Cold Tent

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Orchid, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    This isn't about a PUP. It's about a tent. Just curious, since we've been discussing heating on other threads, if anyone has any insights to how this tent does what it does. Here is the tent we have had for about a year:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bushnell-Shield-Series-12-Person-Instant-Cabin-Tent/41737127

    I really like the tent. As huge as it is, it goes up in literally 3 or 4 minutes. The take down is just a few minutes longer.

    The things that really intrigue me is that this tent is kind of naturally air conditioned. I thought it would be good for Florida summers, since it says it's build to keep the tent cool. I didn't expect it to really do much, the biggest reason for buying was size and ease of set up.

    This tent is so cold, I would never recommend it for anyone that doesn't live in the warmest of climates. I use a heater in it at night, in my section, even in Florida. It's crazy because I originally planned to use one of the end vents to put a window unit, like we had in past tents. There was never any need.

    A couple of curious things are the rain fly sits a good 9" to 12" above the top of the tent, instead of right on top. The rain fly is also reflective on the underside. Those seem to be the only two differences between this and our previous tents.

    Another interesting phenomenon is that there is no clammy feeling in the morning in this tent. None. Not even a tiny bit. Nothing has to be aired out, even in humid Florida.

    So this got me thinking how I could reverse whatever makes this tent so cold, to make our PUP warm. But it doesn't make sense to me. Shouldn't the reflective surface be facing UP to keep the heat out? It's not. I'm going to make Gizmos for our PUP, but confused on if the reflective should face up or down for heat.
     
  2. generok

    generok Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    All I can do is tell you what my professor from HVAC Design said...

    If you have insulation with a reflective surface, it doesn't matter "practically" what side the reflective surface faces. But, if you want the customer to be happy, face it the direction they think it should face.

    It was good advice.

    Face it the way you think it should face, and it will always work better to you.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    [LOL] This may be the best and most honest answer I have ever read.

    Just one more question since you have HVAC experience. Does it help hold in both cold and heat to have a reflective surface, or just cold?
     
  4. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, during the summer I have the silver side of the the Gizmos facing up to reflect the sun. During cold weather camping I have the darker side (Green side) facing up to adsorb some of the suns rays to warm it during the day and the silver side down to reflect the heat back down.

    Thanks my thinking!!
     
  5. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    That has always been my thinking as well. In fact, in the past, that is how I always used my homemade Gizmos. However, this tent having the reflecting side down, and keeping it so cool, got me thinking.

    When we first put it up, we had a dilemma as to whether we should put the rain fly on upside down. However, we went with the directions and put it on as intended. Worked great to keep the tent cool. [?:~{]
     
  6. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    When in doubt about setting things up I just ask my DW...that way I'm never wrong. [:D]
     
  7. Kb2yht

    Kb2yht New Member

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    Gizmos are a little different, since they are principally a reflector and foil "super insulation" ( ultra low conductance , but no still air space )

    In general, what side has the reflector is on its only important is your dealing with sunlight.

    Or at least that is my bit of dealing with insulation in furnaces and cryogenics.
     
  8. mcbrew

    mcbrew Member

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    It seems backwards, but there is OSB plywood that has a reflective surface on one side that is made for roofs. To reflect heat away from the attic, the reflective surface faces inwards. I imagine it would work fine to face it outwards, but it has something to do with moisture barrier or something. The foil is perforated to allow for air flow.

    All I know is that the stuff works! Our new shed has it, but our house doesn't, unfortunately.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    That's the way things work around here too. [:D] That's why we ended up following the directions on the tent.

    Thankfully, I'm in less of a panic now as the forecast, for our week of camping, now has substantially higher night time temperatures predicted. Went from 42 to 55 on most nights. I no longer feel overwhelming panic to construct Gizmos in the next 48 hours. [;)]

    Hmmm, same as tent.
     
  10. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    Never used the gizmos shiny side down...but sticking a couple of pool noodles under them to create an air space seems to make them work better.

    Originally did it to get some air to the bunks to dry out. I think the air gap helps quite a bit though, cold or hot weather. Maybe that's the "secret" of your tent?
     
  11. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ Gold Supporting Member

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    [A] I hear ya!!!!
     
  12. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I am going to buy that tent next year. We use a 12 man tent now for a walk in closet and as a privacy wall for our camp site. I have a cot and a card table in the tent and we keep all our stuff in the tent. The tent I have now requires almost as much effort setting up as the camper.
     
  13. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    I remember buying the Gizmo and I installed it with the shiny foil facing outside both inside and on the bunk end. Then i learned that I should change it depending on whether I need cool or warmth... As for warmth it does not matter but it DOES matter when it comes to cooling.. the shiny MUST face outside. The dark green color would absorb the heat which I do not want it to happen. I just leave the shiny part facing outside 100% of time no matter what the weather is. The shiny side will reflect the sunlight away.
     
  14. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Watch for bundles on it. When it gets towards spring, Walmart will have it for the same price by itself or with a bundle. We got two queen air beds and two camping chairs with ours. They changed the bundle around had 4 twin air beds and a lantern about a month later.

    Just be sure to look a bit deeper into their website before buying it by itself.
     
  15. rocksncactus

    rocksncactus Member

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    I'm not going to address the Gizmos because I don't have them yet. But I can explain a little about that tent. It is cold because, like any cheap Walmart-type tent, it has a ridiculously inadequate rain fly. A rain fly should cover the entire tent to the ground on all sides. What do you think will happen in a rainstorm with that tent? The sides are not covered, and water will intrude. This is also the reason for the lack of condensate you mentioned in the morning. All your internal warmth is escaping out those unprotected sides. In a quality tent such as one you would buy from REI, with a real rain fly, you vent the top of a window or two, with the rain fly over it, at night, prop open the rain fly vent, and there would be no condensate in the morning but it would be warmer. The tent breathes but keeps the warmth in. That is a proper tent system.

    Years ago we were camping in the Florida Keys in the middle of summer. We had a proper tent with a real rain fly. There were several groups of people, some young adults and some families with smaller kids, camped near us in the campground. They all had el cheapo tents with those little "rain fly" caps on them. Well, we had a real thunderstorm one night, monsoon type. We slept like babies in our tent. We got up in the morning, perfectly dry and comfy, and went to the bathhouse. As we walked by the sites with the cheap tents we saw people pulling out soaked sleeping bags, clothing, etc., from those tents. They looked exhausted, had obviously been up half the night trying to keep water out of the tent, and some of them were packing to leave. Their vacation was ruined because they bought tents that offered them no protection from the elements.

    So for tent campers the moral of the story is that money spent on a quality tent is not money wasted. You needn't spend a fortune; there are excellent tents for very reasonable prices. And a quality tent will do what a tent is supposed to do: keep you comfortable and safe from the elements.

    End of sermon. [:D]
     
  16. DSchulten88

    DSchulten88 Member

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    Before I had my two girls I was a die hard tent camper.

    100+ nights a year all year long over 10,000 feet in Colorado. Which means I'm no stranger to 80+ MPH winds in sub zero temperatures.

    One thing I learned about camping is that tents don't get warm, it's up to your sleep system and gear.

    I own a few winter tents that all cost me upwards of $600 that are used by Everest teams. These are double walled and extremely sturdy tents that spare no expense as your life depends on them. My favorite is my Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.

    They're always cold, all the time. Get a couple warm bodies in there and light up a UCO Candleleir with adequate unsulation from the ground to combat conduction and you might see a difference of 20 degrees inside the tent if you're lucky.
     
  17. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    I know exactly what would happen in that tent in a rainstorm, since we camped through several of them. One was a tropical storm with some fairly high winds. Not one drop of water. Ever.

    This, it's cooling properties, and ease of set-up are reasons we are still keeping the tent as opposed to selling it or passing it on to another family member.

    Well, since we actually LIVE in FL, we camp through lots of those unpredictable Florida "white-out" storms. We have stayed completely 100% in this tent. Whether or not you consider the rain fly "proper," is a moot point since it has proven itself time and time again.

    To wrap things up, I'm not trying to warm up this tent, I am just amazed at how it keeps us cool in the hot, humid summers here. In past tents, we have used a window unit air conditioning with our tents. My current issue was keeping our PUP warm (which I solved with the proper heater.) We will not be using this tent in the winter.

    As a life-time camper, and I mean since birth, I can tell you I have owned many tents in my life. All of them likely "el cheapo" by your standards. Most have been Coleman, Jeep, and most recently the Bushnell. We have even owned a .... get ready for it .... HORROR OF HORRORS [:O] [:O] [:O] [:O] ... an Ozark Trail.

    Unfortunately, none of them let our "internal warmth escape out the sides." They all stayed hot in the summer and required air conditioning, even in the northern states that we lived.
     
  18. tzmartin

    tzmartin Not here for a long time but here for a good time! Diamond Supporting Member

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    I still camp with a tent from time to time. I keep on waiting for it disappoint me so i can buy an other one but it is still waterproof and reliable. It's a target brand tent i bought years ago. It has the same kind of rainfly that drains the water off very well. The rainfly covers the screen ceiling so there's a lot of ventilation. I've also taken a can of scotch guard and treated it. Water still beads fine. I do get a little water when the seams on the bottom are too taunt. It would have to be a downpour though.
     
  19. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day this what you would use to keep warm in the tents... Coleman Cat heater of the 60s...

    Turn this upside down until the white gas would form a round wet spot of the top of it. Turn it back over and light it off. You would get a flame jump up a foot or so high for a few second then the catalytic action would take place in the heater.

    This would then put off an amazing amount of heat for many hours...

    [​IMG]
    google image

    lost a many of gloves laying on top of it haha....

    I still have one like shown above and also one of the newer smaller versions that looks like this photo

    [​IMG]

    It was really nice and cozy in a tent when these portable tent beds came on the scene. Off the floor and great sleeping. We always had the small ones where you tie wrap together to make a queen size cot...
    [​IMG]

    We have the three room tent with large front area for sitting etc and two same size back rooms which was perfect fit for two of these portable tent beds tied together... The other smaller tent room was always the catch all areas...
    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Loved my tent camping days... We always carry a tent to setup along side of our off-road POPUP setups...

    Roy Ken
     
  20. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    We still tent camp sometimes as well. I've always loved the feeling of a tent, which is likely why I am so attracted to PUPs.

    I used to own one of these back in the day. I would use it to get the tent really hot before we went inside at night.

    That's a great looking set up. So cozy and nice, I could seriously live there. I could never live in a mansion, but I could live in these photos. This is my version of a wonderful life.
     

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