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Old 05-04-11, 01:29 PM   #1
SurlyLaika
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Keeping cool pt 2 (leaving early and packing a dewed tent)

I already read on the archives that it's best to leave at dawn on hot daysmand ride no later than 10am. Makes sense. So last night I spent the night in my tent. It was much easier to wake up at sunrise when I can't hide from the daylight. The only problem I can see with leaving early is that dew collects on my tent at night and stays until the sun really starts beating down. How can I pack a moist tent? BTW my tent is on grass with a tarp footprint.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:36 PM   #2
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Wrap your fly wetside out on top of your rack, or just stretch it out anywhere in direct sunlight during the day and it will probably dry in a few minutes.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:44 PM   #3
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1) just pack it. You're going to need a system to keep the wet fly away from the dry body anyway, so figure that out. My system is the dry body goes in a trash compactor bag before rolling the wet fly around it, then it all goes in its stuff sack. If it's not wet at all, all the parts go inside the bag so they don't get wet if it rains during the day.

2) site selection - watered grass = more dew. It's a tradeoff, since grass is nice and soft. Decide for yourself, if you get a choice - often you get whatever you get.

3) as long as you pitch it before dark and it's not raining, the fly will dry really fast that evening, so don't worry about it. If you're not camping that evening, open it up and dry it anyway, so it doesn't mildew. If it's raining, then it doesn't matter, it's getting wet again anyway. You can also open it up and dry it during the day, if you're taking some time off anyway, and it's convenient. I rarely do this, but I have.

That "no later than 10:00am" thing is, obviously, just dependent on the actual conditions. Getting up early on tour has the other added benefit that fewer cars are out on the roads, it's quiet, you often see more wildlife... apart from it being cooler and often less windy. But there aren't any rules, you'll figure out what works for you as you tour, just pay attention.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:54 PM   #4
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I guess what I'm worried about is mold and mildew. Can I stow away a moist tent fly in a pannier without these sort of problems? I have a rack net I can use to strap it down. That might work. I just wanted to know if putting moist items, even moist clothes, in an Ortlieb can present nasty problems.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:56 PM   #5
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Ohh, I had to read your first point a few times before I got it. You just strap the tent's stuff sack on top of a rack. If the moist fly is wrapped around the stuff sack, then it should dry in no time. Okay, that's a possibility. I still haven't figured out how I want to pack up the rear rack. The front panniers are more or less done.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:58 PM   #6
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Wrap your fly wetside out on top of your rack, or just stretch it out anywhere in direct sunlight during the day and it will probably dry in a few minutes.
Okay, that solves that problem. Just don't put it in the Ortlieb and everything should be fine, right?
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Old 05-04-11, 02:26 PM   #7
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I just pack it up wet. If I stop for lunch and it is sunny I might lay it out to dry, might not. Do you really need to worry about mold and mildew if it is only packed wet for 12 hours?

When backpacking I am a little more prudent about drying out the tent, but only because I don't want to carry the water weight.
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Old 05-04-11, 08:42 PM   #8
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I carry a rag which I use to wipe the tent on the outside to remove most of the dew. I can pack the inner tent separately to keep it dry. The fly is packed in a plastic rubbish bag and put in a pack rack bag along with the inner tent, also in a plastic bag. It soon dries once you put it up each night so mildew is not a problem.
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Old 05-04-11, 09:02 PM   #9
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I divide my tent into two smaller sacks instead of using the included bag. The fly goes into a mesh sack, which, if damp, can be strapped outside of my panniers. If it goes in wet, it won't dry completely because of the nature of the water resistant material, but excess water can drip out freely and there is some air flow. Because it's easily accessible, it's also more likely that I'll take the fly out and drape it over a picnic table or fence during a rest break. It helps quite a bit.

As others have pointed out, mold or mildew won't likely be a problem unless you actually store it wet.
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Old 05-04-11, 09:41 PM   #10
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Mildew won't be a problem unless it's a prolonged issue. We just pack it up wet and then try to stop early that afternoon - it'll be dry in a few minutes as long as it's not raining. There have been times when it's been raining and we don't want to take the chance that the tent will still be wet so will dry it in the day if the sun comes out for a few minutes.

Over time, the tent will mildew if you don't get it really dry periodically. Chances are that won't be an issue - unless you are riding very long days from sunup to sundown every day. Every 4 or 5 days stop a bit early so you can get it really, really dry and you're good to go.

As for packing a wet tent in an Ortlieb - EEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!!! Nope - you don't wanna go there.
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Old 05-04-11, 09:41 PM   #11
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I used to have with me a little section of car chammy to dry it off as much as possible, but as others have said, usually if it dry out, having the tent turned upside down and the fly hanging off something while doing the last stuff before leaving is often enough for it to dry. If not, it aint a big deal for the day.
Like others said, if its rainy its going to be wet anyway, and if its a dry day, it will dry out when you set up camp in the afternoon anyway.
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Old 05-04-11, 09:49 PM   #12
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A sham-wow or a knock-off will help take bunches of the moisture off before you do "whatever" with it next.
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Old 05-06-11, 04:34 PM   #13
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As long as you don't leave it packed wet for days on end it will be fine.
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Old 05-06-11, 10:34 PM   #14
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As long as you don't leave it packed wet for days on end it will be fine.
cool. a simple answer.
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Old 05-08-11, 08:04 AM   #15
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All good advice. I also use a chammy cloth to wipe it down and pack it wet on the rear rack in a net-type bag. Then if the sun is out I set it out when I stop for lunch or break and it dries in minutes. I have gone days and days in rain when it never really dried out and the tent is fine with no mildew.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:21 AM   #16
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I just pack it wet and make sure to set it up as soon as I get to the next night's stop so it can dry out. Mold/mildew is only a problem if it is left packed wet for an extended period - my wife and I once planned to borrow her parents' tent only to discover that her sister had packed it up after a rainstorm and left it stored inside a plastic garbage bag in the rafters of the garage.
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Old 05-08-11, 11:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
I already read on the archives that it's best to leave at dawn on hot days and ride no later than 10am. Makes sense. So last night I spent the night in my tent. It was much easier to wake up at sunrise when I can't hide from the daylight. The only problem I can see with leaving early is that dew collects on my tent at night and stays until the sun really starts beating down. How can I pack a moist tent? BTW my tent is on grass with a tarp footprint.
That's only one persons opinion. The truth is you can break camp anytime you like. I have never left at dawn, and there have been many days where I didn't get on the road until after 10am.
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Old 05-08-11, 05:49 PM   #18
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I just pack it wet and make sure to set it up as soon as I get to the next night's stop so it can dry out. Mold/mildew is only a problem if it is left packed wet for an extended period - my wife and I once planned to borrow her parents' tent only to discover that her sister had packed it up after a rainstorm and left it stored inside a plastic garbage bag in the rafters of the garage.
mmmm that must have smelled nice. (and mould/mildew is so hard/pretty much impossible to get out of material like that-dpending on how much there is etc, numerous washes can help, as well as being out in the sun...but even then success is kinda iffy)
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Old 05-09-11, 01:57 PM   #19
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I just pack it up wet. If I stop for lunch and it is sunny I might lay it out to dry, might not. Do you really need to worry about mold and mildew if it is only packed wet for 12 hours?
+1. At most I will shake the fly to get as much of the moisture off as possible.

Note that you will not always develop condensation. If I am not mistaken, formation depends on the amount of moisture in the air and the temperature.

As for when you decide to hit the road, I agree that there is no hand and fast rule. Some people don't mind excessive heat. I do. I also agree that early morning has many benefits such as less traffic and a better chance of seeing wildlife as many animals are more active in the early morning than they are later in the morning. Competition for campground space can also be a factor in places like popular national parks.
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