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Thorben Löhl
(borgefjell) - F
Epic for pyramid tent on 06/26/2007 03:49:05 MDT Print View

As there is no eVent available, I planned to sew a pyramid tent from epic. The different positiv reviews of the bd-tent and the fact that Ray is using an Epic-Version of the Golite Hex in winter made me hope that this would be the right material for me...

But know in two different articles (condensation in single wall tents and alternatives for eVent) it was mentioned that Epic dosn´t work in wet weather-conditions and I´m back at the beginning again.

Does anyone of you has some experience how bad the wet-weather-problems with epic are?

Thanks in advance!

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
re. Epic for pyramid tent on 06/26/2007 08:10:53 MDT Print View

First of all, could you describe the seasons, conditions, and geographic location where you would be using such a shelter?
Given all the venting options possible for a pyramid style tent, I don't think that a W/B material is necessary for this kind of shelter. Instead I would go for a lighter material--possibly even Cuben (see http://www.ryanjordan.com/2006_arctic/2006/06/ultralight_shel.html). A spinnaker nylon material could also be considered. A 'Mid made of Epic or eVENT, I don't think, would outperform a stock BD Megalight or Golite Hex made of SilNylon. I incidentally have often used the Megalight for Winter camping.

I have a couple of Epic tents---both by Black Diamond, a Firstlight and a Lighthouse----they are superbly light (Epic is the lightest W/B material found in use for shelters) and strong high mtn. tents that I have used in the Sierra, Cascades, and various Canadien Ranges in all seasons. They have performed well in keeping me dry because, in part because I keep the Epic clean (when dirty it leaks). Condensation has been low for multiple reasons--- the material, itself, where I pitch my tent, and making use of cross ventilation. The tents themselves have weathered sharp outbursts of precip and generally have exceeded the manufacturer's reccomendations. Experiences will vary. Some individuals have had experiences where they experienced wet out far earlier than I have. The epic material, from some accounts, doesn't perform so well in lower elevation, higher humidity and higher temperature environments.

There will continue to be this siren song about Epic----it's extremely high water resistant nature will last the life of the material. It won't wear out, delaminate or peel off or become contaminated by body oils. Contamination by dirt will cause it to leak----wipe it clean and it's original performance returns.
Hope this helps.

Edited by kdesign on 06/26/2007 08:31:17 MDT.

Thorben Löhl
(borgefjell) - F
Use and ideas on 06/26/2007 09:50:21 MDT Print View

The tent should especially be used in the norwegian winter, which means temperatures from -30°C and dry air or, depending on wind direction, around 0°C with humid air, a lot of snow and heavy storm. To prevent driving snow in the tent I´ll sew snowflaps on the edges and I´m going to use an innertent made from breathable nylon. Cooking in the tent due to bad weather is quite normal. High-low-ventings are planned as well.

I know that normal SilNylon would work as well but I hope that the breathablity of epic will give me some benefits. What I also like is the material used for the epic malibu - polyester won´t stretch when wet. The specialised companies which make such pyramid tents for winter use normaly take ventile, but imo that´s way to heavy and does soak water. The idea is more or less to make a traditional tent from modern materials without loosing any benefits.

The fly only could be used for summer-camping in typical european weather.

Edited by borgefjell on 06/26/2007 10:04:13 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Re. Use and Ideas on 06/26/2007 11:37:50 MDT Print View

I would suggest a seperate tarp to act as your kitchen. Cooking inside the Pyramid. even with it's peak vents is going to overload the ability of any W/B to pass that moisture outwards, voila!, lots of condensation----unless you had direct venting via a stovepipe which I have seen done w/ extra large "mids with folding, packable woodstoves. (Kikaru and Titanium Goat)---these are not backpacking set-ups---more for base camps and hunters. If humidity is lowish and temperatures are below 0 degrees C, Epic would be appropriate. You will want to pick pitch sites where some wind is present to aid in ventilation. The Polyester not stretching is very helpful but Spinnaker and Cuben have low stretch characteristics, as well.

If you make this, do post pictures!

Thorben Löhl
(borgefjell) - F
Re: Re. Use and Ideas on 06/26/2007 14:21:50 MDT Print View

Ok, condensation while cooking in the tent is something I have to deal with, that´s for sure, but I hope a vent placed above the cooking area will reduce this a little. An extra cooking tarp isn´t an option, I have experienced wind >10 Bft in this area like every second year / trip - not the right weather for leaving the tent...

I guess I´ll take the risk and try it - might take a while but I´ll post pictures.

Thanks again for your help!

Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Re: Re. Use and Ideas on 06/26/2007 14:59:50 MDT Print View

Thorben,

If you haven't already, you might want to check out this thread. It contains some observations about EPIC's breathability in sub-freezing temps that may impact your material choice. Note that the comments in that thread are specific to bivy applications.

Here's a question I've had ever since Will's article on single-walled tent condensation was released: if the tent wall is supercooled to below the ambient temperature, then wouldn't that make EPIC even more prone to freeze up (condensation freezing in the relatively large pores) in a single-walled tent application, where body heat won't play as large a role as in a bivy?

Edited by bugbomb on 06/26/2007 15:00:17 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Epic more prone... on 06/26/2007 15:21:11 MDT Print View

Except it doesn't seem to in my rather vast experience with it, Benjamin. Break out the instrumentation and do a field test, BPL.

Thorben Löhl
(borgefjell) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re. Use and Ideas on 06/26/2007 15:24:11 MDT Print View

This "supercooling" sounds great but is quite easy to explain - think about getting a cool drink in the summer without a fridge or a cold river. What you can do is wrap a wet towel around the bottle and put it in the sun. While the water is evaporating it will cool down the water etc. inside the bottle cause it´s adsorbing part of its energy. Same happens in the wind, molekules which are adsorbing part of the tentfabrics (thermal) energy are blown away and therefor the fabric is cooling down. But that also means that with a dry fabric this effect doesn´t occur. So if under the same circumstances an epictents fly is colder as a normal fly this means that the w/b actuelly works and water from inside the tent is transported outside where it can evaporate and cool down the fabric. By cooling down more condensation builds up on the inside and maybe even more water can pass the fabric. So this supercooling is a proof that the fabric actuelly is "breathing". Maybe the sideeffect is, that there is more condensation but the condensated water and the amount of water transported through the fabric and evaporating outside results in less humid air inside the tent. Hope my english and my idea can be understood :)

Edited by borgefjell on 06/26/2007 15:26:08 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Thorben, right on 06/26/2007 20:41:54 MDT Print View

.. You just described more elegantly what I tried to describe in my comment on the recent tent condensation feature article. In my limited experice with epic (I own a Hilight), it is waterproof in rain and wet snow. It is also used by the US military for light weight shelters according to the manufacturer.
I trust it to keep me dry. I sealed the seams very well, inside and outside.