wingnut99 wrote:Making no claims on the quality of this tent or how it will perform, here's a cold weather camping lesson... Top venting is nice in the hot weather but it is critical in the cold. With 4 men in a tent, there is a lot of water vapor in there. when it hits the cold tent it condenses and roles down the sides and onto your sleeping bag soaking you over night. top venting must be kept open if you want to survive a sub 0 night in a tent. (New England Scout leader w/ over 1200 nights in a tent.)
I agree with certain aspects of your statement and I disagree with others - I find that adjustable ventilation at the peak is absolutely necessary to maintain proper temperature, humidity, etc. inside the tent vs the ambient temperature and humidity outdoors and when you camp in freezing temps and below, you're going to want to shut that top for a few hours at a time or severely limit the flow accordingly (there are charts for this if you can't get a natural feel for it - I believe Idaho State put them out several years ago with basic recommendations on how much flow you want at specific temps and humidity based on occupants and space) to build up enough humidity to make the air inside the tent comfortable to breathe - otherwise, you're wasting energy at night and when you should be resting you'll be breathing laboriously. You can't just leave a tent like this, with this much vent, wide open sub-zero. But, you do need a balance. Also, if you're a good ole Yankee like myself, you'll realize that even in relatively cool weather situations, relying on only a fly and not having interior closure of vent is a recipe for a LONG cold wet night if things begin to go wrong. In 95% of the tents offered to the public at Wal-Mart, woot! etc., things tend to really go wrong, fast, because they are ill equipped (manufactured).
I'm not 1200 nights in New England, but I'm literally countless nights (used to be close to half the year when I was younger - over the course of 20 or so years) in all climate zones, including 90 days straight in Montana on a "live on what you can bring in on your back" (INCH bag type) contest, which I won. The thing is that not many of these woot! consumers are anywhere near doing anything like you or I would do, so making the post I did was, IMHO, very good advice for the "general population" - because frankly, if any of them use this exact tent for anything other than a hot, fair weather tent, they're going to wish they had not.
We can get into a long discussion of proper ventilation of a tent, but I don't find it applicable to this product, as this tent doesn't offer proper ventilation for anything but the warmest of nights, so why would it matter? It isn't even made from a truly decent material for camping comfortably. Those top vents on those canvas scout rigs are much different than what you have on these. You might as well be in the open air with this in anything below 70 or so, 'cause you'd be better off in the right bivvy sack.
Fact is in the RIGHT tent, you can be sealed tight and never have condensation problem one, the fabric breathes, but not too many people have three to four grand to lay down for a two person cold weather tent (and that's when she is on sale).
If you want a truly GOOD tent made exactly for what you've set out to do, see http://tentsmiths.com/ and have one made. They are cheaper than you might think.