A Guide to Non-Toxic Camping Gear (And Keeping it Mould Free) | 2019

Updated October 2019

I am updated this post after having spent 2 years of close to full time camping. The focus is still on avoiding chemicals, but I am adding more unusual camping equipment and techniques for avoiding mould, updating new gear I really like, and some new tricks.

This post contains affiliate links wherever the brands I like have an affiliate program. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

For individual help on choosing the best camping gear for you, and how to keep it mould-free, you can schedule a consultation with me here.


Choosing a Tent Type


A Cheap and Easy Start - Pop Up Tents

non-toxic pop up tent, offgassingI bought an pop up tent as my first tent. I went for one of the cheapest options here just to get started quick. I was able to use it after one week (with the doors all open at first for air) but it was about 1 month before I found it offgassed the chemical smell, and I could close up the doors. I was super sensitive at that time.

A number of brands have pop up tents in this style which are super easy and quick to put up and have a decent design in terms of the amount of ventilation (more on the style I prefer with ventilation below).

Mine leaked in a heavy rain so I don't like this style of tent, other than the fact that it is very easy to pop up and if you get a good tarp over it you will be waterproof - I always put a tarp over, more on that later. Anyone super challenged with putting up tents might want to start here.

Rain Fly Styles - Preventing Mould and Avoiding Chemicals

For a heavy rain, a tent with a really good rainfly is needed that comes down almost all the way to the ground like many of the REI or MEC brands and this Backpacking tent (pictured left). I used the Winterial version of this style for many months. When it comes to tents on the ground, this is the main style I look for because of the good rainfly which keeps it more waterproof. Having mostly mesh on the inside also reduces your exposure to chemical offgassing and helps to prevent condensation on the walls.

Technically you don't need a tarp over but I always add one. Water that soaks the tent walls will then soak anything that is touching the walls inside. The tarp is also needed so you can get in and out when it's raining. I just don't trust any tent enough to not put a tarp over top. More on setting up tarps later in the post.

Offgassing Tents

Sometimes the rainfly smells stronger than the tent and sometimes it smells less. Sometimes a super beefy tent bottom is the hardest part to offgas. It depends on the brand.

Some who are trying to reduce exposure to chemical offgassing and flame retardants wash the tents to remove some of the treatments, but this also removes some of the waterproof coating. That can work if you have a good tarp over. I have not found any evidence that many flame retardants can be adequately washed out, but it can't hurt to try. I like putting tents in the sun to offgas them. Smell them to test, and also touch them to make sure they don't cause skin irritation.

The more mesh you have the more airflow and the less exposure to offgassing.

Stealth Camping - How to Camp on Balconies

For stealth camping on patios and balconies of hotels or Airbnbs I have used a one person tent like this, I also like this Tenton brand (I like that it comes with straps to strap it to a camping cot below to raise it up). You can also look for tents called bevy tents.

I have tried just a mat with a mosquito net over it, and I have also just strung up the just the rain fly (with not tent) over a camping cot and Thermarest if there are no bugs.

Otherwise you can cut out the bottom. Never put a tent with a bottom right over outdoor tiles, bricks or concrete for long, you will have a recipe for mould fast. You can put up a tent on top of a camping cot like in the pictures of the Tenton one person tent linked to above. But to keep a low profile I prefer to use a camping cot and then string up the rainfly or mosquito net so it does not go higher than the balcony rails.

Putting up a Tent when Disabled 

Make sure you know how (and that you can) put up your tent alone (as well as set up other supplies like a stove) before you get to the campsite. I have shown up to campsites with tents that are defective or missing parts more than once, so I would do a trial run for that reason as well.

For those who are disabled and limited I made this video on Camping for Those Who Can't Camp, to try and give some examples of how camping might still be possible for you.

Brands of Tents that are Low in Offgassing


Moonlight thetentlab.com
Brands that seem to be the lowest in offgassing are:

Lightspeed (polyesters with PU coating) REI (polyester, rainfly and floor coated with PU)
LL Bean (polyester with PU from what I have seen)
Big Agnes (nylon, polyester with PU and some silicone).
The jury is out on Coleman, some people tolerate it and others don’t.
Some people find cheap Walmart tents especially Ozark brand are more tolerable than ones for hundreds of dollars. I have found Ozark tents to be very tolerable myself.
Cuben fibre tents - Cuben Fibre is PET - polyethylene plastic, this can be more tolerable. Many have said these don't contain FR, but Zpacks failed to get back to me on that.

There is no consensus on which brand is the best for those with chemical sensitivities. Everyone is so different, no tent is perfect, and for some less sensitive there might not even be a big difference between the brands. You have to test them out for yourself if extremely sensitive.

Silicone treated tents might be more tolerable for some, others may prioritise avoiding flame retardants.

10 Tent Brands without Flame Retardants 2019 

  1. Sierra Tensegrity Elite tents (Amazon).
  2. Mountain Hard Ware tents made after 2019 are FR-free (Amazon).
  3. TarpTents
  4. Fjällräven tents (Amazon).
  5. Diamond Brand tents (Amazon).
  6. Nemo Some tents do not have FR. (Currently Apollo and Chogori, says the company).
  7. Moonlight All FR-free and coated with silicone on the outside and polyurethane (PU) on the inside.
  8. Winterial does claim no flame retardants in discussions although the brand is not one that publicizes this
  9. NatureHike has claimed no flame retardants, but it's not written anywhere other than private emails (Amazon)
  10. Six Moon Designs SilNylon, Silpoly and Dyneema Tents and Tarps are not treated with any fire retardant materials
Some canvas tents do not have flame retardants.

Cuben fibre from what I have seen is FR-free


Camping Gear without Flame Retardants 2019




None of the Thermarest Camping pads contain FR. Some have the Prop 65 warning (but for chromium)

The Exped mats are FR free since 2015 lot.

REI brand sleeping mats are not treated with FR.

Wildkin sleeping mats and sleeping bags are also FR free.

Two other sleeping bags that are FR free are Holy Lamb Organics (but they use cotton), Kelty, Wiggy's, and the down quilts by Jacks 'R' Better.

Should you go with an Unconventional Tent?


Aluminum Insulated Tents

These Billion Brick tents are insulated and the foil on the inside will also block most of the VOCs from the fabric on the outside. They say you can sleep in them down to 0 degrees Celsius. They are 269 USD. They do not have any mesh for ventilation which I imagine would be quite the problem for condensation and I do not know how you would get fresh air. This doesn't seem realistic for me.

The Shift Pod is another version of an insulated aluminum tent made for Burning Man. The benefit to the aluminum on the outside is it's reflective of sun and heat. I would think it would have similar problems with condensation in most situations. It's pricey at 1300 USD.

For 18 USD you can get this aluminum lined small sleeping tent (that might work for balcony sleeping or in an emergency, otherwise it's difficult with a lack of ventilation). The aluminum on the inside is more tolerable than the usual plastic.

Make Your Own Tent

Others have made homemade tents with materials they can tolerate like Tyvek, Reflectix or XPS sheets. More info on that in this post here. You can also make a more typical tent from untreated nylon.

Canvas Tents, are they mould prone?

Some folks who cannot handle the chemicals in the synthetic tents have tried canvas tents. These do not hold up well to rain and high humidity and I would not use them in rainy or humid conditions nor expect them to last very long at all. Some companies people like are Reliable Tent,  Kodiak Tents, Davis Tents.

I have seen canvas tents, specifically Davis tents hold up for quite a long time in a dry climate and with a woodstove inside. It can take rain and even snow, as long as it can dry out. For long term living a gravel floor or a raised up wooden platform is best.

For those who don't tolerate cotton or who want the tent to hold up a little longer than cotton canvas, you can make one out of hemp fabric, like this one. You can expect cotton and hemp to last a short while in dry non-humid climates where you are expecting very little or no rain for a while.

If you are making your own tent out of canvas or nylon you can use the tube structure of a conventional tent and build it around that.

Large Wall Tents

Wall tents can be canvas or conventional nylon/polyester. They have straight walls and are generally larger. Barebones makes a nylon polyester wall tent. Often this type has more weather poofing and will have flame retardants because they are set up for wood burning stores.

This can be a good solution to a longer term camping tent. Though you should take care to keep the base dry (cut out or raised up) if you want it to last.

How to Stay Dry and Prevent Mould when Camping



how to set up a tarp over a tent to stay dry and prevent mould
Always put a tarp over a tent

How to Set up Tarps Underneath and Over Tents 

I bought a tarp for underneath to keep dew from getting the tent wet from below (also called a footprint), and later I added a tarp for over the tent to stay dry. The bottom of my tent stayed nice and dry at first with the tarp underneath. I would take out and turn over the sleeping mat every day. If the bottom of the tent gets wet you will want to dry it in the sun within 24 hours (flip it and then put it back and maybe move spots). You can use the footprints made for underneath tents but tarps are generally cheaper (your tent may come with a footprint).

You want the tarp underneath to be a little smaller and tucked in so that is is under the tent. No water should get between the two. Some people tuck it and then raise it a little with sticks or rocks so that no water gets in between. I tried that but in the end tent bottoms still went mouldy on me if I had damp soil.

Putting a tarp overtop helped a lot. I found regular tarps from the hardware store has a strong smell but offgassed within a few days. I use a silnylon tarp which has a less offensive odour but is more expensive. Over most tents you need 12 x 10 or 12 x 12.

Some people find they still do have to move the tent every couple of days due to condensation or the earth going funky underneath. Keep a backup tent that is offgassed in case of mould or damage to your primary tent. Keep backup gear especially if you are out in the wilderness, if you need geat to offgas before using, or you cannot easily drive somewhere and buy new gear within one day.

Generally you string up the tarp up in an "A shape" so that it's touching neither the tent nor the ground, you can also string it up with a shed slant like the photo above. Some people dig a small trench around so that the water that drips off does not go towards the tent. Without a tarp I had a lot of problems including saturation of the tent and water coming through especially where anything was touching the tent.

In a major storm a larger tarp over head helps, as well as a deep trench, and if things are going swampy you need to raise it up. I have used XPS sheets to raise up a tent in a storm before I found the Cot Tents.

The Solution to Tent Bottoms Going Mouldy - The Best Tents For Avoiding Mould


The perfect tent in my opinion
After throwing out many tents and then moving on to cutting out the bottoms, I have finally found what seems like the perfect tent: the Ozark Trail Two-Person Cot Tent (easier to find at Walmart Canada than in the US right now). This is an integrated camping cot tent (pictured left). This is off the ground so the bottom will not mould. They do have the one person version available in the US. This had a very low odour rainfly and a brilliant design with the rainfly coming down way past the cot to protect water from getting in between. This is the best design of a tent I have ever used, though it's flimsy and broke on me when I took it down. It is assumed here that the Prop 65 warning here indicates the flame retardant "Tris".

Although I didn't like the more common style of tent cot (I had trouble with ventilation and even dangerously spiked my C02 levels one night), if the Ozark Tent is not available I would use this style again, but with caution with ventilation. The Winterial brand is a brand I have done well with, though it was the Camp Rite brand that I tried in this style. The Camp Rite brand does have a two person version.

I quite like the Tenton tent that is made to strap on to their XXL camping cots. You will, as always, want a tarp over this whole set up since this rainfly does not come past the cot (though on their website they sell a larger rainfly which would).

The tree tents look interesting, as they are raised off the ground, but you have to keep in mind these are really just for sleeping as they don't look very conducive to hanging out all day. I wonder how much they sag in the middle, and they are not as easy to put up. For those who are less picky about their sleeping environment resembling a regular bed, the hammocks with nets are interesting options that are affordable and easy to travel with.

Downsides of Cot Tents

Cot Tents are Bulky

While I would never want to go with anything other than the raised off the ground tent again, this won't work when I travel. When I travel I need to fit a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag into a duffel bag. The sleeping mats I use are huge and unless I can send a tent ahead I would have to go back to cutting out the bottom. I would use plastic bags to encase things instead of the thick tarps I mention.

Cot Tents are Colder

It is cooler when you are raised off the ground. But I don't find it any worse than cutting out a bottom and using a camping cot (in fact I find it warmer than tents with the bottom cut out).

Flame Retardants

Ozark is a very tolerable brand for MCS. I don't like the flame retardants they use. I have not seen a flame retardant free brand in this style.


Should you Buy a Cheap Tent or Tent that Lasts?

For those doing mould avoidance or living somewhere very damp you might want to go with the more disposable option. Expensive tents from REI and MEC tend to pack smaller and lighter and should be higher quality, however, if they do go mouldy it is a bigger loss.

On the other hand, if I am travelling with a tent I want one that's not going to break unexpectedly as many places around the world do not have stores that sell tents. Check also how much wind and rain they say they can withstand. You pay more for quality and wind and rain protection.

But all of that said, I would never spend more than 150 on a tent unless I'm sure it's going to last me a long time (like the ones raised off the ground).


Camping Mats that are Comfortable and Low Offgassing 



Air Mattress

I started with the Lightspeed air mattress which is the one the most sensitive to chemicals use. It offgassed quickly (2 days in the sun) and felt comfortable. It's good quality but I had back problems with it. Many with chemical sensitivities prefer the Intex polyester air mattresses.

Other very sensitive folks have tolerated the small air mats. I was very impressed with how little this one smelled (less than the air mattress), and it's a WAY better option to travel with, but I did not find it comfortable enough. Go with the simplest, most compact option that is still comfortable for you.



Open Cell Foam Self Inflating


My Mondo King
I ended up buying the thickest Thermarest instead and LOVING it. This is as comfortable as a bed to me, though many people put Thermarests over a camping cot, that seemed excessive with the MondoKing (though cots can also help you get off the ground which is a benefit when you have cut out the bottom or are preventing mould under the bed). I’m not that picky about beds so I was surprised that the airbed hurt. The Thermarest has a decent R-value to keep you warm, the more insulation you have under you in the cold the better.

The MondoKing is very comfortable and I usually wake up forgetting I’m in a tent. It has polyurethane in it but it offgassed quickly in my experience. I used it after 2 days of airing out (not ideal), in one week I found it to be really good, and one month to be near odourless to me. This is a super good mat for a trailer or other tiny home as well. It does not contain flame retardants.

I bought the repair kit for the Thermarest as well because this is going to be my main bed in the trailer, I also carry the repair kit when travelling.

I still prefer the MondoKing, but another good and more affordable (but thinner option) I use is the Lightspeed version.

Beds and Moisture

When it was hot and sunny (and I was not self-contaminating) I had no problems with condensation if I turned it every couple days and some days left it standing up to air out. You will want to flip or air out your sleeping bag as well in the day to prevent mould.

As it got cold and I moved it into a trailer it became very challenging to keep a sleeping pad dry and mould free. It needs to have slats underneath and a waterproof cover without a doubt in a cold or damp environment. I wouldn't recommend leaving this on any flat surface without a waterproof cover anymore. As I got more sensitive I was not able to keep this clean without an encasement.

If you are very sensitive to mould, very unmasked, or detoxing through your sweat, encase the sleeping mat right away. You can use plastic but I prefer these thick aluminized tarps as they also block the smell. I used those tarps if I needed to block the smell but if I just needed to encase it I used contractor bags which are thicker than the usual garbage bags. I taped it airtight.

Closed Cell Foam Pads

Safest bet
For the ultra sensitive to chemicals, an aluminized Thermarest is the safest camping mat. People usually go with the solid foam or the small inflatable ones as they pack much smaller than the delux one I bought and are more affordable. They offgass less as well. Here is a good overview of the closed cell foam pads.

You can wash these unlike many of the other options. Some even pour boiling water on them to clean them and kill bacteria.



Camping Cots 

I like this style of camping cot the best because it packs really small, it is relatively flat, works well with a Thermarest over it, and it's low to the ground but high enough to have air flow. I never put a camping mat straight on the ground anymore. I would not say this style of camping cot is that easy to take apart and put back if you are physically disabled.

Bedding

Sleeping Bags

I'm extremely pleased with this sleeping bag which is warm and offgassed after sitting in the sun for a week or so. I never even washed it. I used this in the summer and some days it was too warm. I am currently using this bag, as when it's on sale it's a better price.

Others like a silk sleeping bag liner which keeps you warm and keeps your sleeping bag cleaner. It is much easier to wash a liner than the sleeping bag. I'm using this silk one and it's quick to dry (surprised by how chemically it smelled, needed more washes than most fabrics). You can also make a liner by sewing a queen flat sheet in half. You can either use a liner to get inside of first or to encase a blanket. This will keep the sleeping bag good for longer. The polyester liners can work too.

In warmer weather I skipped sleeping bags and used heated blankets as my only blanket. As I started to detox through my sweat things got trickier. Now I like a warm but washable option like these Pendleton Blankets. But, when is is very cold, a sleeping bag is really the warmest option.

Sheets

I use these AmazonBasics polyester sheets. But there are specific sheets for Thermarests and other brands of sleeping mats. They are also polyester, the only difference is they are fitted exactly for the Thermarest. You don’t want any cotton in your tent - it doesn’t do well outside for long if it's humid, and it's terrible when wet.

Pillows

I bought a polyester camping pillow which is small (and it has cotton on the outside!) I use waterproof pillow cases to prevent mould which I aired out and washed before using. They do smell at first, but polyurethane coating does offgas (to most people's standards).

I have tried lots of camping pillows from the air and foam ones to the polyester ones, to just using a towel. You have to figure out which is the most comfortable for you. Some are very small. The air ones can be easy to roll off of. A towel is easy to wash if you need to wash gear often.

I keep backups of everything.

Staying Warm and Cool

Heated Blankets

I use a heating blanket in almost every climate. I thought the biggest problem for me would be stabalising my temperature but that ended up not being that difficult at all. This is the Sunbeam heating blanket I use. After going through a lot of these, the trick is I want one big enough to cover me and I want the 10 hour shut off not the 3 hour shut off to keep me warm all night. They are challenging in how strong they smell when new and since they can't go in a dryer they can be difficult to clean in cold weather camping.

I encase my current one in these liners and wash the liner every 3 days. For those concerned about EMFs you can use this to heat the tent without putting in on your body. It won’t be as warm, but it is likely safer than a stand-alone heater in a tent. Or, the fancier and supposedly healthier option is an infared mat.

This 60 watt heated blanket (the smaller throw size) will run for most of the night off this solar kit. I always have an extension cord running to my tent. A small heated blanket tucked into a sleeping bag can provide a lot of warmth.

Other Heating Options

Hot water bottles can be put inside the sleeping bag at night. This thermoplastic one has been reported to be very tolerable by many. When you don't have electricity, hand warmers in your sleeping bag can be a big help, the same company also makes sock liners. I have used these in power outages, they seem totally non-toxic.

Battery powered heated jacketssocks and gloves can be a huge help as well.

Some people do use wood stoves in a tent. I'm getting the Cubic Mini for the cargo trailer but I do not have experience setting up a wood stove in a tent.

Using a Heater in a Tent 

I have set up many a small heater - I check the wattage and if it has temperature control (I make sure my tent is big enough, note: read the tent dimensions carefully, they run small). It's safer to place the heater up on a small table or round of wood to keep it from knocking over or blowing directly onto something that could melt or burn, I make sure the tent is big enough to accommodate a heater with lots of space around it and it has an auto shut off when it falls over. I use this little Honeywell heater because it's super low wattage (250 watts). I find it easy to accidentally shove this when sleeping and it can turn towards the tent fabric easily. That is just one reason why this is not technically recommended.

If my tent is on the ground and I have a thick Thermarest, I can be warm enough with a heated blanket and that little heater down to 5 degrees C. I don't sleep well when I'm cold, but everyone is different, so you will have to work out those details.

AC in a tent 

For the AC you will need to cut a hole for the exhaust and seal with tape around it. If I put any thing electrical in a tent I make sure I have multiples layers of protection from getting wet from above or flooding from below.

Use heaters, heating blankets AC or woodstoves at your own risk of fire or electrocution. They are not recommended for tents.


Here is the longer version of my Amazon visual list of my Favorite & my Unusual Camping supplies I bring with me on a Sabbatical.

(See the comment box on each image to see my notes on each one).

A few examples here:


- I cooked everything in an Instant Pot when camping which I could do on my one extension cord

- Travel Berkey is still on my wish list, this ceramic filter is ideal for well water or any other water where filtering for biological pathogens is the priority, otherwise I buy water

- Non-cotton fast drying travel towel, I use this one.

- Ear plugs, and for really loud situations the "triple down" method of foam + silicone + ear protectors (or noise cancelling headphones). The construction ear protectors do smell quite strong. One benefit of noise cancelling headphones is some noises cannot be blocked without adding white noise.

-The foam contoured eye masks smell a littel and need some time to offgas (I put them in the sun). It is still my favoutire mask many years later. The fabric ones can be washed to remove chemical treatments. I always keep a backup mask.

- I still love this portable dryer, I got a tonne of use out of that. I used it outside with an extension cord under cover.

-Washable wool or silk long underwear, wool socks and wool hat, gloves to stay warm in cold weather

-Hand sanitizer (that's my favourite non-toxic brand) and baby wipes are essential in a tent (unscented of course, for yourself and also if there are bears around.)


More Resources

My guide to a mould sabbatical

Avoiding flame retardants

EI Wellspring Safer Camping - How to choose a campsite with extreme MCS





Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist with 5 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.


I spent 2 years living outside in tents in order to bring down my chemical and mould sensitivities and get back into regular housing.


Thank you to Emily Snelling for content support in the early days of camping and the members of Mold Avoiders on the Road for all the advice along the way.

Did you find this post helpful? If so you can buy me a coffee to support the research behind this blog. Thank you!

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14 comments:

Thomas Venney said...

Thanks

Lauren said...

Exped mats are nice, insulted mats that REI sells. Verified they do not have flame retardants on them at all. They have down insulation and work great to keep you warmer. Also Kelty sleeping bags are flame retardant free as are Big Agnes. Other brands may be as well but I'm not sure. For some reason Polyester is better for me than nylon so I go with bags lined with that Kelty. though I also have a REI brand one that seems to be fine as well. (Haven't heard about the flame retardants on that one though. We go with a big agnes tent (only for camping not living) and it's great, though they still do have flame retardants. If you buy a Nemo tent from Colorado they will be Flame R free I read on their website.

Corinne said...

Thanks! Some of the exped mats have polyurethane, which works well for me after about a week, but would take a while to offgas for someone super sensitive.

Jeah Kessha said...

There is a WAY better way to go. I have invented a complete line of organic natural fiber camping gear at www.lucky-sheep.com I use organic cotton and eco wool as the insulation. Also have wool sleeping mat and organic cotton tent with beeswax coating. Do yourself a favor and ditch the plastic!

Corinne said...

There is no way I would use cotton in my camping gear that will mould up fast. I wouldn't use wool either personally.

Shapeshifter said...

I'm on my 2nd handmade canvas tent, this time coated with hemp oil and a hemp oil tarp over, silicone on the seams and under the bottom, and on a tent platform. Used it for a few months then we got our seasonal heavy rains (southern Arizona, never though combating molds would be so hard, but we get the really tough molds, as soon as there is any moisture they go to town!), and after a few rains mildew started up at the corners and some water got inside on the bottom and now there are a lot of dark grey streaks. So will probably try one of your tent recommendations next! But in the meantime winter is coming and it gets down to 20s at night. I did a stove in my last canvas tent but had a lot of trouble with temp control and getting cold in the night when it went out and ash and smoke mess, etc. So this winter we were thinking of trying an A frame sleep structure from plywood which has now off gassed for half a year and I don't smell it now and some rigid foam insulation. We heard the insulation could be used on the outside as rain protection and we could silicone the cracks. But I don't know if foam right up against the plywood would cause any moisture and mold issues. I just need something to sleep in. Been sleeping outdoors a few years now because of MCS and EHS, house isn't tolerable enough for good sleep and I sleep really far from the house. But the rain in summer and cold in winter have made this all very challenging because my tents keep getting mold! So I found your site, thanks for all the great info. Just wondering if you know anything about making a small sturdy insulated sleep structure. Oh and btw, I also heat rocks on the kitchen stove, put them in cozies I made and put them in my sleeping bag at night, very helpful! But still need more insulation for those really chilly nights. Thank you!

Shapeshifter said...

I've tried the beeswax coating on my own homemade canvas tents and it got mold FAST!!! And very extensively AND did not keep water out, my tent flooded a lot!! I found hemp oil to be better but still no good in heavy rains. And I have made alpaca wool stuffed blankets and some have gotten damp and the musty. Right now I use the Exped airmattress (I had also made a wool stuffed small futon which went moldy and had used natural latex, also went moldy!) a synthetic pillow and down sleeping bags.. and need to get a new tent! Loved the feel of the canvas and the look and how quiet it was in the wind, just wish I could make it work. The waxed canvas might work okay, haven't tried it yet, but got a sample of the material and wasn't smelly. (I'm very sensitive btw)

Shapeshifter said...

yes Exped is the one I use! Did take a little time to off gas, maybe a week or so, but have been using it for about a year and works great for me! (Big MCS sufferer here) :) Good to know about the Kelty bags since that's one of the ones I've been using for a long time and I also use another REI brand that seems ok. I'm also very reactive to flame retardants, so I was happy to find this site and the links for different tent options. Thank you!

Corinne said...

You could look up the exterior insulation with foam method to see how much you need to not cause dew point in the walls in winter. If you don't use AC in the summer you could put the foam on the inside. This project needs some thought to it though as neither plywood nor foam can brave the elements on their own. I suppose it depends how long you want it to last.

Wild Swan said...

Plywood, OSB, and luan mold easily, sometimes you have to pull the sheeting apart to see it. Wood tongue and groove or overlapped would be better. If the lumber is clean, you can use linseed oil to seal it, it has to be the pure linseed oil from Europe or similar, check the msds. If you go with your current idea, keep an air gap of a few inches between all the materials and make sure you can monitor it. The air gap also keeps you warmer.
If you tolerate reflectix, use under the sleeping bag. And insulation. If urgent, use a blue tarp exterior, then reflectix air gapped like interior tent... no flame inside this.

Wild Swan said...

I’d also recommend using wood for the platform. Oiled. The put reflectix on top to lie on. Lift and dry daily. The reflectix might help with EHS. Hope it works for you. Good and cheap. Aluminum sheeting could make a good roof, too. Do not recommend your current idea re insulation exterior and manufactured board due to mold. We tested the materials extensively before redoing the roof due to mold. Btw, we had good luck with embark brand sleeping bags at target. Oddly. Oh, hey, canvas and oil will burn easily w an interior stove. Small fire extinguisher

Unknown said...

Thermarest sleeping mats are treated with flame retardants... did something change since this article was written??

Corinne said...

That's not what I heard from the company. Where did you see they are treated with FR?

Corinne said...

I have confirmed with them again, yes thermarests are FR free from when I first wrote this, and still now in 2019.

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