How do you keep the dust out of your tent?

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
chloe
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How do you keep the dust out of your tent?

Post by chloe » Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:23 pm

We're thinking of bringing a cheap tent from k-mart but have read that others have had trouble with dust and sand blowing into the tent. Is there anything we can do to prevent this? Has anyone had experience with cheap k-mart tents?

We are also considering renting a nice tent for the trip but it is a bit more expensive. Is it worth it to have a nice tent? Does it make a big difference for comfortable dust-free sleeping?

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:18 pm

I think so.
Others don't.

Some cheap tents are much better than others.
Many put a tent inside a bigger tent or enclosed shade area.
If a tent has a small mesh area and a full fly, you may succeed in covering the mesh.
You want to keep dust out and stay warm at night too.

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Burp!
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Post by Burp! » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:25 pm

Simple answer is, you don't keep dust out of your tent. Or your car air conditioning, or your.... so on time 1 million.

If you get a fancy tent, for the rest of it's days it will have dust from the playa in it. Thats the facts.

Learn to love the dust, and then and only then you and Burning Man can be true friends.

One of my cars hasn't been to the playa for 5 years and every time I turn on the air conditioning I get a blast of playa dust in my face.

T.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:31 pm

That's what everybody told me when it was so windy my first year.
But when I saw a 4 season tent, I asked and the inside was very clean and it had no shade or enclosure,
There is a big difference in a light coat of dust and the two inches that were in my mesh topped tent.
The outside gets dusty, of course.

My cheap tent with a small piece of mesh was okay until the wind picked up enough last year.
And I tried to avoid going in and out in the wind.

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Post by diane o'thirst » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:07 am

You don't keep the dust out. You can only minimize it.

You do that by keeping the door to the lee of the wind. If it's a larger tent, you can sweep it out the front door and surround it with a canvas dropcloth "porch" that's easy to sweep.
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Intubater69
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Post by Intubater69 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:33 pm

I covered mine with a large comforter which helped minimize it (key word minimize)
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Post by DragginLady » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:15 pm

I bought a new Springbar tent for this year... It was expensive, but the only dust in it was what was carried in by shoes... Amazing!

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Post by bonzaikitty » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:47 pm

Dust-free simply does not exist.

Accept it. You can minimize the dust a little, but it will still be everywhere.

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BitterDan
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Post by BitterDan » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:07 pm

I cover the top and sides of my tent with sheets and blackout curtains. I still get plenty of dust inside but I also cover my cot and sleeping bag with a fitted sheet so I always sleep dust-free. Everything else in my tent is inside sealed storage containers of which I hardly got any dust in. During a dust storm, just deal with it and don't uncover your sleeping accommodations (sleep on top of it until the storm ends). Once the storm ends I use a trusty tent brush to sweep out the dunes in the tent and, after about 10 minutes of work, my tent is relatively dust-free again.
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Post by bonzaikitty » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:25 pm

I think I inhaled about two gallons of playa throughout the week.

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Post by BitterDan » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:27 pm

bonzaikitty wrote:I think I inhaled about two gallons of playa throughout the week.
Is that all? You must have an RV... :twisted:
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Post by bonzaikitty » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:32 pm

[quote="BitterDan"][quote="bonzaikitty"]I think I inhaled about two gallons of playa throughout the week.[/quote]

Is that all? You must have an RV... :twisted:[/quote]

Yeah, you are probably right.

A metric ton, maybe.

Playa lemonade has never tasted so good.

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boulderburner
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Post by boulderburner » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:06 pm

I bought a cheap $34 'Wenzel' tent, upgraded the poles and used a gluegun and extra fabric to cover the mesh (I still had 2 zippable windows if needed for ventilation.) Only dust that got in was the stuff I dragged in on my feet and clothes.

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Post by Doc Lightning » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:40 am

[quote="Burp!"]Simple answer is, you don't keep dust out of your tent.[/quote]

Yup.

Look. It's Burning Man. It's the Playa. All your stuff is going to get slimed. Get over it. If you need something to stay dust-free, DON'T TAKE IT TO BURNING MAN. Dust shakes out. It washes out. It wipes off.

But playa dust will happen. Trying to fight it will simply make your Burning Man that much more frustrating of an experience.
-Mike )'(
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Post by AntiM » Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:53 pm

Even in the worst white-out, we had little to no dust in the tent. Pressed fiber blanket over the mesh vents with a comforter spring clamped on top. Wiped our feet off before entry, only went in to sleep. Did all our washing and changing in the carport. So it can be done.

The carport however, had dunes. We didn't even try to block the dust, the carport is shade and a basic wind shelter. Even the bins which normally block the dust had it seeping in. Huzzah for ziplock plastic bags. And my vintage 50s wig box, for some reason not a speck of dust got past the old metal zipper.

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RedheadBarbie
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Post by RedheadBarbie » Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:51 am

I didn't find the dust to really be much more of a problem than I get at home from the puppies dragging in caliche. For you city slickers it may seem like a lot.

I will say though to put down rugs and bring the broom. "Honey, the broom is on top of the pile to put in the trailer because I want to take it. Make sure to bring it."

5 days later..."Honey, where's the broom?" "What broom?" "The broom." "I don't know." "Did you bring the broom?" "Why would I bring a broom?" "I told you I packed the broom." "No you didn't." "Yes, don't you remember." "Remember what?" "That the broom was in the pile of stuff to bring." "Was I supposed to put it in the trailer?" "Yes, I said I wanted to bring it."

"Oh, I thought you were sweeping."

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Post by dragonpilot » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:58 am

I was quite surprised at the relative small amount of dust this year in my tent. It's a 11X12 with 2 mesh triangles on top. I covered it with the rain fly. I was going to erect a sun shade over it, but the shade from a nearby RV kept me cool up to late morning.

Anyway, even with all the dust storms I took in less dust than last year. I did cover my bedding with a big blanket and all my other gear was in closed bins, so all I had to contend with was the dust on the tent's floor. Even that was so minimal I never bothered to sweep it out.

This was my fourth year and I came home with a hacking cough, sore throat, and stuffed sinuses....so it was bad, endurable, but bad. But, most everything is cleaned up and stored away for next year, except for an items or two I like to keep dusty when I need a playa fix :D
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Post by AntiM » Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:05 am

The hacking etc. may not be from the dust. There's a flu going around, four of five of us have come down with it, three on the trip home, and now me two days later.

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dragonpilot
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Post by dragonpilot » Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:56 am

Re hacking cough...that may be true...one of my travel mates just reported in that he had to stay home from work...cold symptoms, etc.

Dragon (*ack ack*)
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Post by BitterDan » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:14 pm

I have hardly been able to speak all week. :x
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Post by CapSmashy » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:58 pm

I had a TREMENDOUS difference in the dust levels from last year to this year.

Last year, the ridge pole blew out on my canvas wedge tent and I was left sleeping in the costco carport as my only shelter. I spent a few nights sleeping in goggles and my face wrap.

But I still loved every minute of it and was just thankful to have the carport. :)

This year, we invested in a Kodiak canvas tent from Cabelas and damn... what a luxury. About the only dust introduced into the tent came from us. There was some very fine dust particles around the side vents, but for the most part, it was refreshingly dust resistant.
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Post by MerkinMan » Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:25 pm

I am exceptionally pleased at how little dust got into my tent. It was a decent REI tent, and I used a fly. Virtually no dust penetration whatsoever. I guess you get what you pay for. I forget exactly what I paid for it...around $150. It was one of the "Half Dome" models. The salesman sold me on the fact that there's no exposed mesh right near the ground.
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Post by CLARKcon » Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:53 pm

Someone mentioned this out there, and the idea sounds good (if not entertaining), but to build/put a small 3-4 person dome tent inside of a much larger 10-12 person tent. It would seem that the larger tent would take the brunt of the "blow-through dust", just leaving the secondary snowflake dust. Even if not for dust protection, to be able to put gear around the free space of the smaller tent as storage/weight. Has anyone made this before, and what was the experience?
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Canvas tent

Post by justfred » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:17 pm

Get a canvas tent with windows that zip all the way up and no mesh top. Springbar are supposed to be great, but they're $400+; I've got a used Sears tent from CL for $20 that's been fine.

Put that tent under a popup shade or inside a carport, to lower the daytime temperature, and/or unzip daytime when it's not windy. Still won't be great for daytime sleeping, but it's nice at night.

Cover your bed with a sheet when you aren't in it.

Prepare to wash the tent repeatedly when you get home, with vinegar.
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gyre
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Post by gyre » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:33 pm

CLARKcon wrote:Someone mentioned this out there, and the idea sounds good (if not entertaining), but to build/put a small 3-4 person dome tent inside of a much larger 10-12 person tent. It would seem that the larger tent would take the brunt of the "blow-through dust", just leaving the secondary snowflake dust. Even if not for dust protection, to be able to put gear around the free space of the smaller tent as storage/weight. Has anyone made this before, and what was the experience?
This is pretty common.
How well it works depends on the larger tent.
It can make a crappo tent inside do well, or keep the dust off a good one.
Does seem warmer at night.

If the main tent is good enough, you could use a very weak for wind tent inside.

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CapSmashy
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Re: Canvas tent

Post by CapSmashy » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:28 am

justfred wrote:Get a canvas tent with windows that zip all the way up and no mesh top. Springbar are supposed to be great, but they're $400+; I've got a used Sears tent from CL for $20 that's been fine.
The Kodiak I mentioned above is pretty much an exact copy of the Springbar.
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Post by geekster » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:03 pm

I used a Springbar Vagabond 4 this year and am quite pleased. The only dust it got in it was what I tracked in myself.
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:23 pm

Put up a Costco 10x20 carport, lay carpet inside, then put your tent inside.
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Post by geekster » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:51 pm

The last couple of years we made a shade structure with canopy fittings, 1" EMT and shade cloth about 48' long and the tents are pitched under that. It is made in two halves and sort of looks like an M in shape with with the long uprights sloping up at an angle rather than straight upright. Sort of more like an upside down W. It is covered with porous shade cloth. This greatly cuts down on the wind load on the tents under it and keeps the tents cooler in the daytime. We have built our own shade the last four years but this year the recycled billboard vinyl on our main "hospitality" space gave up the ghost and pretty much shredded. It was time, I suppose, its fourth year on the playa. Vinyl doesn't hold up well to age, sun, and heat. We keep it stored in Empire in a trailer so it pretty much bakes for half the year and freezes the other half.

This we have learned for tent shade ... sloping sides work better than straight sides. Flat tops are generally bad. The "gull wing" roof that we currently have has worked the best so far but our opinion of that will likely change the first time we get a rainy event. The main hospitality shade is currently under redesign and the current plan is a two-part structure. A shade cloth outer structure and a tarp covered inner structure. The shade cloth outer GREATLY reduces driven dust and wind loads on everything. It allows the wind through but does reduce the velocity and reduces the stress on the inner structure.

The end result is that the inner structure can withstand the wind and you have less dust infiltration because the wind velocities are cut considerably.
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Post by BitterDan » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:59 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Put up a Costco 10x20 carport, lay carpet inside, then put your tent inside.
Unfortunately they don't hold out much dust (especially if you have a fully vented tent). They work great for the sun and wind though. Just make sure that you actually put the screws back in the feet before you stake them down or you'll have a flying shade structure like we did this year. :wink:
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