View Full Version : Wet, what to do

01-02-2003, 22:29
Just got back from several days on the southern end, springer to gooch and back. I have a single wall tent and spent the first night high and cold, lots of condensation, second night low and beside a stream in the rain, unbeliveable condensation. Tent soaking wet inside and out the next day. I think it is a dumb question, but what do you do? Raining the next day no chance to dry the tent, it's in the backpack, everything is getting wet, seems like a downward spiral to me. Tips?

01-02-2003, 22:53
get a double wall tent-inner wall that can breath, space between that and the second wall which is usually a fly....if stuck with the tent you have and just need to soak up the nightly condensation carry a sponge to soak it up with, not heavy and does the job, keep the tent as open as possible and if any wind direct the vents if any of the tent into the wind, wear a vapor barrier-it will cut condensation a lot in the tent and in your sleeping bag, if you have a warm bag set up the tent in a windy spot if possible to help move air around the tent, that's all I can think of by the moment....
give us a hike report on the section you did please!

01-02-2003, 23:45
Another problem I've had with wet tents is the enormous amount of weight that gets added when you carry it the next morning...Not fun!


01-03-2003, 00:30
single walled tent on the A.T. isn't really going to work. As Simva suggested, get a double walled tent. Depending on your hiking preferences, etc. look for a light weight 3-season tent for all around use on the A.T. Lots of netting is good to increase ventilation. Even if you get a double wall tent if it has no screening on the inside you will still have a lot of condensation.

Of course, the easiest solution is to go with a tarp! Very airy and pleasant to sleep under and no worries about condensation. Of course, they can be a bit on the cool side in the winter....

One hint that I would give for tents (if you opt against a tarp)...look for the double walled tents that can be set up/taken down without actually removing the rain fly. There aren't a lot of them out there, but if the tent has continuous pole sleeves it should be possible. I can do this with my Kelty Windfoil Ultralight and thus I can set up and tear down in a driving rain without getting the inside wet and it goes up literally in about 90 seconds.

01-03-2003, 08:22
Guess I'd have to disagree with the advice that single wall tents don't work or to get a double wall. Some of the most popular tents for long distance hikes are single wall. The Wanderlust Nomad comes to mind. What's the difference between a tarp and a single wall tent? To me the only difference is the tent is more closed in. Ventalation is the issue with tents. You will get condensation in a double wall tent also if the conditions are right. If you have a single wall, you must ensure it's opened up so it can breathe. If you close it down, you'll have condensation problems. Check out Kurt Russell's Wanderlust gear site. He does a good job of talking about this issue and how to take care of it.


Blue Jay
01-03-2003, 08:40
You're on the AT, you're wet. I don't understand the issue. If you want to be dry the AT is not the place to be. Your only choice is rain or sweat.

01-03-2003, 15:55
I agree with what Moose says that the issue is ventilation not so much whether the tent is single or double wall. That being said, the double wall tents typically have much much better ventilation options then the single wall tents I have seen. THe single wall gore-tex style tents that are popular out west typically perform poorly on the A.T. There are exceptions, but by and large I do think the double wall tents are going to give you better ventilation. I could be wrong though!

01-03-2003, 20:55
Originally posted by Israel

.....That being said, the double wall tents typically have much much better ventilation options then the single wall tents I have seen. THe single wall gore-tex style tents that are popular out west typically perform poorly on the A.T. .......

I used two different single wall tents (Wanderlust 2-4-2; Dancing Light Tacoma) for the 900 miles that I was out on the trail this year. I had problems with condesation once. And that was because the clouds were being blown right thru the tent. Sil nylon is nice cause the moisture doesn't soak into the material, so you can just shake most of it off.

There are several single wall tents that I've seen, and two that I have used. Both the tents that I used were designed with ventilation in mind so that there would not be condesation problems.

Here's a few links. Check them out:

www.wanderlustgear.com for the Nomad and 2-4-2
www.trailquest.net for Dancing Light's Tacoma
www.moonbowgear.com for The Kat (and others)

01-03-2003, 22:12
I didn't really post my question correctly. The condensation is a problem and apreciate the thought on a small sponge. However the condensation coupled with rain leaves you with a rather large amount of water that just doesn't shake off. You roll this up, put it in the stuff sack, put in your pack with everything else, put the cover rain cover over the pack just to insure that everything gets soggy and off you go. It just seems to me that if this happens 2 days in a row (not unlikely) everything is soaking wet. Is the only option to go to a shelter and dry things out?

01-03-2003, 22:17
I take a kayak "bilge" sponge with me - these are super absorbant, used for mopping up water that the bilge pump won't reach. You can get em for around 6-7 bucks - great for mopping up the remnants of a rainy tent setup.

Wander Yonder
01-04-2003, 01:14
I carry my hammock in a silnylon bag so it doesn't get anything else damp. You do need to dry it out as soon as possible, though, as it will mildew if left in there too long.

Another option is carrying it in a mesh pocket on the front of your pack if it is small enough. Might not work for a tent, but would for a tarp.

edited to add--I carry everything in silnylon stuff sacks to keep them as dry as possible.