A tent is an investment that should, in return for some tlc, give you years of service. We have put together some tips to help you make the most of your trusty tent
Camping is a bit of a sport, in that it can take some sweat and tears to get yourself fully immersed. Our basics should help you perspire less, and not cry at all (though we can’t make promises on that one).
– Build and check your tent before every trip. Unless you enjoy the desperate search for those missing pegs in the middle of a gale, thinking: ‘I’m sure I put them back in the bag?’
– Wearing hiking boots or studded footwear inside your tent will put extra strain on the groundsheet. Also, wearing shoes and stepping through zippered doorways is classed an extreme sport
– Fold shock-corded tent poles from the middle to reduce the tension on the cord. The tension in the poles is the difference between lying in your tent, and wearing your tent
– Do not rattle your shock-corded poles to bring them together, this can create serrated edges that may rip or tear the tent material. In an instant, a pole can go from friend to foe
– Clean and dry your tent quickly and thoroughly after use – more on that below
Cleaning and Packing
Before you display your immense giant-origami skills, remember to do the following:
– Open windows and internal rooms to allow air to circulate
– Sweep the interior free of dirt and debris with a soft broom
– Clean poles and zips with a soft, absorbent dry cloth
– Sponge the tent using a special tent wash. Normal household detergent can damage the water-proof finish on your tent
If it’s not possible to take down your tent in dry weather, then you need to ensure the following:
– Shake your tent well to remove as much water as possible
– Wipe down with an absorbent sponge that has not been exposed to household detergents.
– If your tent is still damp, hold off on packing it away fully. Instead, fold it loosely and start drying it when you get home.
– Radiators are like Kryptonite to tents – re-pitch in your garage or garden or hang it on a washing line.
– When dry, keep your tent loosely folded in a dry location away from excess heat (a garage or airing cupboard is worth considering).
Treat it Keen
Some simple, preventative care will extend the life of your tent and stop it imitating a colander. If you camp multiple times per season, you will need to increase the frequency of any treatments.
– Regularly seal the seams of your tent to maintain its water proof finish. Make sure that your tent is dry before treating the seams.
– Reproof your tent at least every 2nd year – more if you are a regular camper.
– Treat rips and punctures as soon as possible to minimize large scale tearing. Gaffer or duct tape is a great quick fix. Make sure that the area is clean and dry before applying any permanent or temporary repair. Many tents come with a repair kit that comes with a self-adhesive patch for a more permanent repair.
Your tent probably has an integral or built-in groundsheet. We recommend that you go for the belt-and-braces option and buy an extra groundsheet that is either sized to your tent (this is called a footprint groundsheet) or a standard tarpaulin. The reasons for having one are many:
– The extra groundsheet gives you an extra layer of insulation.
– The separate groundsheet is what is in contact with the muddy ground. This is important when you pack away your tent, as you do not embed dirt into your tent when packing it away.
– The extra layer reduces the chance of sharp stones piercing the base of your tent.
– It is easier to clean 1 sheet of fabric than the entire tent!