With mid-summer temps soaring (and staying!) in the 90’s, our central air is keeping us all cool inside. However, staying cool when you’re outside, is a totally different story! So we were wondering, exactly how much cooler is it under our tents as opposed to being exposed to the direct heat of the sun? In other words, what is the “shade value” of different types of tents?
We decided to perform a completely un-official scientific experiment to satisfy our curiosity. So we picked up some thermometers and asked our installers to set up a series of tents so that we could pretend to be Gabriel Fahrenheit (yes, we had too “Google” him).
The premise was simple: set up 4 small tents in our parking lot, all using different tent material types. Then we monitored the temperature in each tent to see how much cooling the different fabrics provided. The materials we used are as follows:
1. 100% opaque vinyl tent top; this tent provides the most cooling since is completely blocks the light coming through it from above
2. Translucent vinyl tent top; this is a lighter weight vinyl than the opaque tent and allows some light to penetrate
3. Sailcloth tent top; this top is also made of light weight vinyl which allows for a filtered light to shine through
4. Clear vinyl tent top; this style is completely see through and allows for all light to shine through
5. We also set a thermometer out in the sun as our “control” factor
We set up the tents and thermometers by noon time, and allowed them to sit in the sun on a clear summer day. After about 2 hours, we recorded the temperatures inside each tent to monitor and control the temperature.