If you are a camping enthusiast, your single biggest investment is usually your camping tent. Yet it is the tent that gets the most neglect when it comes time to pack up and put it away. It’s understandable. You have spent the weekend or maybe the entire week out in your favorite campground, you’re a bit tired, and you just want to pack it all up and head home.
A little care with your tent will make it last much longer and you won’t have any surprises when you unpack it on your next camping trip. So here are a few simple do’s and don’t to follow.
How to Clean Your Tent?
First, if your tent is a new one and you have never assembled it before it’s a good idea to make a practice run to make sure you have all the parts. You will also possibly avoid a little embarrassment at the campsite when you pull it out and dance with it for an hour trying to figure out how to connect the dots!
One of the primary reasons we buy a tent is to keep us dry and a good tent should live up to that. If you do get your tent wet, say in an overnight shower or two, it is a good idea to let it dry and air out as soon as possible.
Disassemble it and hang it up to dry and air out. I know, it’s not always practical, but it’s a very good habit and will go far to preserve the life of your tent. And you will avoid that awful, day after, wet tent odor!
If your tent has been set up for a few days, always clean it thoroughly before packing it into the stuff sack. And please don’t pack it up wet if at all possible. This happens quite often and doesn’t do much harm as long as you unpack it and hang it out to dry and air out as soon as you get home.
It is also important to note that the biggest enemy to your tent is UV damage from the sun. Don’t leave it out in the backyard for extended periods as it will weaken the tent and the fly.
How To Get Rid of Debris and Mold from Your Tent
After each trip, it’s a good idea to set it up and check for any debris or mold that may you may have missed at the campsite. If it is dirty, use a damp sponge and mild soap to clean it. Please don’t ever put your tent in the washer or dryer! I’ve heard of people doing this, but the story always ends badly. Do, however, let the tent completely dry out before packing it up for storage.
Keep your poles clean. Wipe them down and use a little car wax to get them so they will slide in and out of the tent sleeves and ferrules easily. And don’t forget your zippers. Spray a little silicone spray on the teeth (not on the fabric) to keep them running smoothly.
Finally, store your tent in a cool dry place. Avoid the attic or sheds that get really hot. The heat can damage the coating designed to keep you dry!
These tent care tips will ensure your camping tent is always in top shape and ready to go when you are ready to go. Practice simple tent maintenance habits and your investment will last a lot longer.
Can I Wash My Tent With Washing Machine?
No, you can’t. you should never use a washing machine to wash your tent or use a dryer to dry your tent. This is due to the agitator of the top-loader in a washing machine can tear the fabric of your tent.
How if My Tent is Still Having Strong Smell After Hand Wash?
If after you have hand wash your tent, but it still having a strong smell, you can put the entire tent in a small pool and pour 1/2 cup mild laundry soap into the pool with water. Leave it for a few hours and then rinse it.
Remember don’t use any detergent to remove the smell as the detergent can neutralize the waterproofing of your tent.
How Do You Protect Your Tent From Rain?
You can place a tarp or fly sheet over your tent. The size of the tarp ideally should be 3 times the size of your tent. By having the tarp setup, it not only can cover your tent well, but it also can give you some space for activity during the raining day.
Useful Tips on Handling and Caring for your Tent
- It is always a good idea to mark poles and all other components with color tapes for better identification and hence, simpler and faster to set up.
- It is very important that tents must not be cleaned in a washing machine with laundry detergent. This will cause damage to the coated nylon used on the floor and the fly. In case the tent needs to be washed, it is advisable to bring it to a professional dry cleaning shop.
- To avoid strong wind from blowing and damaging your tent and the personal belongings inside, always remember to carry along tent pegs. You do not need to bring a hammer if weight is a factor; use any large rocks instead which you could easily find in the campsite.
- A portable fan with light that can be hooked from the ceiling is very handy and useful.
- Before the trip, always practice to set up your new tent inside the home or in your backyard. After some practice, you should be ready to pitch your tent faster at the campsite. In addition, you will know that all the poles and components are in place. You could actually try out a night in it with the new sleeping bags and the air mattress, just to judge if everything is comfortable and meet your expectation. It will be a nightmare out in the middle of nowhere if some poles or parts are found to be missing.
- Get ready for a portable repair kit. The kit should include some spare poles, pole repair parts, waterproof tapes, synthetic waterproof sealer, some sewing supplies, ..etc.
- Strictly speaking, no open flame or candle is allowed inside any tent because nylon and tent materials can catch fire and burn quickly. Always use solar-powered or rechargeable LED light/lanterns instead. Do not use any type of portable stoves or lit a mosquito coil inside the tend also.
- Experienced campers like to use a tent groundsheet as it will protect the tent as well as providing an extra insulating layer above the damp and wet ground.
- It is a good habit to retain and save the original tent set up instructions. Duplicate a copy of the instructions, wrapped into a waterproof plastic bag and keep inside the tent bag. This can be helpful and for easy reference when you are taking the tent out again at the start of next year’s camping season.
- Inspect and sweep clean the camp spot that you have chosen. Ensure to remove any sharp sticks or tree branches, rocks, glass or other debris before pitching up the tent. In case if the ground is not flat, do not sleep with your feet higher than your head.
- Seasoned campers usually bring extra tent flysheet even if the weather anticipated to be good. Better to bring along and not use it. In addition to keeping the rain off, the fly also provides an extra layer to keep the tent warmer and a little more privacy.
- Remember to always zip up the tent door fully to keeping all the bugs, insects and flies out of your tent.
- In the event, you need to pack a wet tent and leave the campsite quickly, make sure to unpack and hang it dry when you reach home.
- Lastly, bring all the nice food to pamper yourself and enjoy the trip.