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Tent Size

Old 03-27-24, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Creepy crawly things like to get in my gear
Like what?
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Old 03-27-24, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Like what?
Racoons, the clever buggers, the next in line to inherit the earth after we human beings have long disappeared.
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Old 03-27-24, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Like what?
spiders, gnats, ticks, scorpions, slugs and most of all, ants, those big ones that bite. One time I found a lizard in my shoe. Plus the ones I see between the fly and inner tent in the morning.
I don't know why they do this, I've never asked why they feel the need to go into my gear.
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Old 03-27-24, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Get better bags

My concern is less with small creepy crawly things than large ursine things.
Geography and its flora fauna dictate what to be weary of. No large predators to worry about where I go
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Old 03-28-24, 01:25 AM
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I tend not to care how warm a tent is since I can't rely on that when picking sleeping gear. Far more important to me are space and venting. And if a tent has good venting, it's by definition not going to be a warm.

The vestibule on our tunnel tent is massive but it's also not "sealed" so no floor etc.. We still prefer to keep our ortliebs open in the vestibule because that lets the bags air out and allows any residual moisture to evaporate. We sometimes find creepy crawlies but since we live in Europe none of them are dangerous.

But on that last point apparently the black widow spider has migrated to Sweden which I am extremely excited about. I need to go and try to find one at some point.
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Old 03-28-24, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
I tend not to care how warm a tent is since I can't rely on that when picking sleeping gear. Far more important to me are space and venting. And if a tent has good venting, it's by definition not going to be a warm.

The vestibule on our tunnel tent is massive but it's also not "sealed" so no floor etc.. We still prefer to keep our ortliebs open in the vestibule because that lets the bags air out and allows any residual moisture to evaporate. We sometimes find creepy crawlies but since we live in Europe none of them are dangerous.

But on that last point apparently the black widow spider has migrated to Sweden which I am extremely excited about. I need to go and try to find one at some point.
It's funny, I tend to keep mine closed if they are outside, and often simply keep them on the bike. If I think they need aired out, I may leave them open as I make camp, and close them before going to sleep, or I open them but have the strap clipped so the remain slightly open as I ride during the day. I prefer to not have uninvited guests in my bags.
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Old 03-28-24, 12:49 PM
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While on this topic, do you feel you stay warmer if you allow your rain fly to drape down sealing off your doors and screening as in my photo above or do you stake out your rain fly covering doors, walls, and vestibule as usual for greater ventilation as usual ? I realize the condensation compromise.
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Old 03-28-24, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson
Didn't read the whole thread, but @cyccommute has hit on the answer - heat transfer through walls is a function of temperature difference on either side of the wall, insulation value of the wall, and surface area where greater surface area allows more heat to pass through. Temperature difference is assumed to be the same when comparing two tents, as is insulation (R) value, so a larger tent has more surface area and will absolutely be harder to keep warm.
Problem with that is that the insulation value of a mil or two of nylon and polyurethane is pretty close to nil. The temperature gradient (not the temperature difference) is the other factor in heat transfer, and with nothing in the way of insulation, the heat flows right on out.

Two more things. First, since the tent wall provides approximately no insulation, the air between the sleeping bag or sleeper and the tent wall is left to provide all the "tent insulation." You can argue that less distance between the sleeping bag and the tent reduces the chance for convective air currents to dissipate heat. It kind of even makes sense, but I'm not aware of any models or measurements on this hypothesis (and I'm not an aerodynamicist, so I couldn't provide one in less than a few years' of college that I'm not interested enough to invest).

Second, those who don't see the problem with "I got colder on this trip than on that trip" kind of argument, should perhaps engage in trollheim political arguments rather than this discussion. If you're slightly suspicious, consider whtehter different temperatures, relative humidity, altitude, wind conditions, and even whether personal preference might influence the "observations."
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Old 03-28-24, 03:28 PM
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No, a solo tent will not keep you any warmer than a 2 man tent. Trust me. But if I were on a supported trip I'd take a 2 man tent. Why not?
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Old 03-28-24, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Problem with that is that the insulation value of a mil or two of nylon and polyurethane is pretty close to nil. The temperature gradient (not the temperature difference) is the other factor in heat transfer, and with nothing in the way of insulation, the heat flows right on out.

Two more things. First, since the tent wall provides approximately no insulation, the air between the sleeping bag or sleeper and the tent wall is left to provide all the "tent insulation." You can argue that less distance between the sleeping bag and the tent reduces the chance for convective air currents to dissipate heat. It kind of even makes sense, but I'm not aware of any models or measurements on this hypothesis (and I'm not an aerodynamicist, so I couldn't provide one in less than a few years' of college that I'm not interested enough to invest).

Second, those who don't see the problem with "I got colder on this trip than on that trip" kind of argument, should perhaps engage in trollheim political arguments rather than this discussion. If you're slightly suspicious, consider whtehter different temperatures, relative humidity, altitude, wind conditions, and even whether personal preference might influence the "observations."
But if you carry high density foam and insulate the tent walls...
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Old 03-29-24, 02:37 AM
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Tent size will not matter much if the inner tent is mostly netting, which is the case in most/all ultra light tents. Even in the smallest tent, if the inner tent walls are netting, all the warm air you produce will be cooled down too quickly for it to make any noticeable difference. There is no thermal insulation whatsoever - there is the air inside the tent and there is the air outside, with only a thin sheet of plastic (fly sheet) that is dividing them. However, if your inner tent is netting only high(er) up near the ceiling, and if you properly tighten the guy lines so the fly sheet does not flap and is always and everywhere pulled away from the inner tent, and also you close the vents so the "warm" air does not easily escape through them, then there will be a layer of air between the fly sheet and inner tent which is not as cold as the one outside the tent and not as warm as the one inside the inner tent, and that layer of air will be a quite decent insulator (relatively speaking).
On my tours I almost always carry a 2-person tent that definitely isn't light (2.8kg, 6lb), whose inner tent is 1.5m wide (5ft) and the netting starts in the upper half, maybe several inches from the top (can't remember exactly). I spent relatively cold nights inside that tent (couple degrees below freezing) and inside was as comfortable as one can reasonably expect it to be - still cold but certainly much, much warmer than outside. A smaller tent would have been even warmer, but I like comfort and to have all my things inside, so the extra weight is the price I gladly pay every time.
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Old 03-29-24, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by texbiker
Thanks for the photo. It doesn't look sub freezing.
The ice in my water bottles that were in my bike bottle cages told me that it was subfreezing that morning. Everybody had on almost every layer that they had brought, but being in West Texas in April, most people did not bring very warm clothing. Thus, you only see a few winter jackets and stocking caps in the photo.
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Old 03-29-24, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
Creepy crawly things like to get in my gear
Yup.



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Old 03-29-24, 06:31 AM
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I have packed some thermal jerseys and plan on layering for the cold days. I have a light, medium, and heavy jackets.
Thanks for the information.
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Old 03-29-24, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Yup.
More like scampering things.
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Old 03-29-24, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
More like scampering things.
Well, the mouse had hair, so I reckon you can split some of them.
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Old 03-29-24, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Problem with that is that the insulation value of a mil or two of nylon and polyurethane is pretty close to nil. The temperature gradient (not the temperature difference) is the other factor in heat transfer, and with nothing in the way of insulation, the heat flows right on out.
While I agree that there is no insulation value to nylon, that does not mean that the tent is incapable of trapping heat. All tents trap heat from the occupant(s) body. The heat isn’t immediately swept away as long as the rain fly is in place. Without the rain fly, air very quickly dissipates…something I’ve experienced when I left the fly off because the night was hot only to have to get up in the very early morning to put on the fly when the temperature dropped about 60°F. Rain flies are meant to be water impermeable which means that they are also good at keeping air from being swept out of the tent.

Two more things. First, since the tent wall provides approximately no insulation, the air between the sleeping bag or sleeper and the tent wall is left to provide all the "tent insulation." You can argue that less distance between the sleeping bag and the tent reduces the chance for convective air currents to dissipate heat. It kind of even makes sense, but I'm not aware of any models or measurements on this hypothesis (and I'm not an aerodynamicist, so I couldn't provide one in less than a few years' of college that I'm not interested enough to invest).
The air in the tent is going to be still. There is little movement of the air from the inside to the outside which keeps the heat inside the tent. The air in the tent is also moisture laden (breath is saturated) which means it can carry more heat. However ClydeClydeson is slightly wrong in that this is a volume problem, not a surface area problem. More space requires more to heat it. A single person in a large space results in the warmed air to move further away from the body that is warming the space.

​​​​​​​Second, those who don't see the problem with "I got colder on this trip than on that trip" kind of argument, should perhaps engage in trollheim political arguments rather than this discussion. If you're slightly suspicious, consider whtehter different temperatures, relative humidity, altitude, wind conditions, and even whether personal preference might influence the "observations."
Huh? I use the “I got colder on this trip than on that trip” argument because it happened. I used the same bag and pad in both tents that I compared above. I took into account the different temperatures, humidity, altitude, and wind in both cases. Camping at 10,000 feet is very different from camping at 4000 feet. The 10,000 foot camp was in the small tent with morning temperatures in the 30°F. The 4000 foot camp was in a large tent in 40°F temperatures. The lower camp was much, much, much colder.

By the way, I used that same tent on a trip with my daughter at 700 feet in the Arizona desert, albeit with a thinner bag, at 40°F temperatures and it was far colder than even the 4000 foot camp trip by myself.

I’ve camped in all kinds of tents and conditions. I’ve done extensive camping in 2 man and one man tents by myself. The one man tent is much warmer.
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Old 03-30-24, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by texbiker
I'm going on a van supported tour. The night time temperatures will be in the low 40's. Is a 1 man tent better than a 2 man tent for warmth?
on a van supported tour I would bring a two persons tent, to have nice space! and a warm sleeping bag, if needed.
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Old 03-30-24, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by texbiker
I have packed some thermal jerseys and plan on layering for the cold days. I have a light, medium, and heavy jackets.
Thanks for the information.
I occasionally ride my bikes in winter when it is down to 20 degrees (F), so I pretty much know what works well for most temperature ranges I might encounter on a tour.

Most people do not use a rain cover on their helmet in cold weather, but I do. I want to keep the cold wind off of my thin spot on the top of my head where lack of hair means minimal insulation. And in a previous post I mentioned ear band over my ears.

Long finger gloves. I have several different pairs for varying temperatures. On a tour I usually bring a pair that also has a little wind cover that makes them look like mittens, that wind cover resides in a small pocket on the back of the hand when not in use.

Long pants to wear on the bike. I use two options, on a tour usually have a pair of bike pants with zip off legs to convert to shorts. But I only use those touring. For use around home or if it was a van supported tour, some athletic pants that I can put on over my shorts. On really cold days on a tour I have worn my rain pants (waterproof and theoretically breathable) to keep the wind off of my legs, even on dry days.

And on a van supported tour, I like to have a means to store my excess layers as it warms up. Either one pannier or large saddle bag. If you have a frame bag for your frame, that would work too. And I almost always have a handlebar bag. That van supported tour that provided my sub-freezing photo in a previous post, I used my folding bike for that. They suggested we have a way to carry lots of water, as it was in West Texas, including Big Bend. Photo of my bike below, I could carry a couple extra quarts of water in the saddle bag and extra clothing layers.



Almost everyone else on that tour were quite unprepared, did not carry any luggage on their bike other than maybe a small saddle bag with a spare tube. If it did not fit in their jersey pocket, they did not want to carry it. Most of the others were roadies, no self-supported touring background.

But on that van supported tour, we also had some extremely hot days too.
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Old 03-30-24, 05:13 AM
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Not much difference IME. I typically take a one person tent or even a bivy. Since the van is probably carrying the tent the weight and bulk factors are largely negated. Will you be somewhere that it is hard to find space for a larger tent? Do you like more sprawling room? I am generally not worried about bringing gear inside. I typically leave everything that I am not using packed. If using panniers they stay on the bike. In your case cooking stuff and other stuff you don't need can probably stay in the van.
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Old 04-06-24, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by texbiker
The night time temperatures will be in the low 40's. Is a 1 man tent better than a 2 man tent for warmth?
Yes and no. Bigger tent = more surface area through which to lose heat. However, you can't really rely on your tent to keep you warm, because you need ventilation to avoid condensation building up and soaking your sleeping bag. Condensation is caused by two things: water vapor in your breath, and dropping temperatures reducing the amount of moisture the air can hold. Smaller tent = more concentration of moisture in the air, which leads to more condensation. Condensation is prevented by ventilation (cycling the moisture in the air out of the tent), but that basically means you are letting in the cold. So that means you need to rely on your sleep system (mattress/pad, sleeping bag, thermal underwear, cap) to keep you warm instead of the tent. In practice, you'll find a balance of ventilation that avoids the condensation, but some warmth is retained, but you're only going to have a 5° to 10° difference from the outside air.

Have a good sleep system appropriate for the temperature, and eat a big meal (carbs) before bed, and you'll be fine. 40°F isn't that cold.
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Old 04-07-24, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
Yes and no. Bigger tent = more surface area through which to lose heat. However, you can't really rely on your tent to keep you warm, because you need ventilation to avoid condensation building up and soaking your sleeping bag. Condensation is caused by two things: water vapor in your breath, and dropping temperatures reducing the amount of moisture the air can hold. Smaller tent = more concentration of moisture in the air, which leads to more condensation. Condensation is prevented by ventilation (cycling the moisture in the air out of the tent), but that basically means you are letting in the cold. So that means you need to rely on your sleep system (mattress/pad, sleeping bag, thermal underwear, cap) to keep you warm instead of the tent. In practice, you'll find a balance of ventilation that avoids the condensation, but some warmth is retained, but you're only going to have a 5° to 10° difference from the outside air.

Have a good sleep system appropriate for the temperature, and eat a big meal (carbs) before bed, and you'll be fine. 40°F isn't that cold.
I see your “yes and no” and raise you another one. Condensation is not totally “bad”. Yes, it is kind of a pain but condensing water releases heat as it condenses. In a small tent, that higher concentration of moisture means more heat is released as the water changes phase from vapor to liquid. The larger volume and surface area of a larger tent means less overall heat release.

We try to prevent condensation because we feel it makes us cold but that doesn’t fit with the thermodynamics. I’ve started many nights with the rain fly open to make the tent a bit more comfortable only to get up in the middle of the night to close the fly to retain heat.
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Old 04-07-24, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I see your “yes and no” and raise you another one. Condensation is not totally “bad”. Yes, it is kind of a pain but condensing water releases heat as it condenses. In a small tent, that higher concentration of moisture means more heat is released as the water changes phase from vapor to liquid. The larger volume and surface area of a larger tent means less overall heat release.

We try to prevent condensation because we feel it makes us cold but that doesn’t fit with the thermodynamics. I’ve started many nights with the rain fly open to make the tent a bit more comfortable only to get up in the middle of the night to close the fly to retain heat.
The condensation occurs on the tent walls, where it is cold. It releases its heat into the tent wall (because it's cold). Most of that moisture came from the occupant's exhalations, which means that the heat being transferred is heat that the occupant has already lost. Sure, taken in isolation, that heat contributes a positive for the occupant, but really it is just part of the overall transfer of heat being lost outside through the tent walls.

Condensation really does make us cold, and it fits fine with thermodynamics. Primarily, liquid water defeats the effectiveness of the insulation around us, because heat conducts through water faster than it transfers through the air gaps in the loft of the insulation. (The effectiveness of insulation while wet varies depending on the material.) Secondly, water on skin conducts heat away from us faster because of the relatively high density and specific heat of water.
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Old 04-07-24, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
The condensation occurs on the tent walls, where it is cold. It releases its heat into the tent wall (because it's cold). Most of that moisture came from the occupant's exhalations, which means that the heat being transferred is heat that the occupant has already lost. Sure, taken in isolation, that heat contributes a positive for the occupant, but really it is just part of the overall transfer of heat being lost outside through the tent walls.
The heat released isn’t directional nor are the tent wall particularly good at transferring heat. Not much better than the air surrounding the tent. The tent, being water proof, also doesn’t lose heat to the outside due to evaporation which would reduce the heat in the tent.

Condensation really does make us cold, and it fits fine with thermodynamics. Primarily, liquid water defeats the effectiveness of the insulation around us, because heat conducts through water faster than it transfers through the air gaps in the loft of the insulation. (The effectiveness of insulation while wet varies depending on the material.) Secondly, water on skin conducts heat away from us faster because of the relatively high density and specific heat of water.
Liquid water defeats the effectiveness of insulation but inside the tent the water isn’t in the form of liquid. It is vapor and, as such, can carry more heat than dry air. Think of what humidity does to summer weather in much of the eastern part of the US. Much the same happens in a tent and the smaller the space, the greater the humidity.

As to when the water condenses, A well designed tent will direct the water droplets away from the inside of the tent. The condensation won’t wet the insulation of the sleeping bag. The amount of water condensed is also quite small. Even here in Colorado where the temperature differential between the tent outside and inside is greater…thus increasing the efficiency of the condensation…the amount of water condensed is probably less than 100 mL (about 1/2 cup). Even on a multi-day trip, the amount of water picked up by the sleeping bag is minimal.
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cyccommute is offline  
Old 04-07-24, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The heat released isn’t directional ...
Heat moves from the warmer body to the cooler body until they reach the same temperature.

Originally Posted by cyccommute
Liquid water ...
Condensation is the conversion of a gas to a liquid. To bring this tangent back to the original topic, if you close up your tent to try to seal in the warmth, you will cause water to condense inside the tent. If there is a significant amount of condensation, it will run down the walls of the tent, and much of it will find its way into your sleeping bag. Whether or not we agree on the physics, it's a thing that actually happens (though probably not much at 40°F).

Last edited by UnCruel; 04-07-24 at 06:10 PM.
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