Understanding Condensation

Condensation in tents and awnings can happen to the most experienced campers. Have you woken up to find moisture on the inside of your tent or awning? You would be forgiven for thinking that your tent/awning has leaked during the night, but what has probably occurred is condensation and it can put a real dampener on your holiday.

Air temperature inside the tent/awning can become warm and humid from people, heaters, fridges, fridge vents and a lack of ventilation. When the warm air comes in contact with the cooler fabric of the tent/awning, moisture in the air condenses into liquid forming on the inside of the fabric. Condensation will form on the coldest parts of the tent/awning – depending on the type of tent/awning – maybe the whole roof, internal metal poles, windows and air tubes probably creating a puddle of condensation at the bottom of the tube where the condensation can collect.

The air held within the airframe of any air product circulates within the airframe. If the outside temperature is much cooler than that inside the tent/awning then the cooling of the air in the airframe is quite quick. The warm, humid air inside the tent/awning then condensates onto the area of the airframe inside the tent/awning. The moisture can then appear as water droplets on the airframe and in some cases create pools of water at the base of the airframe.

Depending upon the atmospheric conditions, the weather and the amount of moisture in the ground, the condensation could be quite severe and is commonly mistaken for leaking.

Did you know that 1 person can produce up to 1 pint of condensation per night? So let’s say you have 5 people in a tent, that’s potentially 5 pints of water inside your tent! Other likely sources of moisture are wet shoes, clothes, dogs, cooking, even the air itself! Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, as the temperature falls at night the more moisture is released into the air. Fact, even without occupants, the air in a six man tent holds approximately 1 pint of water!

You can help to prevent condensation by using some of our top tips.

  • Use a waterproof groundsheet – To prevent ground moisture rising inside an awning, lay a waterproof groundsheet overnight throughout the whole awning. (This may contravene with some site rules)
  • Ventilate your tent/awning – Reduce the humidity of your tent/awning by promoting good airflow.
  • Store wet stuff outside – Towels, boots, waterproofs, swimming trunks; sweaty friends… keep that soggy, wet stuff out of the tent.
  • Never cook inside – Primarily for safety, but cooking release large amounts of moisture into the air.
  • Turn heaters off – Further warming the air inside will increase water vapour in the air as warm air can support more moisture.
  • Don’t pitch too close to water – Rivers and lakes can increase humidity. Pitching a little further away from water sources can help reduce condensation.
  • Take spare towels – In some weather conditions condensation is difficult to avoid. Reduce it using the tips above and pack a spare towel to simply wipe it away.

Coated materials are designed to prevent rain coming in and in doing so it prevents moisture getting out, just like a walking/rain jacket would do. Therefore we cannot make condensation disappear.

Condensation is not covered by any manufacturer’s warranty – we and you cannot be responsible for the weather.