I was on a hut trip over the weekend and I brought along my Golite SL3 to test out in winter conditions and figure out how to pitch it. I'd read of quite a few people using it as a winter shelter. I've always found it pretty easy to pitch even without using the trekking pole to determine stake points method. Just need to move a few stakes around to get a tight pitch. But I hadn't tried to pitch it in the snow with deadmen. First off, it looks like I should have dug the holes for the deadmen farther away from the tieouts. They were only 18-24 inches away from the edge of the tent. I started this kind of late and didn't want to dig them out and reset them as darkness was approaching. So I ended up with a kind of sloppy pitch. I only used the main tieouts, which seems like a mistake. It was really windy and the direction was changing constantly, so I piled some snow on the bottom edges to block the wind, except for the door and the panel across the tent from where I was sleeping. I thought that, combined with the 3 top vents, would provide enough ventilation to prevent much condensation. But with the snow pushing the sides in and not using the additional tie-outs, the inside was significantly smaller than a 3 season pitch.
Around 3 AM, after about 4 hours in the tent, I woke up to condensation falling on my face when the wind would hit the tent and knock the condensation off. And there was a lot of condensation. My bag was a bit wet on top as well. I would have been fine as far as safety was concerned continuing through the night, and I was plenty warm (first test of my WM Kodiak as well) but there was a very warm hut nearby and I bailed to get better sleep.
I know I could have used the additional tie-outs and better placement of the deadmen for a much tighter and roomier pitch. But I was still surprised at the amount of condensation. So here's the questions.
1. If I had pitched it better, and say the volume would have been twice as much as what I had, would that have significantly improved the condensation issue? Or only delayed it a bit?
2. How much more ventilation would I have needed to avoid it? It wasn't actually snowing and the wind was swirling a lot so I might have had some snow blown in, but I considered just tying the door open as I was plenty warm and could have dealt with a littler more wind. But in the case of driving snow, I wouldn't want to do that so I don't think trying that would have taught me anything. Other than possibly to keep the door closed . :)
3. Does anyone have a good method for determining where to place the deadmen since you need to place them and have them setup before raising the shelter?
Any other comments or suggestions? Thanks!