The Ultimate Guide to Tent Care by Outdoors VoyagerAll camping equipment needs the proper care and maintenance. Your tent is no exception. There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your tent holds up under frequent use. Following these tips can help you to extend the life, performance and reliability of your camping tent.
Table of Contents
Care for Your Tent
When Setting Up The Tent
Before you set your tent up, inspect the area to make sure that the ground is flat and smooth. If there are sharp objects where you plan to set it up, remove them first. This will help to prevent tears and abrasions that can cause serious damage. After doing this, attach a tent footprint to further protect the tent floor from damage.
Lay the tent out and unfold it gently. Avoid pulling or stretching on the materials to prevent tearing. When you make tension adjustments, make them slowly to avoid stressing the materials. Treating your tent gently during the setup process can help to extend its life.
When Using The Tent
There are a few things that can be detrimental to the interior of your tent. Storing sharp objects can cause tears in the fabric. Place them in sturdy containers and keep them an inch or two away from the tent walls.
Also avoid packing boxes or anything with sharp sides against tent walls. It’s easy to stretch and stress the fabric without meaning to.
It’s also a good idea to avoid cooking in your tent. Grease, oils and fumes can penetrate the material and lead to deterioration and embedded odors
If you use a portable propane heater, make sure that it is placed in a secure location in a spot that is safe from accidental tipping, and it should ideally be elevated so it doesn’t sit directly on the tent floor.
When Breaking Down The Tent
Care should also be taken when breaking your tent down. First, remove all contents from the inside. Sweep out any debris that has collected so the inside is clean. Brush down the exterior to remove any twigs or dust. There is tension on the materials so take the process step by step to avoid causing damage. Gently release any latches or ties. Take the tent down systematically. Remove the tent poles, and put them to the side. Release the tent stakes. Fold the tent material down neatly, sweep off any dust, then put the tent back in its carrying case. It’s also important to dry any wet spots when possible. This helps to prevent mold and mildew development.
Cleaning Your Tent
Your tent will last longer if it is kept clean and dry. You should use a soft sponge without abrasive materials to gently wipe your tent clean. This prevents stressing the material which can lead to fraying and the development of holes or tears.
Use only mild detergent and avoid the harsh ones. Harsh washing can remove waterproof coatings and make your tent vulnerable to leaking. Rinse any cleaner residue from the tent and dry it thoroughly before putting it in storage.
Can I Wash My Tent in a Washing Machine?
You shouldn’t wash your tent in a washing machine, nor dry it in a dryer. The reasons for this are that washing machines are hard on the fabric. The process involves churning, spinning and twisting. This can cause weakening of the material and it can cause tears and fraying. If you want to extend the life of your tent it is far better to hand wash with a soft sponge. Also resist the urge to dry it in the dryer because the conditions are too rough and hot and may damage the material.
How Do You Remove Mold & Mildew From a Tent?
Mold and mildew can form in any tent of any material type if moisture is allowed to sit for long. The best way to remove mold and mildew is to use a fast and easy do-it-yourself method. The length of time varies with the size of the area you need to clean, but it’s not difficult, nor expensive to do.
- Use a soft brush to brush as much of the mold or mildew away as possible. You can use a toothbrush or a hairbrush.
- Kill the mold with a solution of 1/4 cup Lysol and a half-gallon of hot water. Apply this to the affected area and allow to sit for several minutes.
- Rinse the treated areas with a solution of 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 gallon of hot water. After rinsing, let the material set in the sun until it is completely dry.
How to Prevent Mold & Mildew from Growing Around?
The best defense against mold and mildew formation is to keep the material of your tent clean and dry. Never put your tent away wet. If it sits for several hours in a damp state, this is long enough for mold and mildew to get a start. Choose a storage area that is dry and free from the threat of moisture damage. Ideally, the tent should be stored on an elevated shelf that protects it from accidental flooding that can damage items stored on the ground floor.
Tips on Odor Reducing Treatment
When your tent starts to smell funky there are a few different things you can do to reduce the odor.
- The first thing you should try is simply setting the tent up and opening all the doors and windows to let it air out naturally. In many cases, this solves the problem. If you’re still not satisfied there are more things you can do.
- Spray the tent with a deodorizer such as Febreze. Allow it to sit and air out after spraying down.
- Wipe the tent down with a mild solution of dish cleaner. Rinse and allow to dry.
These are the three options that will allow you to remove offensive odors from your tent to keep it smelling fresh and clean.
When using odor reducing treatment for your camping tent, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are odor-reducing products made that are available on the market. If you prefer, you can do it yourself with homemade solutions.
Avoid using strong perfumes or products that leave behind an odor that masks the smell. This can make matters worse. The goal is to reduce the odor, not to add more to it. Use sprays sparingly and avoid spraying directly on the material.
If the odor is intense, you may wish to totally submerge the tent in a mild cleaning solution, then thoroughly rinsing and allowing to air dry naturally.