Q&A: Tent Condensation

Occasionally we receive outdoor gear questions from readers. Since we figured others would find them useful too, we’ll share some of those Q&A’s here. If you think we missed the mark, let us know by leaving a comment.

Q:

What is the best way to keep moisture from gathering on the inside of your tent at night? I'm new to camping in general so this was a bit odd for me.
Any help would be nice.

Steven H.

A:

Overnight condensation is a common problem. Most of the moisture you find inside your tent  in the morning is coming from you and your tentmates. When you breathe and perspire you're adding moisture to the air inside the tent. That's a good thing...we know you're alive! But without some way out of the tent, that moisture will condense on the cool outer surfaces of the tent in the same way that humid air will condense on a cold glass of water.

The key to preventing condensation and moisture build-up is to provide adequate ventilation and airflow through your tent. By allowing some air to flow through the tent all night, you'll give the moisture a way to escape. You'll also find your tent less stuffy.  How exactly you achieve this ventilation will depend on the type of tent you own, but the basic idea is to have an opening low on one side of the tent and an opening high on the other. The easiest thing to do is just open up the doors and let the air flow. If your tent has two doors and it's not raining out this is usually pretty easy to achieve. Some tents even have built-in vents -- many with only one door have a high vent located on the opposite side. If you're camping in particularly humid conditions, you'll also want to pitch you tent so the the vents are able to catch the prevailing breeze and draw fresh air through your tent.


Filed under: Outdoor Skills

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