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How to Keep Daylight Out of Tent in Early Hours?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 11 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Tent Canvas Black Tent Fabric Sleeping


Do you have any tips on how to keep the tent (cot area) dark on lovely bright mornings? We love camping with our now 1 year old but would like to sleep past 5am!!

(C.C, 5 July 2009)


This is the problem with modern tents, isn’t it? They might be very lightweight and portable, but for that we’ve sacrificed other things – one of them being the light-blocking quality of canvas. As you’re obviously aware, modern tents do very little to block the light, and that could well be a problem for you with a young baby.

So what are the possibilities? One is a tent with darker colouring, which will block the light more effectively. You can even buy black tents, which do block a lot more – but still not all – the light. The downside to this is that, the darker they are, the more they heat up, which means that on a hot summer’s day you might feel as if you’re in an oven, and that’s not good for a baby really. However, it might be worth looking at tents that are darker blue or green and see if they offer any improvement.

Another idea is hanging dark fabric in the cot area of the tent. With this, however, you’ll need to be careful to ensure it doesn’t touch the tent itself, or you’ll be removing the waterproofing. It’s a method some people have used successfully, although it’s a bit finicky, and depends on you having a large enough tent.

Something similar, and which also demands a tent of a reasonable side, is to use a dark coloured sleeping pod for your baby. Put the cot, or whatever you use, in the pod within the tent and it should keep things darker, but with enough air circulating around that it doesn’t become too hot. Good camping shops should offer a selection of these, or you can check online to find what you need.

What it boils down to is that there’s no foolproof method. At the very least, with children that age, they do take regular naps during the day, letting you catch up a little more on your sleep. These methods are all worth investigating and possibly trying. However, it might be that you’re doomed to some early mornings for a while – not the answer you’d really hoped to hear, but if these methods don’t work, it might become the only solution.

Another tip for helping children sleep longer in a family sized tent is to pitch so the younger members are facing west. The rising sun shouldn't wake them as early.

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