Tent manufacturing technology has evolved a lot in the last couple of years, but they still have a problem that it’s not likely to get fixed soon: tent condensation. There are many things you can try to help reduce this naturally occurring phenomenon, and a good tent dehumidifier it’s the best way to keep the inside of a tent dry and prevent damp.
Although they work great with tents, and you can feel a huge difference in the amount of humidity that’s in the air, it’s important to know that you will not be able to stop the condensation process completely.
But before you fire up the Amazon Shopping app, let’s find out what you need to know about a tent dehumidifier and how you can choose the best one.
Types of tent dehumidifiers for camping
For portability and camping purposes, you can choose from 3 different types of dehumidifiers:
- Chemical Absorbent Dehumidifier (desiccant dehumidifiers): They usually contain a cartridge filled with a silica gel or other highly absorbent material. In most devices, an operating fan will suck in the moisture that’s inside a tent, and “hold it” in that highly absorbent fabric.
- Water Collecting Dehumidifier: Again, it applies the same principle of vapor collection, but here, the vapors will touch some cooling coils, and they will condense in a container.
- Dehumidifier Bags: Most likely, you will find them to be made of silica gel or powder.
The cost varies dramatically, with the bags being the cheapest one, but it will also deliver the worst performance in a short period of time. Overnight though, they do work great.
How much water vapors do they need to handle?
If you want to see some results, you will need to figure out how much humidity the new tent dehumidifier will need to handle.
It’s a fact that one person can exhale up to 1 liter of water during a 24 hours period. That’s a lot of water that has to go somewhere. Inside the tent (such an enclosed space), these vapors will quickly condense on the rainfly, and the water will quickly find it’s way down towards the sleeping area.
So you need to figure out how many people will sleep in that tent and then look for a dehumidifier that can cope with that amount of humidity. When you read the specs, you’ll find out that the volume of moisture that it can extract is calculated per hour. So, run the numbers.
Also, if you camp near a lake, for example, you might want to consider the high humidity that’s already in the air.
If you decide to choose a fan operated unit, consider that any motor will make some noise. You’ll most likely use the dehumidifier during the night, so an ultra quiet device is a must.
Manufacturers will need to display the maximum noise levels that their product will produce, and for your guide, a quiet one should not exceed 50dB. Anything more than this and you’ll probably have problems sleeping.
Of course, there’s also a 0dB alternative, if going for the moisture absorbent bags.
Battery powered vs. conventional plug&play
If you have access to a power source and you care how much energy the device will use, then go for a plug & play dehumidifier. You’ll get the best results, and you don’t need to worry about recharging it.
On remote campsites, however, a battery operated dehumidifier is the only choice. Although they work great, and the battery can last for a long period of time, you’ll see that you’ll struggle to find one that has enough power to deal with all those water vapors.
DIY version – can you do it?
We are DIY-ing almost everything these days, and for sure, you can build a homemade dehumidifier. The internet is full of guides on how to build one, but mostly, people are making moisture absorbent bags, and I really don’t know if it’s worth the trouble; they only cost $10-$15.
So, what’s the best tent dehumidifier?
Let’s look around and see what products are worth buying and will help with that nasty moisture. From worst to best:
5. DampRid FG60FS Moisture Absorber
These are basically some crystals that will deal with the moisture, damp and bad odors produced by tent condensation. You need to hang them somewhere and let them work.
- Straightforward set-up process. Just lay them around and forget.
- They can last up to 60 days, but I do believe that this number is going to decrease if used for camping tents.
- Really cheap.
- Fragrance-free; we all know what fragrances are made of.
- No immediate results;
- Unreliable for large spaces;
4. Zarpax LV2-250 Reusable Dehumidifier Bag For Camping Tents
These little bags will work great for small tents (Amazon link). You simply through them somewhere inside and, with time, they will do their magic.
- They are easy to dry: just put them in the microwave for 5 minutes, and that’s it.
- The little penguin shape will change from blue to pink to notify you that the bags are full of moisture.
- The absorbent material is silica gel.
- The results are don’t come to fast. They need to work during the night to feel some changes.
- They are not suitable for large volumes of moisture.
3. Stack-On SPAD-1500 Rechargeable Cordless Dehumidifier
You can charge the stack-on dehumidifier (Amazon link) overnight and take it with you when camping.
- It’s going to get unnoticed because it’s so small and compact.
- A full charge will last for up to 6 weeks.
- Perfect for a 2 person tent.
- It’s not going to work for large family tents.
2. Pro Breeze Electric Mini Tent Dehumidifier
Fifty dollars will buy you a quality product (Amazon link). Small and compact, this is perfect for combating tent condensation at low levels.
- Works very well in small and medium tents.
- Has a water container that can be easily emptied. The smart sensor will shut off the device is the tank gets full.
- Can cope with up to 9 ounces of moisture per day.
- It does require a power source, making it unusable for remote camping areas.
- Doesn’t work during very cold days.
1. hOmeLabs 30 Pint Dehumidifier for large tents
Big family? Big tent? All you need to get rid of condensation is a power source (camping generator) and this portable dehumidifier from h0meLabs. Although it’s designed for home use, campers are smart enough to adapt it to work on a campsite.
- Massive power – it can suck up to 30 pints per day. Not bad if there are a lot of people sleeping in your tent.
- You can adjust the moisture setting if you don’t want the air to be to dry.
- It works great against smells and odors.
- Perfect for 6-10 person tents.
- They will emit some heat.
- A bit too big for some.
Q: How to properly use a dehumidifier when camping?
Keep the tent as ventilated as possible during the daytime. You’re not going to stay much inside in that period, so make sure all vents and doors are open. This way, you help the dehumidifier to achieve better results during nighttime, by lowering the amount of water vapors as much as possible. When it’s time to go to sleep, plug in your device and let it do its job.
Q: How cold is too cold for a tent dehumidifier to work?
Camping in the winter will not work great for these devices. They usually operate at temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q: I am using a moisture absorbent device, but there’s still water on the tent walls, why?
A: First things first: If there’s already condensation inside your tent, no dehumidifier will help with this. Remember, they only draw in moisture from the air, not from the tent walls. Secondly, make sure you check that your tent doesn’t leak; very often, condensation is mistaken with water leaking in from the outside.
While they do help with condensation, tent dehumidifiers will struggle to work if everything you do is to make condensation even worse. So help your device by camping in dry places, opening all the vents, doors, windows whenever you’re not using that tent. Remember, condensation can cause some serious problems, and you need to take care of your tent.