No one wants to sleep in a wet sleeping bag.
But, it can happen. If you’re camping in humid weather or near a water source, your bedding is bound to get at least a little bit damp.
Here are some tips to help keep your sleeping bag and other bedding dry when camping.
The most common causes of wet bedding while camping are a leaky tent and condensation. Make sure that your tent is watertight and use a waterproof groundsheet. Ensure adequate ventilation to reduce the levels of condensation inside the tent.
Why does bedding get damp inside a tent?
The tent is leaking and rainwater is finding it’s way inside the tent, making the bedding wet.
Condensation forming on the walls and inside of the tent can result in damp bedding ( and other things ).
When the temperature falls outside the interior of the tent will remain slighter warmer ( due to the occupants, heaters, lights etc ).
If your tent is poorly ventilated, then the interior will become humid causing condensation to form inside the tent and this will be absorbed by your bedding and clothing.
How to stop my bedding getting wet inside a tent?
To stop your bedding from getting wet there are a few things you can do:
Make sure your tent is waterproof. Use a good quality tent and check it for leaks before you go on your trip
Use a waterproof groundsheet to further protect your bedding from getting wet
Ensure adequate ventilation in your tent. Most tents have mesh type windows which will allow a steady circulation of air while preventing insects from getting inside.
The ventilation that they provide can help to keep the air inside the tent moving and prevent condensation from forming.
Pack all of your belongings in waterproof bags. This will help to keep them dry if your tent does leak
If it looks like rain, set up your tent in a sheltered spot. This will help to protect it from the elements
Make sure you have a good sleeping bag.
A synthetic or down filled sleeping bag will insulate you better than a cotton one and will be less likely to get wet.
If your sleeping bag does get wet, make sure you dry it out as soon as possible. A wet sleeping bag can lead to hypothermia.
Keep wet boots, coats and other clothing outside, away from your sleeping area.
If your tent has a vestibule then leave your wet gear there or, alternatively, get a gazebo or similar where you can hang your wet gear to dry.
If you take wet gear into your tent then you will increase the chances of condensation which will ultimately lead to damp bedding.
What can I do to stop my bedding from getting damp from condensation?
There are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of condensation that forms inside your tent:
Make sure the interior of your tent is clean and free of any dirt or mud. This will help the fabric breath better.
Avoid cooking inside the tent. The fumes from cooking can cause condensation to form
Pack all of your belongings as tightly together as possible. This will help to reduce the amount of cold air that comes into contact with the tent walls
If possible, try and camp in a dry location. A campsite that is sheltered from the wind and has good drainage will help to reduce the amount of condensation that forms
Make sure you have adequate ventilation in your tent. This can be achieved by opening the doors and windows or by using a fan.
If possible, try and camp in a location where there are trees or other vegetation. This will help to absorb some of the moisture in the air.
Keep the inside of the tent as dry as possible. Avoid taking anything wet into the tent.
If your clothes are wet then try to change outside, changing into dry clothes before you enter the tent.
If you adopt a strategy of wet outside/dry inside then you will reduce the risk of condensation and increase your comfort levels.
Use a dehumidifier to manage condensation levels
Using a dehumidifier can help to reduce the levels of condensation inside your tent.
You can purchase re-chargeable dehumidifiers cheaply from places such as Amazon, they charge up via mains electricity and can then be used, without any power supply, inside your tent.
They are surprisingly good and can be used inside your car, RV, caravan and anywhere else where you need to reduce condensation levels when you are not using your tent.
Most are small, portable and not much larger than a small purse.
Keep wet gear outside the tent
If you have wet coats, boots or other items then you should store them outside the tent – either in a vehicle, hung up somewhere or elsewhere.
If you bring damp or wet items into the tent then you increase the moisture levels inside which will then impact the air dampness and condensation risks.
Heated Tent – Use a heater inside your tent
If you use a heater inside your tent then this will help to reduce the amount of condensation that forms.
There are lots of different heaters to choose from and even the smallest will make a big difference to levels of warmth and condensation.
The warmth from the heater will help to dry out the air and stop condensation from forming.
But, this will only work if you make sure that the tent is ventilated so that damp and warm air can escape before it has a chance to condense on interior surfaces.
Use a fan to circulate the air
If you use a fan inside your tent then this will also help to circulate the air and stop condensation from forming.
The fan will help to move the air around and will help to disperse any moisture that may be in the air.
You can buy small, rechargeable fans, many will charge via USB or from the car cigarette lighter socket and will last several hours.
Even though they provide no heat the very act of moving the air around the tent will help to prevent condensation.
This will help to keep your bedding and belongings dry.
A little bit of preparation and common sense can go a long way in helping to keep your bedding dry while camping.
Condensation is a problem when camping but if you remember that most dampness is caused by condensation and poor ventilation then you will be able to take the right steps to prevent your bedding from becoming damp.
Do your best to provide ventilation and keep wet things outside and you will reduce the chances of having damp bedding.