Drying outer layers in a tentÖ.in the winter (continued)
Now get the soaking wet parka out and swab off as much water as you can with the absorbent towel. Try not to get water all over the place, especially on the sleeping pad. Turn the parka inside out and swab the inner surface, wringing out the towel as necessary. You can easy swab off a cup or more of water from the inside, an amount that would take ages to simply dry off.
Hang the parka inside out over a clothesline inside the tent. Repeat the process for the ski pants. See the pic below. The parka may still drip from the sleeves and hems, so arrange for the drippy areas to drain onto the tent floor, not your stuff. If necessary you can cover things with the pack cover or a plastic garbage bag so the water will run off.
Now it's safe to get the sleeping bag out, fluff it up, and have something to eat. Following this I usually take a nap to help rest up for the next day. It feels so good to get nice and warm snuggled in the sleeping bag too.
The next chore is to melt water for the evening and the next day, something I also do inside the tent. Dire warning; even a slight error can have disastrous results.
The outer layers are not by any means dry at this point, at best they are just thoroughly damp. As I'm melting water, a process that takes me about 50 minutes, I do a bunch of† household chores, take my old person meds, brush my teeth, etc, and while I'm doing this I drape my parka over my shoulders still inside out. By the time the water is done, the inside of the once soaking wet parka is almost completely dry. If the pants are really damp on the inside, I put them on inside out too. Wearing the damp clothing is very chilling as your body heat is used up vaporizing the water, so the heat from the stove is a necessity for me.
When the pants and parka are dry on the inside, I turn them right side out, ready for the evening routine of getting out of the tent and looking at the stars, or the snow falling, or maybe just the fog. The outsides are probably still damp to wet, but not to worry.
I use a small lightweight umbrella (about 6 oz.) when it's snowing or raining. This makes standing around outside so much more pleasant. In the one to two hours I spend this way in the evening, the insides of the pants and parka will finish drying if they are not bone dry already, and the outsides will dry off too, ready for the next day.
The dry pants get stored inside the sleeping bag for the night, arranged in such a way so that I can put them on inside the bag before I get up. The parka is just folded up at the back of the tent.
So that's it. I really donít think about all these details as I'm doing them. It's just habit. By the way, this is just one piece of the puzzle, the solutions to which make year around camping enjoyable no matter what the weather.
Larry, December 2007
Hereís a little addendum from a recent TAY trip report:
ďBy the way, I forgot to mention a trick Jane and I discovered a few trips ago. Itís one of those Ďwhy didnít I think of that before' ideas. Maybe itís common knowledge. For years Iíve used fresh snow to sop off water from things Iím putting in my tent as I set up. New snow is way better than any absorbent towel; it sucks off all the liquid water, leaving things just slightly damp.
But I had never tried it with my parka. When itís snowing heavily around 32 degrees, parkas get covered with slushy snow, and can get soaking wet. I used to just shake the parka off, and then swab it off with an absorbent towel in the tent . Why not just flop in the new snow and make a snow angel? Toss some loose snow on the hood too. It works *great*. Very quick and easy, and it gets the parka far drier than my previous method.Ē