The Best Tips On Caring For Your Tent

shoes outside - tent care - sunset

Tents are an important part of your camping gear. They can be costly and you probably want to get a number of seasons use out of them. Otherwise camping can be an expensive business if you’re not caring for your tent properly. It can be ripped, lose its waterproofing, suffer from mildew, get dirty or smell awful if you don’t practice good tent care.

Putting Your Tent Up

The first step in looking after your tent begins with learning how to put it up. The best place to do this the first time is in the comfort of your own backyard. In this way there is little pressure and you can learn at your own pace. You are less likely to rip the tent or break the poles.
When you get to the campsite look for a flat smooth area and remove any bits and pieces away for the best area to pitch your tent. If you can pitch it in a shady area to protect it from the sun ultraviolet rays. Nylon starts to degrade when exposed to the sun. Be sure to keep the rain fly over the tent even when it isn’t raining for added protection for your tent in the sun. (A rain fly is cheaper to replace than the inner tent).

When assembling poles with a shock-cord put them together not snap them together otherwise the cord may snap. Most manufacturers include a sleeve you can use to repair any broken poles. (see post here for more help).

Before putting your tent up, put down a footprint. You can buy these to fit your tent exactly or you can use a tarp and fold the edges under the tent to prevent rain from accumulating under the tent. This helps to protect the tent floor from any sharp objects coming through and tearing it.

Be sure to stake the tent taut to prevent the accumulation of rain in any folds.

Using the Tent

Don’t store any food in your tent. Otherwise, you may attract some unwanted guests into your tent such as bugs and animals.

You also want a place for shoes to be taken off and stored outside the tent or in the vestibule. This helps to prevent your tent from getting dirty and preventing the shoes wearing away the floors waterproofing. Keep the floor clean by lightly brushing out dirt on regular basis – this help to prevent damage too.

Breaking Camp

When it comes to the end of your trip you need take down your tent and put it into its storage bag.  Brush the floor of the tent to get rid of any debris or of it is a free standing tent you can shake it out. When you put the tent back in it bag don’t fold it the same way each time as the folds can cause the waterproofing to become damaged and result in leaks. If at all possible make sure the tent is perfectly dry before packing it way.

How To Clean Your Tent

If your tent has become dirty you can wash it by using a perfume-free non-detergent soap, a sponge and cold water and by lightly scrubbing it to avoid damaging it. If the stains are stubborn don’t scrub too hard as this can damage it. To dry and air the tent put it up in a dry shady area to make sure it dries out. Don’t put it in a washing machine or dryer. To clean the poles use a soft clean cloth.

Storing Your Tent

As mentioned earlier you want to make sure your tent is dry. If you had to pack it wet when you left the campground be sure to get it out of the bag and dry it off and air it before storing it away. Remember not to fold it the same way each time to be sure you don’t damage the seals. Store it in a cool dry place, and you should have tent you can use for many seasons and trips.

The reason for ensuring it isn’t wet or damp when you sore it is to prevent mildew from growing on your tent and leaving black spots and a must odor. You can find tips on removing mildew from your tent here.

By applying these tips and caring for your tent you should get many enjoyable seasons use out of it. The extra bit of effort is well worth it to avoid problems later – such as a leaky or smell tent.

2 Responses to “The Best Tips On Caring For Your Tent”

  • Hiking Diva on November 9, 2012

    As I’ve had a wolf spider in one boot left in the vestibule & another was pulled out (into the rain) by a racoon (assuming) ~ I have a rule no shoes worn IN the tent, but I put them on a paper towel in corner of tent.

    When putting boots on in am, I fold papertowel & put back in innermost tent pocket for next time.

    No spiders, dry boots & they are warmer than if left outside. ;-)

    • Paul on November 25, 2012

      I hope you found the wolf spider before you put your foot in your boot!

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