Condensation

Johnboy

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
194
I'm gearing up for my first backpacking-style elk hunt this fall (September archery). Shelter selection is on my radar and I'm concerned about condensation. The shelter that I'm leaning toward offers a liner, but I'd rather not pack/carry it if I can get away with other remedies for moderating moisture. I understand that ventilation is key, but I'm sure there's a limit. I recall a Gritty Bowmen podcast where Aron Snyder and Brian Call left their Kifaru Tut in the morning to go chase elk. They returned hours later to find their tent had turned into a tropical greenhouse, and everything was soaked. I'm thinking a liner would have prevented this.

Anyway, just thought I'd try to start a discussion about experiences with tent/shelter condensation, how often it's been an issue for you and what you did to prevent it or deal with it when it came about.

Thoughts, hints, tips and anecdotes are appreciated.
 

seldomseensmith

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
270
Location
New Mexico
I struggled with the same question. The one thing I have to say on this is that the liner material is super fine and packs down very small and light compared to the size of the shelter. Packing it if in doubt is well worth it IMO.
 

4ester

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
413
Location
Steep and Deep
I think condensation severity has a lot to do with how much moisture is in those top few inches of dirt. Also warm air holds exponentially more moisture then cool air. So if you set up your tent on wet grass in the morning, and say the afternoon sun warms your tent up to say 60 degrees. Naturally a bunch of that moisture is now in the air, so when your tent cools back down it condenses on everything. (But other scenarios exist)

I've found if you can vent your tent when it's nice and warm, the condensation will get better.

Just my take on it, FWIW.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

snowcamoman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2014
Messages
727
If you setup over a bunch of vegetation, during the day, it can cause a lot of moisture to be released into a single walled shelter. If you put down a ground sheet, it will help block that moisture from making its way up onto the shelter walls. Condensation on a single wall doesn't bother me much as long as it's not so bad that winds make it drop and fall onto me and my sleeping bag. That typically happens when it's humid and windy, which isn't too awful common up here where I hunt. A small sponge can be very handy for a quick wipe to remove the major condensate.
 

Beendare

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
3,336
Location
In Traffic
Yeah, 4ester nailed it....then add your breath while sleeping as the main causes. Its the cold air outside, warm moist air inside that condenses on the inside walls of your tent.

Its not just the tipis...it can happen to some degree in all of them. IME its worse with the floorless less ventilated shelter. If you pitch over very dry ground....condensation is almost a non issue...but thats tough to do on these hunts.

Keys to controlling condensation; are ventilation [#1] and sealing off moisture from the ground.
 

ChrisC

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
170
I believe there is a thread somewhere on here about pitching a floorless tent a few inches off the ground with linelocs to increase airflow and reduce condensation.
 

GKPrice

Banned
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
2,442
Location
Western Oregon
the average adult male breathes off from a pint to a quart of moisture while sleeping for 8+/- hours, most if it ends up inside your bag or in the air inside the tent - you can pitch your tent anyplace you wish but without some air exchange from the outside the condensation will end up inside a single wall, double wall or wall tent - Put 2 guys sleeping in a 12' x 16' wall tent, let the stove go out overnight and see what you wind up with in the morning if the tent was closed up - one main reason cowboys liked "sleeping under the stars" best (preferably under a tree if it was raining and there WAS a tree, wagon worked "ok")
 

oldgoat

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
1,496
Location
Arvada, CO
Get a stove and most but not all of your condensation problems will be solved. Last season I think we camped about 14 days total in our sawtooth, 2 nights we didn't have stove going because it was a one night stand, the other 12 days we had a fire and only time we had issues was the last night and it rained for a couple hours starting right at sundown. The condensation was pretty bad the next morning and we didn't want to fire up the stove again because we were going to pack up. I have a liner and maybe next year I'll pack it in, but so far I haven't run into a situation I felt I needed it that bad with a stove!
 

ColoradoHunterHiker

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2016
Messages
216
Location
Colorado
Ventilation is the key. Depending on where you're hunting, condensation can usually be avoided by simply opening up the vents of the tent and pitching the fly/outermost layer of the tent so it is off the ground at least 5 inches to allow the air to come through. Simply put, anything you can do to generate a cross breeze or circulation of air will help reduce the amount of condensation you would otherwise have.

Also, Switching to a synthetic bag can make the worry about a nominal amount of condensation go away.
 

mrgreen

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
346
Last summer I used my Tut for a wet week which gave me opportunities to find solutions. I have a half-nest for my Tut made by Bearpaw Designs (great piece of gear). It had rained for about 24 hours prior to our arrival, so the ground was saturated. After the rain stopped it remained overcast, warm and humid. So, nothing dried out. That night the temp dropped and it rained some more, condensation rained inside the tent. I covered the netting of the nest with a silnylon poncho and slept fine.

The next day brought steady drizzle all day, I raised the tent for airflow, propped open the stovejack and ran my MSR Windurner stove to heat up and dry out the interior. Worked like a charm, by lunch it was dry and comfortable inside the tent. Stayed that way despite two more days of rain.

By the way I think this is the thread ChrisC was referencing ; Floorless Tent Linelocs As usual, Luke Moffat had some great advice.
 

seldomseensmith

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
270
Location
New Mexico
Slight high jack of the convo:
When running a nest and dealing with high levels of condensation, is the netting from the nest typically enough to keep the drips from landing on (my family) while sleeping? We live in NM and I dont expect it to be a huge issue normally but we are taking a trip to the PNW this summer.
 

mrgreen

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
346
Slight high jack of the convo:
When running a nest and dealing with high levels of condensation, is the netting from the nest typically enough to keep the drips from landing on (my family) while sleeping? .....
On the trip I described, no the netting was not enough. For a family I'd look at a shelter with an optional liner.
 

LaGriz

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
Messages
373
Location
New Iberia,LA
Johnboy,

I too am new to the floor-less thing. Until now I thought problem condensation was a product of the water vapor in ones breath. Never dawned on me that it could "soak your gear" when the tent was unoccupied. I guess it all comes down to how wet the ground was prior to setting up. I have viewed the link "Floorless Tent Line locks" and now have plans to retro-fit my shelter with this option. I think Seek Outside even sells a kit for this purpose. I find I'm always learning useful stuff from on these threads. You guys rock! Keep it coming.

LaGriz
 
Top