Although lying in a tent and listening to the gentle pitter patter of rain can be relaxing, it is a different situation if condensation infiltrates inside the tent.
What is condensation?
Condensation occurs warm air contacts a cold surface. Think about a cold drink on a hot day.
Condensation forms in a tent as warm air inside moves out to the rainfly or outer layer, which is cooler because the outside air is cooler. The result is condensation on the underside of your rainfly. That water may then saturate your tent fabric or drip through a mesh window/door.
Here’s a few tips on how to prevent condensation.
Pitching your Tent
- Choose a dry spot, with the ground clear of sticks, rocks and no ant nests!
- A level spot is best and if on a slope, sleep with your feet downhill.
- A good spot is under trees but take care due to falling branches and inclement weather conditions as trees can act as lightning rods during storms. Trees will also protect as condensation will collect on top of their foliage, instead of on your tent and it tends to be warmer under trees.
Minimize additional moisture
Be aware and aim to minimize the sources of additional moisture inside your tent.
The main causes are:
- the existing moisture level in the air itself i.e. humidity
- each breathe you take at night although you need to breathe you cannot minimize!
- wet items you may have in your tent
Ventilate is the key
Whenever possible, ventilate your tent allowing the warm air inside your tent to be replaced with the cooler, drier air outside. This can be achieved by:
- Make sure the tent is pitched out tightly and the tension of the rainfly is tight so there is space between it and the wall/roof of the tent.
- Facing your door to face the direction of a breeze/wind.
- Roll up all windows and doors and only release if rain occurs with the aim to have cross ventilation.
Condensation – it’s going to happen
At times it will be unavoidable when camping. Ensure you have a towel so you can wipe away the droplets on your tent. It is also good to keep your gear away from the sides of your tent to prevent them getting wet.
Don’t forget to dry and air your tent before you pack it away when you get home!