Staying Cool in a Tent

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Staying Cool in a Tent

Post by agnosticpope » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:45 pm

My first and only time going was in 2007 (my sister got married last year that weekend!) and I ended up going to bed early (never a problem for me) because I was waking up at 7 AM or so as it was dreadfully hot in my tent.

It's not a problem staying cool once I'm up, but there's a lot of great art being done at night -- the giant oil derrick fireball comes to mind -- but I even went so bed early as to miss the controversial early man burn.

I was thinking of trying to do better with putting insulation/sun repellent materials (like the stuff you put in your car windshield) up and that might help (I had thought of that and it also seems to be used by folk). I was also thinking of rigging up a dry-ice based passive cooling system (i.e. put some dry ice with a little bit of insulation and a place to release air) underneath my tent as well, but wasn't sure if that was a "Good Idea". My target temperature in my tent is somewhere around 80 degrees.

If there's any other good hints let me know. I don't want to bring any sort of obnoxious motor or anything though.

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Post by SonOfUgly » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:58 pm

shade over the tent will help a ton

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Post by Generic Anonymity » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:15 pm

Shade structures are usually a great help, as suggested by SonOfUgly.

I like the idea of a dry-ice fueled passive system, but I think it requires some research. At what rate will your dry ice be sublimating? Will your insulation slow it down enough? How much dry ice would you need to last the entire week? Can you afford however much dry ice that is? Will you be suitably separated from the dry ice, and will it pose a threat to anyone else?
wikipedia wrote:Prolonged exposure to dry ice can cause severe skin damage through cold burns, and the fog produced may also hinder attempts to withdraw from contact in a safe manner. Because it sublimates into large quantities of carbon dioxide gas, which could displace oxygen-containing air and pose a danger of asphyxiation, dry ice should only be exposed to open air in a well-ventilated environment.
For this reason, dry ice is assigned the S-phrase S9 in the context of laboratory safety. Industrial dry ice may contain contaminants that make it unsafe for applications where it comes into direct contact with foodstuffs.

Although dry ice is not classified as a dangerous substance by the European Union, or as a hazardous material by the DOT for ground transportation, when shipped by air or water, it is regulated as a dangerous good and IATA packing instruction 904 (IATA PI 904) requires that it be labelled specially, including a diamond-shaped black-and white label, UN 1845. Also, arrangements must be in place to ensure adequate ventilation so that pressure build-up does not rupture the packaging. The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States allows airline passengers to carry up to 2 kg of dry ice in carry-on baggage and 2.3 kg in checked baggage, when used to refrigerate perishables.

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Post by FrankA » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:06 pm

Also note that dry ice turns in to co2 when it evaporates.

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Post by phil » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:16 pm

> My target temperature in my tent is somewhere around 80 degrees.

Son of Ugly has the answer. Put a shade over the tent that completely shades it from the sun while allowing airflow. My suggestion is a completely opaque cover; you need to block infrared, which carries heat from the sun. You can have the shade over the top and the east of the tent, which will give you shade till almost noon if you angle things just right. Or top, east and south, which will shade you till after noon. You'll still get air flow from the two completely open sides.

Completely opaque means no light comes through it at all.

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Post by agnosticpope » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:21 pm

Shade is good, but I wasn't sure if it would be enough on its least for me (and here, by "good enough", I just mean "to sleep past early morning"). As I tried sleeping in one of the community structures at some point and couldn't do it because of the heat.

There's definitely an engineering problem to be had here -- and I thinking about doing some experimenting this week. And that's also why it's going under the tent...not on it and definitely put some separation between the actual material. The problem of CO2 doesn't seem to be terrible. Unlike say, actual ice, the emission doesn't produce a ton of gray water and I was going to see if I could rig something so the vapor went more into the air than say, inside my tent (but I'd get a fire alarm-like CO2 detector just in case). The issue of other people's safety is definitely a concern as well, and through measuring the weight of the ice sublimated off, I should be able to figure out how many liters of CO2 I'm giving off per hour.

And yeah, the problem of cost per degree cooled is definitely one I'm worried about, but since you can keep a cooler cool with dry ice for almost the whole week, I figure with sufficient insulation it should be possible to keep a tent cool as well.

But I actually enjoy creative engineering, so I don't mind if it turns out to be a little bit of effort to get it right.

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Post by cunfuzelled » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:56 pm

what i do to keep my tent closed is i atach one of these

Image ... dZViewItem

to the top of my tent. and one of these to the side of the tent


after this to keep the dust out go to home depot and buy a hepa rated airfilter for an airconditioner. cut a piece off of the filter and stick it over the fan to stop the dust. then cut a small hole somewhere else in your tent perferably far away from the fan and add a small piece of filter to allow the air to leave. your fan will turn on as soon as the sun comes up and shines on it.

with a 1 watt solar panel you could use quite a large 12 volt computer fan with quite a bit of airflow.

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Post by Oldguy » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:08 pm

Solar car window fans help vent hot air at tent peaks or zippered windows. Use blue painters tape for a seal instead of duct tape.

Definately use a sunshade, oversize rainfly, sheets, carport, carcover, whatever you got. Hang towels, clothes, anything to make shade. Ask to put your tent on the north side of an RV.
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Post by Barbie » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:22 pm

BEcome One with the Dust & HEat!
If I were to wish ANYTHING I'd wish I were ME!!

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Post by diane o'thirst » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:21 pm

Shade, and hang up a damp towel. (Good re-use/solution for grey water)

We did that in the (Pacific) yurt and while it didn't make it heavenly-beautiful, it did cut the dryness and some of the dust-fly factor. You'd be surprised at how little moisture it takes to take the edge off.

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Post by Fire_Moose » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:56 am

i had a monkey hut over my tent last year. I went to be around sunrise and slept til 10 pr 11 each day....of course i have no idea what time i was actually waking up..
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My ideas

Post by RACESV » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:12 pm

For my shade I buy used bill board covers. They are made out of really thick vinyl and you can cut a hole in them for tie downs and they dont tear after doing so. They only cost $25 from out door ad companies and are 14 foot by 48 foot. Way cheaper and better then actual tarps IMO. They will have ads on one side but if you only use a 20 by 20 section its hard to decipher whats on it. The ones I have advertise Styx playing at a casino.

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