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How do you carry your tent when on tour?

Old 02-13-18, 07:08 AM
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How do you carry your tent when on tour?

My wife and I are planning a trip to Norway later this year. We've been told to plan for rain. It got me thinking as I have been strapping our tent on the rear rack in it's own carry bag. The factory bag is Just nylon and not water proof by any means. It could rain during the day and be dry by the time we set up camp except our tent could still be wet. I run Ortlieb classic rollers in the back and was thinking an Ortlieb medium rack pack could house our tent and ground sheet maybe some other light bits too. I just spent the last hour going through the "show us your loaded rig" thread and see predominantly people just seem to strap their tent like I've been doing. The extra bag would be 760grams but would ensure a dry tent at night. If it rained at night I could still strap it on top of the bag to help "air it out". Any thoughts from experienced tourers regarding how you take your tent? It won't fit in a pannier,, well at least the poles won't/. Pics appreciated

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Old 02-13-18, 07:12 AM
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I use a foam roll sleeping pad, and I just wrapped it around the tent and strapped that on my back rack. When it rained, it was easy enough to just wipe the roll off before tossing it in the tent. The little bit that stuck out was fairly minimal, getting wet didn't really matter. Worked well enough, I see no reason to change it on future trips.


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Old 02-13-18, 07:19 AM
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Put the tent in a plastic garbage bag before after you put it in the tent bag. Personally, I don't bother. Rolled up, the inside of the tent body is protected by the rest of the tent and fly. Between that and the tent bag, the important part stays dry enough, if not completely dry.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:24 AM
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roll up the tent with poles in the center.
then roll that up in the ground cloth.
stick the whole package into a dry bag
from campmor or rei.
strap to rack or trailer.

let the tent dry in the sun a bit before
packing, the dry bag doesn't breathe.
not a problem for one day, but if taking
a week off to stay in a hotel, tent will
get mildewy if you forget to air it out.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:26 AM
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Most nylon bags for tents are reasonably waterproof. I also roll up my tent so the inner tent is rolled first and then the waterproof fly is rolled around that. So even if the carrying bag leaks a little that'll only get a bit of the fly wet. It's never been a problem so far and I don't expect any issues even in heavy rains. Another option would be to pack the tent/fly in a pannier and just carry the poles on top of the rear rack. The Ortlieb dry bag weighs almost as much as my tent so I can't see adding that much weight just for a little additional waterproofing.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:32 AM
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This is one of the reasons I like my single-wall silnylon tarptent. No worries about setting it up or packing it wet, and it easily fits in a pannier. There are drawbacks to a single-wall tent, so I need to harp on the positives when I can!

Back when I traveled heavier and carried a tent with fly, I don't remember worrying about the tent getting wet. That's kind of what it's supposed to do. I'd dry it during sun breaks if I got a chance.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:28 AM
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When I use a tent (I use a bivy a lot of the time), I have always carried it in the rear rack. I roll it with the watertight floor on the outside. The body of the tent is typically no wetter or drier at the end of the day's ride than when I rolled it up.

If the fly is drenched I leave it out and roll it separately. If the tent is super wet and there is a dry portion of the day I often lay it out to dry during a break.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:35 AM
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I always keep my tent somewhere waterproof. Lightest option has probably been the Sea to Summit dry, compression sack. Preferred way to carry it lately has been using my Revelate handlebar harness and dry bag.
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Old 02-13-18, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
I use a foam roll sleeping pad, and I just wrapped it around the tent and strapped that on my back rack. When it rained, it was easy enough to just wipe the roll off before tossing it in the tent. The little bit that stuck out was fairly minimal, getting wet didn't really matter. Worked well enough, I see no reason to change it on future trips.


What are you carrying in the blue drybag in front of your tent? That is the sort of bag I was thinking of putting my tent in
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Old 02-13-18, 10:07 AM
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Sea to Summit waterproof compression sack on the rack. Actually it's a bit more complicated than that because there's also the sleeping bag, isn't there? So we have a plastic bag inside the compression sack. First, the sleeping bag goes into the plastic bag which is then pushed to the bottom of the stuff sack and then the tent (often wet) is stuffed in there after it and then the whole thing compressed down to a nice size for the rack. We have a piece of rubber stair tread material, ribbed side down, zip tied to the top of the rack to prevent wear between the rack and the stuff sack. Works perfectly. I say "we" because I'm talking about our double down bag and 3 person tent going into that stuff sack and then onto the rack on the back of our tandem. And it's not really a double down bag, but rather a single rectangular down bag that zips to a ground sheet with pockets for our Neo Air pads. The ground sheet and pads go into a separate WP stuff sack which goes in a pannier. We use the same tent and sleeping system for hiking.
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Old 02-13-18, 10:23 AM
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Tent probably put away wet, so waterproof bag would matter less.

Dry bag to keep sleeping bag dry..

I rigged up a unified sewn rain cover over whole rear rack and panniers, a DIY product..
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Old 02-13-18, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dark Arrow
If it rained at night I could still strap it on top of the bag to help "air it out". Any thoughts from experienced tourers regarding how you take your tent? It won't fit in a pannier,, well at least the poles won't/. Pics appreciated
One thing that's worked well for me is having a tarp that's separate from my tent. Since I'm in a hammock tent, that's pretty standard, but I've seen ground tent with similar set-ups. The benefit is that the tent can be stashed somewhere waterproof, but the fly doesn't need to be. If it's raining when you stop, set up the tarp/fly first, then the tent can be set up underneath in the relative dryness. Strike the tent in the AM before taking down the tarp. That means the tent always gets put away dry. The tarp I keep in a mesh bag when it's wet in hopes that it will air out during the day.
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Old 02-13-18, 11:07 AM
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I always assume my tent will be wet when I pack it. So, I put my tent in the front right pannier with a few other things that I do not mind if they also get wet. And if it is raining when I set up camp, I only have to open one item (the pannier) to get my tent set up. That way I am not opening several things in the rain to let water in. I do not try to help it dry out during the day, it will get that chance when I set it up later.

In addition to the tent, I put my air mattress, flip flops and a few other things in that front right pannier. The air mattress dries in minutes, so I do not worry about it getting wet. I would not want to pack my sleeping bag where my tent is.

See photo, that is the 31 liter duffel on the rear panniers. I assume that is what you meant by the medium Ortlieb. That is much bigger than you need for a tent. I like to put food there because that bag still sits well on the bike if it is only one third full. It is great for overflow kind of stuff, it rides well when packed full or only partially filled.
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Old 02-13-18, 11:24 AM
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My wife and I tour a lot. We split up the tent and sleeping bag (use a double sleeping bag) and put it in our panniers. We typically can do the trip, up to 3 months, with our 8 (4 each) panniers. We like Ortliebs.
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Old 02-13-18, 11:30 AM
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I wouldn't be too worried about how wet a tent would get rolled up, wrapped in nylon & strapped to the rack.

Rolling up a wet tent - if you're told to expect rain - then that is probably more relevant an issue.

Having said that, I use an Ortlieb rack bag to carry my tent, sleeping mat & fold up chair(!), as well as other bits'n'pieces depending on the trip & the season.

I use it for convenience, not for waterproofing properties, (but waterproofness is relevant because in pouring rain I do not have to open panniers & risk exposing "dry" items to rain to set up my tent).

For example, it also holds my first aid kit to be quickly accessible when I need it (no pockets on the Ortlieb panniers and my bar bag is for valuables). It also carried my laundry kit. (I've been known to give my clothes a quick wash in a bar bathroom).

If I'm catching a train/using a hotel etc. it's just easier to grab one bag instead of several smaller items.

Heavier, yes, but I like the convenience.

Previously I strapped my tent on the back of the rack and had no problems at all. Initially in the bag it came in, then when that ripped, in a drybag. Wasn't keen on using the drybag and wouldn't do it long term.

The picture attached is from a trip along the Rhine last year where temps varied from below freezing to mid 20's celcius.

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Old 02-13-18, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by debade
My wife and I tour a lot. We split up the tent and sleeping bag (use a double sleeping bag) and put it in our panniers. We typically can do the trip, up to 3 months, with our 8 (4 each) panniers. We like Ortliebs.
We have 2 panniers on the tandem plus the rack top stuff. That's from backpacking in the PNW mountains. We don't carry more on the bike than we'd like on our backs. Because we don't bike tour in snow or really cold rain, we actually have less personal gear on the bike which makes room for the weight of the bike spares, pump, etc. We do look a bit weird if we go into town for dinner, etc., but we can put up with that more easily than the extra weight. Wife has a wrinkle-proof dress that packs down to not much larger than a softball and light flats. I just look weird.
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Old 02-13-18, 12:41 PM
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Front rack long ways bungeed on. If it is raining I keep the fly and footprint rolled up on the outside of the bag so that at least the inner is mostly dry when I take it out again. Those are going to be wet no matter what, no sense in wasting time or effort trying to dry it.

In rainy places, I also take an ultra-light tarp with me so that I have a place to eat and pack when its raining. Its extra weight, but makes everything a thousands times more comfortable (and therefore enjoyable).
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Old 02-13-18, 03:52 PM
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I stuff my tent into its bag, then place that into one of my front panniers. The poles get strapped to the rear rack. I do that simply because I can, it has nothing to do with the rain. If I couldn't fit it into a pannier I'd just strap it to the rear rack
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Old 02-13-18, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
I use a foam roll sleeping pad, and I just wrapped it around the tent and strapped that on my back rack. When it rained, it was easy enough to just wipe the roll off before tossing it in the tent. The little bit that stuck out was fairly minimal, getting wet didn't really matter. Worked well enough, I see no reason to change it on future trips.
That's exactly how I haul my tent: I roll it in my sleeping pad, put them both in a stuff sack and strap it on the back rack. I've done several trips that way and it works just fine.
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Old 02-13-18, 04:53 PM
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I use a medium sized rack bag to carry the tent. If it is wet, we separate the dry inner from the wet fly and pack the fly in a plastic rubbish bag to stop other items getting wet. I used to carry a sleeping mat in the bag until it bought a more compact mat. I also pack a thermorest chair on long tours and a spare tyre in the rack bag. The rack bag attaches very easily to the clips on the panniers and there is no problem of rubbing holes in the bag as I had happen when I used a dry bag strapped along the length of the pannier rack.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:17 PM
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My tent in a revelate bag under the handlebars.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
Wow.

You have the full system there. Four bike touring panniers with handlebar bag AND the bikepacking frame bag, behind-seat-harness and the under-handlebar-harness.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E
One thing that's worked well for me is having a tarp that's separate from my tent. Since I'm in a hammock tent, that's pretty standard, but I've seen ground tent with similar set-ups. The benefit is that the tent can be stashed somewhere waterproof, but the fly doesn't need to be. If it's raining when you stop, set up the tarp/fly first, then the tent can be set up underneath in the relative dryness. Strike the tent in the AM before taking down the tarp. That means the tent always gets put away dry. The tarp I keep in a mesh bag when it's wet in hopes that it will air out during the day.
^this.

Learn how to dry pitch your tent and make sure you have a tent that has this capability. We have a Big Agnes tent where it's possible to pitch the fly and the footprint (tarp fitted to the tent) together first and then erect the tent under the fly. The converse works well too, you take down the tent leaving the fly up which keeps the tent dry and then take down the fly and roll up the footprint. The actual tent never gets even damp.

Here's a video that demonstrates the technique.


It's the same (or very similar) to the tent that we have.

We used this extensively camping in Iceland last summer and it worked great. The rain there is more of a long term, spitty kind of thing and not as much of a downpour as it is where we come from. I'd suspect that is very similar to the weather you might find in Norway. This worked great and it was a pleasure always having a dry tent no matter what.

J.
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Old 02-13-18, 07:11 PM
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My Tent came with it's own dry bag and rides on rear rack under usually a dog carrier, so it doesn't get wet at all. If it is dewy or wet overnight, I do my best to wipe it down and unless I am in a hurry, I will wait until it dries out. I never leave before 8am so that's not a problem.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:35 PM
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For years I just put it on the rear rack inside a tough plastic bag and it works fine. Recently I too have used an ortlieb rack pack, and as others have said, it is handy for extra stuff like food and doo dad's. Presently I don't have my tent but still brought the rack bag and have the plastic bits and a few pieces of foam to protect the bike for repacking on flight home, the china bag for my panniers, extra food, my running shoes, and stuff I've picked up beside the road, including a cowboy hat and a Mexican flag.
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