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Old 08-19-2014, 05:28 AM   #1
pghchico OP
Joined: Aug 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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what to do with a wet tent after a heavy rain.

New here, so forgive me if you've covered this many times.

while camping this weekend it rained , big time , like poured down from 12am til around 8am. I was just heading home that morning so i packed up my tent but it was soaking wet, the rain fly was wet. So i'm wondering what should i do if say i had more days to go ? how do i pack up a wet tent ? after packing up the tent the wet rain fly now got the main tent soaked. for me i just strap the tent to the bike, but how would you pack up a wet tent ? How do you handle packing up the day after a big rain when your gear is all wet ? I was just heading home, but got me thinking what i would do if say i had more days yet to camp.
if it matters, the tent is a eureka apex XT, your basic 2 person screen tent with full rain fly.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:34 AM   #2
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Been there, done that, got the mildew.

Seriously, do what you gotta do. Wring it out, get most of water off as best you can and stow it.

At your destination, first thing roll it out so you can start the drying process.

If you take a long lunch, there's another opportunity, every little bit helps.

You do have your seams sealed, yes?

No magical answer here.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:25 AM   #3
pghchico OP
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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there was no rain comming in from above , what i got was some water comming in from the floor. Even with a ground cover. i was in a campground and a designated place to pitch the tent, it was rather flat but i guess puddles formed under the tent and came up from underneath, just though where i had my air mattress, my gear being lighter than me never got wet from the floor. I just used a towel and dried up whatever water was on the floor.
My concern is just rolling up the tent and rain fly together made everything wet. If i were camping a second night the tent body would have been totally wet.
I got 2 suggestions , 1 is to carry a seperate bag to store the rain fly in if it's wet. which seems reasonable and do-able the 2nd is to use cheap old plastic sheet on the inside of tent floor. A shower curtain might work nicely.

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Old 08-19-2014, 06:53 AM   #4
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I use one of those bungie nets and store wet stuff under that. Spots are still wet where it's folded out of the breeze but it's better than putting it in a stuff sack.

One thing you can do with some tents is take down the tent underneath the fly, pack that in the stuff sack, and then lash the fly under the net. The floor of the tent will still be wet but at least the whole thing isn't soaking wet. I fold the tent in half so the floor is against the floor and then stuff it like that. It's still best to stop and air everything out as soon as possible.

One other thing - I don't use a ground cloth underneath a tent especially in the rain. Water soaks into the ground but won't soak through a water proof ground cloth. If you must use one, make sure the ground cloth is tucked well back under away from the edges of the tent so it doesn't catch rain and tent run off.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:36 AM   #5
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I just get up, shake off as much of the water as I can, then pack it up. If the weather breaks by lunch I'll get the tent out and dry it off a bit, otherwise I'll pitch the tent as normal. As long as you don't stow the tent away wet/damp for more than a few days, it'll be fine.

catweasel67 screwed with this post 08-19-2014 at 12:17 PM Reason: grammar nazi self
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:59 AM   #6
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I've had to pack up a wet tent plenty of times. None of my tents ever got mildew.

If you camp right after packing a wet tent (same day, preferably a bit earlier in the day) it will dry out fine.

If I've done multiple days in a wet tent, I will get a motel room. Wash the tent in the tub and set it outside the room to dry, assuming it's not still raining.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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no fun

Packing up a wet tent is no fun, packing up a wet tent in the rain is even less fun....Thing is if you are going to do much camping while you tour, it is going to happen. Most all tents these days tho are made out of really light weight material that dries pretty fast. Pack it wet, unpack when you stop and let it dry out.,it will be fine. A solution is putting a tarp up over your tent...keeping it dry. I've never done it but have seen some others do it.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:37 AM   #8
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Shake it out and Pack it up normally..

If you can. Break it out during the day and give it a chance to dry. It doesn't take long. Otherwise just set it up at your next camp that night and let it dry there. Most tents now are self supporting so you can put it on its side to dry the bottom off. it should take less then an hour of sunlight and breeze to do the job.(don't forget to dry out the stuff sack also. Best not to leave it rolled up and wet for more then 24 hours tho.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:45 AM   #9
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I've got a zippered mesh duffle bag that I used as a dirty laundry bag when I lived on a boat. Empty it balls up about the size of a softball so stows easy when not in use. I use that to loosely stow a wet tent. Strap it to the bike and the wind from riding blows through most of the tent and dries it out pretty well. Still have some wet spots but essentially pretty dry. Not a perfect solution but better than just rolling it up wet.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Shake as much water off as you can, use a microfibre towel (they're very absorbent and dry quickly), pack it and dry at earliest opportunity. I always pack the rain fly and inner separately - the last thing you want to do is pack a wet fly with a dry inner.

I have a mesh net in my laundry kit that I put washed clothes in, strap it to the back of the bike and they air dry as I ride, as long as the road's not too dusty, you could try this with the tent too if you're so inclined.

(Off topic but I do the same for washing clothes - I fill an exped dry bag with hot water, soap and my skivvies and then strap it to to the back of the bike to wash while I ride - the bumpier the road the more vigourous the wash)

It is nice to have some sort of tarp to use as an extra ground sheet or shelter from the rain/sun to compliment your tent or to use separately. I use a good military poncho as I can wear it too, it packs quite small and is very strong so will take a beating. If water is seeping up through the tent base then you should use a good groundsheet/tarp. I have a tent specific groundsheet for my tent, it packs tiny and will increase the lifespan of my tent base.

I use the poncho as a ground sheet when I break down with punctures because it's nice to have somewhere clean, dry and organised to sit. If it's raining or is blisteringly hot it's great to get on with stuff in the dry or in the shade.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:15 PM   #11
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The best thing is to keep it from getting wet in the first place. Bring a tarp that you can attach to a couple trees or even your motorcycle. A big enough tarp will keep rain from getting to your tent. No big deal if the tarp gets wet. Just shake it off and roll it up on the back of the bike.
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Old 08-19-2014, 09:21 PM   #12
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I used to struggle with this. The solution was cheap motels.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:32 AM   #13
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Some of these have been in separate posts above:

  1. Just pack it wet. I pack my wet tent in a more-or-less waterproof stuff sack in the same case with my dry sleeping bag. The next night the sleeping bag is still dry and the tent is still wet.
  2. When you set up camp later that day, set up the tent. It will either dry out or get a rinse of fresh rain.
  3. It won't mildew in a single day. After a few days of packing it wet, you may want to rinse the bottom of the floor since it's the part that doesn't dry or rinse naturally when you simply camp.

I didn't see any mention of a ground cloth or "footprint". I use a sheet of construction plastic cut to size (Visquene?). The main purpose is to keep the sharpest bits of gravel or pinecone from puncturing the floor. The secondary purpose is to keep more water farther away from the floor. The floor will often be damp anyway.
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:01 AM   #14
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I thought about this a lot on my trip to Mongolia. I had a couple of nights of rain. The rain always stopped, at least by 11am and I was able to put the tent away mostly dry.

I don't use a ground cloth, but have a piece of 3 mil painters plastic from Home Depot that is larger than the floor area. I put it in a have the edges come up the sides a bit on the inside. When I get in, I'm in a sort of dry tub. It doesn't matter how much water comes in from the floor. I'll be high and dry.

I always pack my tent/fly/sleeping bag/pad in a dry sack. With the moist tent a couple of days it got my sleeping bag moist. I'm going to add a small dry sack for my sleeping bag to my kit. Flow my signature at the bottom to see my gear packing method.


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Old 08-20-2014, 10:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by sorebutt View Post
The best thing is to keep it from getting wet in the first place. Bring a tarp that you can attach to a couple trees or even your motorcycle. A big enough tarp will keep rain from getting to your tent. No big deal if the tarp gets wet. Just shake it off and roll it up on the back of the bike.
I'm home grown N.Westerner. When ever possible I use an over head tarp.

To get the smell out of a tent I use my front load washer. These type washers don't have that dangerous center agitator in the middle that tears at seams & ties things in knots.
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