It's difficult enough to have a good night's sleep in a tent, but it's even worse when you wake up in a tent lying in a pool of water. You can feel like you've hardly slept at all. Hardly the preparation needed for a long hike. The good news, however, is that your tent doesn't have leak. It is most probably condensation. And condensation is easily avoided.
Why Does Condensation Occur?
Condensation forms when the temperature outside is a lot colder than the temperature inside. Condensation is particularly prevalent when the temperature drops suddenly during the night.
Rain causes condensation in similar way. The rain cools down the outer fabric of the tent and eventually comes in contact with the warm air inside the tent.
Steps for Preventing Condensation
- Find ways to increase the airflow into your tent and lower the temperature inside. One of the best ways to do this is to leave part of the tent door open. Most tents will have an outer fabric door and an inner mesh door so you you can leave the outer door open and the mesh door closed. Your tent should also have vent holes around the sides. Make sure these hole are free from obstruction.
- Find a good spot to pitch your tent. Condensation obviously needs water to occur so find a dry spot and one that is far away from water as possible. Don't pitch your tent on leaves or twigs as these tend to collect moisture during the night.
- Put up a fly sheet. Even if it's not raining, you are advised to set up your fly sheet. It gives you an extra layer of protection against any condensation.
- Avoid anything that raises the temperature inside the tent. That includes cooking food, snuggling with a hot water bottle, putting on a heater and drinking hot drinks. If you want to keep warm put on extra layers of clothes. In particular, try to keep your head and feet as warm as you can.
- Put your wet clothes and muddy boots outside the tent. Make sure you put them on top of a ground sheet and cover them with awning.
- Avoid touching the sides of the tent at night. If you move around in your sleep you may have to learn this rule the hard way. Water will seep into the tent if you apply pressure to the fabric.
How to Get Rid of Condensation in Your Tent
The best way to get rid of condensation is to use towels to wipe it away. Don't press too hard against the tent or more water will seep through. If you wake up in a wet tent, you will probably won't have time to dry it in the morning. Take a break in the afternoon to dry it under the sun.