Tent Care

A tent is one of the most valuable pieces of gear a camper can have. Keeping your tent in good condition can extend the life of your tent by many years.  This article goes through caring for your tent before, during, and after your outdoor adventure.

tents overlooking cliff 

 

Caring for Your Tent During Setup

Pick a campsite. The key to being a good camper is following the “Leave No Trace” rule. You want to be able to leave your campsite in the same condition that you found it. The tent location should be as flat as possible, and free from debris that may damage the tent floor, i.e., sticks, rocks, shrubbery, etc. As well as overhanging branches that could fall. If possible, avoid placing your tent where it will be in direct sunlight for long periods. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the fabrics of the tent over time. Some products can be sprayed onto the tent to help protect it from UV rays. One product we recommend is the Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof spray. It adds UV protection as well as water repellency and can be applied before your trip.

Use a footprint. This is a great accessory to have for your tent. Many tents have footprints that are designed for their specific dimensions. A footprint protects the floor of your tent from abrasions as well as keeps your tent clean from mud and foliage.

A few more tips

  • Be gentle with the tent poles. Whipping the poles around can damage them. Keep a repair kit in your tent bag, because a tent pole splint can be a lifesaver in the backcountry.
  • Use a mallet to insert the stakes into the ground. Using your foot or a hammer can bend and break the stakes.
  • Make sure to tie your tent down. Strong winds can blow over a tent even with gear inside.

 

Nikwax Concentrated Tent & Gear Solarproof

Gear Aid Tent Pole Splint

Nikwax Solarproof
Gear Aid Tent Pole Splint

 

Caring for Your Tent During Use

Use a pawprint. Some tent companies make pawprints designed for their specific tents, but you can use a blanket or rug if your tent manufacturer does not make one. Pawprints line the inside of your tent keeping the floor safe from sharp objects and if you have a dog, paws.

Gentle with zippers. It is very easy to snag a zipper in a tent’s fabrics, especially mesh, and cause a tear. It is a good idea to keep a tent repair kit with you. Gear Aid makes tapes and patches that can easily repair snags, rips, or tears.

Keep a clean tent. Leave boots and other dirty equipment in the vestibule. Bringing dirty gear inside your tent allows dirt and other materials in that can cause abrasions and perforations.

Food. Never bring your stove inside the tent. It may be tempting during windy or cold weather, but it doesn't take much to catch your tent on fire. Always keep food outside of your tent. Animals and insects will be much more inclined to come to check out your tent if they smell food.

 

Gear Aid Zipper Repair Kit

Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Sil-Nylon Patches

Gear Aid Zipper Repair Kit
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Sil-Nylon Patches

 

Caring for Your Tent After Use

Clean your tent. Before breaking your tent down, sweep the dirt and debris out from inside the tent. Keeping a small broom and dustpan with your camping supplies can make this chore much easier.

Be very gentle removing the poles. Do not pull, instead push them through the tent to avoid tearing. Start in the center when folding down your poles to avoid wear and tear on the shock cord. Roll, not stuff, your tent to place it back into its bag. Rolling is less taxing on the fabrics.

Aftercare. Once home, it is a good idea to take out your tent to properly clean it. Tent & Gear Solarwash can be used to clean, revive waterproofing, and add protection against UV wear and tear. If you noticed water seeping in from the seams, you can use a sealant to reseal and waterproof the tent seams.

A few more tips

  • Make sure the tent is 100 percent dry before packing it away.
  • Use a large breathable bag, such as a mesh bag, for long-term storage so it’s able to breathe.
  • Store your tent in a cool and dry place such as a basement.

    Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarwash

    Gear Aid Seam Grip SIL Silicone Tent Sealant

    Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarwash
    Gear Aid Seam Grip SIL Silicone Tent Sealant
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