Condensation in Tents and Awnings, Ways to Reduce the Effects

23/11/2018

Condensation in tents and awnings is an on-going battle that all campers are faced with, whether you are new to camping or a well-seasoned, well-travelled camper, condensation equally affects us all. Waking up in middle of the night or early morning to find moisture on the inside of your tent or awning can leave you believing that the canvas has leaked, during the time that you have been asleep. Don't panic! Your tent/awning is not leaking, it is just the fact that condensation has formed caused by warm air coming into contact with a colder surface.  

The internal air temperature in your awning and tent can become warm - caused by body heat, or from the use of using electronic device and appliances within the living area, such as heaters. As this warm air comes in contact with the cooler fabric, moisture condenses into a liquid and this spreads quickly over a wide area. Condensation forms on the coldest parts; this could be the roof, internal metal poles, windows or the air tubes of your awning/tent. Condensation on windows looks 'misty' in nature. Own an inflatable tent or awning?  You will most likely find a puddle of condensation at the bottom of the air tubes.    

Fun Fact! 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!

Here are Leisure Outlet's top-tips to reduce the effects of condensation:

Use a Footprint Groundsheet
Awning or tent footprint groundsheets are sold as an optional accessory and definitely worth considering to offer you and your tent/awning added comfort and protection. In use, a footprint groundsheet will help to prevent the ground moisture from rising and getting into the living area. However, some caravanning sites may not like the use of groundsheets as they can kill the grass, do check with your caravan and camping site. 

Using Sky Liners or Roof Liners
Sky liners and roof liners vary from brand to brand, some toggle inside of your tent/awning and some wrap around the outside of your tent. In use, a sky liner or roof liner gives your canvas an extra layer protection against the elements and offers a thermal barrier – helps to keep conditions cool in the summer, or adds warmth during the colder spells.

Good Awning/Tent Ventilation
Most awnings and tents, feature mesh ventilation panels that you can open and close, feature removable panels, feature secondary mesh doors or feature varying-control of opening on main access points. Though your tent/awning's design you can reduce the humidity of the living area and promote a healthy flow of air for comfortable outdoor living on those warmer days.

Storage of Wet/Muddy Camping Gear
Damp shoes, coats, towels, swimming gear try and store outside of the tent.

Heating
It is recommended that you should turn off your heaters as further warming the air inside will increase water vapour; warm air can support more moisture!

Pitching Location
Don't pitch your awning or tent to close to rivers and lakes.

Take Spare Towels
Try and reduce the build-up of condensation by carrying out the tips above. Any build-up of water caused by condensation, simply wipe away with a spare towel.

Condensation isn't completely preventable, but we can reduce the effects. You may notice the build-up of condensation on your vehicle's windscreen and windows; the same effect is happening with your awning or tent.