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Packing the Tent

Old 02-09-16, 11:27 AM
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Packing the Tent

OK, I have always been one to roll my tents. My reasons follow:
  1. The wet bottom stays on the outside and the tent doesn't get any wetter (or drier) even in an all day rain
  2. The dirt on the bottom doesn't contaminate the tent
  3. My previous tents easily rolled up pretty small
  4. It winds up being one compact package that carries nicely on the rack

So then I got a new tent (MSR Hubba Hubba) and find that it doesn't roll up into a tight small roll very easily. I am not sure if it is the material or something else about the design. Any way it got me to thinking about possibly using a compression sack. My concerns with that are:
  1. Moisture on the bottom seems like it would get distributed to the whole tent
  2. Dirt would seem likely to do likewise.
  3. It would wind up being two bundles (poles and tent)

I am one to leave camp early, sometimes well before daylight, so letting everything dry in the mornings is not an option. Drying out during the day seem like an extra hassle that I'd like to avoid as much as possible. Drying out in the evening isn't always an option.

So my question is, how do those of you who use a compression sack or even just a stuff sack for the tent deal with those issues?

These days I typically just use my bivy when solo, but do sometimes use the tent when touring or backpacking with someone else.
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Old 02-09-16, 11:45 AM
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I don't usually bike tour, but with that said, when hiking and camping I pack a small tarp to put down under my tent, keeps the bottom clean. as for wet, I haven't found a good solution.
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Old 02-09-16, 11:54 AM
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You might ask the same question on Whiteblaze.net . many backpackers use Tyvek as a ground sheet, or the window shrink stuff. Nice tent.
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Old 02-09-16, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
So then I got a new tent (MSR Hubba Hubba) and find that it doesn't roll up into a tight small roll very easily. I am not sure if it is the material or something else about the design.
You can say that again. No matter how hard I tried to roll my Hubba Hubba up tight, I would always end up with a "puffy" package. I think it's partly the floor. It seemed thick. Same with the fly. I just tossed mine at the end of my three-day back in October because it had what I think was mildew damage on the fly. The seam tape and coating on the fly were peeling off in many places, resulting in leakage.

Can you maybe find a compression sacks that allows you to roll and pack the tent and then compress it so at least the diameter is not so large?
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Old 02-09-16, 11:59 AM
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Stuff it in a pannier.

One reason I don't want Waterproof panniers.

Let it dry out when you get some Sun.

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Old 02-09-16, 12:07 PM
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Probably not helpful for your situation, but I use a hammock. Pack up the hammock, clean and dry, into a compression, dry sack, then take down the tarp separately and pack it into a non-waterproof bag. I was using a nylon bag that came with the tarp, but I just ordered a mesh bag for this job that will hopefully allow the tarp to dry a bit on road (weather permitting).

When I was using a tent, if the tent got wet, it packed up wet. The solution to make sure at the end of the trip, the tent got set up, dried out, and all the dirt was shaken/brushed out of it.

One thing that might be helpful in my set up, is that the compression sack I had been using is the Summit To Sea eVent dry sack: eVent Compression Dry Sack | Sea to Summit
It lets out air, and, theoretically, moisture even after it's all sealed up. That might have an advantage over a standard dry sack that will prevent air and water from passing in either direction, making sure anything you pull out of the sack is just as moist as it went in. But, to be fair, my compression sack has often been stored in my Ortleib, so its waterproofness has not been really tested, and neither can it really "vent" any water vapor when it's just stuck inside a larger dry bag.
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Old 02-09-16, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I just tossed mine at the end of my three-day back in October because it had what I think was mildew damage on the fly. The seam tape and coating on the fly were peeling off in many places, resulting in leakage.
They probably would have given you a new tent. My MSR Fling was peeling pretty bad, a number of years old, and I didn't have a receipt. I contacted them and asked if they could repair it, replace it, or give me a partial credit on a new tent. The sent me a new Hubba Hubba at no charge.
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Old 02-09-16, 12:12 PM
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I always roll up tents because they take up the least amount of space that way. If the tent is wet from dew or rain , the moisture can add several pounds of weight. If it is wet, I stop at the first opportunity and lay it out to dry. This takes 10 minutes during which I have a bike to eat or make tea. I would rather stop than carry the extra weight.
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Old 02-09-16, 12:14 PM
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On the ground sheet suggestions... I typically don't use one and prefer not to start again. I really don't want to carry the extra weight and I have generally always had something other than the floor fail first. I always figured that I would re-treat and/or patch the bottom as needed until eventually I'd start using a ground sheet when the bottom was really trashed. The thing is that, other than a very rare patch, the floors on my tents held up fine.
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Old 02-09-16, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
OK, I have always been one to roll my tents. My reasons follow:
  1. The wet bottom stays on the outside and the tent doesn't get any wetter (or drier) even in an all day rain
  2. The dirt on the bottom doesn't contaminate the tent
  3. My previous tents easily rolled up pretty small
  4. It winds up being one compact package that carries nicely on the rack

So then I got a new tent (MSR Hubba Hubba) and find that it doesn't roll up into a tight small roll very easily. I am not sure if it is the material or something else about the design. Any way it got me to thinking about possibly using a compression sack. My concerns with that are:
  1. Moisture on the bottom seems like it would get distributed to the whole tent
  2. Dirt would seem likely to do likewise.
  3. It would wind up being two bundles (poles and tent)

I am one to leave camp early, sometimes well before daylight, so letting everything dry in the mornings is not an option. Drying out during the day seem like an extra hassle that I'd like to avoid as much as possible. Drying out in the evening isn't always an option.

So my question is, how do those of you who use a compression sack or even just a stuff sack for the tent deal with those issues?

These days I typically just use my bivy when solo, but do sometimes use the tent when touring or backpacking with someone else.

google Canadian Jam Knot
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Old 02-09-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
They probably would have given you a new tent. My MSR Fling was peeling pretty bad, a number of years old, and I didn't have a receipt. I contacted them and asked if they could repair it, replace it, or give me a partial credit on a new tent. The sent me a new Hubba Hubba at no charge.
Now you tell me!
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Old 02-09-16, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
On the ground sheet suggestions... I typically don't use one and prefer not to start again. I really don't want to carry the extra weight and I have generally always had something other than the floor fail first. I always figured that I would re-treat and/or patch the bottom as needed until eventually I'd start using a ground sheet when the bottom was really trashed. The thing is that, other than a very rare patch, the floors on my tents held up fine.
I use a compression sack, and a lightweight sil-nylon ground cloth. I've found that I can compress the tent into a lot smaller package stuffing and compressing it than I can rolling it up. I'm not worried about damage to the floor, but moisture will condense on the bottom of a tent even in dry weather. I know that the extra weight does not fit your touring style, but for me it keeps the tent body dry and clean. The extra weight probably would not be a good trade off for you. The ground cloth probably weighs 3-4 oz. and the same with the sil-nylon compression sack. That's almost a half pound weight penalty. My wife and I always tour together, so I figure about half the weight of our communal gear is hers. That way I can rationalize that my share is only 4 oz.

I stuff a wet tent, and don't worry about it as long as it is clean. If the fly is really wet I'll store it in a plastic grocery bag, separating it from the tent in the stuff sack, or store the wet fly separately. It depends how much space I have. I've never had mildew or mold problems, but we usually dry everything in a reasonable time, no more than a day or two, weather permitting. I have had it in the compression sack longer, but have been lucky.

This is our Sierra Designs Lightning 2 tent (old model), fly, and ground cloth in the blue compression sack.

Last edited by Doug64; 02-09-16 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 02-09-16, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by berner
This takes 10 minutes during which I have a bike to eat
Hmmm, I guess that's one way to get all your minerals into your diet. I just happen to enjoy riding mine more than eating it
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Old 02-09-16, 02:08 PM
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Back in my backpacking days, and later motorcycle camping, I used a ground cloth for the dirt/leaf/pine-needle protection, then would use a towel of some sort to dry it off as I rolled it up. Fold, wipe, flop, wipe, roll half a turn, wipe it off, roll half a turn, wipe it off, repeat until done. This would take care of the bulk of the dirt and water or moisture issues. Then as noted above, later in the day roll it out to let it air out some while having a bite to eat or looking at maps or whatnot. If it is raining day and night then just let the moisture freshen up when you set it up each night to hopefully avoid the rot and mildew issues.

That's what worked for me in the past, adapt and adjust to suit your own preferences and needs.
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Old 02-09-16, 02:22 PM
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I do not think you are going to be able to reduce the volume of the tent enough to make a compression sack worth it.

I generally do not bother with compression sacks for anything that is not insulated, since only insulated stuff reduces volume so much with pressure.

Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Stuff it in a pannier.

Let it dry out when you get some Sun.

I did something similar, front right Ortlieb Frontroller has the tent body, fly, footprint if I carry one (usually don't), small stuff sack with stakes - the stake sack keeps the dirt from the stakes off the tent. Also in the same pannier, rolled up air mattress and flip flops. Tent poles in the tent stuff sack are strapped onto rear rack with velcro. Note that I do not even bring the stuff sack that the tent came with since I just shove it in a pannier.

Staehpj1, I suspect you are not using four panniers, since you are an ultra light camper not sure if you even use two. But in your case instead of the Ortlieb Frontroller that I use, I think a lightweight drybag of about 8 or 10 or 12 liters would make more sense. Then just strap that on top of the rear rack - or maybe hang it from the front bars in bikepacker fashion.

Instead of a tent footprint, sometimes I bring one of those one-time-use disposable emergency space blankets. I only would use it if I was camping on gravel or rock and was afraid it would chafe my tent. But if there is soft ground or green grass or loose sand, I just put the tent on the ground. Since I started carrying that instead of a footprint, I have never camped where I thought I would actually need it, so the emergency space blanket is still brand new.

In the photo, the tent poles are in the blue bag under the pita bread.



Hubba hubba tent, I know several people that really like it. I suspect you will too.
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Old 02-09-16, 02:34 PM
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I stuff my tent and don't worry about it. I try to stuff it so the bottom stays "on the outside" to keep rain out of the upper body.
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Old 02-09-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L
I stuff my tent and don't worry about it.
Agreed. Most of my tents I have rolled up since that made it easier to get them in the supplied bag but I've always stuffed my Eureka Solitaire and haven't noticed any issues with moisture or dirt. If it's wet when I pack in the morning I try to get it set up as early as feasible in the evening so it can dry out. I don't use a ground cloth either and also figured that if the tent floor ever wore out that I could tape on a 'footprint' then - but so far I've never had an issue with a tent floor.
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Old 02-09-16, 04:06 PM
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Cheap Plastic vapor barrier a little smaller than the floor of the tent.

when It gets a Hole . I just replace it.. as a Moisture barrier even dry cleaner bag weight plastic will do.

I rolled it up to the width of the pole sections, with the poles in the middle .

rolled tent goes in a Bag, width not compressed but strapping the tent to the Top of the Rack

& tightening The Buckles. it certainly gets made smaller

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Old 02-09-16, 04:30 PM
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Stuff it in the kitty liter buckets. One of the things you don't really want to do is to always fold the tent the same way everytime unless you want to have it form creases and the ability to crack/slice quicker than it would otherwise. I always stick the tent on the bottom of the kitty liter bucket and put something on top of it that is in a plastic ziplock bag and that keeps everything else high and dry and clean. It doesn't get stuff the same way everytime which helps to avoid the creasing problem. Granted this past summer, on a 75 day long trip, I probably only used the tent 10-12 nights...most of the time it stayed in the kitty liter buckets day and night.
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Old 02-09-16, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
One reason I don't want Waterproof panniers.
Shhhhhhh...keep that to yourself the Ortlieb mafia will get you ; )
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Old 02-09-16, 06:52 PM
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I roll my tents and put them into a stuff sack just because for some reason on a tour I am super compulsive about neatness. I also tend to leave before the sun. Ground sheets might help keep the bottom dry but do nothing for the sodden top. Usually I have the best of intentions about stopping to let it dry, particularly because I use my hammock about 50% of the time, so it will stay packed for an extra night unless I try to dry it in the evening. Its a hassle, but if the day is dry, it only takes a few minutes. If its raining, then it stays wet!

I also use non water proof panniers, but dont notice that anything really drys in them over the day. I try to mop up as much water as I can from the interior and exterior with a towel, but the last trip it was so wet all the time that my super absorbent towel was mildewing, as it never dried during the day.

Guess I just wanted to let you know that your not alone. Usually I just take my hammock and a tarp, but on trips over two weeks prefer the options of both.
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Old 02-09-16, 08:15 PM
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I used to roll, now I stuff, also do love TYVEK, much lighter than a traditional groundcloth or footprint and the moisture stays in it. which I roll BTW
R&J
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Old 02-09-16, 08:48 PM
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If you get a piece of Tyvek wash it a time or 2 to wash out the stiffness. A few backpacking places sell it by the foot. Zpacks maybe, but it is out there.

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Old 02-10-16, 08:58 AM
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I'm an unabashed stuffer. I don't roll for a number of reasons, primarily if I'm being honest, it's just easier. Also, I worry (Slightly) about rolling creating areas with more wear and tear, perhaps leading to premature failure. As far as moisture goes, I don't worry about it too much for short trips or mild condensation. If it's really bad, I'll set up the tent during lunch to let it dry out a little. Sometimes it just stays wet.
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Old 02-10-16, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Shhhhhhh...keep that to yourself the Ortlieb mafia will get you ; )
Perhaps you could perforate an Ortlieb pannier and make it "breathable?"
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