Moisture on the inside of your tent can often be confused with a leak. The usual culprit though is condensation, which is the natural process of moisture contained in the air collecting on the inside walls when the warmer internal temperature is cooler than the air outside.
The level of moisture in the air will be influenced by the external weather conditions (rain, humidity, low temperatures), people (breathing, perspiration, eating, cooking) and from wet or damp gear.
You may not be able to eliminate it altogether, but here are our tips to help reduce condensation in your tent:
1: Vent your tent
Creating airflow to expel the warm humid air before condensation forms on the internal walls is the most effective way to reduce condensation in your tent. In particular:
- Open any weather proof vents to facilitate airflow, especially during the night. Venting through windows can also help, even if they are only left partially open.
- Position the tent to allow the wind to flow through your vents and windows. Avoid, however, positioning the main door in the direction of the prevailing wind.
- Completely air out the tent during the day, and if needed your sleeping bags, to remove any residual moisture build up from condensation.
2: Store wet gear elsewhere
Wet gear, including towels, should be stored outside of the tent to reduce the amount of moisture evaporating into the air as it dries. If that is not possible, enclosing in a waterproof bag will reduce condensation.
3: Remove excess moisture
To speed up the drying time, wipe down the walls with a dry cloth and shake the tent to remove excess water from the surface. This task should be performed as early as possible on your day of departure to maximise the drying time before you pack up.
4: Don’t push gear up against tent walls
Maintaining a gap between your gear and the tent walls won't actually reduce condensation in your tent, but it will prevent any moisture that does accumulate from coming into contact with the clothing and sleeping gear.
5: Avoid consuming hot food and drinks in your tent
Steam can expel a significant amount of moisture into the air. An obvious way to reduce condensation in your tent is to avoid consuming hot food and drinks internally.
6: Choose a tent with a separate fly
Many tents have double walls, where the outer fly encloses the inner walls, either partially or fully. Condensation will be less likely to collect inside where there is a double wall because the outer fly layer reduces the temperature difference between the internal and external air. As a result, most of the condensation will collect underneath the outer rather than the inner wall.
Where the fly only partially covers the inner layer, usually overhead, condensation will collect at a higher rate under the single layer.
7: Properly peg and guy out your fly
If you have a tent with a fly or outer wall, you can reduce condensation by properly pegging and guying out the fly or outer wall so that the two layers are not touching.
In conclusion, with some simple measures you can reduce condensation in your tent and avoid those annoying easily with some simple measure and keep everything dry.
For more on camping with a tent, head over to our tent camping tips article.