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  1. #1
    Joe Fowler's Avatar
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    Condensation, Ice Under My Tarp and a Wet Top Quilt..?

    A couple weeks ago I pitched my hammock right next to a little stream. Thought the sound of the water would be nice to listen to as I drifted off to bed (it was). But in the morning my top quilt was damp (on the outside) and the inside of my tarp was covered in ice.

    It definitely dropped below freezing and I wasn't really cold, but this is the first time my quilt was wet.

    Is it because of my breath? The condensation?

    Did sleeping so close to water contribute?

    I may need to get better at site selection.

    Thanks, guys!

  2. #2
    New Member
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    Damp air one way or another. Was it ever foggy?

  3. #3
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Site selection may have played a minor role, but sounds like a nice hang! I can't count the number of times I've had ice on the inside of my tarp and my topquilt was damp (yes, it's your breath). The more you get out in lower temps, the more you'll experience that stuff.

    Not much you can do about ice on the tarp, but look up Shug's frost bib: might be of use in keeping the TQ dry.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    Joe Fowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer1 View Post
    Damp air one way or another. Was it ever foggy?
    Maybe. It hailed on us pretty bad as we hiked in but it calmed down when we got to camp and I don't think it rained again that night.

    The outside of my tarp was wet and frozen as well.

    Like I said, I was ok and my gear dried by the time I packed up but it wonder if I could have done something better to avoid it.

    Looking for another "tool for my box" for the future.

  5. #5
    Joe Fowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    Site selection may have played a minor role, but sounds like a nice hang! I can't count the number of times I've had ice on the inside of my tarp and my topquilt was damp (yes, it's your breath). The more you get out in lower temps, the more you'll experience that stuff.

    Not much you can do about ice on the tarp, but look up Shug's frost bib: might be of use in keeping the TQ dry.
    I'll look into it. Thanks! It was a fun trip. They always are.

  6. #6
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    When it gets 20* or below, sometimes your breath will form ice on the tarp almost immediately. Then when you shake the tarp, it snows inside! First time I saw snow falling under my tarp I had no idea what was landing on my face.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
    bkrgi's Avatar
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    It's all normal and there is not much you can do.
    The fabrics of tarps and quilts can supercool faster than air temp when there is no wind blowing and especially under clear skies, then when it all hits the dew point the water vapour condenses out on the tarp and even ones quilts.
    Only way I have found to keep the quilts dry is to toss a blanket over the ridge line and it soaks up the dew and keeps the quilts warmer (above dew point), but as you found out the quilts also dry very very quickly so really in the grand scheme of things it is what it is... a little extra time in the morning to wipe the quilts down and let them dry while you linger over breaky and or coffee plus the scenery.

    http://windowoutdoors.com/WindowOutd...0Radiation.htm
    Life is too Short to not feed the addiction....Hang on and explore the World

  8. #8
    Tacblades's Avatar
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    You get that all the time in the UK, damp weather cold nights below dew point, in my case it was my body heat condensating on the outer surface of the bag.

    So i solved it using a diy vapour quilt, to provide another surface to condensate on which is easy to dry in the morning. Bag or quilt stays dry then.

    See in my vid jump to 50:00
    https://youtu.be/hoe1zo3U4m8
    Last edited by Tacblades; 05-10-2016 at 01:19.
    ..........................................
    Not all who wander are Lost !
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Fowler View Post
    ... I pitched my hammock right next to a little stream. ...
    Streams form because water accumulates in the low spots. Same with the coolest air and highest humidity; these will migrate to the lowest available space. So while sleeping near water was unlikely a direct contributor, it does imply that you picked a spot most likely to be colder and damper than others nearby. Site selection matters.

    The condensate in your breath alone is also enough to produce the effects you described. It is a challenge to block the wind to prevent it from stealing your warmth without trapping the moisture from every exhaled breath under your tarp. While I can't say I have a solution that works consistently, I found that I have less problem on breezy nights that on still nights. If there is little or no wind I try to pitch my tarp a bit higher to vent off my expelled humidity. On windy nights, even with my tarp pitched low, there seems to be enough air movement that I avoid wakening with a frost encrusted top quilt.

    Just keep experimenting.

    Good Luck
    Questioning authority, Rocking the boat & Stirring the pot - Since 1965

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    When it gets 20* or below, sometimes your breath will form ice on the tarp almost immediately. Then when you shake the tarp, it snows inside! First time I saw snow falling under my tarp I had no idea what was landing on my face.
    I've had the experience more than once being in a hammock sock and half waking up thinking its snowing now and then realizing that I moved and knocked some of the frozen condensate off.

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