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Tent Care And Maintenance

Tent Care And Maintenance

When your out camping and hiking, 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 and hiking tent with proper Tent Care And Maintenance, to extend its life and it will perform, when you need it most.

The Rules:                                             

  • No Shoes - take them off leave outside or under the vestibule.
  • Don't keep food or fragrant items in your tent - varmints will sure eat a hole in your tent to get inside. 
  • Please, folks, don't keep a pet inside your tent unattended. They want to be wherever you are. Plus a tent can heat up in the summertime. Keep their nails trimmed, cause they can tear and poke holes in the floor. If pets are bored they will chew.
  • Fix tears and holes, when they happen.
  • Wash with non-perfumed liquid hand soap so it will not attract bugs and varmints, waterproof, store dry.
  • Carry a tent repair kit, duct tape, etc. Some tent repair kits have a needle and thread to re-sew seams. But waterproof duct tape can go a long way on repairing rips and tears inside walls or floors. Go prepared to take a roll of duct tape!
  • Don't store in a plastic bag, a pillowcase is best, it will let air circulate to keep out moisture and prevent mildew.
  • Do store in a cool, dry spot, closet in the house.
  • Clean zippers with water and a brush and dry, lubricate, not with petroleum, can use lip balm or candle wax will work in a pinch. Best to use two hands when pulling a zipper gently. If it separates use pliers to hold the two coil ends together and pull the zipper slowly. A multi-tool would be a handle tool to have for so many uses, like pliers, scissors, etc. 
  • Reseal the seams with a seam sealer, for rainy conditions with urethane, include snaps, webbing, sewn areas, floor seam, zipper tracks. And don't forget to seal all seams on the rain-fly too.
  • Always READ and follow the instructions for proper setup and care.
  • Use a ground cover, tarp, or a tent footprint to protect the floor from thorns, rocks, and stumps. Try to find a flat, clear area to pitch your tent, when camping or hiking. Leave no trace is a good practice. 
  • Good idea to practice setting up your tent before the trip. Make sure you have all poles, stakes, tie downs or guy-lines, extra rope, maybe a protective inside floor mat to wipe off mud or dirt from your shoes. Repair before you leave with it. Replacement poles can be bought for some tents.



 Always clean, waterproof, and UV protects, 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 non-detergent 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. Or it will mildew and smell bad. You will never get rid of that offal musty smell.

 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 (throw it away). 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. Some have used 1 cup of Lysol and 1 gallon of water. Another solution is 1 cup of lemon and 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of hot water. 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. When taking down your tent try to remember to push a shock-corded pole to remove, not pull. And try to start in the middle of a shock-corded pole to break it down. Best way to store a shock-corded pole is completely out straight not folded up. 

Roof Top Tents:

A roof top tent has become popular over the last few years. They are assembled on top of your vehicle, van, SUV, and then you have a ladder to climb up. You still clean your tent the same as this article states. But best to wipe down your ladder with a silicone spray. Because the ladder sides are telescoping and can collect dirt and sand. Do this before you collapse the ladder. Don't spray silicone on the steps or tread area. Just wipe with a damp rag.

 Remember, not to have a fire to close and make sure your tent is upwind. 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 maintenance, you can count on many years of camping and hiking fun.


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