Nothing turns a great adventure vacation into a miserable mess faster than a wet tent. Once the inside of your tent gets wet, it can mean damp clothes and heavier packs if you’re hiking, and may put any fresh food stores at risk. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of condensation on the inside of your tent, you can reduce it and manage it.
What Causes Condensation?
Your rain fly will start to gather condensation because it is warmer than the air around it. It’s the same phenomenon that causes your glasses to fog up when you head inside. If you can keep temperatures closer to even, you dramatically reduce the amount of condensation dripping down your tent walls, soaking your stuff.
Solution 1: Pick a Dry and Covered Campsite
Where you pitch your tent makes a big difference. A site out in the open might improve airflow, but it also means a much cooler outside temperature. At night, your tent will warm up quickly with body heat, creating perfect condensation conditions. Choose a campsite that is protected under a tree cover, where the ambient temperature is a bit higher. Staying off the ground using a Tent Cot is another way to help. This allows air to flow underneath your shelter and avoids the potentially wet ground.
Solution 2: Ventilation
The more air you have flowing through your tent, the less heat you have trapped inside. Equalizing temperatures means that every breath isn’t adding a drop of water to your walls. Open every window and pitch your tent to take advantage of any breeze.
Solution 3: Store Wet Things Outside
Bringing moisture-packed items like wet socks or swimsuits inside the tent is a great way to hang them up without worrying about them flying off, but it also adds a ton of moisture. Keep your wet things outside the tent and take advantage of sunlit hours when drying them.
Solution 4: Upsize Your Tent and Open Your Sleeping Bag
Touching the walls in your tent can cause any collected moisture to pour inside. That’s why packing a tent that is larger than you need can be very helpful when trying to keep moisture trapped on the outside from falling on your protective gear. Also, don’t cover your head while sleeping. Sure, zipping into your sleeping bag will keep you remarkably warm, but it will also add up to a liter of water to the bag. If you’re hiking, that’s extra weight you don’t need. If you’re stationary, that puts your bag at risk for mildew. Multi-layer sleeping bag options let you get warm and dry quickly, and offer adjustable insulation levels.
Expect to see moisture on the outside of your rain fly come the morning, but if you’ve followed these tips, that’s where it should stay.