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#133157 - 05/03/10 04:38 PM Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what?
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
So i'm preppring for the AT section hike 200 miles at a time, and I've had enough moist mornings in my spitfire. I think the fly is just too close to the body, and touch creating lots of condensation on the inside. I've been looking at the TarpTent Scarp1 and big anges fly creek1.

I've decied i'd like to have a freestanding model this go around, and absolutley do not want condensation or bugs!

I'm planning on using pack blankets insted of a sleeping bag...and i'm 5'8 around 130 lbs, so floor size isn't essential.

I want the best tent for my money without breaking the bank...I need to stay dry and be able to rely on my tent, as I'll be solo and being 130 lbs wet myself, i need to keep my gear light as possible with maximizing comfort. Any reviews or other suggestions will be great! This is my first post as well!
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I do it because I can...it also helps that you are not there...

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#133164 - 05/03/10 07:04 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1726
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I have the Fly Creek. Here are two reviews of the tent; one of them by me. It works well for me but it is not really free-standing if you want to use the rain fly; but then, a lot of "free standing" tents are not so if you want to put the fly up. Find the reviews at:
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/big-agnes/fly-creek-ul1/
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#133168 - 05/03/10 09:03 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I like the MSR Carbon Reflex 1, which I've had little or no condensation in so far. However, it doesn't meet your criteria for being freestanding (you can approximate freestanding by using your hiking poles, similar to the way you do the Tarptent Rainbow.) Unfortunately, most "freestanding" tents with a vestibule are not fully freestanding: all the vestibules I know of have to be staked out.

It also doesn't meet your criteria for affordability - for that, you might want to look at the Hubba (which, except for the vestibule, is freestanding.)

My main reason for not selecting the Fly Creek is the end entry: it's a bit too awkward, for me, getting in and out. I like the side entry, myself.

You may be setting an impossibly high standard with "absolutely do not want condensation." I've never owned a tent which, under the right combination of temperature, humidity, and "buttoned up" would not produce some condensation. When you say you have lots of condensation, could it be something you're doing - like insisting on sleeping with the door closed, even when it's not raining? I hope I'm not insulting you by asking, but since it's your first post, I don't have a feel for your experience level. I've been out with too many beginners (which I realize may not be you) who create problems for themselves; in particular, I remember my brother and his daughter on their first trip; it was about 75 degrees and 80% humidity under starry skies - and they insisted, despite my advice, on putting the rain fly on and zipping all the doors shut. The next morning, my neice asked me if it had been raining, because their tent fly was soaked on the inside. I pointed out to her that, if it had rained, it would have been soaked on the outside. I slept completely dry in my CR1, without the fly. A few months later, in the Grayson Highlands (AT, near Damascus, VA) on a cloudy, moist, cool night, I slept in the CR1 with the fly on and the door zipped shut. When I got up the next morning, the outside of the fly was very wet, but I had virtually no condensation inside.

By the way, welcome - we're looking forward to hearing how your prep for the AT is going. I've seen a couple of short, 10 or 20 mile sections of it; you have a real treat ahead of you.


Edited by Glenn (05/03/10 09:09 PM)

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#133174 - 05/03/10 10:20 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
You might take a look at the Big Agnes Seedhouse.

I haven't used it but I do know of one person that thru-hiked the AT and this is the tent she used. You can check out her trail journal at trailjournals.com and look for "Persistent".

Here's her review post trail.

Review: On Trail Review: LOVE my Seedhouse! So much room, so easy to set up. The mesh can get snagged very easily so care needs to be taken when stowing but it's a great tent and has stood up well to rain. Post-trail thoughts: LOVED my tent. Was great in the rain.



Edited by Tango61 (05/03/10 10:27 PM)
Edit Reason: added review info
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#133178 - 05/04/10 02:07 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now wha [Re: Tango61]
CJC Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/04
Posts: 738
Loc: Southern Nevada
A good friend did the AT using the BA Seedhouse 1 and slept in lots of as well. He really liked the ease of setup and lightweight and did not complain about condensation. It kept him dry when needed and left the critters buzzing around outside. We have the TT Rainbow and have used it in Utah several times during heavy thunderstorms and steady rain. We have stayed dry and watched the sky light up. I think placement of where you setup is also key in staying dry and avoiding condensation. My sister and her family live in the deep south and morning condensation is normal and expected-it also means it is shower time.

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#133250 - 05/05/10 04:37 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
Thanks everyone... let me answer a few questions first...
I'm decently experienced on weekend backpacking trips but this will be first long distance 25 miles+ trip.

I know there is no such thing as perfect, and i agree i am doing something to get condensation in the spitfire...and thats using it...its just too cramped and the fly imho doesn't fly right. Ineveitably it will touch the inner tent at some point, and there just isn't enough space for the way i sleep...i often found myself against the side...obviously drawingin in the mositure.

Also i'm ok with somewhat freestanding...the spitfire is terribly annoying with its pole design...i'd be ok staking out a fly or adding some guy lines, but it would be nice to pop the tent up quickly....

and i prefer not to break the bank...but to me the right gear has no cost as it will be keeping me safe, dry and subsequently alive....

based on this thread and some other reaserach i've been doing...i'm thinking a smaller 2 person job will solve alot of my problems of sleeping weird and crowding myself with gear which results in condensation....

so with that said...i'm leaning toward the seedhouse sl2...the fly creek seems way to fragile to me...the REI quareter dome T2, and the MSR lines seem to overprices when i compare to comeptition...

thanks again for all the help....i'm not a beginner certainly not a pro(i have a north face pack lol) but i know what i'm doing....have lots of no gear survival experience...now i want some comfort!!!

would it be absurd to start a thread to assist in my prep all toghether? i have a few questions about stoves etc...maybe i'd put my gearlist up and let the wolves tear it apart? I'm leaving in sept so i can budget accordingly....
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#133251 - 05/05/10 04:55 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By MarkNM

would it be absurd to start a thread to assist in my prep all toghether? i have a few questions about stoves etc...maybe i'd put my gearlist up and let the wolves tear it apart? I'm leaving in sept so i can budget accordingly....


Go for it, there are lots of experienced people on these forums who would be more than happy to assist you in the logistics and refinement of gear. Just aid us in helping you by also stating your location and duration of hike, as well as the expected weather and temps.

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#133256 - 05/05/10 07:15 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: ChrisFol]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Mark
Have a look at the TT Moment.
I know that most think that a double wall will have less condensation than a single but as you found out , it isn't necessarily so. In most cases you simply don't see the condensation till it starts dripping on you or you find that your sb is a lot heavier than the night before...
There is a brand new review of a British double wall tent at BPL where the author states that he has had the worst condensation ever inside it.
This guy, Ray Estrella, is a VERY prolific tent tester, but this shelter (Terra Nova Laser) also has a similar ground hagging fly with no top vents.
The key element to fight condensation is ventilation, air flow. I don't see much of that happening with the Spitfire.
Look at the Moment page at the TT site, and you will note two large end vents (that can be closed) rain protected 360 degree mesh and two top vents(that can also be close)
The Moment is not freestanding but goes up quickly (see my set up video) with just two pegs. If you camp in exposed areas, then install the pole guylines, making that 4 pegs when you need them.
Note that the vestibule is supported, so no pegs needed for that.
So again it needs less pegging than most "freestanding" tents.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWZQKivY2SA

http://www.tarptent.com/moment.html

Franco

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#133258 - 05/05/10 07:50 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I think you've done an excellent job in thinking through what you really want from a tent, and made a very good decision to go with a two person tent instead of a solo tent. (I prefer solo tents, and never thought about suggesting a two-person version.)

The Seedhouse might be a very good answer to your needs. There are some other possibilities, too, which I'm sure others will point out. Since you're not restricting yourself to only ultralight models, you might check out the MSR Hubba Hubba - it's been a while since I looked at it, but it wouldn't hurt to compare weight and price to the Seedhouse, if for no other reason than to ratify your choice of the Seedhouse.

If you're thick-skinned, go ahead and throw your gear list up. Otherwise, just follow the pattern here for each item as you get ready to replace it.

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#133259 - 05/05/10 07:56 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Franco]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Franco: I'm not trying to prove you wrong or otherwise start an argument; I'd second your advice to look at the Moment. However, in your post, you say that the end and top vents go a long way toward reducing condensation. You also say that they can be closed, too. I'm curious: if you have to close them, it will usually be in conditions where you also have to close the vestibule door - and you've now eliminated most of the ventilation in exactly the conditions most likely to produce condensation. Any experience in how much condensation is generated in adverse conditions with the Moment buttoned up?

Again, I'm not trying to fault the Tarptent design; it might be an excellent alternative to the Seedhouse our poster is considering. My own experience is that any tent, single or double wall, buttoned up, is going to generate condensation, usually in large quantities. I'm wondering if the buttoned up Moment generates less than other tents you've used.


Edited by Glenn (05/05/10 07:58 PM)

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#133265 - 05/05/10 09:24 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Glenn]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Glenn
Good points...
You may need to close those end vents (well one...) if there is strong wind or in wind driven rain.
In those conditions you would still have plenty of air flow from the mesh between the floor and the fly. At the ends that distance is about 8" (not easy to see on the TT pics unless you know what it looks like in reality)
I will shoot a video tour of the Moment in a week or two.
If it is just raining , even with some wind, as mentioned you still have 8" from the end. Note that the end struts are bent outwards therefore already giving rain protection.
This picture (excuse the sloppy set-up) may give a better idea. I took that to show the spare room at the end using a standard 66" Neo Air .


So far I only used the Moment in my backyard. Basically if it looks like rain I set up a tent...
With me and my two cats inside it has done very well.
My observation on "condensation and double wall tents" were based also on comments I hear in the morning from other campers . All too often the reason for drips inside and a very humid environment is that most (here...) use 4 season tents all sealed up most of the time. So often I do wake up much drier than some (or most...)
Mind you along with 4 season tents often folk use 10-20f rated bags all sealed up in 30-40f temps . That does not help.

Franco

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#133274 - 05/05/10 10:49 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Franco]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Thanks, Franco - that clarifies how much venting there still is when you need it most. I fully agree with you about people creating their own problems by buttoning up when they don't have to, and creating sweatboxes needlessly - see my story above about my niece and brother.

I'd probably be in a TarpTent (the Rainbow) except for one thing: on an 80 degree/90 percent humidity night like we get in Ohio in August, I want all the ventilation I can get. Thus my choice of the Carbon Reflex 1. I use the rainfly only under two conditions: it's actually raining, or it's really, really cold (below freezing.) On a clear night, it's mesh only - like sleeping under the stars, which I really love (thanks to Colin Fletcher and no money for a tent way back when), but no bugs.

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#133276 - 05/05/10 11:57 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Glenn]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Franco,

How do your tarptents generally fair on the lawn overnight? Much of an issue with condensation?

Most of my backcountry camping is on bare-ish ground, leaves, sandy/rocky soil, etc. I've only slept out on my lawn once, in my contrail, and woke in the morning to more condensation than I've ever seen in any sort of tent, we're talking raining on my bag, and the tent was sagging something terrible. I don't know the relative humidity overnight, but temps were high 30s, low 40s, very calm with nearly no breeze.

The contrail was setup relatively high (rear struts all the way up), but the flap at the toe end was down, and the beak was shut. My other nights out with the contrail, one or both of those have been open, and condensation has been nil.

I'm fairly quick to blame morning dew/transpiration from the grass for the extreme condensation in the TT, but it leaves me worried that if I pitch the thing in any sort of alpine meadow, as is a pretty typical tent site in the high country out west, I'll be inundated with condensation.

Was my backyard campout an anomaly?
Thoughts?
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Light, Cheap, Durable...
pick two

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#133278 - 05/06/10 12:47 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now wha [Re: taM]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You want all flaps and vents open and the beak open, unless it's blowing horizontal rain (in that case, the wind will provide plenty of air circulation even when the tent is partially closed). Closing up a single wall tent (or a double-wall, either) in still weather is a no-no.

Try to avoid camping in damp places (down in a hollow or close to water). If you can safely pitch under a live tree with no dead branches, do so. (Usually not feasible in the Rockies where most of the lodgepole pine is dead!)

Did you tighten your guylines just before going to bed? If that's not enough, some people use bungee cords.


Edited by OregonMouse (05/06/10 12:48 AM)
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#133291 - 05/06/10 11:48 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Franco]
Claus Offline
member

Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 56
Loc: Central Iowa
Originally Posted By Franco
The Moment is not freestanding


If you add the crossing pole then the moment can be free standing.

I got one recently and did the back yard trial run as well. No condensation but then it was quite windy, temps fell to the low 40s and no rain. In three weeks I'll use it for a night somewhere in the Colorado Rockies.
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#133293 - 05/06/10 12:01 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now wha [Re: OregonMouse]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
You want all flaps and vents open and the beak open, unless it's blowing horizontal rain (in that case, the wind will provide plenty of air circulation even when the tent is partially closed). Closing up a single wall tent (or a double-wall, either) in still weather is a no-no.

Try to avoid camping in damp places (down in a hollow or close to water). If you can safely pitch under a live tree with no dead branches, do so. (Usually not feasible in the Rockies where most of the lodgepole pine is dead!)

Did you tighten your guylines just before going to bed? If that's not enough, some people use bungee cords.


Guylines were tight before bed, the condensation moisture caused all of the slumping.

Lesson learned on the beak closure I suppose, I know I've had the beak shut in calm weather on the trail before, with no problems, but the combination of lush grass and a closed up tent equals rainstorm inside I guess. Duly noted! A lesson better learned in my backyard, rather than ending up with a soggy bag on the trail.
_________________________
Light, Cheap, Durable...
pick two

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#133316 - 05/06/10 06:45 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: taM]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
No condensation!
When I was backpacking in Southern IL last month, we set up our tents in the woods. It rained for 4 hours. Temperature got down to 45F. My buddyís TT Cloudburst was just covered in condensation. The tip of his WM Megalite got damp. My Hexamid was totally free of condensation. And there are no vents to adjust except I can raise or lower the tent by adjusting my trekking pole angle. What was weird was the dampness in between my polycro and Neoair--- but nothing on the ceiling of the tent.

I have let my Hexamid go through some terrible rain storms in my backyard and everything inside it stayed dry. The blowing wind/rain hit the mesh door but it didnít spatter to the pad area. I did have the tent back turned mostly into the wind. There was still no condensation. There are some other scenarios I have got to try and see if I can get condensation.

-Barry

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#133318 - 05/06/10 07:41 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: BarryP]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
TaM
Sorry I missed your comment but I see that Mary was onto it.
Yes, strangely enough my lawn can produce more condensation than most camp sites, hence it is a good humidity test.
It also happens that every so often we get some very good hard and wind blown rains, so that is good practice too.

Mary's (Oregon mouse) advice is spot on as usual.
The trick in counteracting sagging is to tighten the tent when fully relaxed. So you set it up taut, than if it gets cold or start to rain it will relax.
After a while there is no more to give , IE the silnylon is fully stretched. This is when if you put it in tension again it will stand up perfectly taut all night.
I have installed shock cords in the Contrail but I can get a tauter shelter with just the standard tie-outs pulled in correctly.
BTW, when you read someone saying that they had to re-tension their shelter several times, what they are really saying is that they are not doing it correctly...
(same as in :I had to do my shoe laces up several times....)

Claus
Freestanding...
I should have mentioned that, since I do have that pole.
My point is that as it is it takes less stakes than most "freestandding" tents anyway.
There is one brand that advertise their shelters as "freestanding" and that is true for what Americans call "tent" (we call that a bug net) but once you put the fly on it takes 11-13 stakes to make it work.
Franco

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#133322 - 05/06/10 08:54 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Franco]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
That 11-13 stake thing is what finally turned me away from the Big Agnes line of ultralite tents, and turn to the MSR Carbon Reflex 1, which "only" needs 6. wink

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#133325 - 05/06/10 09:29 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Glenn]
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
Being that the MSR line seems to be out of my budget..maybe the Hubba? not sure the price of that?

But the seedhouse SL2 or REI quarterdome T2 are what i've narrowed my choices down to...

i'd like to be under 250...

and i'm not sure of the Scarp2 i've never felt a TarpTent...
_________________________
I do it because I can...it also helps that you are not there...

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#133328 - 05/06/10 10:00 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I used the Hubba for a long time; it's virtually identical to the CR1: same floor dimensions, but 3 inches less height. Also, the Hubba is "freestanding" except that you still have to stake out the vestibule.

It costs $280, but there are a few ways to decrease it at Moosejaw.com (one of the vendors on the website's portal): one is to set up a Rewards points account; you get 10% rebate in store credit at the time of purchase. They occasionally have a 20% off sale on virtually the entire inventory (and you still get, I think, 5% store credit.) Also, right now, you can buy a $100 gift card and get a "free" $25 gift card added; I didn't read all the rules about it, but it would seem like, if you bought 2 cards, you'd end up saving $50 on the tent.

Of course, there's nothing in the world wrong with the two tents you're considering - it's actually getting pretty hard to buy bad gear from mainstream manufacturers any more. The only reason I mentioned the Hubba is to give you one more option (which you don't have to take.)

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#133334 - 05/06/10 11:48 PM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: Glenn]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
I saw a hubba in person for the first time last week and couldn't believe how small the thing was inside!

I'm spoiled with my contrail I suppose, but the hubba is seriously almost no larger than a standard/regular sleeping pad. Almost zero perimeter room for any sort of gear, pack, etc.

Only the inner tent was setup, so I couldn't get a feel for how the vestibule affects things, but man it seemed tiny.
_________________________
Light, Cheap, Durable...
pick two

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#133335 - 05/07/10 12:21 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: taM]
MarkNM Offline
member

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
Hmmm with the small floor plan of the hubba it will probably be an issue with my wild sleep...

has anyone had experience with REI tents? I know i've read lots of good reviews on the Seedhouse SL2 and feel that the size of both will be nice for me, and the weight and price where i need them...the near vertcial walls on the REI will be nice for venting unless twister esque rains are present...

my concern is i haven't heard much first hand experience on REI goods...i'm worried with their company size, and storefronts... i'll end up with a fancy Coleman product
_________________________
I do it because I can...it also helps that you are not there...

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#133344 - 05/07/10 10:18 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: taM]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
There's no wasted space, for sure. However, I find it has all the room I need - but then, I don't carry a whole lot. Stove and pot stay in the vestibule; food hangs in a tree (raccoons, not bears, around here); empty pack goes in the foot end of the tent, as a sleeping pad extender for a 3/4 length pad; shoes go at the head end, with my Dromlite (inflated) and/or rain gear as a pillow; water bottle, first aid kit, repair kit, and map go on one side or the other of the pillow. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

My system won't work for everyone. I have a buddy who insists on a full-length pad, so he needs somewhere to store his pack; he also brings an inflatable pillow, so he needs somewhere to store his shoes and rain gear - and did I mention his spare clothes? (My spare clothing is a pair of socks, so no problem finding them a spot.) My buddy carries a two-person tent (currently the Seedhouse SL2 you're looking at, but he's toying with the idea of a Carbon Reflex 2 or a Fly Creek 2.)

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#133377 - 05/08/10 10:11 AM Re: Too Much condensation in my Spitfire - now what? [Re: MarkNM]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By MarkNM
So i'm preppring for the AT section hike 200 miles at a time, and I've had enough moist mornings in my spitfire. I think the fly is just too close to the body, and touch creating lots of condensation on the inside. I've been looking at the TarpTent Scarp1 and big anges fly creek1.

Any reviews or other suggestions will be great! This is my first post as well!


There are a lot of user controlled conditions that contribute to condensation inside of a tent, single or double walled.

I have spent some dreary nights because I didn't understand what is involved in condensation.

Franco has brought up the subject of the importance of ventilation -- the removal of your moisture soaked breath and your body insensible perspiration from the tent before it condenses on the walls.

Another factor is the effect of tent site and weather (sky cover) on the moisture condensation. A clear night sky is an excellent means for cooling of the tent walls by radiation, and these cooler tent walls will aid in the condensation of water vapor - like on a cold glass of beer on a hot day.

Some really poor nights were spent by pitching the tent out in the open on a clear night. On a cloudy night, two things happen.

First, the air temperature drop is less than a clear night, and TV weatherpeople will often comment on this as a source of low overnight temperatures. So, the colder air temperature will promote more condensation - just as you can often see more dew on such a night/morning.

Second, the temperature of the outer tent wall can fall well below the outside air temperature on clear night. You can often feel this, especially if the outer wall is coated with dew.

This extra cooling of the tent wall on a clear night (technically, it is by thermal radiation and you can google for how sometimes people can use it to make small quantities of ice while camped overnight in the desert)will promote even more condensation of the moist air inside the tent.

On a clear night, pitching a tent under a tree prevents the cooling by radiation to a clear sky. And, of course, the condensation in/on the tent drops considerably.

Much of the time, on the AT, you don't have much exposure to a wide stretch of the night sky, so the leafy canopy ("long green tunnel") will reduce the night condensation a lot.

A small tent aggravates the problem, as you have evidently experienced.

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