How to Blackout a Tent: Quick and Simple Guide

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the early morning sunlight creeping into your tent and disturbing your peaceful slumber, you’re not alone. Today, we’re going to dive into how to blackout a tent in just four easy steps. But first, let’s understand why you might want to do this.

Understanding the Need for a Blacked Out Tent

A blackout tent can be a game-changer for campers, particularly those who enjoy their beauty sleep or have little ones that need a mid-day nap. By blocking out sunlight and reducing heat, a blackout tent ensures you can sleep at any time of the day. Perfect for those long summer days!

Materials Needed to Successfully Black Out a Tent

Here’s a list of things you’ll need:

  1. A tent (of course!)
  2. Blackout fabric or tarp (enough to cover the inside of your tent)
  3. Double-sided tape or adhesive Velcro
  4. Scissors
  5. Measuring tape

Got everything? Great! Let’s move on.

how to blackout a tent

Step-by-Step Guide to Blacking Out Your Tent

Step 1: Measure Your Tent

First, measure the inside of your tent. You want to make sure you have enough blackout material to cover all areas where light can enter. This includes the roof, walls, and doors of your tent.

Step 2: Cut the Blackout Material

Next, cut your blackout fabric or tarp according to the measurements you’ve taken. Remember, it’s better to cut a little extra than to fall short.

Step 3: Secure the Blackout Material

Now it’s time to secure the blackout material to the inside of your tent. Start from the top and work your way down to the walls using the double-sided tape or adhesive Velcro. Pay attention to the door – you’ll want to make it easy to open and close.

Step 4: Check Your Work

Once you’ve got your blackout material secured, step inside, zip up the tent, and see how it feels. Adjust any areas where light might still be sneaking in.

Blackout Tents: The Pros and Cons

Starting with blackout tents, these tents are a favorite among campers who value their sleep. As the name suggests, blackout tents are designed to block out up to 99% of daylight. This means you can catch some much-needed zzz’s even when the sun is shining brightly outside, making them perfect for light-sensitive sleepers or those who fancy a nap during the day. The blackout feature also helps keep the tent cooler by blocking direct sunlight, a big plus on hot summer days!

On the flip side, blackout tents can be a bit pricier than regular tents. The specialized fabric and construction that provides the blackout and heat-reducing features add to the cost. So if you’re on a budget, this might be a point of consideration.

Regular Tents: The Pros and Cons

On to regular tents. They’re typically lighter than blackout tents and generally easier on the wallet, making them a popular choice for casual campers and beginners. Their mesh windows and roof vents are designed to provide great ventilation and a view of the great outdoors.

However, regular tents don’t provide the same level of light and heat control as blackout tents. If you’re camping in the middle of summer or in a location with long daylight hours, a regular tent might mean dealing with early morning sunlight and potentially hotter indoor temperatures.

Both types of tents have their merits. If undisturbed sleep and cooler temperatures are high on your list, a blackout tent may be worth the investment. However, if you’re a casual camper looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can always opt for a regular tent and consider DIY methods to black it out. The choice ultimately comes down to your specific camping needs and preferences.

Safety Measures When Using a Blacked Out Tent

Let’s dive into some safety measures you should keep in mind when using a blacked out tent.

Visibility is Key

First off, because a blacked out tent is, well, black, it can blend into the darkness quite easily. This can be a bit of a problem if you’re camping in a busy area or moving around your campsite at night. You definitely don’t want anyone tripping over your tent lines or bumping into your tent!

So, how can you make your tent more visible? One easy way is to use reflective guy lines or add some reflective tape to your tent lines. These will catch the light from headlamps or torches and alert people to your tent’s location. Another idea is to place a small, solar-powered light near your tent, so it’s easy to spot in the dark.

Illumination Inside

Once inside your blacked out tent, it’s going to be very dark. No tiny bits of light sneaking in, remember? This means it’s a good idea to keep a light source handy. This could be a headlamp, flashlight, or even a small lantern.

Remember to choose a light source that’s safe to use in a tent. Battery-powered options are usually best, as they don’t produce heat or a flame. Also, don’t forget to turn off your light or set it aside safely when you’re not using it, especially when you’re sleeping.

Ventilation Matters

One more thing – even though your tent is blacked out, you need to make sure it’s still properly ventilated. Make sure to not block any vents when setting up your blackout material. Good ventilation is crucial to reduce condensation inside the tent and to ensure you have a supply of fresh air.


Using a blackout tent can greatly enhance your camping experience, but it’s important to be aware of these safety measures. With a bit of preparation and smart thinking, you can enjoy the benefits of a blackout tent while keeping safety at the forefront.

Are Blackout Tents Worth It?

Blackout tents can be worth it for those who want to sleep in complete darkness, especially if they are camping in areas with early sunrises or late sunsets. They can also help regulate temperature and reduce noise levels, leading to a better night’s sleep. However, they may be more expensive than regular tents and may not be necessary for all camping trips.

The Sleep Factor

If you’re someone who struggles to sleep when there’s any sign of daylight, or if you have children who need to nap during the day, a blackout tent could be a real game-changer. They’re designed to block up to 99% of daylight, which means you can catch some quality shut-eye at any time of day. This is particularly useful if you’re camping in regions or during times of the year when daylight hours are long.

The Temperature Advantage

Another great feature of blackout tents is that they can help to regulate the temperature inside your tent. The material used in these tents can help block some of the sun’s heat, keeping the inside of your tent cooler on hot days. This can make a significant difference in comfort during the sweltering summer months. Of course, blacking out your tent isn’t the only way to make it cooler. Check out my guide on how to stay cool while camping for 50 actionable tips you can use to beat the heat.

Cost Consideration

On the flip side, blackout tents tend to be pricier than regular tents due to their specialized features. So, if you’re a casual camper or on a tight budget, the extra cost might not be justifiable. That’s when DIY methods or other alternatives to blacking out a tent can come in handy.

The Convenience Quotient

Then there’s the convenience factor. Blackout tents save you the hassle of setting up and taking down blackout material each time you camp. If you’re someone who values ease and simplicity, this could be worth the investment.

Should You Buy a Blackout Tent

In the end, whether a blackout tent is worth it comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and budget. If uninterrupted sleep and a cooler tent environment will significantly enhance your camping experience, and you don’t mind the higher price tag, then a blackout tent could be a fantastic investment. But if you camp less frequently, are budget-conscious, or don’t mind a bit of light, then a regular tent might serve you just as well.

Alternatives to Blacking Out a Tent

Not everyone wants to modify their tent or invest in a specialized blackout one, and that’s totally okay. There are other options to consider that can help you get that restful sleep you’re aiming for.

Using a Sleep Mask

The simplest and most portable option is using a sleep mask. Sleep masks are designed to block out light, ensuring it doesn’t disturb your sleep. They come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, so you’re sure to find one that fits you perfectly. The great thing about sleep masks is that they’re not just useful for camping, but for all types of travel.

Investing in a Shade Canopy

Another alternative is to use a shade canopy or a tarp. Set up the canopy or tarp above your tent to create a shade that blocks direct sunlight from hitting your tent, thus reducing the amount of light that penetrates inside. This method is also great for keeping your tent a bit cooler during the day.

Positioning Your Tent Wisely

The position of your tent can also play a significant role. If possible, set up your tent in a location that naturally receives less light, like under a group of trees. This can provide some shade and decrease the amount of light that enters your tent. Just be aware of any potential hazards, like loose branches.

Choosing the Right Tent

Lastly, some tents are made from thicker, darker materials that naturally let in less light. They might not block out as much light as a blackout tent, but they can make the inside of the tent darker than tents made from lighter materials. If you’re a regular camper, it could be worth investing in one of these tents.

Each of these alternatives comes with its own set of pros and cons, so it’s all about finding the option that best suits your needs and preferences.

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, the quality of your sleep and comfort are crucial to having a memorable outdoor adventure. Blackout tents can be an excellent solution for those seeking restful sleep at any time of the day and a cooler shelter on sunny days. Yet, they may be pricier and less visible at night. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, blacking out your existing tent can be a cost-effective and satisfying project. Or, simpler alternatives like a sleep mask or strategic tent placement can also work well. Whichever route you choose, the essence of camping remains the same: to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

Jim Murphy

Jim's love for camping started at an early age. His parents would take him camping every summer, where he'd spend his days getting quality time in with his dad and his nights eating too many smores.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts