Shelter FAQ

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What is Advanced Condensation Management?

duo_forestSingle walled tents and small tarps are notorious for problems with condensation. While increasing ventilation can reduce condensation, it doesn't eliminate it. To properly manage condensation, you need enough volume for you to function without brushing up against the wall or some sort of barrier between you and the outer wet walls (as provided by double walled tents).

We've designed our tents to be large enough to reduce your contact with walls. We've also separated the tent into two zones.

The lower zone, where your sleeping and most of the activity takes place, acts like a double walled tent. This zone is composed of 100% mesh. So any condensation that forms will do so on the outer wings or on the rear canopy. This allows you to freely move about the tent free from condensation brushing up on you or your gear.

The mesh runs high enough on the sidewalls so that it can't be covered up by you or your gear. Unlike tarps, whose side ventilation is severely reduced when the sidewalls are lowered during rain storms. Our tents provide constant ventilation regardless of the setup.

  • No more crawling out of your tent on your belly in the morning trying to keep your gear dry.
  • No more packing your pack out in the rain because your interior tent is soaked.
  • No more frozen sleep because you've discovered wet side walls in the middle of the night and are afraid to move for fear of getting drenched.

When condensation does form on the ceiling, it can be easily dealt with from the comfort of your sleeping bag.

Do I need to use a Ground Cloth?

The decision of whether or not to use a ground cloth depends a lot on both your camping style and choice of campsites. We do recommend using a light disposable Tyvek or plastic ground cloth. It will help to both protect your investment and make the floor more waterproof.

For the Ultralight enthuses, we offer the Ultralight floor made with 30 Denier Silicone coated nylon. This floor is the same as found on many tarp/tent type shelters. While quite waterproof, you can force water the floor if you place it over a puddle and sit on it. Having a waterproof ground cloth will reduce if not eliminate this problem.

Also a ground cloth is nice for those beautiful nights that were made for sleeping out under the stars.

What size and type of Ground Cloth do I need?

We recommend doing a good site selection when setting up the tent and using a ground cloth no larger than needed to cover your sleeping area. This both reduces the size and weight that needs to be carried.

Tyvek makes a fine ground cloth. It provides and excellent compromise between weight, durability and cost. It should last an entire thru-hike. It provide excellent protection from abrasion. Tyvek is not waterproof. So if you need to camp in boggy areas, you should substitute a plastic cloth.

Plastic is not as durable as Tyvek. But since it is impermeable, it provides an excellent moisture barrier. It's low cost allows you easily replace it between trips.

Will the tent be large enough for a tall person like me?

Probably the most frequent question we get from tall people is whether the tent will be long enough to be comfortable. It turns out that this isn't an easy question to answer. It's dependent upon a number of variables, including the size of the tent, the type of sleeping pad you're using, the ability to enlarge the internal area via various tie outs, your height and your camping style.

How much actual room is available for sleeping and activities depends upon the size of the tent, the depth of your sleeping pad and the ability of the tent to expand for additional volume. Thick sleeping pads pay havoc on the geometry of a small tent. Most UL tents are designed with pad depths of 3/8 to one inch thickness. Today many people prefer the comfort afforded to them by two inch or thicker pads. 

It doesn't take a genius to realize that as you raise the pad you subsequently lower the canopy. Often to the point that both your head and feet are precariously close to the roof. Some of this can be offset slightly if the tent has some ability to expand. However, if you require a deep pad for a good night’s sleep, you make a note of this when deciding what size tent to buy.

A final factor is generally one's comfort level, adaptability or camping style. If your style of backpacking means lots of hours of camp time with much of it inside your shelter. You'll probably find you need a larger container to meet your needs. Small shelters can get claustrophobic pretty quickly. On the other hand if your shelter needs are strictly for getting out of the rain while sleeping, you may find that you can get by with a smaller and lighter shelter.

We've had some people go bonkers in some shelters complaining about the minimal space. While others who are somewhat taller find themselves quite content. 

If you're at all hesitant about the shelter space. I'd recommend moving up to one of our two man tents. They are quite spacious and still incredibly light.

If you are still in doubt, you can always make a string model of the tent. Our layouts should provide enough size information for you to make a sting model that demonstrates the outlines of the tent. Once erected, climb in an see if the tent fits.

What about my Zippers?

Zipper failures create the most problems with ultralight shelters. We try to use the lightest zipper coil that will meet the expected needs of the shelter. Typically our zippers coil is both smaller and much lighter than found on mass market tents. This is both a benefit to you and a curse. On the plus side, the light weight makes carrying the shelter easier. However, the smaller coil used is more subject to problems if it's allowed to accumulate dirt.

It's important that you keep your zippers clean. You should routinely rinse out your zippers to remove any accumulated dirt. You may wish soak them in a mild detergent to loosen embedded material.

Pay careful attention to your zipper pulls. Repetitive use can cause the small gaps where the coil threads through to expand. If the gap is too wide the coil is prevented from aligning correctly, causing failure. To correct this problem, take a small set of pliers and gently squeeze the gap. You don't want to do this too often as it can fatigue the metal in the pull.

What about Cold Weather?

Some people rely on the tent providing a few degrees extra warmth and prefer a slightly lighter sleeping bag. Doing so really requires a heavy double wall tent in order to take advantage a modicum amount of insulation provided by the dead air space between the walls. A better choice would be to put a few more ounces of fill in a down bag instead of a few more pounds for the tent. Or opting for 200 vs. 100 weight fleece jacket. In fact a tent is an extremely poor insulator.

Also proper site selection can have a significant effect your comfort in the tent. This mean understand both the macro and micro climates of the areas your hiking. Simple rules like "Hiking High and Camping Low", can extend the range of terrain covered while keeping your gear to a minimum.

Is a Lightweight Tent really going to last?

Durability is always an issue with lightweight products. However, advances in fabric technology in recent years have provided us with stronger lightweight fabrics. The 30 Denier silicone coated nylon used in our tents, is amazingly strong given its light weight.

We significantly re-enforced all major stress areas of the tent. Which choice of tent floor you choose depends upon your hiking style. With proper care and maintenance, you should receive years of service from your tent.

Is a Lightweight Tent Waterproof?

Ultralight tents use a light 30 Denier Silicone Nylon for the canopy. This fabric is both strong and incredibly light. It works well in most environments. However, under sustained rain, one can occasionally encounter a condition known as Misting. This occurs when a small amount of rain will penetrate the canopy creating a light misting inside of the tent. While this maybe disconcerting it is easy to deal with. As with condensation, we recommend users use a sleeping bag with good water resistance shell.

For more information about getting the optimum use out of your Six Moon Designes shelter, checkout our Shelter Tips page.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 May 2014 07:24


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