With the winter all but a distant memory the bushwalking season will be in full swing soon and your likely to be getting outdoors for some camping or hiking. In that case its time to get your outdoor equipment in order. We have done a number of care and equipment tips blog posts which can be found here.

Like most things in life, if you take care of your tent it will take care of you. Below are three tent care tips which will keep your tent in good working order for many years to come.

Isle Of Skye, Chris Burkard

1. Storing your Tent

Naturally it’s best to store your tent in a dry and cool area and not in direct sunlight. However many people still store their tent in its original small stuff sack. The best method for long term storage is to keep the tent in an oversized, breathable cotton or mesh bag, similar to the way you would store a sleeping bag. Using a simple pillowcase can work just as well.

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2. Preventing mildew from growing & hydrolysis

Within as little as 24 hours mildew can begin to form on a wet, crumpled tent, this can cause the fabric to stain and smell, as well as compromise its waterproof coating.

All tents feature waterproof protection, however prolonged exposure to moisture, humidity and warmth can cause hydrolysis (the premature break down of the waterproof coating where it becomes soft, sticky and no longer waterproof) in even the most waterproof tents. To prevent hydrolysis, and to keep the fabric from growing mildew make sure you avoid storing your tent tightly in its small stuff sack and make sure that it is not wet, damp or dirty. (Mildew and moisture damage are generally not covered by the manufactures warranty)

Airing out and drying your tent at the soonest possible moment will help protect it.

Australian Alps: Dave Casey

Australian Alps: Photograph Dave Casey

3.Cleaning your tent

If your tent is exposed to dirt, sand, etc., you can remove most loose dirt from the fabric using water pressure from a regular garden hose. For heavy-duty cleaning, set up your tent and hand wash it with warm water, a sponge and a mild, non-detergent soap such as technical fabric wash like ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash. Rinse well and allow to it fully dry while pitched, or hang to dry. Make sure to dry your tent away from direct sunlight as extended exposure to UV is harmful to the fabrics.

Make sure to avoid dishwashing liquid, detergent, bleach and similarly concentrated solutions, and never dry clean, machine wash or machine dry your tent. Any of these methods can remove the tent’s waterproof coatings.

It is also important to keep the zippers clean, so if exposed to dirt, sand, or salt air, wipe the zipper down with a wet cloth. In excessive cases, wash and then treat and lubricate the zippers with McNett Zip Care™ or a silicone zipper spray.

Keeping your tent dry, clean and properly stored can protect it for years to come.

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About The Author

Dave Casey

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking. He is currently working at Paddys as the National Account Manager, to fund all of the above.

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