How to keep your tent dry

We offered our rig up for a tour at a camping rally and people were REALLY interested in how we live in such a small space!

Paul Wilson over at contacted us about sharing some camping tips with readers — and when he suggested one on how to keep your tent dry, we gladly accepted. We used to tent camp. Then we went to a tent on wheels. Then we finally bought an RV and now travel in our Roadtrek van. One of the reasons we gave up on tents was because of rain. Since we’re probably not the best ones to give advice about tenting, we decided to let Paul have a shot at it.

Keep on trekin’! ~ Ari & Jessi

Before we bought our Roadtrek, we traveled in even less space! We used a “tent on wheels” manufactured by Shur-Kamp out of Custer, Michigan. Sadly, they were ahead of their time on tiny living and are no longer in business.


If you’re a regular camper, you’ve most likely woken up damp at some point, and we can all agree it is not a pleasant experience. Although most tents are waterproof, there is still a risk of water getting in and soaking your gear, especially when it’s raining.

While you cannot predict the weather, you can prepare for it. So, are you wondering how to keep your tent dry when camping? There are a couple of things you can do. Here are seven tips that will prevent your tent from getting damp.

1.   Pick a Good Spot

Choosing a location with adequate drainage prevents water from pooling beneath your tent. If possible, avoid spots with lots of grass. When you camp in grassy areas, there is a higher chance moisture gets into your tent.

Furthermore, you should avoid camping too close to a body of water. This include lakes, streams, or swampy areas where the air is more humid. It is equally important to stay in an environment with good airflow. Places with strong winds can force water into your tent, so we do not recommend camping in areas with vicious winds.

2.   Use a Rain Tarp

 If your tent becomes damp outside and does not breathe properly, condensation can set in. By draping a tarp over your tent, you keep your tent dry and condensation to a minimum. Those tarps offer another layer of protection against heavy rain.

Ensure you set the tarp’s roof downhill, so any excess water trickles downhill rather than uphill into your tent. If the spot you picked is short on trees, try placing hiking poles or sticks securely in the ground and string the tarp over your tent. Also, angle the high point of your tarp away from the wind, so the wind doesn’t blow away the tarp.

3.   Use a Groundsheet

Even if you choose the best camping site available, you might still face wet ground. Consider using a groundsheet beneath your tent to keep moisture away.

It is important to place the groundsheet correctly.  An improperly placed groundsheet collects water and damages your tent and overall camping experience.

4.   Choose the right tent

Dampness in your tent is usually due to bad circulation or by drying wet equipment in the tent. A good tent with proper ventilation is crucial. For example, large tents often have lots of windows, the quick air flow can keep the inner space dry and cozy.

It is obvious that you should choose a tent with waterproof designs. Note that there are tents labeled with water-resistant, which only wicks a small amount of water away. Don’t be confused by those marketing words.

Porches are important factors too. A large porch lets you dry your camping gear overnight without worrying about moisture building up inside your tent.

It also lets you sort out your wet gear without bringing precipitation into your tent. In addition, a porch gives you more room to cook. Cooking in your tent can create condensation or avoidable spills, neither of which you want.

5.   Don’t Spill Anything

Try to avoid storing damp clothes, shoes, camping gear, and other items in your tent as much as possible. Dry them on the tent’s porch or place them in a waterproof bag overnight to reduce humidity if you have wet items.

Also, consider cooking outside your tent so the vapor dissipates rather than gathers inside your tent. Cooking inside will increase the humidity levels in the tent.

6.   Don’t Forget to Carry a Microfiber Towel

It would be best to carry a microfiber cloth with you on your camping adventure. These towels are lightweight, meaning you can easily put them in your backpack. Microfiber towels absorb lots of water and can be repeatedly wrung out.

If you notice condensation inside the tent, you can use a microfiber towel to wipe it down. Similarly, you can also wipe the exterior of your tent in the morning before packing up the tent.

7.   Ventilate

Ventilation is the most effective way to prevent condensation in the tent. Typically, the air inside the tent is heavier and more humid than the air outside. Proper ventilation improves and reduces dampness in all parts of the tent.

To correctly aerate your tent, pitch your tent door in the direction of the wind. This simple technique helps your tent stay dry. Open all rainfly vents, particularly those not facing the wind’s direction.

Doing this will allow sufficient airflow while expelling the humid air. However, keeping the vents open may allow pesky insects and pests to enter your tent. As a result, you will need to bring along pest repellents.

For best results outdoors, it is advisable to use an insulated tent. A good insulated tent is breathable, with important ventilation systems which maintain the ideal room temperature. This way, your tent’s interior remains dry and cozy.


Camping in the rain can be thrilling so long as you prepare properly.  Ensure you carry warm and dry clothing so even if you get wet, you can quickly change.

Furthermore, bear in mind that keeping your tent dry prolongs its lifespan. So, ensure you thoroughly wipe down the tent and hang it out to dry immediately you get home. Don’t forget to follow the tips we discussed as camping in a wet tent is never fun!

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