Condensation in tents does happen even to the most experienced campers. Have you ever woken up and found there is moisture on the inside of your tent, or a small puddle of water in your tent? You would be forgiven for thinking that your tent has leaked, or you might have had a small accident.
Don't panic this is a normal part of camping and nothing to be concerned about. Most likely this is simply condensation. To help understand this natural occurrence please read the guide below.
Is it condensation or has your tent leaked?
If you have found water in your tent, it is very unlikely that your tent has leaked. Most tents like Vango or Outwell are made to the highest specification using quality materials and components. From tough, waterproof fabrics to strong stitching techniques and heat-sealed seams. The tents are designed to keep the wet weather out.
How much condensation can form in a tent?
A single person can produce up to 1 pint (473ml) of condensation per night. For example, if you have 5 people staying in a tent, that’s 5 pints (2.36L’s) of water inside your tent. Adding to these other likely sources of moisture for example: Wet shoes, wet clothes, dogs, cooking and air. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, as the temperature falls at night. This means the moisture is released from the air, even if there are no people inside the tent.
The volume of moisture held in the air inside a 6-man tent when empty is equivalent to 1 pint of water.
Causes of condensation in tents?
Heat from people, electric or gas heaters and closed or poor ventilation airways can cause condensation. As the air warms up it meets the cool fabric of the surface of the tent the moisture in the air then condensates into liquid. e.g. similar to cars in the morning. As we sleep the process continues through the night and when we wake up in the morning there can be a lot of moisture in the tent.
Do all tents suffer from condensation?
Tent design & fabric type can reduce the amount of moisture that can turn to water inside your tent. Tents designed with inner bedrooms in the tent and good ventilation panels will have less condensation than a single skin with no ventilation. Weather conditions can also affect the amount of moisture in the tent e.g. on a cold night with no wind to circulate the warm air out of the tent, condensation will be likely.
In Vango Air tents, the air that is held in the beams of an Air tent circulates within the beams. If the outside temperature is much cooler than the temperature inside the tent, then the cooling of the air in the beams is quite quick. The warm humid air inside the tent then condensates onto the area of the beams inside the tent. This moisture can then appear as water droplets on the Air beams and in some cases may create pools of water at the base of the beams. If the prevailing conditions are particularly prone to condensation, remove items from around the base of the beams.
Polycotton Tents breathe better than most polyester tents because it is a blend of cotton and polyester, allowing the tent to breathe much better than a polyester tent. If the tent can breathe then condensation will be less of an issue.
Weather conditions that can make condensation worse?
There is an increase in condensation when the external temperature of the tent is significantly colder than the temperature inside the tent. Days when there is a large temperature drop in the evenings will see more condensation than usual and campers will have difficulty to stop the formation of condensation. Poor rainy conditions increase the likelihood of condensation as there will be more moisture in the air than usual. The fabric of the tent can be colder when it's raining increasing the rate in which condensation is created.
Does location of pitch increase condensation?
Yes, if you're camped beside a river, waterfall, forest there will be extra moisture in the air and the likelihood will be that you will experience a temperature drop increasing the likelihood of condensation.
My tent is wet from condensation, what should I do?
- Wipe the walls with a towel or cloth to remove condensation from the surface and stop any drips.
- Make sure all doors and vents are unobstructed.
- Leave all wet or damp items outside.
- Refer to the manufacturers manual to ensure you are aware of the correct ventilation options for your tent.
- If weather permits and the tent is fitted with mosquito net doors, leave these open to ensure maximum air flow.
Helpful tips to enjoy your camping experience
Turn Heaters Off
Heaters warm the air inside the tent, this will increase the amount of water the air can hold. Warm humid air can hold more moisture than cold dry air. The warmer the tent is the more moisture will be released from the air onto the tent surfaces. Instead of heating the tent, warm yourself up with the right clothing and good sleeping bags.
Location, Location, Location
Pitch in an area where the wind can easily vent your tent/ Don’t camp too close to water as this will increase humidity.
Cook only outside your tent
Primarily for safety but cooking also released large amounts of moisture into the air. Remember that extractor fan in your kitchen at home when the moisture is running down the splash back?
Bring Extra Towels
In some weather conditions, condensation can be hard to avoid, bring extra towels if your tent suffers from condensation.
Tent Care Guide
Your tent is the most important camping essential and you need to take great care of if you wish it to last as long as possible. Not caring for your tent and storing it in the wrong kind of environment can drastically decrease the quality and lifespan of the fabrics.
DRY IT OUT
Having a damp tent is a big no no when packing away your equipment, therefore we recommend that your tent should not be left wet for any more than a couple of days. (For Polycotton/TC tents no longer than 24 hours) Leaving your damp tent for a long period of time can cause the fabric to rot, increasing the chance of holes appearing. Mould will start to grow encouraging your tent to get a bit whiffy and look unkempt.
This will void your warranty.
Tent Inspectors cannot inspect mouldy tents due to health and Safety legislation. This further ruins the waterproof coating and could even cause your tent to leak on your next camping trip!
How do I dry my tent?
Campers with larger tents may find drying their tent more difficult than people with smaller tents, as finding a big, dry area can be challenging if the weather constantly lets you down.
Pitching in the garden: this is the easiest, quickest and most beneficial way of drying your tent If drying outside, make sure that once the flysheet is dry, you flip the tent over to dry the bottom of your tent. Ensure that when you flip your flysheet, the flysheet is on a clean dry surface.
TIP use your tent footprint or an old bed sheet to protect your flysheet(tent fabric).
Washing line: hanging your tent over the washing line in the garden is a great way to dry out your tent, allowing the air to travel through the whole of the flysheet and inners.
TIP – open all doors of the tent to allow air to escape, making it easier to fold and store. This will also freshen up your tent if odours are lurking.
Stair banister/Shower curtain rail:
These may sound a tad crazy but these methods will successfully keep your tent off the floor and allow water to drip or run off. If using this method, be sure to place towels to keep the carpet/floor clean.
TIP – take out the inners of your tent if possible as these are made of breathable fabric and are more susceptible if mould does start.
Garage: using this space with a makeshift washing line will dry your tent off reasonably quickly! Don't forget to open the door to enhance the airy environment.
DON’T: Put your tent in the tumble dryer. (This will void your warranty) This will not only damage your tent but also affect your dryer. The heat of the dryer can cause misshaping of your tent fabric, making it prone to ripping and melting parts of the tent.
No one wants to be putting up a dirty, smelly tent when going on a family camping trip, so when your tent is completely dry, you should check for any dirt lurking around the groundsheet. You can eliminate debris by using wipes, a towel or brush. Another way you could catch the crumbs and dry mud is using a portable vacuum cleaner, however try not to use too much force on the fabric as this could cause damage to the groundsheet.
TIP – Don’t forget to clean out any pockets in your tent.
You should also clean the bottom of your tent, if you do not use a footprint. We highly recommend a footprint for this reason, as these can be easily scrubbed and hung to dry!
TENT LOVING CARE
Before re-proofing and packing away your tent you need to check your tent for any tears or mildew appearing. If any rips or tears occur, be sure to repair them, so that they don’t get worse Gear Aid Tenacious Tape is what we recommend for tears.
If you wish to cover small holes in your flysheet / groundsheet the best way to repair them is to use the repair swatches provided and a self-adhesive repair patch (we recommend Tear Aid or Gear Aid).
- Cut the swatch of material to cover the hole
- Ensure tear is dry and clean
- Use Tear Aid to stick the material to the affected area
- Repeat this on the other side of the fabric
If mildew appears on your tent take immediate action to eliminate the chances of the mold spreading. We recommend Milton's sterilizing fluid, which works best well diluted and sponged onto the fabric. This will not remove the mold, however it will decrease the dispersion and bad smell.
FIGHT THE RAIN
Re-waterproofing your tent restores the fabric and also aids to protect against UV degradation, improving the lifespan of your tent. We recommend Fabsil Universal Protector for this.
How to use Fabsil: (Always read the instructions on the labels of Fabsil products before use) To make sure you have enough for your tent, we recommend buying a bulk bottle, and decanting it into a hand held spray gun (the kind you would use for watering house plants). Before you start, lay the tent down flat or pitch in the garden (which may be easier as the flysheet will be taut). Spray the solution onto the outside of the flysheet and catch any drips or runs with a sponge. Once you have pitched your tent, work your way round panel by panel ensuring maximum coverage with your reproofer and leave to dry as per instructions on the bottle.
It is advised annually to re-proof your tent, your tents water repellent coating may wear off, this can cause your tent material to "wet out" (absorb water), instead of it beading up and rolling off. If you experience any "wetting out" you will most likely have to reproof your tent before your next camping trip. Re-proofing with Fabsil Universal Protector also reapplies UV filters to protect the fabric from UV degradation caused by the sun.
STORE IT AWAY
The location and storage method is very important if you want to take good care of your tent and use it for a long period of time! You should store your tent in a cool, dry environment, packed slightly loose and roughly rolled the same as when you first unpacked it. Poles, pumps and other tent accessories should be kept in separate bags, ensuring the tent fabric is protected throughout the winter months.
DON’T: Store your tent if it is damp or dirty.
Storing your sleeping bags, rucksacks and camping essentials away is just as important as your tent, therefore also recommend you pack this away in a cool, dry environment. Keep all of your camping kit in the same place, making sure you know exactly where everything is when you go camping again! TIP – Do not over-pack the storage area as delicate equipment may get squashed, causing bending and breakages.
Check out these hints and tips to successfully pack away your equipment:
- Wipe down your furniture, ensuring no leftover stains or crumbs. This is also applicable to cooking equipment such as stoves, pots and pans, keeping the insects at bay when in storage for a long period of time.
- Furniture and kitchen storage units should be carefully folded up the way they were first purchased and into their carry bag for protection. This will help prevent tables and chairs developing scratches and marks.
- Removing any batteries is a good habit to get into. Remember to recharge them or get rid of them if they have run out. This means when you decide to go camping again, you have fully charged or brand new batteries to last you throughout your camping trips.
NB: This is merely a guide to assist you in maintaining your tent and improving your camping experience. Please always refer to full manufacturer's details to remain compliant for all warranties.
TENT & AWNING IN-STORE & ONLINE WARRANTY RETURNS POLICY
All tent & Awning warranty claims & returns must be inspected by trained qualified persons. This is done on behalf of Outback Jacks by third party inspectors (usually the Manufacturing brand) We work with our manufacturers to manage all warranty repairs & claims, If you believe your product has a manufacturing fault, please initially contact us and we will advise you of the most appropriate course of action. If you believe your tent/awning is leaking and before we start the returns process we need to rule out condensation. Please take a read of our tent care on condensation in case any of these apply to your reason here. If we feel your product needs to be returned for inspection, we will return the product on your behalf to the inspectors. The more detail about the issue/fault you can provide in a written email firstname.lastname@example.org, the quicker and more accurate we can aim to resolve the product issue. Due to seasonal demands and use of third party courier services, time to organise pallet collections, and for completed inspection can take from 5 - 20 working days. Please bare in mind there is also a time frame for a product to be returned to us after inspection. Please allow 3-5 working days. If it is deemed after a professional inspection that the fault is not normal wear & tear or a manufacturer fault exists, the consumer will be liable for repair costs & all carriage related charges. Note: Tents and awnings over 30kg are uplifted on a pallet for inspection. Products must be returned to us for inspection clean, dry and in their proper bag. Any products received in an unsatisfactory condition will be returned to the sender without inspection and may void their warranty due to mis-treatment of the product. The tent may not be accepted if the tent is wet or excessively dirty or has mold growth due to Health and Safety concerns - the tent must be 100% dry, or it will be returned to you without attention. This warranty covers the functionality of the product for its normal intended use. It does not cover a malfunction that has resulted from improper or unreasonable use and care or without maintenance, accidents, damage due to excessive winds/rain, camping in weather warnings, improper re-packing or natural degradation due to sunlight. Through a process of continual evolution, Tent manufacturers design and develop equipment for the intended end user. Please contact us if further advice is required. Please retain your original receipt, as proof of purchase will be required to authorise an extended warranty claim. In the event of your item being inspected and a fault found, we will repair, replace or refund in that order.
AS A GUIDE, THE FOLLOWING DAMAGE IS NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY:TENTS / AWNINGS
- General wear and tear over extended periods of use.
- Flaws in the fabric caused by excessive wear.
- Water ingress through fabric as a result of UV degradation.
- Water ingress through seams caused by excessive abrasion of seams or seam sealant tape.
- Broken zips caused by forcing, jamming or improper use.
- Over tensioned/stretched seams coming apart.
- Buckles subjected to undue force or abrasion.
- Broken carry/roller bag if they are over loaded, used for carrying other items or used as a toy.
- Any pole breakages/beam punctures, these are treated as "fair wear and tear".
- Collateral damage from a pole breakages/beam punctures.
- UV degradation.
- Condensation, usually caused by lack of ventilation.
Use by rental companies, outdoor centres, or youth groups, via commercial or not for profit Approved Activity Providers, is governed by our standard warranty terms. In any claim circumstance, manufacturers reserve the right to inspect in accordance with their fair wear and tear policy, and will advise of the outcome thereafter.
We will repair, exchange or refund the cost of the item(s) where appropriate.
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