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Brian Mix
(Aggro) - M

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/01/2014 21:49:38 MST Print View

I just returned from a quick hike where the first day I walked in the rain for 6 hours, light sprinkles to torrential downpours. By the time I was to set up camp for the night I was pretty well soaked, light winds and low 40*s. I wore a 3000mm/hh rain shell and vented thru the day as I could but I'm guessing most of my torso wetness was sweat. Arms were soaked from rain running down the sleeves when eating or drinking. Rain skirt kept my shorts dry. A fire was not to be had before dinner so I set up my hexamid tent, changed into dry clothes, got into my sleeping bag and proceeded to cook dinner and dessert. I noticed by the time I went to bed that the moisture from my gear and clothes had condensed on the inside of the tent and with every rain drop hitting the tent on the outside I got a little misty rain on the inside from the raindrop knocking the condensate off the inside of the tent. By morning my dry gear and sleeping bag was wet- dry enough for another night's very warm sleep but wet none the less. By morning the temp had dropped to hi 30*s with no wind and the snow line was a few hundred feet up the mountain from me. So any pointers as to how to avoid this situation in the future? PNWers who hike and camp in the rain frequently have any ideas? I was able to dry my shell hanging on my pack but there was not a long enough break in the weather to stop and dry my bag and the sun never came out.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/01/2014 22:56:35 MST Print View

It is always nice to have a dedicated vestibule where you can store wet clothing and where the evaporative effects don't encroach on your sleeping area. A double walled shelter is better for such wet conditions.

The 3000 mm HH of your rain jacket will be overwhelmed in heavy rain. You will need something probably closer to 20,000 mm. The jacket is pressed against your body increasing the pressure on the fabric and water was likely overwhelming the fabric. It is less of a concern with a shelter canopy because the moisture that would penetrate would simply roll down the fabric (although "misting" can occur).

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/01/2014 23:14:58 MST Print View

Don't bring wet gear into an enclosed shelter, stick your wet hiking clothes in a trash bag and leave outside the tent.

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - M

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Re: Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/01/2014 23:25:13 MST Print View

"Don't bring wet gear into an enclosed shelter, stick your wet hiking clothes in a trash bag and leave outside the tent."

I figured some variation of leaving the wet stuff outside would be the answer.
That camp location was the only flat spot large enough I had seen in many miles and it had all the negative attributes we try to avoid- saturated soil, in a depression with no air movement etc coupled with constant rain and dropping nighttime temperature. Recipe to be wet inside!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/02/2014 01:48:01 MST Print View

As OP have said:

Leave wet gear outside
Have some through-ventilation
Use a full groundsheet covering all the interior
Use a 2-man tent with 2 people inside it: more warmth => less condensation
In really extreme conditions, leave a fat candle burning overnight. (I have never needed or tried to do this: it's just theory.)

However, point to note is that at those temps, you are going to get condensation if there is any moisture in the air and the roof is cold enough. This is why we use a double skin tent in winter - a genuine double skin, not a mesh fake. Claims that the tent roof was leaking can generally be dismissed.

Cheers

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 03/02/2014 08:51:05 MST Print View

I hike in rain in PNW. I leave my wet jacket under the tent with me so it has a chance of drying, at least water drips off it, doesn't blow away or anything. A cold wet jacket doesn't evaporate much water.

I sometimes get some condensation. Mid. My bivy. Narrow gap around edges. I'll leave door open as much as possible depending on rain and wind. Low 30s is worse.

Hexamid has some sort of floor so it should be a little better.

I don't know why you had such a problem. Maybe setting up on a real wet area explains things. And the humidity must have been high.

Leave things you don't want to get wet from dripping condensation in water resistant bag?

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
single wall on 03/07/2014 06:32:48 MST Print View

Brian, your conditions are often encountered during the winter in "my" mountains of TN and NC, and I have been thru countless storms in the same conditions or worse: A butt cold February or December rain which comes down in buckets and afterwards like clockwork the temps drop significantly.

I was on a 5,000 foot open bald in January and got hit with a "hurricane" rainstorm with 60mph winds and buckets and buckets of rain. Hiking and moving thru such crap is one thing, staying dry in a tent is another.

Dave and Roger are right---a double wall tent is designed for these conditions and performs better than a single wall. Whether it's spraying mist or dripping condensation or even splashing effluvia (well, depending on personal dexterity), a double wall tent performs so much better.

My Hillebergs have a silnylon fly (kerlon) and it's easy to remove the inner tent and sit under just the fly in such a storm and get a light mist and sometimes heavy condensation with an inside saturated fly---but the yellow canopy keeps this stuff out and off of me, critical in a trip lasting longer than a couple days.

The worst is staying in basecamp storm mode for 3 or 4 days in a long cold snowstorm with high humidity---then the inner canopy gets some serious condensation and/or ice buildup. (Hence the advantage of packing up the tent every day and moving---it "cleans" off the inner tent and removes the ice automatically and at your next camp you can set up and remove all the ice from the tent floor---there can be a liter of the stuff---or wipe up the floor water puddles from the saturated inner tent canopy).

Beyond all this, it also important as you know to wake up in the morning and if possible hang out the sleeping bag to dry or "sublimate" or whatever it's called---if only for an hour to help the shell dry. I pulled one 18 day trip in January 2012 and got 153 hours straight of cold rain and I thought I set a new record. Then dangit a year later in January 2013 I pulled another 18 day trip in the Big Frog/Cohuttas and got walloped with a 180 hour cold rainstorm with insignificant lulls and breaks in the clouds.

Point is---a long butt cold rain is inevitable and so the shelter must be able to handle it.

Edited by TipiWalter on 03/07/2014 06:35:14 MST.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: single wall on 03/07/2014 08:56:13 MST Print View

"I noticed by the time I went to bed that the moisture from my gear and clothes had condensed on the inside of the tent and with every rain drop hitting the tent on the outside I got a little misty rain on the inside from the raindrop knocking the condensate off the inside of the tent."

I know exactly what you're talking about. That has been my experience with my Hexamid Twin here in the PNW when the humidity is high and it's raining. Do what you will with your clothes but I very much doubt you'll appreciate a difference by leaving them outside. For me, I just wrap them up in a plastic bag and sleep with them.

From speaking with a few other hikers on the Wonderland, anyone who was using a single wall shelter had this problem and couldn't resolve it through venting their shelter. Spoke with a couple people who were using the Fly Creek 1 and 2; apparently condensation wasn't a problem for them.

There are compromises with any shelters and I personally choose to deal with the occasional condensation than carry an extra pound or two of shelter. You can try pitching it higher and leaving the beak up but there's no free lunch here imo. You may want to consider using the twin ground sheet with your shelter. The extra width will give you some options to create barriers from rain splash.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Single wall and a cloth on 03/07/2014 09:04:39 MST Print View

Brian, you don't mention it in your post, but I assume you wiped down the inside of the tent with a cloth before sleeping?

James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 05/13/2014 00:45:00 MDT Print View

Brian,
If you use a pack liner, place your wet gear inside after turning the liner inside out. Next morning invert liner and wipe off outside. Also try hanging a mylar blanket as a inner liner for the roof of your tent. There are less crinkly aluminized poly versions you can use if noise is a factor. Works for me.

Todd Taylor
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 05/13/2014 09:09:32 MDT Print View

"Use a 2-man tent with 2 people inside it: more warmth => less condensation"

Not in my experience. More people = more moisture released = more condensation. Body warmth comes with body moisture. It's warmth *outside* the tent that will decrease condensation. That's why it helps to set up under a forest canopy on clear nights--keeps the tent roof from seeing the cold sky.

'Course, the OP didn't have clear nights. The only advice I can give for the pounding-rain-misting problem is to wipe down the tent ceiling/walls periodically. But even that makes only a small difference.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 05/13/2014 10:00:27 MDT Print View

"...got into my sleeping bag and proceeded to cook dinner and dessert."

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but am wondering if you used your stove inside, and created a ton of water vapor from its combustion, and steam from heating water.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 05/13/2014 12:07:40 MDT Print View

A double wall tent may keep water from dripping on you, however, I prefer single wall tents or tarps in these situations because they allow me to easily wipe down the inside of the tent.

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Avoiding rain inside your tent... on 05/14/2014 14:03:47 MDT Print View

"I wore a 3000mm/hh rain shell"

Most waterproof jackets have hydrostatic head specs of 20,000 or more. 3000mm is not enough for a rain jacket. 3000mm is generally concidered water resistant not waterproof. The main reason you got wet was because the rain water was able to get through the fabric. Using a proper rain jacket would have kept you much dryer.