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When camping in summer rain overnight or dew in the morning is fine as it'll likely all evaporate off in the day.

When camping in winter dew, rain, or sleet could lead to frost and ice on the tent overnight. Ice tends to make things brittle. My line of thought is along the lines of having to pack up the tent on a frosty / icy morning.

How would you prevent frost or ice from damaging camping equipment, like guy ropes for example? Hot on cold generally causes things to shatter as well (I've done this with a hot meal on a cold plate before) so what is the best way to help the melting process along? Is this necessary, or will ice not cause gear to become brittle?

To clarify: I'm not talking necessarily talking about going up mountains and being in the snow here, snow in that sense can be warm, and easy to brush off. I'm talking about camping out in the open, it's wet from rain or sleet or dew and that water has then turned to frost or ice overnight.

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  • I deleted my answer because it wasn't pertinent to your situation, as clarified.
    – ab2
    Nov 26 '15 at 16:59
  • @ab2 I think your answer was probably right in so far as lack of damage because of tent seasons and the solution to ice. It was just the snow comments and misunderstanding why you'd take it down in the cold which just sort of needed tidying.
    – Aravona
    Nov 26 '15 at 17:15
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We have experience with ice accumulating on our tent, but we just bang it off manually. We've never had to deal with a tent encased in strong ice.

Usually we'll reposition the pegs and ties because the tent has slumped from the moisture and then ice, but we just manually knock any of that ice off too. We haven't had to deal with more than a day or two of below freezing temperatures, so your conditions may be more extreme than ours.

Our main experience has been with snow, which is easy to knock off even from the inside -- but that is not pertinent to your question.

We have not noticed any degradation in our tent because it was subjected to frozen precipitation and below freezing temperatures for a couple of days. We have a three season tent. If you have a four season tent, resistence to very cold conditions should be part of the design.

In my opinion -- it is just an opinion -- the UV of strong high altitude sun and leaving the tent tightly packed in its stuff sack for long periods between trips shorten the life of a tent more than cold.

In summary, my advice is to manually bang off as much ice as you can, then swab the tent off with a towel or sweatshirt, then pack the tent loosely, if this is practical, and spread it out at the first opportunity. If you have to stuff the tent tightly in its stuff sack while it is still icy cold....well, that is a problem for which I do not have an answer. Except...carrying it even slightly loose will help.

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  • I really wouldn't think this is an issue- the safe working temperature for nylon and polyester is around -55 C, so your tent fabric and stakeouts will be perfectly fine. There's some literature about how climbing rope performs significantly worse when wet, but rope that has been dampened and then frozen actually performs better than wet rope (though still suboptimal to some degree). So unless your tent is tearing to pieces when you pack it up when wet, being icy won't do anything to it.
    – Patrick N
    Nov 26 '15 at 18:15
  • @ab2 thanks for the info with snow aside that makes much more sense.
    – Aravona
    Nov 26 '15 at 19:41

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