Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tent Care: How to Care for your Tent

With the proper tent care, your tent should last for you years. It's important to know the proper care and cleaning for your tent and actually do it! It's always so hard after a trip, to unpack, clean, and then repack everything- but it's really worth it. Cleaning your tent correctly can help you prevent tent mold (see how to remove tent mold), holes in your tent, and more.

Drying Out Your Tent

(hard with many 4 season double walled tents)

Every time, every time, every time, you go camping no matter how dry it seemed when you packed it up- your tent should be dried. You do this by finding a dry patch of ground and pitching your tent in the sun for just enough time to dry it. Carefully dry your rain fly in the same way.

photo by Mcoughlin

Brush it out

Packing your tent up for any amount of time should be as clean as possible. Last thing you’ll need in a few weeks is to open your tent and find some baby spiders crawling around in it or worse- holes. Brush it out with a camp brush or lift your freestanding tent above your head (carefully) and shake it.

What to do when you have a hole in your tent

There's the cowboy way- duct tape and there's the proper way- a tent repair kit.

Seam sealer

When you first purchase your tent it doesn’t hurt to start things off right and seal the seams with a good seam sealer. I recommend this one. Periodically, depending on use, but at least once a year you should reseal the seams.

photo by ehoyer

Resealing floor

Some floors are prone to a sort of delamination, even with a ground cloth. Most tent floors are made of a more durable material and have extra coating to prevent ground dampness from seeping in. Sometimes if your tent isn’t properly dried, and sometimes for hardly any reason at all, the floor can start to delaminate. This is a good product to recoat the floor with.

What to do when you get mold

Double walled four season tents get moldy the fastest. It is crucial to prevent mold with proper drying after every use, but sometimes the mold just happens.

I haven’t tried this particular remedy, but I’ve heard great things about it for removing mold- 1 part lemon juice, 1 part salt, and 1 galloon hot water. Brush on tent, let dry in sun, and rinse clean.

Read How to Choose the Right Tent
Read about Tent Shape, Size, Vestibules and More
Read about Materials, Ease of Use, and Durability


Anonymous said...

Great site.

I have a Mountain Hardwear 4 season tent that got a little mildew growth on the fly. After a lot of research and a couple of "scientific" attempts at removing it I learned a few useful tips, on what works and what doesn't. Airing out the part of the tent with mildew in direct sunlight will do a lot to kill the mildew. This will prevent further growth, and a is a good first step before you start making solutions or buying stuff. A tech wash with a re apply of water proofing is also helpful, and in my opinion is the best method. They make water proofers that go on with mini rollers. Do this evenly and carefully. The lemon method works at killing the mildew as well, but can cause discoloration. It's important to note that there's no real solution to removing the black stains left behind. I've partially removed mine, but it seems like that's the best you can hope for.

My tent was kept in a dry finished basement, and was always aired out. I've been camping/backpacking all my life with no issues until this tent. Then a buddy of mine, who's a bit of a gear head and climber that I have a lot respect for, told me his secret for tent storage: keep it under the bed. I had to convince my wife that this was cool, but ever since I've never had a problem. I keep all my tent flys, footprints, and tents under the bed. Since I only have this one four season, and two back packing this doesn't take up too much space. Someone with a lot of tents could probably just find a closet, or somewhere equally as dry.

Anyway great site, be safe in your adventurers, and thanks!

Betty Mountain Girl said...

Thanks so much for your comment! The tips too :)