On many occasions, people have woken up to see a pool of water in their tent and think that it's a leak, but in fact it's a pesky case of condensation. Below we're going to look at what causes condensation and what steps you can take to avoid it forming.
What causes Condensation when camping?
Condensation is a scentific process where water vapor changes state and becomes liquid. It's the opposite process of evaporation. In tents, condensation occurs when the warm air inside of a tent hits the colder tent fabric. Warm air temperature inside of a tent can be caused by people, heaters and a lack of ventilation. It's important to know that condensation is massively increased by the presence of people - so the more people that are with you, the more likely you are to encounter condensation. In fact, just one person will produce up to one pint of condensation per night.
If you have a Breeze tent or awning, air will circulate in the beams. If the outside air is much colder than inside your tent or awning then the cooling of the air in the beams is fast. The warm, humid air inside your tent or awning will condensate onto the area of the beam. The moisture will appear as water droplets on the beams and can create pools of water around the base of the beam, which can often be mistaken as leaking. This can be hard to identify as the condensation will occur on the outside of the plastic inner beam that sits inside of the black casing. This will slowly trickle down to the bottom of the casing where it will drip out of the bottom, around the base of the beam.
On evenings where there is a lot of moisture in the air and the temperature has dropped off, it's important to make sure you don't have anything around the bases of the beams. We've tested hundreds of tents and awnings where our customers have believed it was leaking, and it was in fact down to condensation on beams. So please look through the ways to avoid condensation below and you'll have a much drier camping trip.
On days and evenings where there is a substantial temperature drop, it can be challenging to prevent tent condensation forming. Rainy conditions can also increase the chances of condensation occuring, often leading to the appearance of a leaking tent. Rain water on the outside of the tent, or rain water evaporating off the outer surface of your tent can cause the temperature of the fabric to decrease, leading to more rapid condensation as the air inside the tent comes into contact with it.
What can you do to prevent condensation?
As a starting point, make sure that you've located all of the ventilation points on your tent in order to guarantee good air circulation. If the weather is good enough, leave your doors and windows open whenever possible and make sure they aren't being obstructed by sleeping bags, chairs and other furniture.
When it starts raining, try to avoid closing everything up as that will only help to increase condensation - If possible, leave a vent partially open to still regulate air flow and reduce condensation build up time. Make sure if you have anything which is wet, that you don't store them inside the tent as that adds more moisture into the equation. Store wet coats, boots, swimming costumes and towels away from your canvas.
Heating the air inside of your tent will only increase the humidity. So ideally, you should keep yourself warm by wearing the right clothes and packing high-quality sleeping bags. Do not cook inside of the tent, not only is this dangerous as you are at a dangerous risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, but it will also add moisture into the air.
Make sure you pitch in the right place, You'll save yourself a lot of problems by simply pitching in an area which receives a natural breeze. Make sure you don't pitch anywhere close to water either, as rivers and lakes will also increase the humidity of air within your tent.
The best thing to do if you do experience condensation is to wipe the walls down with a towel or cloth to remove the condensation from the tent fabric. Dry up any pools of water with a towel and remove all wet items from the tent so that they can dry properly. It's important to remove as much moisture as possible so that it isn't criculated back into the air. And again, make sure you ventilate your tent. It's important to let in all the good air!