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setting up in the rain

Old 03-17-08, 08:59 PM
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setting up in the rain

I'm thinking that if you have to set up your tent in the rain, the inside of the tent is going to get soaked during the process. No ? So what are some of the solutions you folks use? The obvious is get proficient in setting it up quickly but even so,the tents that have "flys" [and lot of them do] have mesh ceilings so the water is coming in until you get that "fly" on or at least draped over the top in the meantime the inside could be getting considerably wet. Is the solution just grin and bear it, climb inside with a back packing ultra absorbant towel and dry out the inside the best you can. Or am I just putting too much thought into this. All comments will be appreciated Glenn in phx
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Old 03-17-08, 09:05 PM
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You are correct in you analysis. Try to be fast, it gets wet anyway, and then you mop it up. Some tents can be pitched fly first then the body inside, and other can be stowed away with both pieces together, so you pitch it pre-flied, if you were lucky enough to think of that, and if it wasn't raining in the morning when you put it away. Or you can use a single-wall tent which if you pitch it reasonably fast does stay dry on the inside. I usually go with this last solution. Or just get a room.
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Old 03-17-08, 09:20 PM
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We've left the fly on the tent when we've packed it away. Our current tent goes up in a matter of minutes ...the doorway area might get a bit damp as we load our gear in, but nothing serious and easily mopped up.
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Old 03-17-08, 10:04 PM
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first order of business for me if it's raining is to set up a tarp over picnic table/cooking area first.

this gives you a spot to park the bikes and dig around in your panniers without soaking them and get some hot tea water going under cover before you set up tent.

i usually just set up in the rain; setting up tents with seperate flies aren't that bad; like others have said, just be quick about it. If its really raining, with a tarp pitched you can partially set up tent under the tarp, then move it to where you are sleeping in it.

Additionally, a grizzled Northwesterner trick is to set up tent UNDERNEATH a big tarp..... makes very nice sleeping conditions and a mostly dry tent underneath.....

Last edited by Bekologist; 03-18-08 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 03-18-08, 01:43 AM
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We always pack the fly and outer tent together. After setting it up so many times, we can pitch our tent in 2 minutes or less, especialy in the rain.
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Old 03-18-08, 02:01 AM
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First, try to stop in time so that you don't have to set up in the rain.
Second, I have all my tent/sleeping stuff in a pack on the back rack
So I can set up in two or three minutes.
Third, if you are in a developed campground there are often picnic pavillions.
You can either chill out there until the rain lets up,
Or, if you have a free standing tent, set it up and carry it to the campsite with the fly on.

Depending on where you are touring, how remote it is, and how cold -
It is never a good idea to get soaked, esp. if you might have a few days of rain.
Sometimes it pays to get a room - and you should plan for the expense.
It beats being cold, wet, and miserable - and then getting crotch rot.
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Old 03-18-08, 02:24 AM
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Many two layer tents are designed to be set up with the outer layer on for exactly this reason. The real problem is how to get your wet riding gear to dry in a tent. I'm with jamawani here, if you're expecting several days of rain in a row, plan for a night indoors somewhere in between. If only to dry your gear.

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Old 03-18-08, 03:11 AM
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I can usually set up my tent in a matter of minutes if need be. The inside will get a little damp, but it's not enough to be the end of the world. If I'm outside setting it up, I'll probably be saturated by the time I crawl inside anyway. Having a fast-drying synthetic sleeping bag is the key for me. Other options include looking for an undercover spot to assemble your tent (i.e. under a tree) before taking it out and putting the pegs in the ground. You could also wait for a few minutes to see if the weather improves -- even if it's just an easing of the rain. If it's really a sustained torrential downpour, you could start looking at other accommodation options, even if only for one night.
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Old 03-18-08, 03:22 AM
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Use a Hennesy Hammock and pitch under the picnic shelter

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Old 03-18-08, 05:26 AM
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With a Hennessy Hammock, the fly is the first thing to be deployed if you do it right. If it's miserable weather, I string up the HH, throw my bag in , then climb in it and stay in until the weather is better.

I also stop in at cafes for a hot drink, and use their facilities to dry out as much stuff as possible.
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Old 03-18-08, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Use a Hennesy Hammock and pitch under the picnic shelter
A freestanding tent also works well under a picnic shelter, pavillion, or other shelter. I have managed to do that for a few of my rainy tour nights.
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Old 03-18-08, 05:54 AM
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Seems to me that this is only a big deal if you are stealth camping. If I stealth camped very often, I would do as Bekologist said and put up a tarp first. Not only a way to set-up your tent out of the rain, but a place to hang-out while it rains.
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Old 03-18-08, 11:32 AM
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My four season plus 1991 Stephenson's 2R tent has an integrated fly and tent body. It only needs three stakes for quick set up. Setting up in a rainstorm is not a problem if necessary because all surfaces are coated nylon. Great ventilation and 42 square feet of space weighing only 3#12oz. The new ones weigh 2#12oz. Squamish winds do not bother it either.

I started using a single wall Tarptent Virga in 2003 for the Divide Ride mainly to reduce equipment weight. The Virga saved me two pounds over my 2R tent and performed admirably in all conditions except blowing dust. Simple to setup in the rain without rain inside.

I am now using the Tarptent Contrail. Same ease of setup in all conditions with more headroom.

The latest light weight tarps [less than one pound] can make for a more comfortable camp site in the rain with a small weight penalty. No need to be restricted to the tent only during extended storms. They are also a good backup if your tent should start leaking at some point due to damage or wear.
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Old 03-18-08, 12:00 PM
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Deleted dumb post.

Last edited by The Smokester; 03-18-08 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 03-18-08, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester
I've used these, too, and they are a great solution. I would just point out that they obviously don't keep bugs out which can be important in mosquito or black flie country/season.
Unless I misunderstand your comment, you have used Tarptents but believe from direct experience that they do not protect the user from mosquitos and black flies? Could you explain the- obviously- comment?

My Tarptent experience was bug free and I was really glad of that fact every day of each month of use.
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Old 03-18-08, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by arctos
Unless I misunderstand your comment, you have used Tarptents but believe from direct experience that they do not protect the user from mosquitos and black flies? Could you explain the- obviously- comment?

My Tarptent experience was bug free and I was really glad of that fact every day of each month of use.
Darn it, arctos. Good call. I will modify my post. I was thinking of tarp-like tents--like the Black Diamond Pyramid--which have no floor and no bug netting and are really light and simple to set up usually with a single pole in the center. Obviously not self-supporting though. I have not used the Tarptent and misspoke.
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Old 03-18-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by The Smokester
Darn it, arctos. Good call. I will modify my post. I was thinking of tarp-like tents--like the Black Diamond Pyramid--which have no floor and no bug netting and are really light and simple to set up usually with a single pole in the center. Obviously not self-supporting though. I have not used the Tarptent and misspoke.
Thanks for the clarification.

The BD Megamid is a great design. I have used it on group bike tours and kayak tours as a cook tent and bike storage space.
I did sew netting along the perimeter to minimize blood donations.

Last edited by arctos; 03-18-08 at 02:35 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-19-08, 10:57 AM
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I came across this link awhile ago on the crazyguyonabike site: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=48690&v=1b

Don Martin's got a nicely detailed description (with pics) about how to set up and take down a clip-style dome tent withOUT getting the inside soaked. I've got an REI half dome and the instructions work perfectly.

Essentially, he has his fly and ground cover attached together. The poles go up, spreading out the ground cover and hoisting the fly. The you clip your tent to the poles under the protection of the fly.

The nice this is that you can take down the tent in the same way in a driving rain. The dry tent is packed away and the wet fly/groundsheet is packed separately giving you SOME hope of a dry-ish place to set up the next day.

The instructions, unfortunately, only really work with clip-style tents...
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