While there are so many great things about winter camping, waking up to condensation dripping on your head inside your tent is not one of them!
In this episode of the Snowys Camping Show, Ben and Lauren give you their best advice on how to deal with condensation on your next cold weather camping trip.
Listen to the full episode here:
Or, you can watch the video version here:
- 00:00 – Intro
- 01:58 – Waterhead ratings
- 03:36 – Difference between a water leak and condensation
- 04:19 – Single skin tents vs dual skin tents
- 05:15 – Physics of condensation
- 06:43 – Why ventilation is essential
- 10:24 – Keeping your tent dry
- 11:06 – Tension your fly properly
- 11:37 – Set up your tent using all guy ropes & pegs
- 13:00 – Add a fly to a single skin tent
- 13:38 – Ben’s Oztent RV tent condensation test
- 15:50 – Keep a microfibre cloth handy
- 16:42 – Breathability – canvas vs synthetic
- 18:22 – Don’t rest your gear against your tent walls
- 19:10 – Keep your wet gear out of your tent
Links to things mentioned in this episode:
- Microfibre towels
- Fly for tent
- Oztent RV Fly
- Camping tarps
- Shelters and gazebos
- Article on waterhead ratings
How can you tell if it’s a leak or condensation?
For those new to camping, when you camp in the cold and experience condensation for the first time, it’s easy to think your tent is leaking.
If there is a sheet of moisture that has coated the inside of your fly, then it is probably just condensation. But if it’s the seams or a specific point where there is water coming in, then it’s more likely to be a leak.
The science of it
Condensation will build up on surfaces where warm and cold temperatures meet. The warm air and moisture that you breathe out will meet the cold shell of your tent, which will eventually condense into water droplets.
The average person can breathe out from 250ml up to 2L of water per day. so unfortunately, you can’t avoid this, but there are things you can do to reduce the effect it has on condensation levels.
Ventilation is key!
The best way to get rid of the moisture you breathe out, is to ventilate your shelter as much as you can. This might seem counterintuitive but opening a vent or cracking open a window will keep your environment drier and more comfortable.
Set up your inner taut
You want to have as much space between your inner and fly so that they don’t touch and cause a point where moisture will pool. Ensure that you peg out your inner tent taut and tension your fly so that water/condensation can run off.
Setting up your tent properly will help prevent condensation. Image: Thermarest
Tension your fly
A properly tensioned fly will allow water/condensation to run off and will also create space between your inner and outer tent.
Add a flysheet to a single skin tent
If you own a single skin tent, then consider getting a fly for cold weather use. Some brands like Oztent make a separate fly for their RV range, or you can just set up a tarp over the top. This way the condensation will build up on the fly, instead of inside your tent.
Have a microfibre cloth handy
Have a microfibre cloth on hand to wipe condensation up in the morning and before you pack it away. Ensure it’s fully dry before transporting so that it doesn’t get mouldy in storage. Or, set it up again once you’re home so it has time to properly dry before being packed away.
Canvas tents are naturally breathable, so they will dry out a lot quicker compared to synthetic fabrics if they get wet. Take a little extra care with your synthetic tent to wipe it down and air it out so that it stays in good condition over time.
Keep gear away from the walls
It is tempting to maximise the space inside your shelter by resting your camp furniture against the walls, but that’s not something we recommend. This will create pressure points where water will be more likely to pool or seep inside.
Store your wet gear out of the tent
If you’ve got wet clothes and shoes, try to store them outside of your shelter in a vestibule or under cover. This is because as your gear dries out, it will add more moisture to the environment which is not ideal.
Thanks for listening, tune in again for next week’s episode!
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of the Snowys Camping Show Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts, or Stitcher so you never miss an upload.
If you have any questions for Ben and Lauren, make sure you head over to our Facebook group and let us know as we’d love to hear from you.
Catch you out there!
About the writer...
When it comes to camping, hiking, travel and adventure – the Snowys team have all the expert advice, guides, and tips on everything outdoors.