Condensation

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K1100T
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Condensation

Post by K1100T »

I've tried using the forum search, but condensation is evidently ignored because it's too common. :shrug: Anyhoo, I've got a 3F UL Lanshan 1 PRO, which I got off here; I had been planning on buying a Lunar Solo. It's mostly been fine, I could use a bit more width for the shoulders when sitting up, and I keep brushing the sides when trying to roll up the sleeping mat in the morning, but it's the condensation that's the big issue.

I wake up in the morning and the inside is absolutely covered in it, so the whole thing gets packed away soaking wet. This isn't an issue for single night trips, but I've got no idea how I'd use this shelter for more than one night, without having to stop for an extended period during the day to try and dry it out. I'm aware that single skin shelters are highly prone to this kind of thing, and have tried to read posts on the forum, plus I've read the blurb on the ZPacks website: Five Tips for Avoiding Condensation with a Single Wall Shelter .

Image

I'm currently trying to figure out if it's just a feature of the Lanshan 1 PRO, that's it's just a condensation generator, or if it's my choice of bivvy locations, or a bit of both. Would a Lunar Solo be any better, for instance...? Take the other night as an example, long(ish) grass and near water, but there was a breeze and I had a door fully open, which I've not done before. The bathtub floor isn't that deep, so once it's all pegged out, the edge of the fly is into the grass, which is limiting the airflow in though the edge mesh.

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This leaves me wondering if a different shelter, one with a deeper bathtub and thus a higher fly edge, would be a better option?.

I'm not interested in a tarp, I like the enclosure of a tent. Other than spending big bucks on a new single skin shelter, or even bigger bucks on a proper double wall tent, does anyone have any suggestions of things I should do, to reduce the amount of condensation I'm getting...?
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rudedog
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Re: Condensation

Post by rudedog »

I’ve got a Vango helium which is pretty bad for condensation in certain conditions. I’ts not a massive issue for me, I just wipe it down with a cloth before I take it down and pack it away.
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whitestone
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Re: Condensation

Post by whitestone »

First guess from that bivy shot is:

close to water + long grass

Which happen to be points #2 & #1 in the ZPacks link.

Find somewhere raised and away from water on as short a grass as you can find. If there's a breeze try and orientate the tent to maximise airflow through it.

Each shelter has its own requirements so you need to find what minimises condensation for the Lanshan. There'll be some nights where everything is coated in condensation and there's simply nothing you can do about those.
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htrider
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Re: Condensation

Post by htrider »

I think the long grass is an issue too. My deschutes needs a bit of space underneath the edges of the outer to have any chance of being condensation free (in the absence of a stiff breeze). There is no magic to preventing it, its just a case of having airflow through the tarp / tent. A small microfibre towel can be used to dry the inside.
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Re: Condensation

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

As said, your spot was a prime candidate. Some form of additional cover such as beneath a tree will make a real difference, even in winter when there's no leaves.

While having doors open does help a lot, as Phil says, the important thing is air flow, so air in at the base and out at the top. If that can't happen for whatever reason, then condensation will form.

I doubt a Lunar Solo would be any better in the same conditions.

With regard to drying - give it a right good shake first thing then hang it somewhere to dry while you pack your other kit / brew up etc. If need be, reach it back out later in the day ... it really shouldn't take long to dry in a breeze or the sun.
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Richard G
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Re: Condensation

Post by Richard G »

I've all but drowned in my Lunar Solo at times, so no... almost certainly not. Even when up high and in trees I've had problems.

Anyone making a double skin version? :lol:
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ScotRoutes
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Re: Condensation

Post by ScotRoutes »

Again - I've suffered bad condensation in my LS only twice. One in a coastal haar and once a very misty morning. On both occasions there was no breeze whatsoever and every surface (grass, ground, trees etc) was covered on both upper and lower surfaces.

It's worth noting that the outer door on the LS doesn't go down to ground level so that seems to an obvious design difference.

I also wonder if some folk would get on better by extending the guys on the LS a little and are maybe shortening the existing guys too much in search of a taut pitch.
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Chrisps
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Re: Condensation

Post by Chrisps »

Have you considered the new 2021 non-pro Lanshan? A little heavier, but has a separate inner, so condensation is easier to manage. The new 2021 edition inner is 20 (??) cm longer than the last version. (note that I have never tried one!)

As others say though, trees, pitching at a higher altitude away from water and avoiding long grass like the plague are normally my tactics for trying to reduce condensation. Maybe its just me, but I find those things make more difference than tent design.

If the conditions are right, opening the door helps, but if they are wrong, I find it doesn't help (or can even make it worse!)
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Re: Condensation

Post by woodsmith »

Do single wall tents generate more condensation or is it just that its more of an issue as you are potentially in direct contact with it?
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Re: Condensation

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

is it just that its more of an issue as you are potentially in direct contact with it?
Mainly this.
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Re: Condensation

Post by ScotRoutes »

I can imagine that the gap between the layers of a dual skin tent might promote a faster/more directed airflow. Maybe that's a factor?
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Re: Condensation

Post by sean_iow »

I pitched my Deschutes on the lawn last weekend as I wanted to try out the new quilt attachment straps I'd made.

Freshly cut lawn that day so very short grass. Nowhere near water. It was very sunny when I put it up early evening. Quite a big gap underneath the edges all round but no wind.

When I went out to sleep under it some 5 hours after pitching the inside was covered in condensation. So even though I wasn't in it there was a condensation issue.

On previous occasions I've spent the night in it in heavy rain and the inside has remained dry, but there was a breeze.

I can only assume last weekend that the heat from the sun was evaporating moisture from the ground like a solar-still. Without any wind this warm moist air was stuck inside. Having a breeze to help the air movement is the key I think.
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K1100T
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Re: Condensation

Post by K1100T »

If the main issue is poor airflow, that means I need a clear gap around the entire shelter and a breeze. The breeze I can't do much about, and currently, I can't do much about the grass either. The bivvy spot I ended up at the other night, had at least been mowed relatively recently, unlike pretty much everywhere else around here. Without pitching up on a local bowling green, or in the middle of a gravel track, I'm not sure what else I can do. Even after the bridleways and byways are mowed, the grass is still relatively long.

So it begs the question. Would something like a Plexamid*, which looks like it's got a much deeper gap around the outside, be a better option that the Lanshan, for when you can't do anything about the length of the grass...? I do find that when the Lanshan is pitched taut, there isn't much of a gap, regardless of the length of the grass. Or would I be better off looking at something like the Fly Creek HV UL1 and ditching the ease of a single skin shelter...?







* You would be right in guessing that I quite like the look of the Plexamid, and am currently trying to justify buying one...
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Re: Condensation

Post by RIP »

"trees, pitching at a higher altitude, away from water and avoiding long grass". All sounding like the complete opposite of the fens! You'll just have to move to Mid Wales, KT :smile: .
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Re: Condensation

Post by Richpips »

When we've been on trips sharing a Vango Helium in the past we'd carry a flannel size microfibre towel to mop up condensation.

Even when the tent has felt super wet inside, you'd not fill an espresso cup with the wringings out.
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Re: Condensation

Post by Jurassic »

My experience with my Gatewood Cape is that if the conditions are right (or wrong if you prefer) then it is going to be covered in condensation inside. This is irrespective of whether I use my Borah Bivvy or a Lanshan 1 inner tent inside it so I don't think moving to a double skin tent will make much difference. I have to say though that I've had the inside dry at least as often as soaked so I reckon it's most likely the conditions and/or location rather than a design fault with the tent itself. I don't find the condensation a huge problem, if I use the Borah Bivvy it keeps moisture drips off my sleeping bag and if I use the Lanshan inner it performs the same task. Getting in and out of the shelter without getting my back soaked is the biggest issue, particularly if I get up in the night to answer the call of nature as I don't want to get wet off the tent and then take that back into my sleeping bag.
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Re: Condensation

Post by psling »

Condensation is an incredibly complex subject and in camping, if the atmospheric conditions are wrong, it can be impossible to avoid.
Your single skin tent, the fly of a double skin tent or even a tarp is effectively a sacrificial waterproof membrane to collect condensation so that you remain dry in your bag. In a single skin tent you're more likely to notice it because it's in immediate contact and can drip and pool on the groundsheet. On a double skin tent if you roll up inner and wet outer together you can still get that 2nd night dampness.
The air flow mentioned above is most beneficial if there is a good vent at the highest point as well as under the edges.
So, you're putting an impermeable membrane over a patch of moisture-holding ground and putting a human that produces the best part of a litre of condensation through the night under it. In a country with a predominantly moist atmosphere.
That cloth/towel/sponge is your friend.
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Re: Condensation

Post by Mr conners »

Dew point is the name for it and you'll never avoid it. As everyone has said, site in an area away from vegetation and with a good air flow. I'm with Rich here, a wiping down with a microfiber cloth before packing helps and be prepared to stop and dry it once you get a chance.
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K1100T
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Re: Condensation

Post by K1100T »

Thanks all, much appreciated!

So my suspicion that I'm not helping matters with my choice of bivvy spots, would be spot on then. I have been carrying a small microfibre towel on longer bivvy rides, but not on the shorter local ones. Looks like I need to start using it to wipe the inside of the tent, rather than my face and pits.

On the subject of actually replacing the tent with something slightly different, that would maybe facilitate more airflow. What do people make of the SMD Skyscape Trekker in that regard...? Slightly lower, but maybe offset by being wider, due to the two poles? Slightly lighter than the Lanshan 1 PRO, but with way more netting, so maybe better airflow, and miles cheaper than a Plexamid (or similar DCF jobbie).

On the subject of Dyneema, I've always liked the look of the DCF TeekkerTent Phreeranger, but it's not much lighter than a SMD, and it looks like airflow would be an issue.
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Re: Condensation

Post by Richpips »

K1100T wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:14 pm
On the subject of Dyneema, I've always liked the look of the DCF TeekkerTent Phreeranger, but it's not much lighter than a SMD, and it looks like airflow would be an issue.
I had an OG Phreeranger and I recall on a few nights in high winds it blew flat on me.

Having said that, I don't recall condensation being and issue. :lol:
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Re: Condensation

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I know Gairy has a Skyscape and appears to rate it.

It's really about venting that produces air flow. When you look at a shelter (any shelter), see if there's a path for air to flow ... ideally a low vent and a high vent at the apex.
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K1100T
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Re: Condensation

Post by K1100T »

Richpips wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:29 pm I had an OG Phreeranger and I recall on a few nights in high winds it blew flat on me.

Having said that, I don't recall condensation being and issue. :lol:
I don't fancy getting woken up with a tent flattening my face... 🙈
Bearbonesnorm wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:33 pm I know Gairy has a Skyscape and appears to rate it.

It's really about venting that produces air flow. When you look at a shelter (any shelter), see if there's a path for air to flow ... ideally a low vent and a high vent at the apex.
I think this is an issue with the Lanshan, the top vent is carp. I may have to pitch it in the garden and adjust the guys, as it seems like no matter how I pitch it, the top vent isn't open very much. The Skyscape at least looks like you could open a door on either side for max flow...

If I'm spending on a new tent though, I'd rather it was a massive improvement in a few areas, i.e. pack size, weight and airflow, rather than just air flow. :shrug: I think I'll try the microfibre cloth thing for the next couple of months, and see how we get on with choosing better bivvy spots. Planning on being near the sea next though...
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Re: Condensation

Post by benp1 »

Don't disagree with any of the above

However, if your bike and all your kit, which is outside in the open air, is covered in condensation, then no amount of venting is going to stop that. Sometimes it's just really damp. It was like that on both nights of the WRT. Really warm daytime, but everything was soaking in the morning. Site selection might have helped if it was more covered etc, but every surface around me was covered. I was in my bivy only both nights and was covered each morning. In fact it was already damp as I was getting into it the night before
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