Camping tents and ultraviolet radiation
In recent years, ultraviolet radiation had an increasing impact over our activities. This cannot be ignored nor (or perhaps especially) when you go in vacations. Everybody knows that it is necessary to use a sun protection cream and that it is forbidden to expose yourself to the Sun between 11:00 and 17:00. The protection offered by the tent becomes an important factor, when it is put in the Sun and is the only barrier between UV radiation and the human body. In this article I propose to explain how we can protect against the effects of ultraviolet light and at the same time how to have a tent with a longer life span.
The foils of the tent are made of two types of materials: nylon and polyester.
- Polyester Fiber is more resistant to ultraviolet rays than nailon;
- A waterproof fabric with silicon, it is preferable to one that uses polyurethane;
- A thicker fabric will filter out more UV radiation than a less dense one;
- A light color material will better reflect sunlight, rather than a dark-skinned one;
These are the general properties that the outer foil should have, that will protect you from ultraviolet radiation. But how do we know how well we are protected?
Empirical testing method
Most manufacturers do not include the UV protection factor for the materials they use. The only ones that marks this factor are the Macpac. Their products provide protection to 30, an average to high protection. But this is insufficient to protect you at noon in the hot days of summer. To stay in a camping tent like this it`s almost similar to using a lotion with protection factor 30.
Lack of instructions on the models of other manufacturers, suggest an inferior protection (if it was better, they will would be praised). How can we compare 2 models to which the manufacturer has not specified the protection factor? We can use an empirical method: spread the outer foil in the direction of the Sun and the model that let`s less light to pass, you can consider it much better.
Obviously as the percentage of light filtering in the visible spectrum, it is not the same as that of ultraviolet radiation, but in the absence of other specifications, this test should be sufficient for a comparison.
How can we improve protection that the tent provide us? The easiest method is to put the sleeping bag on the tent, slightly bent towards the South. The sleeping bag is thick, with a significant amount of fibers, which absorb more solar radiation. Obviously, this method comes with a price: the bag will deteriorate over time.
After several months in the Sun, the tent state will deteriorate. Solar radiation will “burn out” the outer foil, this changing not only it`s color, but also the impermeability properties. You will notice that water will infiltrate more easily and will enter inside the foil.
It is therefore advisable to sit in the shade whenever you have the chance.