With a big storm forecast for overnight it seemed the perfect time to put a few tents through a serious rain test. I set up my last generation MSR Hubba which I use for most of my trips and the 10 year old TNF Tephra22 that has only been used for winter trips in the last 5 years or so. With 30 mph winds expected along with an inch or two of rain conditions were perfect for making sure these tents were ready for the upcoming back country season.
Both of these tents are free standing and I rarely use stakes when I take them out on trail. Considering the weather and the fact that they were both completely empty I opted for a full array of stakes on both of them for this test. I even staked out a few of the guy lines just to give them a fighting chance of still being there in the morning.
The storm came through over night as promised with some roaring winds and waves of downpours that just kept coming. By dawn the time between showers was getting longer and the winds were dropping a bit, but there was plenty of standing water in the low spots. Looking into the yard I noticed the vestibule of the Hubba had come loose from its stake, but other than that both tents were pretty much as I’d left them.
In between morning showers I pulled my boots on and went out to see the results. Looking into the Hubba I was very pleased to see there wasn’t as much as a drop of water to be seen. The floor and the bug netting were perfectly dry despite the fact that I’d pitched the fly for maximum ventilation rather than protection.
Feeling optimistic I peeled back the fly on the Tephra and tried to see through the bugnet door, but couldn’t quite make out what I was seeing. Once I opened the door it was clear there was definitely water inside. It was pooled around the edges though the floor looked as though it had drying wet spots throughout. The fly was pitched to more than adequately protect the inner tent so I can only assume it has lost its waterproof qualities. Having only been out in the snow with it I had no idea, but now I’ll have to do some further testing to see exactly what the issue is and what can be done about it.
Rather than sit around going crazy waiting for the trails to dry I like to keep busy making sure I have everything ready for the season. If you’re waiting out mud season yourself, or even if you aren’t, now is a great time to do some testing at home. Making sure your gear works as expected and refreshing your skills at using it can be time well spent, leaving you a better shot at a trouble free trip down those paths less traveled by