If you’ve ever been camping in the colder months especially, you’ll most likely have experienced some form of condensation or dampness in any roof tent that you’ve camped in. This is a real problem for some people- and almost certainly if they’re not taking any measures to prevent it. That’s why we’ve written a guide on how to prevent condensation in a roof tent to hopefully help you campers out!
What Is Condensation?
In order to understand how to stop condensation in a roof tent, we first need to understand exactly what condensation is and how it is formed. Condensation occurs when moist, hot air (water vapour) meets a cold surface, which turns it into liquid. That’s why this is particularly a problem in the colder Winter months because the tent walls will be colder during this period, therefore leading to more condensation!
This hot moisture can come from lots of people breathing (each person can exhale up to 1 litre of water vapour into the air), which obviously can’t really be helped! It comes from the moisture in wet clothes or gear evaporating into water vapour in the air. Then it can also come from the natural humidity in the air, which can vary depending on the area you’re in.
During the night, all of this moisture condensing in the roof tent can lead to it looking like the roof top tent is leaking if you’re not careful, which can get pretty annoying if it’s happening every night!
How Can I Prevent Condensation When Camping In A Roof Tent?
Stopping condensation is mostly about making sure there’s enough ventilation/airflow to blow the moist air out of the roof tent before it condenses on the tent walls, ensuring there’s as little moisture/water vapour in the air as possible and trying to reduce the amount of humid heat in the roof tent. So that’s the basics covered, now let’s get onto the more specific tips.
1. Keep Windows Partially Open
Keep the windows in your roof tent partially open to help airflow, which should help let the moist air escape out of the roof tent before it has the chance to condense on the tent walls. The more open they are, the more ventilation you’ll have, but then obviously you sacrifice heat with this, so it’s a balancing act between these to ensure that there’s less condensation, while you also stay nice and toasty! Ideally there will be some wind outside, so you can camp with your tent windows facing the wind to help the ventilation further, but this is obviously out of your control!
2. Leave Wet Clothes And Gear In Your Vehicle
Make sure to leave any boots, clothes, towels or any other equipment you have that can hold moisture either in your vehicle or in your awning, so the moisture in these items doesn’t evaporate during the night, increasing the likelihood of condensation occurring.
3. Train Your Pets To Sleep In Your Car
Now this may be a controversial one, but if you’re finding condensation to be a consistent problem, then consider asking your pet (politely of course) to start sleeping in your vehicle or awning. This will ensure the moisture they breathe out at night and the moisture they have in their fur doesn’t get into the air. If you feel this would be just too much for them (or you) to handle though, then make sure their fur is thoroughly dried out by either using a towel or even a hair dryer on them before you go to bed to ensure the moisture they put into the air is as minimal as possible!
4. Avoid Camping In Wet, Humid Places
If you find you’re getting condensation when camping in wet, humid areas such as near lakes, rivers or any other water sources, then consider avoiding these spots, as the extra humidity in the air could lead to condensation.
5. Get A Fan
Getting a USB fan and plugging it into a portable power station for electricity, using a rechargeable fan or even a battery powered fan should increase the airflow in your roof tent further and therefore help prevent condensation. Here's our guide on portable power stations if you're struggling on which to choose too!: The Top 6 Best Portable Power Stations To Give You Electricity When Camping/Overlanding - UK Edition
6. Buy An Anti-Condensation Mat
Putting an anti-condensation mat underneath the mattress in your roof top tent should prevent moisture/damp from building up under your mattress and help allow more under mattress ventilation.
7. Use A Dehumidifier
This is a pretty logical step that lots of people haven’t thought of. If you want to reduce the amount of moist, humid air in your roof tent and therefore condensation, then plugging a dehumidifier into a portable power station at night should help with this. Even if it’s just a small capacity one, this should still help!
8. Get Dehumidifier Packs
Using dehumidifier packs or dehumidifier bags in your roof top tent can help absorb the moisture in the air with their hydrophilic crystals, leading to less condensation. Simply leave them in your roof tent and the crystals will eventually turn to water once enough moisture has been collected from the air. This is a decent solution if you don’t want to use electricity and they’re usually pretty cheap too!
9. Buy Reusable Desiccant Silica Gel Bags
These are similar to the dehumidifier packs/bags, except the silica gel inside them won't change into water when they absorb moisture and you can heat these up in order to reuse them. But like the dehumidifier bags, you can just leave them in your roof tent when it's up or down to avoid condensation and ultimately mould!
10. Buy A Diesel/Propane Heater
Having a diesel or propane heater that pumps warm, dry air into your roof tent can help reduce condensation by making the air less humid and therefore unable to condense on the tent walls. It will also blow the air around and out of the roof top tent if you have the windows slightly open too.
What Can I Do If I Get Condensation Or Dampness In A Roof Tent?
Air It Out
Air your roof tent out till it’s dry by leaving it set up with the windows and doors open straight away before closing it ideally, but if this isn’t possible because of rain ect, then do it within 24 hours. You may also need to put your mattress on its side off the floor in case there's any moisture underneath it too. This whole process is also called drying it out by some people!
Remove Damp Gear
Make sure you remove any damp clothes, shoes and bedding in order to speed up the drying/airing out process because if you don’t, the moisture in these will just evaporate, potentially making the condensation worse!
Wipe With A Towel
Use a towel to wipe down inside and outside the roof tent to help speed up the drying/airing out process.
Use A Diesel/Propane Heater
Pump dry warm air into your roof tent using a diesel or propane heater while the windows and doors are open in order to speed up the drying/airing out process. Having one of these on during the night can also prevent the condensation/dampness from happening in the first place too as said before!
Use Dehumidifier PacksUsing dehumidifier packs/bags should speed the drying out process up if you have them in the roof tent while leaving the windows and doors open. It will also help if you leave one of these in the roof tent while closed if you're unable to dry the material out due to the rain!
How Can I Remove Mould From My Roof Tent?
If you've notice that you've got mould on your tent after closing it for an extended period of time while it's wet, then you can follow these instructions to kill the mould off, while ensuring the tent isn't damaged:
1. Mix 100ml of Milton Sterilising Fluid with 1000ml of water, so it's diluted.
2. Use a sponge to wipe the mixed solution onto the mould, so it comes off and leave it on for 30 minutes.
3. Wash it off with cold water.
Please note that you may need to reproof your roof tent after doing this with something like Fabsil Universal Protector to ensure it's still waterproof.
So there you have it, you should now be well and truly condensation proof on your travels! All of this is just advice for what to do if you’re struggling with condensation in your roof top tent. Lots of people will barely have to think about any of this if they’re camping in the warmer months particularly, but it should be good to know if you ever run into the problem hopefully! If you have any extra tips to avoid condensation when camping in a roof tent that you’d like to share with us, then please feel free to shoot us an email and we’ll consider adding it!
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