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Old 08-29-08, 06:15 AM   #1
5kdad
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Tent Care While Touring

A friend and I are doing a one to two week tour the last two weeks of September. We plan to camp 2/3 of the nights.
That time of year, we can get some heavy morning dew at morning time. I've heard that in a situation like that, it might be necessary to set the tent back up in mid day sun to dry out.
Anyone with experience in such a situation?
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Old 08-29-08, 06:33 AM   #2
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If it is just dew... You can shake most of it off before packing the tent. Hitting each panel with your hand works well. Also after shaking it off you can wipe it down if you are really concerned, but I seldom bother. I also never bother stopping in the middle of the day and setting it up to dry. If you have time to do that you could just as easy stop early for the day while the sun is still up and dry it in the late afternoon, but I don't worry much about that either.

If the fly is really soaked I might pack it separately from the tent, but again have only done that once in a blue moon and probably never for dew.
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Old 08-29-08, 07:13 AM   #3
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I usually just buy a new tarp and netting and throw them away the last day. If I purchase a tent I get those really cheap X-mart tents and throw it away the last day as well. I don't worry about keeping them completely dry or trying to protect them from damage or rot for reuse.
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Old 08-29-08, 07:15 AM   #4
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When the due rolls in during the night, and the condensation that forms on the inside of your tent usually just affects the fly. I take off the fly and shake it and keep it hand (if it going to be a nice day). With the sun and a little breeze, the fly can dry in no time while I eat lunch. If your tent has two doors, set it up so that the breeze can flow through it, and open the tent as much as possible to get the best flow. Putting a wet fly on a tent isn't the end of the world. Short term storage of a wet tent is ok, but never store a tent a long time without drying it completely. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 08-29-08, 07:38 AM   #5
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What they said. If it's a two-layer tent and if there's no rain in the morning, first thing I do is remove the outer layer and hang/spread it somewhere in the sun to air and dry. Inner tent stays up, with all doors open, it airs and dries best that way. I also hang my sleeping bag outside, if possible. After all that I start making breakfast and such. Usually by the time I'm ready to leave, the tent and bag are dry enough.

This summer I was on a kayaking trip, it rained for three days straight. My tent cannot be pitched or taken down with the fly on, so after setting it up the second night the inner tent felt too wet. We had an open fire going at the camp site to dry our other gear, I rolled one largish scorching hot stone from the fireplace into a Trangia kettle and put the kettle inside the tent and left it there. I also had the windscreen beneath the kettle to avoid burning my tent floor. In maybe 2-3 hours the stone was lukewarm and the tent was comfortably dry from the inside.

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Last edited by Juha; 08-29-08 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 08-29-08, 09:07 AM   #6
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You can store a wet tent for the day as you normally would unless it's quite warm out. So in the spring/fall I wouldn't bother drying it out. In the summer I'd pull it out [and most likely your sleeping bag as well] to dry. If it's hot it is usually sunny and a tent or bag only takes a few minutes to dry. You don't have to set it up either just drape the fabric over your bike or a picnic table.

If your campsite gets morning sun you can often dry stuff out while you are making/eating breakfast.
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Old 08-29-08, 09:58 AM   #7
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vigrorous shaking bouts can get most of the water off a fly. shake the tent fly off, let it dry, shake it again, take it off and air it out, in the sun, etc. I tip my tents on their sides sometimes in the mornings to get the floor dry.

- but you can also stuff it wet if needed, no worries.

I always carry tent flies in a separate stuff sack because sometimes they're wet.

I usually dedicate a front pannier to 'wet' gear - stuff that can get or will be wet like rainfly, tarps, raincoat, trowel, etc...

Alternately using a large mesh stuff sack to dry clothes or tent fly atop your panniers while riding and is very lightweight. In a mesh bag you don't have to worry as much about loose guylines.

Set your tent up as soon as you get to your destination to air dry and you are good.

If its raining multiple days yes the tents can get saturated. the tip Juha had about drying is excellent.

Last edited by Bekologist; 08-29-08 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-29-08, 09:29 PM   #8
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Rain will wet your tent a lot more thoroughly than dew, and it can happen when you least expect it. But dew or rain, a wet tent is no biggie. Yes, shake it off (unless it's still raining), but a decent tent will stand a few days of wet stuffing. Just wait until you hit a dry sunny patch (and a convenient stop) and lay it out on the ground for a couple of hours. When you get home, wash and dry it according to instructions, then maybe reseal the seams. A good tent will last a long time - North Face guarantees their tents for life (and they stand behind that guarantee!!).
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Old 08-29-08, 10:06 PM   #9
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The major issue with packing a wet tent is mildew. If a tent is going to be used for a short trip and packed damp only occasionally, there may be no problem whatsoever. On the other hand, if it's an extended trip, drying the fabric completely is very important for the life of the tent. Wet tents get a sour smell that becomes permanent.

If you have a nice tent, taking 15-20 minutes midday once in a while to dry it out makes good sense.

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Old 08-30-08, 09:36 AM   #10
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I say do what you can. If it's raining when you pack up your tent, shake it out and keep it as dry as possible, but you know it's still going to be wet. You'll carry a bit of extra weight, but it's pretty negligible. When you get to the next camp, unroll it and let it dry, either on the ground in the sun, or drape it over some bushes (without thorns.)

When it's not raining but there's dew on my tent, I try and take it down before breakfast and dry it out while I'm eating. It doesn't take long for dew to dry when your tent is draped over some bushes, an empty picnic table, etc.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:06 AM   #11
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I've noticed most people in general (my wife included) always put the rain fly on regardless of weather. Don't put the rain fly on unless its going to rain. If you need more warmth, then you need a better sleeping bag. Everything will dry out much faster if you do not have the rain fly on and if you never put the rainfly on, then it will never get wet.
If its raining, then pack wet and set up again at camp first thing first.
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Old 08-31-08, 02:54 PM   #12
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On the last day of the trip we stop and lay the tent out to dry in the sun at lunch time.
Any other day we just set it up again at night. It will not mold in this short period of time.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncscott View Post
I've noticed most people in general (my wife included) always put the rain fly on regardless of weather. Don't put the rain fly on unless its going to rain.
But if you don't put the fly, it will rain.

I dry the fly if I have time in the morning but never stop to dry it out during the day unless it<s been wet for several days. I do dry before storing for a long period. Make sure you take the snails off the tent before packing.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:16 AM   #14
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I did RAGBRAI this year self-contained (first time touring at all) and I used my car chamois (absorber brand) to dry the fly with everyday.

I wiped the fly down first thing and any left over dew seemed to evaporate rather quickly. I was surprised at how many times I had to wring the thing out on a two man tent rain fly.
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