Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric?
Display Avatars Sort By:
bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric? on 03/17/2014 10:12:02 MDT Print View

Hey all, wondering why Tarp Tent (or whomever) doesn't build a single wall with an Epic-type Water-Resistant/Breathable type of fabric?

A Contrail or Rainbow with such fabric would be absolutely outstanding IMO. I'd be an owner.

As it is, single wall tents with "waterproof" fabrics are such condensation collectors I've sworn them off.

Thought's?

kevin timm
(ktimm) - M

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
opinions on 03/17/2014 10:17:15 MDT Print View

I think the better solution , at least for me is a single wall shelter that is large enough that condensation is not an issue, or one that is extremely well ventilated. I often sleep in a DWR nest, with a tarp above it in the summer. The DWR is fine as far as condensation usually.

Epic seems like it would be a good choice within certain reason for a single wall. PU coated fabrics breathe better as well but are not as light / strong

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Epic on 03/17/2014 10:38:03 MDT Print View

It would take a pretty large coated single wall tent to not condense.

I used a TT Rainbow for solo and absolutely could not keep the interior dry, even here in dry Montana.

Conversely, my old Black Diamond Firstlight (yellow, Epic) was always dry, and never, ever failed me in heavy wind, snow or rain. Never condensation, always dry.

I'm in the hunt for something lighter than the BD Firstlight that's as bomproof, yet dry. Used a Hubba HP the last two seasons, but it didn't suit. Have a Copper Spur UL1 to try this summer, but it's still not as light as I'd like.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Waterproof is preferred on 03/17/2014 11:57:02 MDT Print View

I tend to agree that a waterproof shelter design that can minimize condensation issues would be preferred over a water-resistant material. Having gone through a sustained thunderstorm in a water resistant tent, I determined that all my future shelters would be waterproof and that I would deal with the condensation issues. In that situation, I found myself having to fashion a rainfly out of an SOL Emergency Bivy in order to stay dry.

The idea is good, I just know of no materials that are up to the task just yet. If there was a truly breathable material that was lightweight and could withstand a sustained rainstorm without soaking through, it would change things for me, but I haven't seen one yet. Until then, I'll just have to pitch my tarp to minimize condensation.

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
?????????? on 03/17/2014 12:04:16 MDT Print View

Like I said, my old single wall EPIC fabric BD tent absolutely COULD withstand prolonged driving rain...

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric? on 03/17/2014 12:20:22 MDT Print View

Or so-called X-tec fabric from Crux: e.g. http://www.crux.uk.com/en/tents.php?range=14&product=38

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Epic on 03/17/2014 12:29:05 MDT Print View

"I'm in the hunt for something lighter than the BD Firstlight that's as bomproof, yet dry. "

How about reducing the weight of your firstlight furyher with some after market CF poles?

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Fibraplex on 03/17/2014 12:53:26 MDT Print View

I've looked at the FP Poles... I actually have a set for the Hubba.

However, they still only get the BD down to just below 3lbs. I'd like to be sub 2.25 lbs with a Tyvek Footprint.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Fibraplex on 03/17/2014 13:03:41 MDT Print View

Fibraplex poles seem to work well for me, excepting if the airport baggage handler gets a hold of your gear bag and does a number on it.

Tyvek footprints seem to be inexpensive and practical, but they are heavier than other materials.

--B.G.--

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric? on 03/17/2014 13:09:59 MDT Print View

Or so-called X-tec fabric from Crux: e.g. http://www.crux.uk.com/en/tents.php?range=14&product=38

Same weight as the Black Diamond I already had.

But thanks for the suggestion.

Edited by bradmacmt on 03/17/2014 13:10:29 MDT.

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Fibraplex on 03/17/2014 13:17:52 MDT Print View

Tyvek footprints seem to be inexpensive and practical, but they are heavier than other materials.

--B.G.--

Average weight for a 1-man sized tent is 3-4 oz's... I like them because I often don't use the tent (under the stars) and can use the footprint under my inflatable pad... I just don't trust lighter fabrics to do a good job.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: ?????????? on 03/17/2014 14:32:56 MDT Print View

"Like I said, my old single wall EPIC fabric BD tent absolutely COULD withstand prolonged driving rain..."

I understand this, I wasn't saying that you were incorrect about your Firstlight tent, which you said weighs about 3 lbs. (not really heavy, but not UL either). Maybe its my misunderstanding of the materials available (including Epic), but I haven't yet seen a material that was water resistant enough to withstand a sustained rainstorm, yet still be truly breathable and in the same weight range as 1.3 oz. Silnylon, much less Cuben Fiber. I don't believe that any of the currently available breathable materials will be water resistant enough for a sole shelter at that weight.

Like I said, its a good idea and I'd jump in too if someone were to make one. I'm just not sure it can be done yet with the materials currently available.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 03/17/2014 14:42:17 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric? on 03/17/2014 14:49:40 MDT Print View

I have a Lighthouse made with the original yellow Epic .
it does breathe reasonably well but on a real thunderstorm it drips.
(first under the poles then frm mid panels too)
As they say your mileage will vary but that is the reason why BD gave up on that fabric.
To elaborate a bit on that Epic fabric, I would not hesitate to use the Lighthouse for an overnighter even if expecting heavy rain, and I have.
However just like some panic with a few drips from mist many more would be uncomfortable with the amount that can come from a Lighthouse (I seam sealed mine BTW..) and would be less than ideal if used for several days where it can rain for hours on end.
It does work well for an hour or two just not under all night rain.

Anyway, at Tarptent we have the very breathable (and cool in summer) Tyvek Sublite.
It also can do OK under medium to heavy drizzle but not heavy rain.
(and yes , I have used and tested that one too)
Tyvek Sublite

Edited by Franco on 03/17/2014 15:08:42 MDT.

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
fabric on 03/18/2014 17:20:25 MDT Print View

"Like I said, its a good idea and I'd jump in too if someone were to make one. I'm just not sure it can be done yet with the materials currently available."

Tom, thanks for your response. You're likely right that a light fabric that can do what I want just isn't available.

I'm new to BPL and really haven't got the hang of this forum software... so far I have to say it's AWFUL. :)

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Re: Single Wall Tarp-Tent W/ Epic/Nanoshield Type Fabric? on 03/18/2014 17:24:02 MDT Print View

Franco, thanks for your response. I have to say my experience with the yellow epic in my Firstlight is exactly opposite yours. I never had dripping or leaking of any kind, including in all-night driving rain above timberline. But it's also my understanding that some batches of the yellow epic fabric performed well, others didn't... likely I got the good batch, you the not-so-good batch.

Obviously BD switched to their proprietary fabric for a reason...

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
single wall shelter fabric on 03/18/2014 21:19:04 MDT Print View

You are quite insightful, as that seemed the consensus about BD's Epic Malibu here before you arrived. Even if we could be sure of getting the 'good stuff,' which might be possible by spending some serious time HH testing, no overall reduction in weight from Malibu's ~1.8-1.9 oz would be attained, compared to a tent with say, an M50 liner (~67 oz), and a Cuben or Mini-Ripstop silnylon (~.76-1.2 oz) outer. Plus the double wall has several obvious advantages over the single. On the other hand, it could be argued that the single wall is easier to make, and better for pitching in the rain. Then again, the liner in the double wall can be designed to clip under the canopy, and the tent to pitch and strike with the canopy shielding against rain.

One interesting development is the 1.1 oz material GoLite uses for its 'Poncho-Tarp."
http://www.golite.com/Poncho-Tarp-P885.aspx
It is a mini-ripstop, and stated to be somewhat vapor permeable.
The HH rating is only 1200mm, though.
Was thinking of using it just for end covers, e.g. vestibules, so if the material failed, the consequences would be less disastrous.

There are also new versions of eVent coming out that are closer to 1 oz also - but AFAIK, not available as yardgoods for MYOG.

It is frustrating to know that the technology is there, and possibly even the materials already, but not available for a MYOG SUL single breathable wall shelter. But then if everything was laid in our laps, MYOG might get pretty boring.

In the meantime, Richard's most recent thread suggests a possible alternative.
Jack Stephenson tried laminating reflective material to nylon to obtain low radiant heat loss, and claimed excellent reduction in condensation, but was hampered by delamination. Brooks Range may have had a similar experience. But Richard's report is very encouraging. It might also be very rewarding for someone to test different materials, coatings and colors for condensation in controlled conditions.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: single wall shelter fabric on 03/19/2014 05:08:56 MDT Print View

It seems to be a catch 22.

There have been single wall "vapor permeable" tents out since the 80's, yet the only ones that have held on for any length of time are the ones that actually manage moisture when the vapor will condense (Todd/Tegral Tex come to mind.) Because if you use it in enough environments, you will ultately find many situations where there is NO WAY to stop condensation from occurring without a significant environmental change between the inside and outside of the tent.

Not only because the ambient RH and temperature have reached dew point, but because we are lying there adding more moisture to the tent by exhaling all over the place - an activity that we are not doing in a wpb jacket all day long.

To get the material light enough to be considered a candidate for UL purposes, you've removed the ability for it to manage the moisture once vapor condenses. I guess the aluminized cuben material could affect the environment a little, but making that material vapor permeable seems a long way off, and to be for a different intention.

Properly venrilating, and bringing a towel along and wiping down the inside of a (trusted) waterproof tent fabric may just be the lightest and simplest solution to 90% of the situations out there. For the other 10% of the time, a different tent (toddtex or double walled) may prove more beneficial, and even safer.

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
well... on 03/19/2014 08:02:09 MDT Print View

"Properly venrilating, and bringing a towel along and wiping down the inside of a (trusted) waterproof tent fabric may just be the lightest and simplest solution to 90% of the situations out there"

Thanks for your response.

Obviously Todd Tex is pretty heavy stuff.

Sorry, I just can't accept "wiping down" a tent interior.

I used my Firstlight 4 Seasons, in all kinds of conditions, and only rarely did it have any condensation, and in the rare cases it did, it was quite minor by coated wall standards.

OTOH, my TT Rainbow was like living in a shower... and that in dry, summer weather. I'd rather have a breathable fabric that "might" mist a bit in driving rain, than a coated SW tent that absolutely will condense.

Obviously not every SW tent model vents the same, and it's not fair to lump them all together... something I'm not doing!

Also, interior volume goes directly to condensation as well.

But the idea of needing a towel to wipe down the inside of a tent is a zero for me. Something I'm not interested in doing.

But, Viva La Difference!

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: well... on 03/19/2014 10:12:27 MDT Print View

"I'd rather have a breathable fabric that "might" mist a bit in driving rain, than a coated SW tent that absolutely will condense"

I have certainly felt that way at times as well. Of course I'm doubtful a tent manufacturer could market and sell a tent that "might" mist under a heavy rain for too long. Toddtex has been around for a while, is heavy, but really works well (imho.) I was once on a camping trip where we were entiry fogged in overnight, and in the morning, every single tent was saturated with condensation- inside and out. That is, except for my Eldorado. The hydrophilic fuzz on the inside wicked all the surface moisture up, and the tent walls had no condensation on both the inside and outside of the fabric.

It was pretty cool to see.

But back to your question; I've felt the same way, and even thought at one point that it would be nifty to use a different material over my head from the sides of the tent, soas to reduce the condensation overhead. But even that kind of design would warrant more seams and weight, which may prove over the top for UL. I'd be curious to know what caused BD to fall out of favor with Epic... Did it prove too $$? Or did it have inconsistent effectivess? I know the fire retantardancy requirements don't work in favor for a large manufacturer either. (EDIT: I now see that there is no indication that BD has any issues with Epic. Perhaps a note to Henry Shires?)

Edited by NamelessWay on 03/19/2014 11:50:45 MDT.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
single wall breathable tents on 03/20/2014 10:58:25 MDT Print View

Maybe I contributed to some confusion here.
When BD's Epic Malibu failed, it was not about just misting. The reports are numerous of soaked bathtub floors and occupants. What makes it difficult to analyze the reports is that the BD tents were not seam taped or sealed, and many may have failed to do this. While Epic Malibu is heavy compared to silnylon, especially 15-20D silnylon, or Cuben, it is a polyester, and unlike nylon, when it is punctured by sewing, the holes have none of the self-repairing quality of nylon, and absolutely must be sealed to prevent leakage. (Note: Many other fabrics were Epic treated, so I add the word "Malibu.")

So we can't by sure how much of the major leakage was due to lack of seam sealing; however, some of those reports do affirm that the seams were sealed. Could they have used a PU sealer like Seam-Grip, that would not seal a sil impregnated material like Malibu? Another conundrum.

Those like bradmac, who have no problem with leakage in an Epic Malibu tent, also report much reduced condensation. In attempting to reconcile those reports with the numerous negative ones, there developed a consensus, here anyway, that the effectiveness of the Epic treatment was not consistent, and that this was the only way to explain major leakage experienced by those who properly sealed all exposed seams. Ergo, as already pointed out, BD switched to another WPB. However, that has often been reported as quite fragile, and the weight issue still remains. When most tents were being made of 2.7 oz PU coated nylon, a 1.8 oz material with no need for an inner tent looked pretty good. After silnylon came out, not so much. Although still, adding a net liner under a silnylon canopy of ~1.4 oz pushed the weight above Malibu.

With the arrival of Cuben and 15-20D coated nylon, all that has changed. But unfortunately, these new materials bring with them their own issues.

Agree that wiping down tents is a non-starter in this day and age. But the good results some have had with Malibu show that an absorbent inner layer is not essential for a WPB canopy to work. I have some of the GTX tent material that was used by Early Winters, but it is well over 3 oz in weight per sq. yd. We're making packs now of material around that weight, for heaven's sake.

The inevitable conclusion seems to be that with the current state of the art, the best option is a Cuben or low denier nylon with a sub one oz inner of fabric or net.
I'm using the latter (net) now, experiencing no moisture issues inside the tent, and getting 22.5 sf of floor space under a domed canopy for under 2.5 lbs. total weight.
See: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=81307

The next step will be a domed canopy of Cuben or low denier Nylon in a tent that is only partially single wall, and has a clip-in liner for the single wall portion. That way, fabric and net liners can be used inter-changeably. Looked at the Skytex 27 gram, a proprietary PU coated nylon paraglider cloth made by Porcher-Sport of France, that is sub one oz, but it has a low HH. They have new coatings now that may improve that, however. The attraction to the nylon is the ease of seam sealing, its elasticity and therefore resistance to tearing and abrasion, and the ability to hold stitching without the fuss of laminating/taping and clamping. The attraction of the Cuben is the lighter weight, resistance to sagging, and often reported reduced condensation in the more reflective versions. Still haven't decided, but expect to get under 2 lbs either way.