When your out camping, your tent is your home away from home. It is your protection from bugs, rain, wind, cold, or snow. It gives you comfort and security. So, treat your camping tent with proper care and maintenance, to extend its life and it will perform, when you need it most.
Always clean, waterproof, and UV protect, before and after a camping and hiking trip. NEVER wash a tent in a washing machine or let it tumble around in a dryer. You can use a mild liquid soap, a soft bristle brush or sponge to wipe down your tent. And then just hose it off with water. Make sure your tent is completely dry, before you store it away.
Then you can have UV damage due to the sun. Damage from the sun can cause nylon and polyester to become brittle and hard, and then it tears easily. Try to set up your tent in the shade on a camping and hiking trip. But, if you are trying to dry it out, don't leave it in the sun all week in the yard. Use the rain-fly as a tarp for a sunscreen for your tent.
A canvas tent is 100% cotton, so if you wash it, it can shrink. It is best to precondition a canvas tent by wetting it down to allow the fibers to swell and shrink to a tighter weave. To do this set your tent up. Must not sag and use guy lines. And never, never store a tent that is damp. It will mildew and then you have to set it up in the hot sun and apply a cleaner. Then apply a water repellent. Remember if a canvas tent has been in storage for a while be sure and get it out and set it up, to air because of the build up of the humidity inside the tent. If the tent gets left too long it gets to smelling and you just have to chunk it. But here is one tip that may help. A solution of one part vinegar and two parts water, and use a sponge or soft brush will wipe mildew off your tent. Another tip, use mineral oil to get tree sap off.
Try to take care of the tent poles. Wipe down your poles to get the dirt off or salt from camping and hiking at the coast. And try not to get them stepped on and bent up. It is best to spray the joint ends with a silicone lubricant.
Remember, not to have a fire to close and make sure your tent is up wind. The wind can blow sparks that can damage your tent. And don't use any flammables inside or near the tent.
Lastly, don't let snow accumulate on top of the tent. Best thing to help keep snow and rain off the tent is to use a tarp over the tent or a rain-fly. With proper tent care and usage, you can count on many years of camping and hiking fun.
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