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  1. #1
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    Default How waterproof should I expect my tent to be?

    We recently purchased a Marmot Astral 2P tent with a rain fly & footprint. Our first two nights on the trail (from Davenport Gap to Hot Springs), we were pleased with the tent: it weighs less than 5 lbs. & is roomy enough for me & my husband. However, on night three (two nights ago if any of you were near Garenflo Gap then), the skies opened up & we received a hard rain for several hours. We knew that we would experience condensation & that the inside walls of our tent would be wet to the touch; however, what we didn't expect was the mist that seemed to settle all around us, causing the tops of our sleeping bags to be wet, along with anything else that was exposed in the tent. In addition, when the sudden rains caused run-off under our tent, our floor was wet--not puddles, or course, but we definitely would have been wet if we had not had sleeping pads between the floor & our sleeping bags. Is all of this normal? We were expecting more protection from our rain fly cover. Were we expecting too much? I can't imagine how wet we would have eventually gotten had it rained all night instead of just two or three hours!

  2. #2
    Registered User canoe's Avatar
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    I want my tent to be pretty close to 100per cent dry. There are other materials that are 100per cent dry. No misting. If it was coming down hard you can expect some misting. With sil nylon there is no getting around it.

  3. #3
    Registered User canoe's Avatar
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    on the other hand cuben is 100percent dry

  4. #4

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    All new tents are recommended that the new owners seal the seams. I recommend spraying the fabric with a recommended water repellant to insure the driest of dry experiences.

  5. #5
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    First you need to establish if misting was from penetration or was condensation on the underside of the fly dislodged by the rain .
    If by penetration , you may need to use a waterproofing spray sutch as the Atsko Silicone Water Guard (Outdoor and boating supply stores)
    If it was mist from condensation, then you need to increase (if possible) the air flow, so unzipping part of the vestibule and maybe in your tent you could add some tie out loops so that you can seoarate the fly from the inner a bit more to let air in all around.

  6. #6
    Registered User canoe's Avatar
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    condensation from the fly would be dripping not misting. But still it could be condensation with water coming from the top and from under the tent, warm air in the middle.

  7. #7
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    I have had a several double-wall tents that were 100% dry, even in torrential downpours.

    My Tarptent Rainbow has the misting problem. As far as I can tell, it's condensation that then gets knocked off the inside surfaces by the impact of heavy rain.

  8. #8
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Site selection is very important. If you set up on grass near a water source in humid weather, you are asking for it. If you set up where rain water will run, you are asking for it.

    That said, most tents will have some issue under bad conditions. Have a camp towel (ShamWow like) at the ready for drying out the inside of the tent.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    I believe this is a good quality tent & seams are factory sealed. Also has alot of screen mesh, so ventilation shouldn't be a big problem. My question is was it staked out & pitched tightly ?
    He leads me beside still waters !!
    Happy Trails..... BrotherAL

  10. #10
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    We did not think about treating it with a water repellent before we left; I guess we just assumed the factory waterproofing would be effective. We will not make that assumption before the next trip! The condensation getting knocked off by a heavy rain could certainly be the issue because the rain seemed to be falling by the bucketful. The towel is a good idea, too. Brotheral, we did stake out the tent & pitch it as tightly as we knew how. Thanks for all the input, everyone!

  11. #11
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    How waterproof the fabric of the fabrics used in a tent is actually measured as the hydrostatic head. The British Ministry of Defense considers 1000mm to be "waterproof." But you will see tents with higher ratings. For example Lightheart Gear's Solo tent isnusing fabric with a hydrostatic heard of 3500mm. This link is a decent starting point for understanding hydrostatic head -- http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/qna/qna...4&P=56&SP=&V=4

    It may also help to understand the causes of condensation on tents -- http://johncwalton.com/WindowOutdoor...0Radiation.htm
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  12. #12
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    This tent should not need any extra treatment prior to use - I just checked the website, The fly has an 1800 mm HH with a silicone and PU coating, the floor is pu coated and rated to 3000mm. It is seam taped, so should not need additional seam sealing.

    So, why did it leak? or did it leak? was it so foggy everywhere that you had fog inside the tent? sometimes, some moisture is unavoidable, and site selection is critical. setting up on dirt under trees is better than in a grassy meadow where dew will form. Condensation will form on the underside of the fly, but it really shouldn't drip into the tent through the mesh.

    If the tent is indeed leaking - I would return it, they have a lifetime guarantee.

  13. #13

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    A quote from Franco Darioli at backpackinglight.com (tarptent mfg.)

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=30255

    For some reason there is this close association in the forums between "Tarptent " and "seam sealing". In reality many brands have or are selling tents that need to be sealed by the consumer.
    Here is a partial list :Bibler,Black Diamond ,Macpac, Integral Design,Eureka,Golite, Terra Nova, Lightwave, Nemo, MSR
    (they send you a tube with some tarps if you have problems..) and of course all of the cottage manufacturers that use silnylon , cuben or spinnaker .
    Reading many threads it is clear that some tents that are taped also need at least a touch up in certain areas. All you need to do is Google seam sealing and a brand and chances are that someone will post about having had do do theirs, usually as a "repair" on a leaky tent.
    Adding a PU coating on the underside allows silnylon to be taped but that has problems as well as Stephenson's Warmlite point out :
    "Seam sealing (which we let you do, or offer as a service) is done with silicone adhesive we supply, (use for repairs if ever needed). The finish is extremely slippery, thus stays clean and wears far better than urethane coatings usually used on tents, and doesn’t turn sticky from damp storage as urethane coatings do"
    Of course they have a biased view, nevertheless what they state can and does happen.
    On the other hand at least Tarptent (and me soon) and SMD offer that service for a relatively modest fee.
    This is obviously not possible for ,say, the like of Eureka with 500-1000 tents made in one single production run.
    Franco,
    [email protected]

  14. #14

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    It actually sounds fairly normal for a lightweight single wall tent. At least, the same type of thing has happened to me in heavy rains. There's a reason many people use ground cloths to keep water from coming in from beneath. And yes, condensation will get knocked off onto you when it is raining hard and there may be mist coming through the tent. You shouldn't get soaked, but damp is not that unusual.

  15. #15

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    More info:

    What does condensation have to do with my tent?

    Through perspiration and breathing, an adult gives off about a pint of water overnight. When you sleep in a tent, this water vapor is trapped. If it cannot escape, water vapor reappears as condensation. A tent's permeable roof allows the vapor to evaporate through the roof to the outside, keeping the inside of the tent dry. The tent windows should also be left partially open at night. Cross ventilation allows excess moisture to escape, reducing condensation. Cross ventilation becomes more important in very humid or extremely cold conditions when the permeable roof is less effective.

    http://www.eurekatent.com/detail.aspx?id=43#question17


    SEAM SEALING:
    We recommend use of a sealer such as Kenyon Seam Sealer 3 or McNett Outdoor
    SeamGrip
    ®
    .
    • Work in a fully ventilated area.
    • Set the tent up or lay the tent out flat. Taut seams allow for even application and
    penetration of the sealer.
    • Decide which seams need to be sealed. For example, seams that will be exposed
    to rain, runoff, or ground level water are a must for sealing, while seams on
    uncoated nylon or mesh panels don’t need treatment. There is no need to seal
    the seams in the roof or the factory taped seams. We recommend sealing both
    floor and fly seams and reinforcements.
    • Apply sealant to the inside and outside of all exposed seams. Several thin layers
    will work better than one thick layer. Read and follow manufacture's instructions.

    http://store.eurekatent.com/media/do...ARTERS09IM.pdf

    CONDENSATION & VENTING:
    Through perspiration and breathing, an adult gives off about a pint of water
    overnight. If it cannot escape, the water vapor condenses to liquid. Most
    often, water found in the tent is a result of this condensation rather than
    from the tent leaking. Condensation often forms where the sleeping bag
    touches the side of the tent, under the sleeping pad, or on coated surfaces
    such as the door flaps. A tent’s double wall construction allows the vapor to
    escape through the roof to the outside, keeping the inside of the tent dry.
    Leave the windows partially open at night to provide cross ventilation and
    further reduce condensation. Cross ventilation becomes more important in
    very humid or extremely cold conditions when the permeable roof is less
    effective. The features that enhance ventilation are windows, short-sheeted
    flys (bottom venting), roof vents, and High/Low venting doors. These are
    specific to each tent model.
    Given the importance of proper ventilation, We use High/Low venting in most
    of our tents. This allows cooler air in through the low vents and warmer,
    moist air up and out through the high vents. High/Low venting is
    accomplished within the inner tent via roof vents, doors and windows. It is
    important to vent the vestibule. Unvented, it can inhibit airflow into the tent.
    Our tent vestibules profit from the ability to “short sheet” by means of
    zippers & toggles and staked vestibule pull outs create a bellowing effect.
    Most of our tents are equipped with a High/Low venting door. This design
    allows increased airflow into the tent from the bottom. Open the low
    vent/window to admit cool air, allowing the warmer air out through the
    high roof vents. When rain and wind prevent the low vent from being
    opened, the high door vent can still be used. Fly overhangs or vestibules
    protect it.

  16. #16
    Registered User q-tip's Avatar
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    I used Atsko Silicone Spray on the exterior and INTERIOR of my Tarp Tent Contrail, the internal spray definitely helped with the internal condensation in heavy persistent rain. Nothing helped with the condensation in my Wild Oasis Tarp, very disappointing....

  17. #17

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    Put Tyvek, cut to the floor size, inside the tent to help with floor wetness issues. Tent floor ratings are misleading because once weight is involved (say, your knees), that lofty hydrostatic head rating doesn't seem so good. As for the misting, looking at that tent I'm wondering about roof ventilation. You need it, especially in the rain. I ran into a similar situation in a poorly roof-vented tent from a name-brand tent maker. The thing was sealed but after a heavy, cold downpour on a warm day all kinds of condensation ensued. Even the mist effect.

  18. #18
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyT View Post
    We recently purchased a Marmot Astral 2P tent with a rain fly & footprint. Our first two nights on the trail (from Davenport Gap to Hot Springs), we were pleased with the tent: it weighs less than 5 lbs. & is roomy enough for me & my husband. However, on night three (two nights ago if any of you were near Garenflo Gap then), the skies opened up & we received a hard rain for several hours. We knew that we would experience condensation & that the inside walls of our tent would be wet to the touch; however, what we didn't expect was the mist that seemed to settle all around us, causing the tops of our sleeping bags to be wet, along with anything else that was exposed in the tent. In addition, when the sudden rains caused run-off under our tent, our floor was wet--not puddles, or course, but we definitely would have been wet if we had not had sleeping pads between the floor & our sleeping bags. Is all of this normal? We were expecting more protection from our rain fly cover. Were we expecting too much? I can't imagine how wet we would have eventually gotten had it rained all night instead of just two or three hours!
    Tent Fly Fabric 40d 100% Nylon Rip Stop, Silicone/ PU 1800mm W/R, F/R

    I have read here many times about the misting... and I really do wonder what is the best outcome. The tent has to breath and ever since I left my totally waterproof Andre Jamlet, these lighter tents do have some issues, and so do hammocks. I pitch my gear in the back yard, I put tissues and a plastic bowl and sometimes I go out and sleep there in a rain storm... I really do test my gear, I hate getting bad gear. Yea you need to seam seal - not because of pelting rain, because the water is wicked over to the underside where the thread is sewn. The stitches are like tiny candle wicks. Please also consider the vents are bi directional and you exhale in a semi closed environment. your warm breath hits the cold water droplets and you have a misting... I would guess there are many ways to get a misting... you are outdoors you should expects to get wet and have a plan. In Canada, it can rain for days and I have sat out several hurricanes coming up the coast here in PA.

    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    All new tents are recommended that the new owners seal the seams. I recommend spraying the fabric with a recommended water repellant to insure the driest of dry experiences.

    Zelph I saw the other posts and I thought you were on target except this first one... I think spraying is a bad idea on a new tent. Just an opinion... I know the manufactures do lots of water pressure tests with fire hoses and garden alike... Silicone is not needed - just seam seal.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  19. #19

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    I have a TT Notch. And I did try to seam seal it myself. It was my first time. If for some reason it didn't take, what are the options for patching a leaky tent? Duck tape? (I'm just concerned, because I did seam seal it- too thick of a layer?. However, it's still really sticky after three days of drying inside. Average temp inside is 75. I live in TX.)

  20. #20

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    Sallymon, definitely not duct tape. Seam sealing takes more sealer than you'd think. You do need to fully wet the strip of doubled fabric on the fly and the floor (usually inside, sometimes inside and out) that has the sewing you can see and feel. Avoid getting seam sealer on areas away from the doubled sewn strips.

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