How To: Tips & Tricks for Alleviating Condensation in Your Tent

How To: Tips & Tricks for Alleviating Condensation in Your Tent

Condensation on the interior of any shelter is an unavoidable fact of tent camping. It occurs in a wide range of scenarios, can require substantial effort to mitigate, and is impossible to eliminate completely. Tent condensation is especially apparent in single wall shelters, where there is no mesh separating you from those cold dew droplets.

Despite the pros of single wall shelters like Gossamer Gear's The One and The Two, such as lighter weight, smaller volume, and the ability to use trekking poles as tent poles, the con of directly dealing with tent condensation leaves some campers hesitant. In this article, we will explore the two main factors that contribute to tent condensation, how to best set up your Gossamer Gear shelter, and a list of recommendations to alleviate condensation issues.

The Two Main Factors Affecting Tent Condensation

At the end of the day, tent condensation occurs for two reasons.

#1: The temperature inside your tent vs. the temperature outside your tent (AKA: the controllable factor). Basically, if the interior of your shelter becomes warmer or more humid than the exterior, condensation will occur.

#2: Dew point (AKA: the uncontrollable factor).

Dew point is the temperature to which the air needs to cool down to in order to become completely saturated, or reach 100 percent relative humidity. When temperatures cool at night and approach the dew point, water vapor in the air will condense on every surface available (grass, moss, trees, your tent/gear, your CBD oil, etc.). The relative humidity will go up at night when the air temperature approaches the dew point. It will go down as the air temperature warms farther and farther away from the dew point during the day.

Recommendations for Alleviating Tent Condensation

Since we can't control anything about the dew point process, we are going to focus on what we can control. Below is a list of recommendations to combat the interior temperature and humidity of your shelter:

  1. First, take a look at how to optimally set up your Gossamer Gear shelter with our founder Glen Van Peski.
  2. Ventilate your tent by leaving one or both vestibule doors open so humid air and moist exhalations from your breath can escape (you can exhale up to a liter of water every night).
  3. Remove wet clothes or shoes from your tent at night, or move them into a stuff sack to dry out the next day.
  4. Cook and boil water outside your tent/vestibule to avoid increasing the interior humidity level.
  5. Steer clear of campsites near streams, lakes, ponds, or wet areas where the humidity is higher.
  6. Avoid setting up your tent at a low point in the landscape where cold air pools at night. If your tent's walls and fly are warmer, you'll have less condensation.
  7. If bug pressure is low, keep the zipper door slightly unzipped to increase ventilation.
  8. Make sure your tent pitch is tight and high with 125cm poles to increase air movement near the bottom of the tent.
  9. And, ultimately, keep a small pack towel to wipe down the walls when needed, and dry out your shelter/sleeping bag during a lunch break when possible.
How To: Pack Your Instagram Gear Layout into the Mariposa

How To: Pack Your Instagram Gear Layout into the Mariposa

We all love seeing other people's gear laid out all organized for the pre-packing social media post–Gossamer Gear even immortalized that scene for a "take less, do more" hat. Yet, I've always been left with a nagging question: "Where is all that stuff going?" Or, more specifically, "How are they packing it?"

One of the biggest advantages that the award-winning Mariposa pack holds is the layout of pockets. With a 36L main compartment, Gossamer Gear includes the capacity of all the external pockets to add up to the advertised 60L capacity. As I packed mine for the first time, I was struck with how useful this pocket layout was–the things I needed were easily accessible. With the use of a spreadsheet that I happily pour over in my downtime, I've honed my packing over the last year, and with this information, I'm going to answer that question of how . Using the Mariposa can improve your days on the trail with an easy way to actually pack that Instagram-worthy gear layout.

mariposa

Main Compartment

I start packing the main compartment of the Mariposa by loading my hydration bladder in place, filled with whatever I need to make it to the first water source–bonus: my filter can fill directly into the bladder without removing it. I specifically use the Platypus BigZip because they've shaped the bladder using an internal rib, keeping the profile more flat and wide.

Next, in a holdover from days past, I use a trash compactor bag to help keep my sleeping gear dry. Sleeping clothes are stuffed down to the bottom, and I push my loose sleeping bag or quilt down on top of that. Keeping all this loose helps avoid the need for compression cords or straps.

I compress the bag down with my BearVault 500, which doubles as a camp stool. This also makes internal organization easy, as pretty much everything smelly or food-related goes inside there, including cooking gear. I fill the spaces around the BV500 with my rolled sleeping pad, puffy jacket, and fleece midlayer–easily repacked if I need to pull the can out to eat lunch.

Top Lid & Mesh Back Pocket

I keep only my car keys and wallet in the top lid of the Mariposa, a personal towel and SUL summit pack in the mesh back pocket, and secure the main compartment. Barring any major weather change or emergency, I likely won't touch any of this again until setting up camp.

mariposa

Right-Side Pocket

The long, right-side pocket of the Mariposa is PERFECTLY sized to hold most UL shelters. I've carried a Tarptent Rainbow and a Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo in this pocket, with the latter fitting almost entirely inside.

Left-Side Top & Bottom Pockets

I am a huge fan of the Aloksak waterproof bags, as opposed to the more disposable Ziploc bags. I keep several of the 4"x7" bags on hand, and use them to pack my first aid kit, spare parts and emergency kit, and a notepad/small book and pen. Recently, I've put the first aid and emergency supplies inside a dry sack, which further protects them and makes moving it all from pack to pack a breeze. This also fits perfectly into the left top pocket of the Mariposa. I'll also keep my sun/eyeglasses there, along with my headlamp.

My water filter kit, spare water bottle, rain shell, trowel, and toilet paper all fit neatly rolled up next to each other in the Mariposa's left bottom pocket.

mariposa

Hip Pockets

Last, but not least, the hip pockets. I keep my map, compass, and phone in one side. Snacks and a baggy with bug spray/lip balm/sunscreen go in the other side for quick access on the move. I have also added a simple Zpacks drawstring shoulder strap pocket to carry my binoculars.

mariposa

Packing It All Together

As the old nautical saying goes, "A place for everything and everything in its place." When I'm all done, I usually end up with a pack weight in the mid-20 pounds range, depending mostly on my food/water situation. The profile is kept low (below my shoulders), which I prefer so I can keep space for a wide-brimmed sun hat. Most importantly, though, finding what I need in the Mariposa throughout the day, and repacking everything to hit the trail the next morning, is easy, leaving more time to enjoy the trail and camp.

How To: Take Care of Your Awesome Bamboo Backpacking Spoon

How To: Take Care of Your Awesome Bamboo Backpacking Spoon

Gossamer Gear happens to sell the world's greatest bamboo backpacking spoon. If you haven't made the switch yet, it's time. However, we won't get too in-depth about that in this post, as it has already been well-documented. This post is going to focus on how to take care of your awesome bamboo backpacking spoon now that you have it.

Bamboo is a highly renewable resource that is odor-, stain-, and water-resistant. It is technically a grass, making it quite lightweight, but is also as strong and durable as wood. Also as with wood, if taken care of properly, it can last a long time.

Bamboo Spoon By River

Keeping Your Bamboo Spoon Seasoned

Think of your bamboo spoon as you would a good wooden cutting board. You need to periodically treat it to preserve its natural oils and prevent its fibers from drying out and becoming cracked or rough. For best results, we recommend doing this when you first get your spoon, and then before and after each trip you take it on. The process is simple:

  1. Get some food-grade mineral oil, bamboo conditioning oil, butcher block oil, walnut oil, or coconut oil. Avoid vegetable oils like olive oil or canola oil, as these can become rancid.
  2. Apply some of the oil to a clean, soft cloth.
  3. Rub all over your bamboo spoon, letting the oil soak into the material.
  4. Repeat, if necessary.
  5. Let the spoon cure 1-2 days before use.
Bamboo Spoon

Photo credit: Stephanie Baker

Cleaning Your Bamboo Spoon

There may come a point where giving your bamboo spoon its daily backcountry tongue bath isn't enough. While you should do your best on your trip to rinse the spoon thoroughly after each use, we recommend giving it a real cleaning once you get home.

You should never throw your bamboo spoon in the dishwasher, as the detergent and heat is too intense. You should also avoid soaking the spoon, as this will eventually breakdown the bamboo's natural water resistance.

Follow these steps to getting your spoon sparkling again:

  1. Rinse the bamboo spoon in warm water and use a dull edge, like the back of a butter knife, to scrape off stubborn food particles.
  2. Wash using mild soap and a soft cloth.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean rag.
  4. Stand upright to complete the drying process.
  5. Treat with oil, as described above.
  6. Store in a dry place away from extreme temperatures.

By caring for your spoon properly, you can have a friend to share all of those rehydrated meals with for many miles to come. Happy trails to you–and to your spoon!