Among all the camping gears, the tent is one of the most important. This is what will provide your temporary shelter as you enjoy the outdoors. It can make or break your camping trip. From the size to the design to the materials used, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right tent.
To make your tent last through the years, you must pay attention to its care and maintenance. Proper cleaning, use, and storage are all important to keep it in its tip-top condition. With that, keep on reading and we’ll share some tips on how to maintain your tent’s best quality and functionality even through several years of use.
1. Choose the Right Site
The right location when camping will help to preserve the quality of the tent. Choose level grounds without any sharp rocks or objects. They won’t just make you uncomfortable but can also pierce the bottom material of the tent. See to it that there are no twigs and debris, among other materials that can also damage the tent.
Speaking of choosing the right site, you should also avoid setting up the tent in a location where it will be hit by direct sunlight. The UV rays can be damaging to the tent’s material, which will speed up its wear. Not only that, but it can also be too hot when you are inside the tent and it will be uncomfortable.
2. Use a Tent Footprint
A tent footprint is a material that goes at the bottom of the tent. It protects the tent floor against abrasion from foreign objects that are possibly present on the ground. The footprint can also contribute to your comfort and can keep the tent dry as long as you choose one with a suitable size.
3. Seal the Seams
Especially in the case of low-quality tents, it is often the seams that get the first signs of damage. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is through sealing. Use a commercial sealer and do this in a well-ventilated area. Seal the seams that are exposed to rainwater or water runoff, which will help to keep the interior dry. Sealing also adds a reinforcement, which will prevent the seams from being easily prone to damage.
4. Disassemble the Tent Properly
After camping, pay attention to how you will disassemble the tent. Read the instructions from the manufacturer and follow them religiously. For instance, one thing that you have to do is to push the poles out of the sleeves rather than pulling them. This prevents exerting unnecessary pressure.
5. Clean Your Tent Properly
This is one of the most important when it comes to tent care basics, and hence, it requires a more extensive discussion compared to the other suggestions on this list. It is recommended that you clean your tent after every use, preferably as soon as you get home after the camping trip. If you are camping for a long time, you can also clean the tent without taking it down.
Regardless of the type of tent that you have, do not machine-wash it. A washer has an agitator. This can stretch the different materials of the tent and can result in problems that will be difficult or impossible to reverse.
When cleaning the tent, set-it up. It will be easier to clean the tent when it is unfolded compared to when it is taken down. Use warm water and mild hand soap. Avoid detergents and soaps with harsh chemicals as they can easily damage your tent’s material. Wipe each portion of the tent, making sure that you don’t leave any dirt on the surface. Pay special attention to the seams and corners. Do not forget to clean the bottom part of the tent, as well as the poles and stakes. Clean the zippers as well.
After cleaning, thoroughly dry the tent. It is best to dry it indoors under the sun. However, keep it away from dust and debris. Otherwise, the cleaning will be useless. If you are drying the tent indoors, do so in a well-ventilated area.
6. Store the Tent Properly
Most tents come with a bag from the manufacturer. Once the tent is clean, fold it neatly and keep this in a storage bag. Most of the time, it also has a drawstring. By keeping the tent in a bag, you will prevent dirt and dust from getting in and damaging its material. Keep the tent tightly stored in a place away from direct heat and moisture.
7. Make the Tent Waterproof
A lot of manufacturers will claim that their tents are waterproof. However, to be safe, do not take their word for it. Earlier, we talked about sealing the seams, which is one of the best ways of waterproofing your tent. Aside from this, you can also use a urethane coating, which will provide a moisture barrier. You can also use a waterproof spray on the surface of the tent.
When waterproofing the tent, an important consideration is the material. The coating that you will use will depend on the main material of the fabric. Polyester, nylon, and nylon with silicone are the most common materials. Choose a waterproofing solution that works best for a specific material and make sure that it won’t leave any form of damage.
8. Deal with Problems Immediately
If there is any problem with the tent, deal with it as soon as possible. For instance, if there is a hole, patch it after seeing the problem. Otherwise, this will get bigger and will be harder to repair. If the zipper is stuck, replace it immediately so that you won’t have any problem the next time you will be using the tent.
9. Know When to Replace
Despite all the efforts you exert in taking care of your tent, there will come a time that it will pass through its functional life. Inspect the tent carefully and evaluate any problem. Can it still be repaired? If the damage is already beyond repair, it is best to get yourself a new tent. Otherwise, you are just compromising the tent’s performance once it is used at the campsite.
Tents can be expensive, so do your best to take care of it. As discussed above, care and maintenance will be pretty much straightforward. It is nothing that you won’t be able to handle. From the time you are setting up the tent to its storage, consider our suggestions above to help keep it in its best condition even after several years of use.