I just did my first hike with my new Flash Air 1 tent. During one night it rained heavy and there was significant condensation buildup on the inside. When heavy rain drops hit the tent the impact sent the condensation on the inside spraying down on me. Is this to be expected or can something be done about it?
I too would like an answer to your question. I’m shopping for a backpacking tent. Have ordered the $800 big Agnes but I’m worried about condensation. am also looking at a nemo hornet elite. Hope someone out there has answers for us.
@Mats Thanks for reaching out!
This is a great question and we're curious to know more details. What region of the country were you camping in? Was it humid as well as rainy? Did you have condensation issues on the other nights of your hike? The reviews of the Flash Air Tents are a pretty mixed bag, with some folks complaining about condensation and others saying they have no issues whatsoever. This leads us to believe that those issues are fairly situational.
As you likely know, single wall tents like the Flash Air are known for issues with condensation. The only real way to combat condensation is to create airflow through the tent, preferably drawing cooler air from down low and moving warmer air out of the top. The Flash Air tents mitigate this issue by increasing the mesh in the body of the tent, putting the vent in on the fly, and by designing the fly to stake out up off of the ground. The idea being that ample air can be drawn in from below to move moisture through the tent and out of the upper vent. Any number of issues can impact the movement of air, including hot or stagnant air, high humidity, and excess moisture, to name a few.
The best thing you can do to reduce condensation is to choose a campsite that is away from water, not in a low spot where air can settle and has a breeze, stake the tent appropriately, open the vents, and to think about where your breath is going (primary source of condensation) and allow for airflow there (not block it with the wall of the tent your pack in the vestibule, as an example).
Hopefully this helps, thanks!
Not an REI employee but...
If condensation forms then heavy rain will shake it loose in any tent so that in itself is not surprising. The asymmetric shape of the Air 1 with the long shallow angled roof panel might make it more likely for the water to fall off rather than run down the fabric.
Early tests I saw of the Air 1 indicated that condensation would likely be a problem in conditions where it can form due to the solid side wall and no internal "gutter"...many single wall tents have an internal mesh gutter along all walls to allow condensation to drain and also provide airflow that helps prevent condensation forming. There was also an indication that some additional seam sealing might be wise along the flap that covers the roof mesh. The Air 2 tent is likely a better bet for condensation since both side walls are mesh and it should ventilate better but it has a larger roof with no gutters which may still be a problem. I haven't seen tests on it so that is just speculation.
You may be able to regulate it by keeping the doors more open but that may not be practical in heavy rain.
I have not personally tried either Air tent and instead opted for a 6 moons lunar solo which REI does not sell. It has gutters on 3 sides (really 4 since the body has 5 sides) and a mesh wall. I have used it in the wild but not in conditions where condensation was a problem...it has some other minor annoyances to do with its guy system that I intend to address before my next outing. It is my first trekking pole tent. I have other two wall tents.
From @OldGuyot "You may be able to regulate it by keeping the doors more open but that may not be practical in heavy rain."
This is an important thing that people overlook. When bad weather comes peoples inclination is to zip tent doors, and vestibules closed tight. When in fact it is far better to leave them open to promote air flow.
Anyone who has spent a hot night in a tent, knows that it is cooler in a tent with the mesh door zipped open. We need that same airflow on rainy days too!