Tent camping has many things going for it, but one thing that can be on the annoying side is condensation build-up.
Condensation can often be confused with a leaky tent, with tent quality being blamed, but the usual culprit is the amount of moisture contained in the air collecting as water droplets on the inside walls.
This is caused by the temperature difference between the inside of the tent and the cold air outside. It is particularly common on cold nights with clear skies.
The moisture level in the air will be influenced by the external weather conditions (rain, humidity level, cold temperatures), people (breathing, perspiration, eating, cooking) as well as from wet or damp gear.
You may not be able to eliminate it altogether, but here are our tips on how to reduce condensation in your tent:
1: Vent your tent
Cross ventilation can really reduce condensation in your tent.
Create airflow to expel the warm humid air before condensation forms by:
- Open any weather proof vents to facilitate airflow throughout the tent at night especially. Venting through mesh windows can also help, even if they are only left partially open.
- Position the tent and open the vents, tent doors and windows as much as possible to allow the wind to flow through your tent. Avoid, however, positioning the main door in the direction of the prevailing wind.
- Completely airing out the tent during the day, including your sleeping bags, to remove any residual moisture build up from condensation.
2: Store wet gear elsewhere
You can also reduce condensation in your tent by storing wet gear, including towels, 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, such as a dry sack, will reduce condensation.
3: Campsite Selection
When choosing and configuring your campsite, choose a warm, sunny spot on dry ground with a through breeze.
Avoid locations likely to be prone to the build-up of moisture, such as areas that are damp, low lying, without direct sunlight, or are in close proximity to water sources.
In particular, pitch your tent on the highest part of the site, and if there is damp ground, pitch your tent on a tarpaulin to reduce the moisture seepage into your tent.
4: Sleeping bags and condensation
We all want to snuggle deep into our sleeping bags on cold camping nights. In doing so, however, your moist exhalations can't escape and will introduce condensation moisture into the bag and reduce its insulation potential. Keep the hood over your head but avoid breathing into the bag.
5: Remove excess moisture
To speed up the drying time, wipe down the walls with a dry microfibre cloth or camp towel and shake the wet 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.
6: 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.
7: Avoid consuming hot food and drinks in your tent
Consuming hot meals and drinks can also introduce water vapour into the air and cause a buildup of condensation in your tent.
8: Choose a tent with a separate fly
When choosing your tent, make sure it has proper ventilation through the mesh windows and internal air vents.
While there are ways to combat condensation, if you are particular concerned, double-walled tents with tent flies will help reduce the amount of condensation in your tent as they allow for more of the moisture to collect on the outer wall.
The single-walled tent, or those that only partially cover the inner layer, will collect moisture at a higher rate under the single layer.
9: Properly peg and guy out your fly
And finally, if you have a tent with a fly or outer wall, you can reduce tent 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.