By giving your tent regular checkups and cleanings, you can mitigate the effects of dirt, mildew and UV on your home away from home. Here are my top tips on storing your tent properly so your tent will last longer.
|Camping on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, Vancouver Island|
Tent, fly, and footprint
- Check for signs of wear and patch any holes/tears. Your tent should come with a patch kit. If you don’t have one, Tenacious Tape (Amazon Affiliate link) works well. Apply tape to both sides so it will stay in place.
- Spot clean each piece with a damp rag/sponge, then hang dry. If soiled, clean with Nikwax Tech Wash (Amazon Affiliate link). The footprint might need to be hosed down (rinse first; don’t scrub dirt into fabric!).
- Consider applying Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof (Amazon Affiliate link) to your tent. The spray protects against UV and adds some water repellency and works best on a new tent. Pay particular attention to seams.
- Once the tent and fly are completely dry, stuff them in the stuff sack. It is important to stuff the tent vs fold it (folding in the same place each time will lead to permanent creases where the fabric will be come weak). Pack the fly first so the tent is the first thing you pull out of the bag the next time you go camping.
- Pack the footprint separately. Fold it ground side in (good habit during camping season to keep your tent clean), and fold it a different way each time to avoid permanent creases.
|MEC Wanderer Tent & MEC Hootenanny Bug Screen House|
- Check tent poles for damage. Replace or repair broken poles.
- Wipe poles down if they have dirt, sand, or salt water on them.
- When thoroughly dry, collapse poles and pack them in pole bag. Collapse them from the middle to avoid overstretching the shockcords.
If you frequently camp in very windy places, it may be better to eventually replace a family tent with a lower profile dome or geodesic tent. Here are my tips on buying a tent: How to Choose a Tent Q & A.
|Sand and salt water / sea air are hard on camping gear.
Clean it off before storing your tent!
- Straighten bent pegs with a hammer.
- Wipe dirt off pegs and pack in tent peg bag.
- If you frequently bend tent pegs or find they become dislodged in high winds, try upgrading to J or Y-shaped tent pegs. Y-shaped are the most secure, but J (also known as V) shaped pegs nest nicely and are a bit lighter. Reflective paracord loops attached to the pegs make them easier to see and remove.
|Y-shaped tent pegs
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Check and Replenish Your Tent Repair Kit
- Replenish the tent repair kit as needed. We carry a tent pole repair kit, zipties (cheapest at the Dollar Store), and Tenacious Tape (Amazon Affiliate link) just in case. Tenacious Tape also works well on jackets; we repaired my husband’s down jacket with it.
A little TLC goes a long way in keeping your tent in tip top shape. If you think it might be time for a new tent, check out my tent buying guide here: How to Choose a Tent Q & A.
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