Camping Question

When you camp on the river and your tent gets wet with condensation, dew or rain, is it best to pack it up in the morning and let it dry out when you get to the next camp site? I am sure it is best to let it dry before packing, but I am asking this because I like to move in the mornings.

Also, is there a way to reduce condensation or dew on the tent? Obviously, you can’t do much about rain.

Any camping help would be greatly appreciated.

When you gotta go…
Pack it up wet and go.

If it is the last night of camping, don’t forget to dry it all out when you can.

I don’t think there is a practical way to keep dew off the tent.


Wet tent
Shake the drops off the fly and pack the tent up wet, if you want to get on the water before the crack of noon. It will dry when set up at your next campsite or at home on the washline. If you are using a portage pack and dry bag liner system for your gear, don’t put the wet tent inside the pack liner. Tie up the stuff you want to keep dry inside the liner and place the wet tent on top of the liner or in the expansion chamber of your portage pack. A trick used in the Northwest to keep your tent dry is to set it up underneath a tarp. The tarp gets wet though.

I now pack tents in a mesh bag with a
draw closure. This is compact enough for the car trunk, and to shove amongst other gear in the canoe. The loosely packed tent and fly dry out quicker. If rain comes, I stuff the mesh back into a roll top closure that isn’t full, or I just put a poncho over it.

Tight packing of tents often isn’t needed unless for backpacking or stuffing into kayak hatches.

Packing wet tent
I use a recycled old dry bag when packing my wet tent during canoe trips. I put duct tape over a puncture in an old dry bag. It still floats, but it’s primary purpose is to keep other stuff from getting wet.

I hang it on a clothesline or set it up in my yard to dry out when I get home. If the drive home is a long one, or a motel overnight stop, I spread it out in the back of my Forester to help it dry on the way home.

Shake it out
I usually pull the fly off and shake it out and leave it laying on the beach next to the tent while making breakfast. The tent and fly are the last thing to get packed and usually pretty dry. I do store them in their own bag because they are always a little wet.

Always remember to set it up at home in the sun for a few hours to dry completely.


g2d: Great Minds
think along the same lines! Been using the net bag trick too.

And the new sil-nylon flys shed water droplets wuite nicely.


Reducing Condensation
The best way to reduce condensation on the outside of your tent is to pitch it under some type of cover. Open, grassy meadows look like such inviting places to camp in the late afternoon, but you’ll be as wet as if it rained in the morning. Better to pitch a tent under dense tree cover if you want to avoid heavy dew. Of course, you also have to weigh the risks of falling limbs if high winds are a possibility. Sometimes I’ve been able to squeeze my tent under a heavily leafed shrub that has kept me dry while others in my party got wet. If dense tree cover is not an option, pitching your tent under a tarp or sheet of plastic will keep it dry. Also, try not to pitch too close to the water where low lying fog may develop. Condensation from the inside is a different matter. If the air is humid and there is a wide temperature differential between inside temperature and the tent wall, condensation will be heavy on the inside of the tent. Double wall tents with good ventilation reduce but don’t eliminate condensation. I’ve also found that a candle lantern suspended inside my tent near the top helps a good bit in cold weather, both in adding a few degrees of warmth and in keeping the tent interior dry. Old timers liked baker-style tents with a reflector fire in front because they kept the tent so dry. In these modern times, we tend to try to shut ourselves up tightly and avoid using fire. There are benefits and penalties for both strategies.


Simple solution
Just use a sheet of polyethelene to cover the tent.

Hold it down with some clothespins or some rocks.

The poly is thin and folds up small into a little bag.



Not quite that simple
Covering the tent with polyethelene will certainly keep dew off the tent exterior, but it will magnify the amount of condensation formed on the interior of the tent; i.e. moisture condensing within the tent has no way to escape. Better to pitch the polyethelene as a tarp or find some other way to provide some space between the plastic and your tent.