20. Oktober 2020

Avoiding Condensation in your Single Wall Tent

You just got your new lightweight Tent (which means a Single Wall Tent) and thought condensation will be a thing of the past, but then got a wet surprise on your first night out? With our tips & tricks you will be able to avoid (almost all) condensation in your new shelter and have a great night's sleep in your new shelter!

Tarptent Moment on the island Hugla
Photo: © Thomas Gauperaa

Before we look at how to avoid it, it's good to know where condensation comes from. Condensation on the inside of your ultralite tent comes from several sources:

  • Wet ground, for example if you pitch your shelter after the rain on a wet ground (meadows, moss etc.)
  • Camping close to water bodies like lakes, rivers, swamp
  • Temperature drops in the evening or morning (often in autum or spring)
  • Storing wet gear and sweaty clothes in your shelter
  • Cooking inside your tent
  • And last, but not least, your breath

With these things in mind, there are several things to do to avoid condensation in your shelter:

  • Use a groundsheet on wet ground. Best are groundsheets like theTLS PolyGround which are not just light but also are not breathable, thus trap the moisture underneath it. Choose it slightly bigger than your shelter.
  • Try to camp not next to water bodies. While we all love the sound of a gurgling stream to fall asleep to, it adds to condensation.
  • Cooking inside your tent should be avoided if possible. If you can't avoid it at all, make sure your doors and vents are wide open, and don't let the water boil for a long time.
  • If it's not raining, and there's no rain forecast, hang up wet gear and clothes for drying outside. Our 2 mm Dyneema Cord works also great as a washing line, and believe us: It's way more comfortable to put on dry socks in the morning than the wet ones from the day before!
  • While you can not stop breathing inside your Single Wall Tent, you can open the vents and porch as far as possible, so that the moisture which which you exhale is carried away by the wind and does not accumulate on your flysheet.

If it rains you won't be able to keep the porch open, but the vents should be able to stay open and keep the inside still dry. You also might want to ensure that the inner of your leightweight shelter is as far away from the flysheet. This has two reasons: It improves the airflow between inner and flysheet, and the condensation which accumulates on the flysheet hopefully isn't splattered back inside by the rain falling on the flysheet & the wind which blows against it.

If you still have condensation in the morning, consider the next time to maybe camp at a higher altitude (away from streams and lakes) in a place where there's a bit of wind going. A cloth to wipe the walls - your trekking towel works great for that! - in the morning can help to dry the little bit of condensation which might have accumulated on the inside, so that you do not need to pack it away it wet. Or then you just can wait till the morning sun dries it for you, while you enjoy a leisurely breakfast!

Obviously, many of these points also apply to Tarps, Double Wall Tents and other types of shelters!

Fast & Light