Tents are such a lifesaver on any camping trip. They provide you with protection from the elements and a place to sleep at night. But, if you’re trying to get some rest during the day, the bright sun can make it difficult. That’s why it’s important to know how to blackout a tent.
The most common way to blackout a tent is by using a blackout liner. These are usually made of a thick, dark fabric that blocks out all light at any time of the day. You can purchase a blackout liner online or at most camping stores.
Read on to learn about this solution as well as many others. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to control the amount of light in your tent.
Table of Contents
How Do You Blackout a Camping Tent?
1. Use A Blackout Liner
A blackout liner is a great solution if you want to block out all light.
You can purchase a blackout liner online or at most camping stores. They are usually made of a thick, dark fabric that blocks out all light at any time of the day.
To use a blackout liner inside your tent, you can use pins or Velcro to attach it to the ceiling of your tent. Make sure that the liner is taut so that no light can get in.
You can just cover the windows or completely cover all interior surfaces of your tent.
If you want to take this a step further, you can use two blackout liners. One for the ceiling and one for the walls. This will create an even darker environment inside your tent.
You can also use a tarp to create a makeshift blackout liner. Simply drape the tarp over the ceiling of your tent and use pins or Velcro to secure it in place.
2. Use a Dark Sheet
If you don’t have the budget for or access to specialty blackout fabric, a dark sheet can provide you with many of the same benefits. The thicker the fabric, the better job it will do at keeping out the light.
However, the thicker fabric will be harder to hang inside your tent.
Still, this is a very economical option and you may even have a few dark sheets lying around the house. If you don’t want to buy new ones, consider stopping by the thrift store to see what they have.
Just like with the blackout liner, you can use pins, poles, or Velcro to attach the dark sheet to the ceiling of your tent.
Again, make sure that it’s taut so that no light can peek through.
3. Place Your Tent in the Right Area
An easy way to reduce the amount of light in your tent is by placing it in an area that is shaded.
This can be a little tricky to gauge if you haven’t camped in the area before.
A good rule of thumb is to look for an area that has trees or other large objects that will block the sun.
You can figure out where the shadows will be cast in the morning by looking at the sun. Then, you can set up your tent in the afternoon when the shadows are the shortest.
In the morning, in this area, the shadows should be longer.
This means that there will be less direct sunlight hitting your tent.
As a result, it will be cooler inside and the light level will be lower.
This method won’t completely blackout your tent but it will reduce the amount of light that comes in without any materials whatsoever.
4. Purchase a Darker Coloured Tent
If you’re in the market for a new tent, consider purchasing one that is a darker colour.
While most tents are some shade of green or brown, there are now black and dark grey options available.
These tents are designed to absorb more light, making them ideal for those who want to sleep during the day.
Of course, they will still let some light in but it will be significantly less than a lighter coloured tent.
If you want the darkest environment possible, look for a tent that is double-walled.
These tents have an inner layer and an outer layer. The gap between the two layers creates an additional barrier against the light. They also help to insulate the tent and make it more resilient against extreme weather.
5. Get an Eye Mask
Sometimes it’s just easier to wear an eye mask.
This will block out all light and allow you to sleep, no matter what time it is.
Of course, you won’t be able to see anything while wearing the mask, but it’s a good option if you want complete darkness.
An eye mask can also be helpful if you’re trying to take a nap during the day.
There are many different types of eye masks available. Some are made from silk and others are filled with gel. There are now 3D masks that are contoured to fit your face without even touching your eyes.
For a calming experience, certain masks contain herbs and aromatherapy. For a high-tech experience, pick up a mask with built-in speakers.
As you can see, you have many more choices than a flimsy piece of black cloth.
Find one that is comfortable and will stay in place so that you can get the most rest possible.
6. Buy a Blackout Tent
If you’re looking to go all out and want to regularly sleep during the day, a blackout tent is your best bet.
These tents are made of heavy-duty materials that block out all light. They’re a great option for individuals or families who like to catch up on rest while out in nature.
Blackout tents can be expensive but they’re worth the investment if you want to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime. They’re available in all sizes, from small one-person tents to large family-sized tents.
7. Use a Tarp
If you don’t want to spend money on a blackout tent, you can always use a tarp.
This is a more DIY approach but it will get the job done. First, find a large tarp that is big enough to cover your entire tent.
You can usually find these at hardware stores or online. Make sure that the tarp is black so that it will absorb as much light as possible.
Next, wrap the tarp around your tent. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Make sure to keep a small opening near the entrance to your tent for easier access.
You can secure the tarp in place with some rope or bungee cords. You can also stake parts of the tent into the ground for more security.
Be sure to leave enough slack so that you can still get in and out of the tent.
You can also hang the tarp above your tent. This will allow much more light in but can reduce the amount of light significantly if you’re mindful of where you place it.
8. Use a Reflective Blanket
Emergency blankets are usually made from a Mylar material that is very reflective.
This can be helpful in blocking out light. Simply drape the blanket over your tent and secure it in place.
Keep in mind that these blankets are extremely lightweight, so you’ll need to secure it well or it could blow away.
You can find these blankets at most sporting goods stores or online and may even have one in your emergency pack. They are very affordable and helpful in the case of other disasters or accidents.
9. Use Black Garbage Bags
If you don’t have a tarp or an emergency blanket, you can always use black garbage bags.
This is the most DIY approach but it will work in a pinch. Simply attach the bag to your ceiling and pull it tightly over your tent’s windows. Secure the bag in place with some tape or tie it to one of the poles.
10. Use Your Towels
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any other materials, you can use your towels.
Hang them over the windows or door of your tent to block out as much light as possible.
Try not to hang towels that are super wet, since they will create humidity and make your tent more uncomfortable. This could also lead to mould and unpleasant odours.
Instead, if you’re using wet towels, try to drape them on the outside of your tent so that they can dry in the sun and fresh air.
11. Face Your Tent to the West
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
If you face your tent towards the west, you will be less likely to be woken up by the sun in the morning. It won’t remove much light, but it will help you to avoid concentrated light beating down on your windows or door in the early hours of the morning.
Benefits of Blacking Out Your Tent
There are several benefits to using a blackout tent or liner. Here are some of the reasons you may want to try this technique out:
You’ll Get a Full Night’s Sleep
If you’re trying to sleep during the day, it can be difficult with all the light coming in. Perhaps at home, you have curtains that allow you to have a consistent waking time.
But in the summertime, it’s usually quite bright early in the day. This can throw off your natural body clock and make it harder to sleep at night. By blacking out your tent, you can create the perfect conditions for a full night’s rest, no matter what time it is.
This will give you more energy to hike, swim, and enjoy all the activities that come with camping.
You Can Create a Cooling Effect
Another reason to blackout your tent is for temperature control. If it’s extremely hot outside, the last thing you want is for your tent to be like an oven. By blocking out the light, you can also block out some of the heat.
This works by preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the inside of your tent. As a result, it will be cooler and more comfortable for you to sleep in or take a break during the day.
You’ll Be Camouflaged
If you’re wilderness camping, you may want to blend into your surroundings. That way, you’re less likely to be seen by animals or people.
In some areas, it’s not uncommon for animals to wander into campsites looking for food. If they can see your tent, they may be more likely to come close and investigate.
A blackout tent can help you to prevent this. By not having any light shining through, you’ll be much harder to spot.
There’s Increased Privacy
When you’re camping with friends or family, you may want to have some privacy. Blacking out your tent can give you the chance to change clothes or take a nap without feeling like everyone is watching.
It can also be helpful if you have any valuables in the tent. It’s not the same as locking up your precious items, but it could help to deter a passer-by if they can’t look in. You can check out our comprehensive list of tent security tips here.
It Extends the Life of Your Tent
If you’re using a blackout method that lets less light into your tent, that means that your tent is getting less exposure to UV rays.
This can help to extend the life of your tent since UV rays can cause damage and fade over time.
Plus, it will keep your tent looking new for longer, so you can enjoy it for many camping seasons to come.
Other Ways to Sleep Well While Camping
Now that you know how to blackout a tent, here are some other tips for getting a great night’s rest in nature:
Use an Inflatable Mattress
Many people wake up on the “wrong side of the bed” when camping, and this is largely due to the fact that there is no bed! A mattress is a perfect solution for this.
You can easily blow it up with a nearby electricity post or use your car’s cigarette lighter. You can also get a mattress in a variety of sizes so that it fits whatever type of tent you’re using.
There are plenty of comfortable alternatives to using an inflatable mattress. You can use a foam mattress, a cot, or even a blow-up sleeping pad. Any combination of these items will help to make your sleeping experience much more pleasant.
You can even take steps to insulate your air mattress for added warmth in the colder months.
Pack Lightweight and Breathable Bedding
During the summer, it can get quite hot at night. You may find yourself tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable.
To help with this, pack lightweight and breathable bedding. This will allow you to stay cool while you sleep and prevent you from waking up in a sweat.
Some good options include cotton sheets, linen sheets, or even a cooling blanket. Make sure to carefully read the material specs before you make your purchase so that you know what to expect.
We’ve discussed how beneficial an eye mask can be while camping above. However, this won’t block sound out!
If you’re trying to get some rest in a noisy area, be sure to pack earplugs. This way, you can block out any unwanted noise and drift off into a deep sleep.
People tend to wake up early at campsites and make a lot of noise starting fires, talking, or moving around. If you want to sleep in, earplugs will give you peace and quiet.
There are many different types of earplugs for you to choose from. Some only partially block out noise while others completely muffle all sound.
Try a few different types to see which ones work best for you and your camping situation.
Finding a comfortable fit is important, but you also want to make sure that the earplugs won’t fall out during the night. Look for earplugs with a soft silicone or foam tip.
You can even get custom-fit earplugs that are made specifically for your ears. These provide the best noise blocking and will stay in place all night long.
Stick to a Schedule
One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep while camping is to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This is especially important for longer camping trips.
If you can, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier for you to fall asleep (and stay asleep) through the night.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Just like at home, a bedtime routine can help you to relax and prepare for sleep.
A few simple things you can do include brushing your teeth, reading a book, or writing in a journal.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that will help you to unwind and feel ready to drift off to sleep.
Get Away from Technology
Technology can be a major sleep disruptor. The blue light from screens can interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy).
Camping was historically a way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and disconnect from technology.
Nowadays, it’s easy to bring your devices with you everywhere you go. But if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, it’s best to leave them at home or only use them during the day.
Put away all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This will help you to unwind and feel ready for sleep by the time you hit the hay.
Many phones also have a feature called “night mode” or “blue light filter” that you can use to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your device.
If you must use your phone at night, be sure to enable this feature.
Wear the Right Clothes
We’ve already mentioned how important bedding is for a good night’s sleep. And the same thing goes with the clothing you choose to wear to bed.
You want to make sure you’re wearing something that’s comfortable and won’t cause you to overheat during the night.
A pair of lightweight, breathable pyjamas is always a good option. And if it gets cold at night, be sure to keep an extra layer or two next to you so it’s easy to grab if you need it.
Bring Along a Fan
If you find yourself getting too hot at night, a small fan can be a lifesaver.
It will help to circulate the air in your tent and keep you cool while you sleep. If you have electricity at your campsite, you can feed the cord through your e-port or window to keep it running all night.
If you’re backpacking or camping at a primitive campsite, a rechargeable fan is a great option. It will run for the first hour or two that you’re falling asleep and will probably lose its charge after then.
But this is enough to cool you down and get you comfortable so you can drift off to sleep.
You can recharge your fan the next day with a car outlet or a solar panel, depending on what you have available and prefer.
Drink Night-time Teas
Drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed can help you to relax and prepare for sleep. Chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm are all great options.
You can find these herbs in pre-made tea bags or loose-leaf form at most health food stores.
Simply heat up some water on the fire, add your tea, and let it steep for a few minutes.
You can also add a bit of honey to sweeten the deal if you’d like.
You can also bring natural supplements that will have a similar effect. However, drinking a warm glass of liquid has its own calming benefits.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can blackout a tent. Some of these methods are more effective than others, but it really depends on your personal preference.
Other factors can affect what’s best for you as well, including your budget, how often you camp, and what environments you typically camp in.
Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that works best for you and your camping needs.
We hope these tips help you get a great night’s sleep while camping.