Your tent is one of the most critical aspects of the camping experience. It provides shelter and comfort day and night, through the most extreme weather conditions. A good, lightweight, durable tent can last a very long time, through years and years of camping trips across generations. The trick is knowing how to take care of it properly.
Tents are made of synthetic fabric, plastic, coatings that are tough and waterproof. Many people are careless with their tent because they think that it doesn’t need much maintenance at all—it’s supposed to be resilient, right? But the truth is that just like any other piece of camping gear or hunting equipment, a tent will only be durable if you treat it well.
Caring For Your Tent While Camping
Remove twigs, rocks, and other sharp detritus from your pitch area so they won’t pierce your tent. Place a tent footprint or a large cloth underneath your tent to protect the bottom.
Harsh UV rays can damage tent fabric, so you should pick a shady spot to pitch your tent, if possible. For added protection, use the rain fly even on sunny days.
Don’t wear shoes or bring dirty clothing in your tent.
Keep the windows and vents open so that air can circulate inside your tent. This will help prevent moisture buildup.
When it’s time to pack up, shake out your tent to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Roll it carefully instead of haphazardly stuffing it in a bag for the trip home.
Cleaning Your Tent
Moisture and collected dirt can weaken tent material. It’s essential to clean it off and dry it out before putting it back in storage.
When you get back home after your camping trip, one of the first things you should do is wipe it down with mild soap and rinse it with lukewarm water. Make sure to get into the many nooks and crannies in the material. After washing and rinsing, lay all the fabric down to dry. Any remaining moisture will encourage mold and mildew growth.
You can clean tent poles with a dry cloth. Zippers only need a dip in water before drying. You need to clean these elements thoroughly to make sure they last for a long time.
Never put your tent in a washing machine. All cleaning should be done by hand. The bigger and more elaborate your tent, the more challenging it will be to clean it. You can make the endeavor a bit easier and more fun by making it a family activity—even an extension of your fun trip!
Proper Tent Storage
The most important thing to remember is that your tent should be completely dry before storage. Once all the fabric, zippers, and other elements are dry, fold the tent evenly.
Rolling a tent too tightly will stress the fabric and seams. The tent’s compression bag is meant for carrying it to camp and not for long-term storage. The best way to store a tent is to fold it in even thirds and fold it carefully to fit in a large mesh laundry sack. This will allow ventilation in the material while you’re not using the tent.
While you’re camping, it’s best to keep it as clean as possible so you won’t have too much trouble cleaning it out when you get back home. Before folding it down for storage, make sure you get all the remaining moisture and dirt out. Proper care and maintenance ensure that your tent will last for many years.
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