Moisture on the inside of your tent can often be confused with a leaking tent. The usual culprit though is condensation, which is the natural process of moisture contained in the air collecting on the inside of your tent walls when the warmer internal temperature of the tent 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 condensation in your tent altogether, but here are our tips to help keep it at bay and to minimise its impact:
1: Vent your tent
Creating airflow through your tent to expel the warm humid air before it condenses on your internal walls is the most effective way to reduce condensation. In particular:
- Open any weather proof vents to facilitate airflow through your tent, especially during the night. Venting through windows can also help, even if they are only left partially open.
- Position your tent to allow the wind to flow through your vents and windows. Avoid, however, positioning your main door in the direction of the prevailing wind.
- Completely air out your 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, enclose in a waterproof bag in your tent.
3: Remove excess moisture
To speed up your tent 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 give your tent the best chance to dry before you pack up.
4: Don’t push gear up against tent walls
Maintain a gap between your gear and the tent walls to prevent any moisture that does accumulate from coming into contact with your clothing and sleeping gear.
5: Avoid consuming hot food and drinks in your tent
Consuming hot food and drinks inside your tent will also contribute to condensation and should be avoided.
6: Choose a tent with a separate fly
Many tents have double walls, where the outer fly encloses the inner tent, either partially or fully. Condensation will be less likely to collect inside double wall tents because the outer fly layer reduces the temperature difference between the inside of the tent and the external air. As a result, most of the condensation will collect underneath the outer rather than the inner wall.
In tents where the fly only partially covers the inner tent, 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, to minimise condensation, make sure the two walls are not touching by properly pegging and guying out the fly or outer wall.