perimeter vents will help very little. A silnylon tent without a chimmey vent up above (like the Gatewood Cape) will likely fare even worse.

Successive waves of warm moist air will keep rising and condensing onto the tent's ceiling and walls. Most water droplets will either cling to the ceiling / walls, or drip harmlessly down the corners into the ground... but if it's really humid, then more than a few droplets will likely "rain down" onto the camper's bag and face as well, thus causing problems...

Edited by ben2world on 09/28/2006 00:18:17 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Gatewood Probably Won't Work on 09/28/2006 04:19:02 MDT Print View

> When you've got very moist air (fog) outside AND a human generating moisture inside, perimeter vents will help very little. A silnylon tent without a chimmey vent up above (like the Gatewood Cape) will likely fare even worse.

I have to plead some ignorance here about the Gatewood. My wife and I tent!

However, looking at the pic in the Spotlight Review by Will and Aubrin, I see a large hood in the middle, right at the peak. Can this be used as a top vent? Might need some string outside to hold it up, but fine string is light. I did this (in another way) with the hood on the Oware tarp (another review).

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Gatewood Probably Won't Work on 09/28/2006 07:18:47 MDT Print View

>> A silnylon tent without a chimmey vent up above (like the Gatewood Cape) will likely fare even worse. <<

Ben,

Actually since the hood is at the apex when configured as a shelter. It works just fine as a vent. I've taken my cap, which has a stiff brim, and placed it over the end of the pole and cinched the hood down.

This keep rain out of the interior while still creating a gap to vent moist air.

Ron

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Gatewood Probably Won't Work on 09/28/2006 09:07:51 MDT Print View

My mistake -- sorry -- and thanks for the correction!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Gatewood Probably Won't Work on 09/28/2006 09:23:30 MDT Print View

Dr. Moak wrote: "I've taken my cap, which has a stiff brim, and placed it over the end of the pole and cinched the hood down."

I'll have to try my Tilley that way :)

There were other questions about the Gatewood-- it is fully enclosed on all sides with a generous door flap that can be tied back and has a two way zipper, so you can vent top or bottom. The bottom of the tent can be raise or lowered by using lines just as you would with any tarp shelter. It is a single wall shelter with non-breathable fabric, so it is going to be prone to the same condensation problems as any other single wall. Proper pitching and little tricks like the cap will certainly help. I've had nothing more than a thin film of condensation on a cold morning-- better than I expected really, and nothing like big drips getting my sleeping bag wet.

Another point on evaluating floorless shelters: the first thing many of us do is to run out in the yard and pitch our new toy on the lawn. There can be a lot of moisture in the grass that is trapped by the tent, so the condensation issues you experience in your back yard may not be the same when you camp. Likewise camping near water, weather changes overnight, etc, etc, etc.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Silnylon tent in humid areas on 09/28/2006 10:39:34 MDT Print View

Yeah, but when camping with a single wall silnylon tent in a cold and foggy area, users will pretty much have to expect condensation -- and not think of it as some sort of anomaly.

This goes back to choosing the proper tool for the particular task at hand. I love to use my UL tarptent when camping in temperate areas with low to moderate humidity. However, I use my double wall tent for areas that are cold and/or humid. I'd rather carry the extra pound (or shave it off somewhere else) than deal with damp clothing and sleeping bag every morning...

Edited by ben2world on 09/28/2006 10:45:45 MDT.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Silnylon tent in humid areas on 09/28/2006 11:26:32 MDT Print View

Ben, your last post mentions a double-wall tent (and I've read others comment on using double walls part of the year as alternative to silnylon single walls) but usually the model is not specified. What double-wall do you carry for solo trips? Thanks.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Silnylon tent in humid areas on 09/28/2006 11:52:40 MDT Print View

I crave more space than others, so I carry a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 SL. To me, it offers a good balance between space and weight.

If you don't mind being a little cramped, the 1 SL is even lighter, and still offers room for sitting up.

A third option -- and also a very popular one -- is the MSR Hubba. The floor space is way too narrow for my liking, but the headroom is quite decent.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Re: Silnylon tent in humid areas on 09/28/2006 12:28:36 MDT Print View

Ben, thanks for your views on double-wall. I've really be struggling with a choice of tents; I can't afford more than one. I definitely like space (gear inside with me), don't want bugs and critters around, want to be able to sit up, and really don't want significant condesation problems. At the same time, weight is important; 3 lbs. is my max. In addition, I've been taking 4 to 8-year old grandkids on overnights so a 1+ or 2-person is desireable (Hubba is too narrow for me anyway - I'm 6'1" and 210). I guess this is really a subject for another thread; don't want to hi-jack this one. Thanks again.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Fog Prob on 10/02/2006 11:09:40 MDT Print View

Dense fog is like horizontal drizzle, so it is necessary to have a blocking layer, and vents for the warmer vapor. You will more easily heat up a small tent than a big one. Carb up at night to increase the heat. Sleep with at least your base layers on. I sleep in all my clothes to keep them dry ==> lighter sleeping bag. Get everything in black to soak up the sun. In NOLS this is known as the backcountry-ninja effect. May want UV protection on the gear if you do this all the time. Especially with the ultralight fabrics.

(quote):
" ..comfortable on night two and day three. Sure, the fog MAY leave by around 9AM, but I'm an early riser and I need to get out of camp by 6AM to get my morning rush."

It's great to get an early start - that means you can take a 25 minute nap/lunch/meditation/photo-session/*BEEP* somewhere between 11:30 and 3 to dry out your stuff in the sun.

This may not apply to you so much, but salt management is an often overlooked aspect of moisture management. Salt (and grime to a lesser degree) attracts moisture and holds it, so by keeping your socks and base layers cleaner, you can be drier too. Besides stink, this is a GREAT reason to have a pair of socks that you only use in your bag.

Not necessarily applicable to you, on the other side of the coin, a vapor barrier will keep in the salt, but evaporation will not cool you. An advantage is that it can keep water (less-salty sweat) from acting similar to distilled water and breaking down substances (skin) that it contacts. Ultra-pure water used in cosmic ray detectors for example require materials more exotic than those used for strong acids.