The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 2 December 2007

Wendy Gets Wet in Wales

With a weather forecast of heavy rain and strong winds, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to give Wendy (our Stephenson’s Warmlite 2R) her second outing. The first outing was a little unfair as on a cold night, on a campsite with no breeze at all, it was inevitable that she would become very wet with condensation.

The location this time was the Pumlumon area and I had high hopes for her performance.

It started off well. Despite the high winds, she barely moved at all and the dreaded flapping that I had expected to keep me awake did not materialise. Given such strong winds, I was unsurprised to find that the double-skinned middle-section stayed dry. The fact that the single-skin end sections were wet with condensation was not of any great concern, as that would just drain out per the design.

Things started to go downhill when I came to get up this morning and found water under my sleep mat. Rescuing the down items before they became too sodden, I then found that the bit of water I thought was there was actually quite a lot of water (in which was sitting my waterproof trousers and both of our jackets).

The real sense of humour failure came about when I moved my Therm-a-Rest to find a puddle a good two inches deep underneath it (my bed having been on the downhill side of the pitch). Eeek!

I wasn’t annoyed about the water per se – we just had to deal it as best we could. The annoyance was that having paid the best part of £300 for a tent, it had proved over the course of two outings to be completely useless to us. A tent with a 100% record of getting us wet is no good, particularly in combination with our down sleeping bags and jackets.

My assumption at this point was that my Therm-a-Rest, touching the single-skin part of the tent had channelled the condensation onto the floor rather than allowing it to drain out as it should (although that was a clutching-at-straws explanation as we had already mopped 2 litres of water from under my bed).

When I left the tent I found the real reason for our sodden state. (blush!) Despite having picked a pitch with due regard to the wet weather forecast, and which looked like it would drain well, the back half of the tent was now sitting in about six inches of water.

I’m pleased to say that my sense of humour instantly returned (well who couldn’t see the funny side of finding yourself pitched in a lake?). I no longer blame Wendy for the incident; it was clearly operator error and thus she will see the light of day again.

Lessons learnt? 1) Don’t necessarily shun the high and windy pitch in favour of a low and more sheltered one; and (more importantly) 2) Don’t ever trust my judgment as to whether an area is likely to flood in torrential rain!


  1. I hope you apologised to dear, dear Wendy.

    Us girls have feelings, you know.

    Love Wanda

  2. Great story! You might feel slightly better after you read my latest post: