When you go camping, the first thing you look for is a shelter to keep you safe out there in the wilderness. While you may think that because your tent has four walls and a roof that you are protected, you would be mistaken.
One important thing that many campers overlook is the damage that U.V. rays from the sun can cause to your body. We all know to wear sunscreen outside and sunglasses, but you should not stop taking precautions at any time. Just because you are inside a tent doesn’t mean that you are protected from these harmful rays!
That begs the question – are all camping tents U.V. protected?
Not all tents are U.V. protected. You can find tents that are made of U.V. protected materials and there are U.V. blocking chemicals that can be added to your tent to make it more resistant to U.V. rays. That being said, there is no tent that will stay 100% U.V. protected and you will need to keep your tent treated to retain U.V. resistance for as long as you are using it.
Why is UV Protection Important in a Tent?
In recent decades, scientists have learned more and more about the damage that UV radiation can inflict on humans, the most notorious being skin cancer. If that wasn’t enough to scare you, it also causes your skin to age prematurely! That means plenty of wrinkles and sunspots.
These UV rays do more than just harm you, too. The radiation can quickly damage the fabric of the tent, making it less waterproof and more susceptible to tearing. Camping tents are not always entirely affordable, so you wouldn’t want yours to be ruined after only a few trips!
A camping trip is not worth potentially fighting for your life later on. If you want to protect yourself from these potential side effects and keep your tent standing, you need one that will protect you from UV rays…
… but are all tents made equal?
Are All Camping Tents UV Resistant?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Many tent manufacturers still have yet to use exclusively UV resistant materials. Even when they do, all material is able to be damaged by UV to some degree! There is no tent that is 100% UV-proof.
That might sound a little scary to some of you, given what you have learned about the importance of both your body and your camping tent being protected from UV radiation. However, there are ways to keep your tent protected and put your mind at ease and certain fabrics to be on the lookout for!
How to Make Your Tent UV Resistant
If your camping tent is not as UV resistant as you want it to be, you can take matters into your own hands and change that!
- Get your tent in either a dark or bright color. Darker colors tend to absorb more UV rays than light colors instead of letting them penetrate through to you. This is one easy step that can make a substantial difference in protection! Of course, that does not entirely fix the issue and the composition of dyes react in different ways, but this is always a good general rule to follow.
- Buy a tent with fabric that tends to be of a closer and heavier weave. The more space you leave between fabric fibers, the less resistant it is to UV radiation.
- Avoid stretching the fabric more than necessary. This will increase the space between fabric fibers and as a result, the UV rays will penetrate it a little easier.
- Add a barrier between the sun and your tent. Something like a tarp draped over the material will make it just a little more protected. This will help your tent last a lot longer, too!
- Add Nikwax to the exterior surface of your tent! It adds a layer of UV protection while also cleaning and waterproofing so you can be dry, safe, and happy while you are camping.
- Make sure that the tent you are planning to get is made out of the right material. Synthetic fabric is far better at keeping the UV rays off of you than something like bleached cotton or linen. They also tend to be far better in inclement weather as well.
Which Tent Fabrics are UV Resistant?
There are a few materials tents are made out of that tend to be more resistant to UV radiation. These are:
- Unbleached cotton
- Solution-dyed acrylic
Synthetic and semisynthetic fabrics tend to make a great barrier against UV because they are more closely woven and denser than something like bleached cotton or linen!
How to Tell if a Tent is UV Protected
Unsure on how to tell if the tent you want to get is going to protect you from UV rays or not? Look no further. You can get the information you need in a few different ways:
- Look at the description. If you are purchasing your camping tent on a website like Amazon, the manufacturer will most likely let you know in the description if it can protect you from UV radiation. Many even have a section dedicated to the unique and helpful properties that their tents possess.
- Check the tag. Both tents and items of clothing can have tags on them which state the UPF rating of the products. UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor.” The minimum UPF rating for truly safe products is 15, but it would be far better to find one with at least a rating of 30. Anything below that offers very little protection.
- Ask the manufacturer or an expert! If you found a tent that you like but you have no idea if it blocks UV radiation for you, send a message to the company that made the tent. If anyone is qualified to tell you, it is them. If you are in a store, an associate may be knowledgeable about how to find the UPF rating if you can’t.
The Best UV Protected Tents
You may still be confused as to where you should begin looking for a tent that provides adequate protection from UV radiation. In that case, take a look at some of the following examples.
A tip: beach tents are most often heavily protected against UV rays. While most may not be good for a camping trip in other environments, some may do just fine!
- Pacific Breeze Beach Tent. This tent has one of the highest UPF ratings on the market! You can rest assured that most of that harmful UV radiation is staying off of you while you are inside. It’s largely weatherproof and spacious enough for several people to fit inside as well. Get it for around $100.
- Winterial 2 Person Pop Up Tent. This tent can be taken to the beach, the backyard, or the campsite of your choosing. Being made of polyester, it blocks UV with no problem! You do not have to spend much time setting it up; the moment you unfold it, you are good to go. Because of this, you can spend less time out in the sun and more time sheltered from UV radiation. Get it for around $80.
- TOMOUNT 5 Person Tent. This is another great polyester tent on the market that provides protection from the sun’s rays while keeping you and all of your camping buddies cool and safe. It has enough room for two queen-sized air mattresses so you and your family or friends can sleep in comfort. Get it for around $130.
- Naturehike Cloud Up Tent. If you need a camping tent that can stand up to the sun in all seasons, this is the one for you. It is made of nylon and has a UPF rating of 50+! As if those weren’t good enough to sell you on it, the tent has a rainfly and is waterproof. It also has a freestanding design so you can make the most of your space. Tents start at $90.
- Weanas Instant Pop Up Tent. This particular tent has just about everything you could want. It is UV resistant, waterproof, bugproof, well-ventilated, and large enough for 4-5 people! One person can set it up as well. If you are camping alone but still want the benefits of a large tent, you can get this one and lounge in the shade with no fear of skin cancer or getting wrinkles at 30. Get it for around $115.
- Weanas Backpacking Tent. Just because you are traveling light doesn’t mean that you should forgo protection against UV radiation! This backpacking tent is light and durable, and it protects against UV rays and dangerous weather conditions. One person can set it up; you do not need a buddy to help out, though it could only make the job go by faster if they do. You can buy it for around $80. That’s a steal for all that you get!
One of the most crucial properties a tent should have is the ability to block out UV rays so that you and your tent stay relatively unharmed. If you want to keep your skin healthy, either get a tent with UV protection or DIY to keep this radiation out for good! Remember, always check with an expert on the UPF levels of any prospective tent so you know you are getting the best available.