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Thread: Tents Wetting Out

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    The guidelines for my Terra Nova Laser Comp 1 sayto re-tension the tent if it starts to wet out - but I'm not sure how you're supposed to know this if you're asleep in it, and it's not the sort of thing you'd want to be doing in the night anyway. Is this normal practice with lightweight tents? I haven't come across it before.

    My new Laser Comp wet out a couple of times on a recent trip - one night dripping through to the inner all over the place (the outer wasn't in contact with the inner and it wasn't condensation). I know weather forecasts can be wrong, but the forecast didn't seem bad enough to cause this.

  2. #2
    Ultra King
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    I've never heard of that happening to a new Laser Comp and I never had that problem with any of my TN tents including my Laser 1 Comp. Mind you, not being a trusting kind of person I did seal all the seams of my tents' flysheets with McNett Silnet before first use.
    When it is raining it's surprising how much condensation you can get in a very small tent.

  3. #3
    Mini Goon
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    Thanks for the response. So I guess you must have camped in really heavy rain at some point and not had the problem?

    It definitely wasn't condensation - it started raining again before I was about to pack up, and I watched the water drip through the material. I had the pole cover over the seams (which I actually find really fiddly and annoying to attach).

    My previous small tent was a £20 Gelert Solo, and I never had any problems with condensation. It was even smaller, though I can't remember what the ventilation was like in there. And come to think of it - I haven't had any problem at all with condensation in the Terra Nova either.

  4. #4
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    Yes, Alex, I've used my Laser Comp in real downpours...I live and have mostly wild camped in Wales.
    Your tent must have been constructed from faulty fabric. Have you contacted TN to complain?


  5. #5
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    "Wetting out" generally refers to a fabric getting saturated, but since it's the coating on the fabric (be that a membrane like Goretex or a coating like the silicone elastomer on a Laser Comp fly) that is the actual barrier to water getting through that shouldn't be an issue for leakage.

    In other words, if your tent is leaking is nothing to do with how taut the guylines are.

    You've got two possibilities if it's leaking: first (and what it's not unreasonable to expect) is the seams. The seams aren't taped on a Laser Comp which is why TN don't guarantee them waterproof. In practice they may or may not be, with the "may not" having increasing chances with age as use pulls at the stitching. If you can find out exactly where it's leaking and it's a seam, some remedial action with a silicone goop should sort it. Second is the fabric itself is leaking, and it shouldn't unless it's been very thoroughly thrashed or is faulty.

    So what's the thing about the guys? That's simple: nylon sags when it's wet, so if it starts to sag it makes sense to tighten the guys. That's not to keep you dry, just to stop things sagging (with less room inside and more flapping, overall less comfort). It's pretty normal to have to get up and retension guys in serious weather and for a variety of reasons, and not just on lightweight tents. Aside from the fly sagging when wet the guys tend to pull their pegs towards themselves, and the windier it is the more they do that. To avoid these problems attach your guys to large immovable rocks and use a tent with a polyester or Cuben flysheet which sags less, though of course there are downsides to those strategies: large rocks aren't always available or easy to attach to, Cuben costs a fortune and doesn't stretch at all which means it can be a problem pitching well on imperfect (i.e. wild) campsites and polyester will generally be heavier than a high tenacity nylon. You choose, you lose.

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch
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    T.N state central seam not fully waterproof, so they advise to attach the 'hood' to prevent water ingress.
    Don't know if this 'hood' was supplied on older models..??

  7. #7
    Ultra King
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    My first TN tent was the original Superlite Voyager and when it rained water would pool on the top of the tent but it never ever penetrated the fabric or the seams.
    I believe the pooling thing was sorted on subsequent versions by a slight remodelling.
    As I said previously, the first thing I did on receiving the tent was to treat all the fly seams with Silnet.

    I also did that with the two other TN tents I bought subsequently. To me it's a "no brainer".
    It adds a few grams in weight but I was never particularly concerned about that, staying dry was always far more important.
    I think the best you can do is treat the seams of your fly and test it again and if water actually comes through the fabric, it's faulty. I may be the case, though that such a course of action might void any guarantee or consumer protection regs. Perhaps you could contact TN first to see what they suggest.

    By the way, always store your tents absolutely dry and preferably out of the bag over some sort of a frame. I always draped mine over a clothes airer in my spare bedroom with a dust cover over them until I became inactive and needed the space for other things.

  8. #8
    Ultra King
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boos View Post
    T.N state central seam not fully waterproof, so they advise to attach the 'hood' to prevent water ingress.
    Don't know if this 'hood' was supplied on older models..??
    Yes, it was supplied right from the start with the competition models.

  9. #9
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Sounds like the tent fabric is leaking. I'd return it.

  10. #10
    Ultra King Mole's Avatar
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    Sounds like the tent fabric is leaking. I'd return it.

    Though to be honest, with my experience of my own Laser ( Photon), the condensation is sometimes so bad one could be forgiven for thinking it was leaking!

  11. #11
    ‹bermensch
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    What Mole says about the condensation is spot on.... No fly vents

  12. #12
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Cotton canvas ones do.... OTOH you'll want a team of trained porters to carry it around if you're used to a Laser Comp...

  13. #13
    ‹bermensch
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    My Laser Comp, now seven or eight years old, has weathered some very heavy rain without a sign of leaking, although the condensation has been pretty bad at times. I never bothered sealing the seams and have only used the pole cover a couple of times. I must have just got lucky with mine.

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Thanks. I use the pole cover, and the water definitely came through the material pretty much all over. I'm dealing with the website I bought the tent from at the moment, who are very responsive and communicating with Terra Nova. A yellow cap popped off one of the end poles, and a cord on the inner snapped when I first pitched it (in my garden), so I haven't been very lucky with it - I guess it's unusual to have just one of these problems with a new tent.

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