Last updated: November 11, 2021 at 11:57 am
A soundproof tent isn’t something normally thought about. Not least of all because a tent is inherently hard to soundproof due to thin material and lack of mass. This is the reason why soundproof tents aren’t generally a thing you can buy.
There are some things you can do to make your tent more soundproof… although complete soundproofing will never be possible.
In this article, we’ll discuss why you would want to soundproof a tent, and 7 things you can do to make camping a quieter experience.
Why Soundproof a Tent?
One of the greatest benefits of a tent is that it’s lightweight and portable. Almost anyone is able to carry one along with their supplies. However, the thin fabric has a downside; it does nothing to block sound. That might not be a problem if you’re camping in a quiet field or forest, but it is if you’re at a music festival or a busy campsite.
On the other hand, you may want to block sound out of consideration for others. If you’re aware you’re a heavy snorer and don’t want to disturb your fellow campers, for example.
7 Best Ways to Soundproof a Tent
Before we begin, it’s important to be clear that it’s impossible to completely soundproof a tent. You won’t be able to seal every gap so some sound will get through. If you implement some of the tips below, however, you should be able to reduce it to a bearable level.
1. Soundproof or Moving Blankets
Both blankets have a design that will block a good deal of sound. Soundproofing blankets are specifically made to do this, but because moving blankets need to protect your furniture in a moving van, they must be thick and dense. These are the exact qualities needed to prevent sound from passing through. The bonus in choosing moving blankets is that they are often a good deal cheaper than soundproof blankets.
If you want a permanent solution, you could sew the blankets onto the inside walls of your tent. Depending on how thick they are, though, it could hamper your ability to fold the tent away afterwards. Otherwise, you could use cords to attach the blankets to the tent’s frame. Soundproof blankets work well here as they are made to be hung up, so they’re likely to have fastening you can use to do this.
An extra bonus is that the blankets are likely to prevent light from entering, and heat escaping, which guarantees a better night’s sleep.
2. Use Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl is commonly used in soundproofing projects. It’s a thin and flexible substance that is sold in sheets a quarter of an inch thick. Mass loaded vinyl both absorbs sound and reflects it away, making it doubly effective.
Again, the vinyl is normally black, so like the blankets, it will protect your tent from light pollution at the same time. This is another definite benefit at a festival with fires and lights everywhere.
Because it is thin, flexible, and lightweight, it’s easy to stitch mass loaded vinyl onto the inside walls of your tent. It’s so thin that it shouldn’t affect your ability to pack away your tent as normal. Mass loaded vinyl costs around £30 for a 3m by 1.25m roll, so it’s a cost-effective option.
Make sure you cover at much of the walls of your tent as possible. Any gaps will allow sound to penetrate. As the vinyl is thin, you should be able to cut to the exact size of your tent with a Stanley knife or sharp scissors. You should also make sure it’s stitched firmly in place. It will be much more difficult to put right if it comes loose when you get to your destination.
3. Lay Extra Mass on the Ground
Blankets and mass loaded vinyl will protect you from higher frequency sounds, but they tend to be less effective with low-frequency sounds. These are the types of sound you feel more than hear, like the booming of the bass in a song.
Low frequency sound travels surprisingly well through the ground. Sound waves can also reflect off the surfaces of your tent. That’s why adding extra mass to create a barrier between your tent and the ground can ensure a quieter environment to sleep in.
Adding a thick rug or some carpet will block noise, keep the tent warmer, and be a more comfortable surface to sleep on. If you’ve got a long trek to your campsite, though, this may not be practical.
If that’s the case, mass loaded vinyl comes to the rescue again. It won’t improve the temperature or comfort of your tent much, but it will create a layer to block noise. Depending on the size of the roll purchased, you may be able to add two layers for an even more significant effect.
Finally, if you decided to purchase moving or soundproof blankets to soundproof your walls, then adding an extra one to the floor would be effective too. Make sure you choose a quilted soundproof blanket, as these are the ones designed to block low-frequency sounds.
4. Invest in a Quiet Generator
Although not a tent, something like a quiet generator can make your camping trip overall quieter and more enjoyable.
If your taking a generator with you (or have before) then you’ll know how noisy and unpleasant they can be. It’s can also a disturbance to other campers, so having one with low dB will never be a bad call.
5. Create a Barrier Outside
This is a bigger project, so you should probably only consider it if noise is a big issue and you’re staying for longer than a couple of nights. You’ll have seen these barriers at construction sites. They’re made of sheets of foam or fibreglass to make a wall.
Making a barrier that’s as effective will be expensive, so it’s only worth doing if noise is a major issue or if you already have the acoustic sheets for another project. However, there are options you make more cheaply. For example, if you have a large clothes airer, you can drape it with mass loaded vinyl or moving blankets. It won’t block everything, but it should reduce a substantial amount.
This is only an option if the noise is coming from one direction. It wouldn’t be practical to bring separate stands to surround your tent unless you’re parking right next to the campsite. It would also be expensive.
6. Hang Up Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains tend to block noise in a house by about 50%. As a tent isn’t as solid and you won’t be able to completely soundproof it, you won’t get as much benefit. It will help prevent some of the noise from coming in, as well as keep the tent darker and a little warmer.
If you have a large tent, you can hang them up like normal curtains. Cover as many of the walls as possible to maximise the effect. Soundproof curtains are more expensive than regular curtains, so it may not be cost-effective to get them solely for this purpose. They will help soundproof your home too, so you can rehang them there.
If your tent is too small to hang the curtains up, then you can attach them to the walls in the same way as the moving blankets or mass loaded vinyl. You’ll probably need to stitch them on but if you can find extra strong strips of Velcro you could sew them to the tent and the backs of the curtains.
7. Buy a Soundproof Tent
Unfortunately, there isn’t a wide range of soundproof tents on the market so your choice will be limited. This is because of the nature of tents, light, easy to transport and not made from any sort of soundproof material.
The only company that has created a soundproof tent is Crua. They offer two types of reasonably soundproof tents – the Outdoors Thermal Tent which sleeps 3 and the Cocoon Combo Tent which sleeps two.
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The tent was created by a veteran Irish camper called Derek O’Sullivan who was sick of being freezing when he went camping. He designed the Thermo Tent and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to begin production. This is the tent that became the Outdoors Thermal Tent.
What makes this tent so effective at maintaining the temperature inside is a thick layer of micro fibre insulation sewn between two layers of tent fabric.
However, having this extra mass also makes it great at blocking sound. If you have the budget this is definitely the most fuss free option. No adjustments are necessary and you will be able to sleep in a tent that is quiet, warm and dark.
Reviews also suggest it is very well made and has useful features like luminous cords, so you won’t trip over them if nature calls during the night.
Camping is a wonderful pastime but if you’re a light sleeper you may not be able to sleep at busier campsites. That affects the places you can go and may make you feel you’re missing out.
Don’t worry though, a few simple soundproofing adjustments may make all the difference.
It won’t be possible to block out all sound, but you should be able to block it out enough to offer you a wider range of acceptable camping spots. Consider the options and your budget closely and you can find the right soundproofing method for you. The world will be your oyster.