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Tent Condensation...

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by Northern Dancer, May 7, 2014.

  1. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Man...some days I would wake up in the morning and could swear that someone threw a bucket of water into the tent sometime during the night. The inside of the walls were laden with dew that trickled down and formed a puddle around my sleeping bag just about where my head was. My clothes were damp and my sleeping bag was a bit wet. And in the winter? Did I see frost on the wall?

    Condensation occurs in tents when there is a difference between inside and outside temperatures and there is a water proof barrier between them. It's natural.

    In the camping environment there are three main sources of condensation in tents:

    • Weather Conditions: High humidity, low temperatures and rain are all contributors to condensation.
    • People: There is moisture in the air we breathe out and our bodies are always perspiring, the average person eliminates 1 litre [about 2 pints] of water per day through breathing and sweating alone.
    • Wet Environment: Wet or damp gear stored inside your tent.
    There is no tent design [that I am aware of] that can totally eliminate condensation completely. But there are some things that you can do to minimize the effects.

    So what can you do?

    All [good] tents will have vents, door and windows that can be used for ventilation to minimize condensation. Any wind or even a light breeze can be used to help eliminate the condition. I've even used a battery operated fan. If you make an effort to completely close of the vents you will only create more problems.
    • Open internal weatherproof vents like the ones on the roof.
    • Guy out external window flaps or ground level vents to allow airflow.
    • Put your tent so that the prevailing wind will assist with air flow.
    • In wet weather be aware that wet gear will increase the amount of condensation.
    On rare occasion I have used a camp towel to wipe down the walls.
  2. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Another thing you may notice is that condensation is a lot worse during the day when the sun is out. This is because of what is called the "greenhouse effect" which basically just means that the sun shining down on your tent heats up the inside which causes it humidity/condensation that was mentioned. Not that you should really be inside your tent during the day when the sun is out anyways but it is something to keep in mind and to keep your tent as dry as possible it might be a good idea to keep all of your tent flaps open during the day.
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