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Tent Condensation???

Old 12-30-15, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo
my Catoma Combat 1 man Tent was $289.99 and I had the REI Passage 1 man Tent $129.99 it had roof vent I still got Condensation after it Rains and High % Humidity in Oceanside, CA in San Diego County in Southern California
I slept many a night in the same tent while in the CA National Guard. I don't recall ever having a condensation problem. But then again I was only in it for 5-6 hours! They didn't let us sleep too long. Seems like a lot of $$$ for that tent, and it is over 5 lbs. Besides your one night with condensation, do you like it better than the others you have? I think a double-wall two-man tent for less $$$ and around the same weight or under would be a better choice.

BTW: When we rucked out (backpacked) and camped, I left the tent behind (5+ lbs!) and used my folded-over poncho around the sleeping bag. Don't forget the skull cap for warmth!
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Old 12-30-15, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Here's my question however... I was just in a county (Imperial) in which I had to sleep out under the stars because the tent stakes wouldn't go into the ground. Every time I sleep with the tarp and sleeping bag only and I cover the tarp around me (due to rain or cold temps), the sleeping bag gets seriously wet from the condensation. Yesterday I had to stick it in a dryer at a laundromat it was so wet. Is there any way to prevent or decrease this wetness when covering your bag with a tarp?? I've been lucky as the wetness hasn't gotten past the top layers and into the bag itself, so I've stayed dry. Also, just out of curiosity, does wrapping the tarp around you keep you any warmer? I'm also in southern CA now, and with the cold fronts, it really isn't conducive to leaving the tent door or rain fly open.
I have found the rainfly/tent makes for a lot of extra heat on a cool summer night. I started noticing a couple of years ago just how much warmer it was inside my tent compared to outside come morning. I said the heck with it and had a nice dry night forecast and didn't bother to set up the tent. Instead I just used the rainfly as a covering over the top of me. Now I do it all the time. Unless the temp gets below 60 degrees at night I don't need anything other than the rainfly and the bike clothes I have on. I don't use anything for a sleeping bag. Below 60 I pull out the sleeping bag. I haven't had the trouble you have experienced though. I would say you need to watch where you are camping at. Keep away from source of water, that includes the grass. Stay on surface that don't emit a ton of water overnight...like grass. Anymore I pretty much always camp out on cement or blacktop. It doesn't emit the moisture from the surface like grass does. I wake up dry in the morning when the grass anywhere around is wet. I don't have to pack up wet at all and I don't have to wait around for anything to dry out. I think, I don't know for sure...I really question what the difference is anymore, camping out away from the grass also helps to keep the bugs at bay. The mosquitoes don't like dry environments like parking lots as much as they like areas with grass close by. It's the only excuse I have right now for why I rarely have to deal with mosquitoes...why I rarely have to set up a tent.

It sounds like you possibly had two things working against you, the location of the campsite and like timdow pointed out did you pull the tarp up over your head? That would cause all kinds of condensation, especially the upper half of the bag. Just thinking right now as I reread what you wrote... The humidity from the rain could also be causing a big problem since you are trapping the body heat with the cooler rain outside. You might be building up to much of a temperature difference between inside and outside and the result would give the condensation thanks to already high humidity in the atmosphere. Set up the tarp instead of laying it directly on you or make sure you are under another overhang of some kind so the rain doesn't hit the tarp. You're best bet would probably be to keep the tarp off the sleeping bag altogether when its raining. I bet in the same environment you wouldn't have the wet sleeping bag if you had an decent air gap between you and the tarp. If you went outside under an overhang, manmade, and camped out the same way on a night when it was raining. I wouldn't be surprised to see you wake up and find the sleeping bag much drier. Thanks to the 100% humidity it would probably still have a little condensation on it but nowhere near as much as it has when you have the big temperature difference inside/outside. Either keep the tarp off the sleeping bag or get under an overhang so the rain never hits the tarp.
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Old 12-30-15, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by imi
Free standing? Do you have a link? Really interesting!
Sorry about that Imi. (Bad choice of words.) When I said free-standing, I actually meant without the tent. I use two tent poles with mine or tie it off to trees. My original rain fly was off of a simple, cabin style, 7 ft by 7 ft three man backpacking tent. I'm currently using a discontinued version of a MSR Tarp shelter most of the time and sometimes a different brand hammock fly. The tarp in the picture is an ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp
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Old 12-30-15, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo
I wake up in the morning and the walls of my Tent are wet. and I get condensation after it Rains and in the Winter and High Humidity!
in Southern California

???What causes this and how can I reduse it and how can I prevent condensation inside my tent???
Your tent has no walls:


Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo
My Catoma Combat 1 man Tent has no Vents
No vents? Even with the fly on this should be plenty of ventialtion. Are you sure your staking it out properly.
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Old 12-31-15, 01:29 AM
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G'day Biketouringhobo,
many tents suffer condensation.

Both of my tents suffer it a bit but have other attributes which stop me replacing them.
They are both well regarded for poor weather use and high wind.

My tents are packed up wet often on tour but don't seem to have suffered.
They are put up nightly anyway when on tour so get an opportunity to dry.

I stop when touring for lunch for around an hour and unless raining, hang my sleeping bag from a tree or over a fence etc to help remove any moisture thats built up.
I've only forgotten to do this once in winter and suffered from the cold at night - never again.

I've read using a groundsheet can reduce condensation. As I use a groundsheet anyway I can't vouch for any improvements.
As the others have suggested, keeping the tent as ventilated as possible helps.

I give my floor a wipe out after erecting it to remove any residual moisture from packing it up wet.

I make sure the tent is properly dry before packing and storing it for any real length of time.

When I've finished a tour I put it up for a few hours or hang it from my line over night, which is in my garage.
I clean it at the same time with a damp cloth to wipe off any dirt or bird dropping etc.
Hopefully this care will aid its longevity and waterproofness and eliminate any opportunity for mould to take off.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:30 AM
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Catoma Combat 1 VS. REI Passage 1 man Tents

I slept many a night in the same tent while in the CA National Guard. I don't recall ever having a condensation problem.



I like the Catoma Combat 1 man tent for 2 doors and the REI Passage 1 Tent got 14 pin holes after 4 months and the Catoma Combat 1 man tent got 4 pin hole after 1.5 yrs
and last night I the tent fly closed and 71% Humidity and I had no condensation in
Oceanside, CA

Last edited by Biketouringhobo; 12-31-15 at 10:32 AM. Reason: f8xed words
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Old 12-31-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Your tent has no walls:




No vents? Even with the fly on this should be plenty of ventialtion. Are you sure your staking it out properly.
My Tent is Stake out Properly and it sits on a Sidewalk with guy line out on the Tent pole hook

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Old 12-31-15, 11:53 AM
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Could it be those sprinklers

Actually I think it could be a little tighter to increase the separation between the fly and floor-pan.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Could it be those sprinklers

Actually I think it could be a little tighter to increase the separation between the fly and floor-pan.
the sprinklers are bubblers and the owner let's me camp there at night and last night I had my Tent closed
and no Condensation inside tent fly!
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Old 12-31-15, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the responses. As for using rocks, you have to have large enough or heavy enough ones and no, there wasn't much over thar in Imperial County. Sand is sand, the desert is the desert and rocks are not to be had. I do have a hat, but I'm lost how that would help. And how I'd keep it on my head when I'm buried in my sleeping bag due to the cold temps! I wasn't sure if wrapping the tarp around helped keep warmth in, so just thought I'd ask.

bikenh - I free camp, so don't want to get the tarp too high up for people to see. However, I agree with you - I gotta keep the wrapped part away from the sleeping bag. don't know if it'll be possible to do, though. I was doing it to keep myself warmer, but if it doesn't make a difference, then I'll only do it for wind and rain when the tent can't go up.

Last edited by travelinhobo; 12-31-15 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Thanks for the responses. As for using rocks, you have to have large enough or heavy enough ones and no, there wasn't much over thar in Imperial County. Sand is sand, the desert is the desert and rocks are not to be had. I do have a hat, but I'm lost how that would help. And how I'd keep it on my head when I'm buried in my sleeping bag due to the cold temps! I wasn't sure if wrapping the tarp around helped keep warmth in, so just thought I'd ask.

bikenh - I free camp, so don't want to get the tarp too high up for people to see. However, I agree with you - I gotta keep the wrapped part away from the sleeping bag. don't know if it'll be possible to do, though. I was doing it to keep myself warmer, but if it doesn't make a difference, then I'll only do it for wind and rain when the tent can't go up.
Next time you are going snow / sand camping get some of these:

REI Snow and Sand Tent Anchors - Package of 4 - REI.com

or make some by taking pieces of fabric (bandanas, etc.( and tying some guy line to the corners...)
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Old 12-31-15, 01:10 PM
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couldn't you tie some plastic baggies to the guy lines,
fill 'em with sand and bury 'em?
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Old 12-31-15, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Thanks for the responses. As for using rocks, you have to have large enough or heavy enough ones and no, there wasn't much over thar in Imperial County. Sand is sand, the desert is the desert and rocks are not to be had. I do have a hat, but I'm lost how that would help. And how I'd keep it on my head when I'm buried in my sleeping bag due to the cold temps! I wasn't sure if wrapping the tarp around helped keep warmth in, so just thought I'd ask.

bikenh - I free camp, so don't want to get the tarp too high up for people to see. However, I agree with you - I gotta keep the wrapped part away from the sleeping bag. don't know if it'll be possible to do, though. I was doing it to keep myself warmer, but if it doesn't make a difference, then I'll only do it for wind and rain when the tent can't go up.
use REI sand/snow stakes
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Old 12-31-15, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo
I wake up in the morning and the walls of my Tent are wet. and I get condensation after it Rains and in the Winter and High Humidity!
in Southern California

???What causes this and how can I reduse it and how can I prevent condensation inside my tent???


My Catoma Combat 1 man Tent has no Vents
I use a 6 inch battery powered fan. Cost about $6-$10 bucks.

The condensation come from your breathing.

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Old 12-31-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
bikenh - I free camp, so don't want to get the tarp too high up for people to see. However, I agree with you - I gotta keep the wrapped part away from the sleeping bag. don't know if it'll be possible to do, though. I was doing it to keep myself warmer, but if it doesn't make a difference, then I'll only do it for wind and rain when the tent can't go up.
Typically overnight the humidity rises, anywhere you go. It may not hit 100% but it will rise up into the 80-90% range in most places overnight. If you look at any decent forecast, which would include the humidity levels for overnight, you will see that every night the same thing happens pretty much anyplace you go. The humidity will always rise overnight.

After going back and rereading you original post again I have to ask one question that you haven't been specific on. On a starry night is the whole bag, head to foot, getting wet or only the top part of the bag, up by the head. Is the foot of the bag also getting wet. If it is also happening, full bag getting wet, while it's starry out then the moisture is more than likely come from the outside air and not from breathing. On a rainy night when you have totally saturated air I could easily see the temperature differential I mentioned before causing the moisture. If you are getting whole bag wet on a starry night then I highly doubt it is coming just from breathing unless you are keeping the tarp up over the head causing the moisture you breathe out to get trapped. Are you pulling the tarp any higher then neck line?

You have made it sound like only the outside of the sleeping bag is getting wet not the inside. Is this the case? Is the inside still pretty much dry?

Overnight as you lay in the sleeping bag you will perspire some and that should get wicked to the outside of the sleeping bag. The inside will get wet and you will notice it wet long before you notice the outside getting wet though if the problem has anything to do with moisture from the inside of the bag. You are definitely dealing with moisture from the outside...at least according to what you have indicated thus far.

What are you calling cold overnight temps? Going with a lower rating sleeping bag may be to your advantage so you don't have to wrap the tarp around you unless you are flat out camping under the stars without a sleeping bag.

I remember the last night of my bike trip this year waking up to low to mid 50s with pea soup fog. The last week or so I used the sleep bag every night and never had a wet sleeping bag even that last night. I wasn't pulling the rainfly up over my head so I wasn't trapping any moisture from breathing. As I remember I did use the rainfly that last night just to help keep any possible moisture on the rainfly and not on the sleeping bag since it had already started to get foggy and the grass was already soaked by the time I got to the campsite around 11:30PM.

Something does sound a bit bizarre with this story, hence why I'm asking for more details.
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Old 12-31-15, 05:38 PM
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Tent Condensation

Originally Posted by 10 Wheels

The condensation come from your breathing.
12-28-15 Day and night before I post this it Rained in Oceanside, CA and the morning on 12-29-15 I had condensation inside my tent and tent fly was opened... and no rain on 12-29-15 in Oceanside, CA and the morning of 12-31-15 my tent fly was closed and no condensation

5am 12-28-15 89% humidity 34degs
5am 12-31-15 71% humidity 39degs
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Old 12-31-15, 06:56 PM
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BTH- I was in Oceanside up until yesterday morning and there was no rain on the previous days. There was that one day that it threatened to at about 3pm, but where I was there were only a few sprinkles (thankfully).

NH - I wrap the tarp so that it covers me totally. For rain, this is a must. For wind too. For temps, I thought it helped to keep the cold out. In the morning, the tarp and outer bag are wet from top to bottom (tho I haven't inspected it in detail to see where it stops). I can tell you that the other day when I had to use the dryer to dry it, the zipper area was very wet, tho I think not all the way to the bottom. Inside of the bag is dry - I believe I stated that. Mid 50's?? No, that's warm. I'm talking about 36-40 degrees except for the mentioned 30 degree night I had with the frost.

bmike - know what those REI sand bags look like? Just get a medical mask and pull the 2 sides! The crap these stores come up with to make in 3rd world countries and then sell for 10x what they're worth. Geeze.

10wheels - Where would you like me to put that fan on my touring bike? I'm already stuffed. When I find room, a stove comes next!

Saddlesores- bag with sand, good idea. But not on farms, not possible.

Last edited by travelinhobo; 12-31-15 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 12-31-15, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
NH - I wrap the tarp so that it covers me totally. For rain, this is a must. For wind too. For temps, I thought it helped to keep the cold out. In the morning, the tarp and outer bag are wet from top to bottom (tho I haven't inspected it in detail to see where it stops). I can tell you that the other day when I had to use the dryer to dry it, the zipper area was very wet, tho I think not all the way to the bottom. Inside of the bag is dry - I believe I stated that. Mid 50's?? No, that's warm. I'm talking about 36-40 degrees except for the mentioned 30 degree night I had with the frost.
Are you using a mummy bag, what is its rating? Also someone to you or to someone, I think on page one of this thread mentioned the idea of using a hat. In those kinds of temps I would have the hat on and make sure to have the hood of mummy bag around me to keep the heat in so I wouldn't have to wrap the tarp up over the head unless it was raining. The secret is to keep the head warm with either a winter stocking cap and/or the head of the mummy bag. I don't ever put the rainfly over my head...that's a definite prescription for being wet in the AM. You're biggest and best bet in this case, not feasible right now since you are already on the trip, is to have a warmer sleeping bag. I know I have spent nights out in my backyard with a 32 degree down bag I bought at Walmart a few years ago. The temp has dipped down to 34 and other than the upper hip, laying on my side, I've been totally fine. It sounds like you are using a sleeping bag that isn't rated for the conditions you are in so you are trying to compensate for it. That can create all kinds of trouble. If you have a warm enough sleeping bag, even if you have wind, unless you're talking 20-30+ mph winds you should be fine during the night and need to wrap up in the tarp. The mummy hood should keep the head warm which will help to keep the rest of the body warm.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:10 PM
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rain

Originally Posted by travelinhobo
BTH- I was in Oceanside up until yesterday morning and there was no rain on the previous days. There was that one day that it threatened to at about 3pm, but where I was there were only a few sprinkles (thankfully).

NH - I wrap the tarp so that it covers me totally. For rain, this is a must. For wind too. For temps, I thought it helped to keep the cold out. In the morning, the tarp and outer bag are wet from top to bottom (tho I haven't inspected it in detail to see where it stops). I can tell you that the other day when I had to use the dryer to dry it, the zipper area was very wet, tho I think not all the way to the bottom. Inside of the bag is dry - I believe I stated that. Mid 50's?? No, that's warm. I'm talking about 36-40 degrees except for the mentioned 30 degree night I had with the frost.

bmike - know what those REI sand bags look like? Just get a medical mask and pull the 2 sides! The crap these stores come up with to make in 3rd world countries and then sell for 10x what they're worth. Geeze.

10wheels - Where would you like me to put that fan on my touring bike? I'm already stuffed. When I find room, a stove comes next!

Saddlesores- bag with sand, good idea. But not on farms, not possible.
it rained on Monday 12-28-15 in Oceanside/Vista, CA
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Old 01-01-16, 12:10 AM
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As others have said, ventilation reduces condensation and a fly might help provided it has space.
I always carry a tent candle lantern which I hang down on a wire about a foot from the center of
the roof. This not only keeps a bit of the chill out of the tent, but helps reduce condensation as well.
If you're in nasty mosquito country you can burn citronella candles in them.
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Old 01-01-16, 12:39 AM
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I don't have any answers that haven't already been given but I do like that Catoma tent Tim.

I started using a shamwow style car shammy for a camp towel and really like it for a number of reasons. It soaks up water well (like wiping the tent walls and soaking up puddles) and also dries quickly and is very light.
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Old 01-01-16, 11:31 AM
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Lynx Pass is a GREAT tent, Im a creature of comfort so I carry the LP3, Ventilation is excellent , highly recommended if you can find one they are a couple years past mfg but they are still out there.
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Old 01-01-16, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bicycle365
Lynx Pass is a GREAT tent, Im a creature of comfort so I carry the LP3, Ventilation is excellent , highly recommended if you can find one they are a couple years past mfg but they are still out there.
I have a Big Agnes lynx pass 2 men tent

I love it
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