Aftercare Guide: Tent Care & Maintenance

Ben Conroy4 min readAdvice & Guides

Like a home, tents need maintenance and care to keep it in great condition. A well-looked after tent will bring years of fun-filled adventure out in the field. So let’s take a look at the golden rules of tent care at home and at the campsite.

A few basics to always remember:

  • Always read the instructions on your tent and and care products
  • Clean your tent approximately once a year (depending on how often you use it)
  • Never store a tent wet
  • Be gentle with zips and poles
  • Remember how you unpacked your tent: it will need to go back in the tent bag the same way.

Here's our camping expert Ian to explain the simple steps you need to follow to care for your tent.

 

 

Before Your Trip

Before any trip, it’s worthwhile practising pitching your tent: especially if it is new. This allows you to get to know your tent, understand how it pitches and gives you a chance to check you have all the components.

There are a few affordable essentials we highly recommend every camper should order to help extend the lifespan of your tent.

Tent Footprint - this custom-fit groundsheet protects the base of your tent from abrasion and creates a clean surface where you can pack your tent at the end of your trip. When pitching ensure that the footprint does not extend beyond your tent as this will cause rainwater to collect underneath. Shop Tent Footprints

Dustpan & Brush - feel house proud and keep the inside of your tent clean and free of dirt with this great value essential.

Spare Parts - from extra pegs to replacement guylines, having spares handy will cover you for any accidents. Spare pegs are also useful for securing your tent in strong winds.

Mallet - this simple tool makes pegging your tent down easy, even in hard or stony ground. Just be careful not to use too much force.

Tent Carpet - more of an essential for you than your tent, custom-fit carpets provide excellent underfoot comfort and extra warmth.

Duct tape - essential for making quick fixes for poles or groundsheet holes in the field, until you can do a more permanent repair. Shop Duct Tape.

Seam Sealant - a bonding substance applied if you find a leaking seam to seal it.

Tent Repair Kit - achieve simple repairs at home or the campsite. Many tents come with repair patches to repair small fabric holes.

Tent Care

How to Clean Your Tent

Keeping your tent clean and in top condition is the best way to ensure it lasts many more adventures. Here’s our simple guide to cleaning a tent at home.

To clean a tent, you will need:

  • Warm water
  • A specialist tent cleaner such as Grangers Fabsil or Nikwax Tech Wash
  • A non-abrasive sponge or cloth
  • A bathtub, large tub or large bucket

Follow these simple steps to a clean tent:

1) Use your dust pan and brush to sweep the interior. Remove the inner bedrooms for easy access.

2) Separate your inner, flysheet and groundsheet to make cleaning easier. If you have a bathtub style tent, simply remove the inner section.

3) Tree sap, mud and even bird poop can affect the condition of your tent. Read the instructions on your tent cleaner. Often you need to water them down and then apply with a sponge to the tent fabric outer and groundsheet to remove any dirt or grime. The groundsheet and base of the tent are the most common spots for mud. Then rinse the tent in the tub or bucket and get rid of any soap.

4) Pitch your tent or hang it in a cool, shaded place to dry completely. Remember, never pack away a wet tent.

Top Tip: Avoid detergents as these can damage your tent's ability to repel rain

Tent Care

How to Reproof a Tent

Firstly, it's worth saying that you don't need to reproof a new tent. Fresh out of the box, tents are rain-ready due to a waterproof fabric and taped seams. After time and regular use you may find that your tent starts to 'wet out' (damp begins to sit on the outside of the fabric, rather than bead off). Before we talk about how to reproof a tent to restore it's waterproofing quality, let's cover condensation and how not to mix up the two. Check out this quick and simple explanation:

 

 

The best way to check if your tent needs reproofing is to test it yourself using a water spray. If the water soaks into the fabric rather than running (or beading) off, then it likely needs attention. Also if you notice the coating of your tent is flaking off because of sun damage, then treat it at the earliest chance. To reproof your tent, read the instructions on your specialist tent proofer, spray it evenly over the fabric flysheet. Gently wipe away any excess with a soft damp cloth and leave leave it to dry completely.

Mini Tent

Packing Away & Storing a Tent

Packing away and storing your tent properly is the easiest way to ensure it will outlast many more camping trips. The golden rule is make sure it's completely dry and clean. Here's a simple video guide from our expert Ian to packing away a tent.

 

 

When storing your tent, avoid damp or hot spaces like basements or attics. If the garage or shed is your only storage option, then place your tent inside a sealed plastic container to keep out moisture. Store your tent flat rather than on its end to avoid damage to the tent poles. Also do not put heavy items on top of the tent for the same reason.

Remember these golden rules for maintaining your tent in the field and at home and you’re guaranteed to enjoy many more night’s sleeping under the stars. Shop our range of Tent Cleaners & Proofers online or visit your Local Millets Store.

Author avatar
Ben is passionate about the beauty of the outdoors. Stargazing, sightseeing and outdoor photography hold a special place in his heart. Now that beauty is at risk he’s keen to take a stand to try and fight back against this Climate Crisis. In his free time, Ben is a music fanatic. If there’s one place you can find him, it’s at a festival. Plus, he plays guitar, bass and piano, as well as producing his own electronic & UK Garage tracks. He’s also a regular at every Wetherspoons in his local area, so if you ever see him around, pull up for a pint?

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