Getting in a tent in the rain

4:05 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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My last several backpacking trips have seen more rain and 40 degree weather than I have encountered during several years combined.  As a result I ended up getting too much water inside the tent while entering and exiting.  Since I get out the sleeping bag as soon as I set up the tent in order for it to loft up, it soaked up quite a bit of water.  By the last trip I had arranged a routine that was keeping things dry but is rather cumbersome and requires more time and effort than I would like.  Here is a short synopsis of my procedure.

1) Remove raingear under the protection of the tarp and place it is a trash bag.

2) Go to tent and get in under the protection of a tiny travel umbrella.

Reverse the procedure when getting out.

What do others do during these conditions and do you have any advice or recommendations?

4:34 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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My tarp is the first thing out of the backpack. I have my rain gear already on. Get everything under the tarp! If you have a free standing tent set it up under the tarp. Mine is not free standing so it gets wet when I set it up. I carry a sham wow to dry the tent floor. BTW I live in the PNW and it rains all winter here. :) The shamwow is a vital part of my camping gear.

6:03 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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mike the shamwow commercials make me cringe...


but they are good huh? 


I've been considering what type of towel to use for summer camping in case of condensation or rain entering on my clothing, I may have my answer now

6:38 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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Hey shakeNbake,

Do you mean setting a tent up, or just getting inside a tent you already have set up?

Can you put the tent under the tarp as Mike Morrow suggests?  You can also attach the tarp to the front of the tent to form a vestibule maybe.

In any event, you need a sheltered area at the tent entrance without a floor that needs to be keep clean & dry. You can shed rain gear there, and you can store back packs and other gear you don't need in the tent there.

The Shamwow is a good suggestion too, I keep a generic one in my tent, and they do work well.

9:41 p.m. on February 22, 2011 (EST)
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Depends on the tent.  I use a Stephensons and it is up in minutes with the tent door closed you only have the exposure to rain getting inside for the amount of time it takes you to get in. 

It is a single wall tent.  Lot simpler.  two hoops to thread in tunnels (minute or so), three stakes (1 in back two in front) - 20 secs.  and you are there.

1:05 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Change in the vestibule. Put the tarp closer to the door. Never undo your slleping bag until youre just about to go to bed or it will soak up the humidity in the air. Reduce your in and outs in the tent. a bigger tarp would also help to stay drier. A syl-nylon 10x12ft tarp is about 20 onz.

1:28 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Setting up the tent under the tarp is pretty much standard in the rain for me.  I have tried to set up the tarp near the front of the tent like an extended vestibule but that has never really worked out like I hoped.

The problem is getting in and out of the tent.  The vestibule is too small for my tall, fat, inflexible a** to be able to remove raingear without having the vestible fly or tent door unzipped to allow extra room.   That is why I have been getting in and out of the raingear under the tarp and then using the umbrella to get to the tent.

Perhaps I should just go with the shamwow and do damage control rather than try to keep the water out entirely.

3:50 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Luis-Alexis thanks for advise on sleeping back. Never thought about that. It rains a lot where I live (temperate rainforest) and mold is a problem even in basements of the houses in our village. Now I am surprised that my sleeping bag is not moldy after all these years.

4:07 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Try this:

Get a eva foam (Z-rest from thermarest?)  pad for your vestibule. That way you can sit on it while changing. You'll also be closer down to the door of your tent, so less flexion needed. One of the sure ways I found to set up my tarp in a way that it enlarges my vestibule is to tie it to the said vestibule and string it to a tree. I'll try to find you a picture of my set-up if I can.

4:10 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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Here an idea of how it looks like. I found it with a little google help. Just croll down the thread.

D-dog: Always a pleasure man, it might not be moldy due to a few things. Mold resistant, the  way you store it, etc...

4:20 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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I really like the foam pad idea (head slap-why didn't I think of that).  I guess that I could just use a garbage bag or some other small piece of plastic as well.  The point would be to keep the dirt from the vestibule out of the gore-tex.


7:24 a.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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I haven't had much luck with this issue, it seems when I do bring an extra tarp the wind makes the rain go horizontal.  My solution is limiting my use of the tent to entering only once, just before bed time, exiting in the morning or when nature demands.

These consideration had made me use this criterion as a consideration in tent choices, as a well designed vestibule minimizes the amount of rain that can enter the tent when both vestibule and tent doors are open.


10:45 a.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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Garbage bags and other plastics work well. But in in my experience, a cut in two Z-rest is the most versatile You can use it to boost your sleeping pad and it's hot for your bum. ;-) I'm not sure I understand the goretex part in your reply though. Is your tent made of goretex? Is it the one on your picture?

Have a good day!

11:10 a.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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I didn't want to sit or kneal in the mud in my gore-tex pants.  My experience has been that when gore-tex gets dirty the water tends to bead up and soak in and not roll off as quickly.  Also, the more dirt I get on the pants I am more likely to launder them when I get home.  This also seems to zap a bit of the water repelent coating with each washing.

The picture is one of my tents, but not the one I have been referring to in these posts (like many posters here I could open a small outfitting company--not many people willing to pay for hiking trips in Indiana).  This tent is pretty much bombproof but it is very heavy (seems to be make of lead after about 4 miles) for solo backpacking.  I think that my knees would pop if I added the weight of my tarp to this.  In the picture we were working in the Bagley Ice Field and a helicopter was hauling the gear so didn't mind the weight.

11:34 a.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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Hi everybody!

I hate this situation too, for the wetness as much as for the undignified acrobatics...

So much I do that I ended up changing both my 3-season and winter tents in order to have a large enough vestibule to store gear, cook AND still be able to get in and out easily. I now own a Nemo Meta 2P and a Helsport Vidda Light 3 Camp.

As for the connected tent set up problem, both solve also that for you set up both layers at the same time in the Helsport and the Meta is a single/double wall hybrid so you cannot even detach them.

Hope this helps.

11:45 a.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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I get you know.

Washing your outerwear wont damage the wterrepellent coating if you do it correctly. Use nikwax or Granger and dont forget to put them in the drier on medium heat. The drier is what reactivates the water repeleny virtues of yout technical clothing. Personally I love Granger for it's ecological Blue sign cert. The reasons you dont want to use commercial Tide or sunlight is because of the additives. In some cases, if not all, there are softeners, abrassive agents or even color enhancers. Some work in a manner that they render fiber water absorbent! The last thing you want on a 300$ pant.

Good luck for the future.

August 18, 2018
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