How you treat your tent in the field and at home can have a dramatic effect on it’s longevity and performance. Your new tent may be one of the most expensive pieces of your hiking kit so it’s important that you take care of it. We have put together some simple tips that you can easily follow to ensure your tent lasts for many, many adventures.

Setting up a nemo dagger tent in Tasmania

Photo Credit: Lachlan Gardiner


Careful consideration of where to pitch your tent can help to avoid unnecessary damage. It’s important to clear the area of sticks and sharp debris that can puncture the base of your tent. The use of a footprint, an additional layer of durable material, can help to protect your tent from the elements and prolong the life of the tent. Footprints are especially important for ultralight tents whose lighter floor fabric needs the tough denier nylon of the footprint for reinforcement on rough campsites. It is important to buy the matching footprint for your tent as they’re specifically tailored to the dimensions and pole attachment sites of each tent. 


Guy ropes 

Guy ropes offer additional stability to your tent in windy conditions and ensures that the outer fabric of your tent is taut, so water can easily run off and not pool. It is always best to peg out all your guy lines even if you aren’t expecting poor weather otherwise you may be forced out of your warm sleeping bag to rescue your tent in the middle of the night. Always peg your guy ropes in the direction indicated by the natural line of the material at an angle of approximately 45º. Incorrectly pegging your guy lines can place unnecessary tension on the tent and cause damage. After you have pegged out your guy lines, inspect the tent and ensure that the tension is relatively even across the tent fabric. The tension in each individual guy line can be adjusted with a tensioner found on each line. Ensure the line is taut but not so tight that it is putting excessive tension on the tent. 



Passing a hose over your tent on a low pressure can eliminate dry dirt and sand from the outside of the tent. Wipe down your dirty tent with warm water and a gentle sponge to spot clean tough dirt when necessary. If a cleaning agent is required choose a non-detergent technical wash such as Revivex Pro Cleaner. Avoid using regular detergents, cleaning liquids and bleach as they can damage or leave residues on your new tent.

Lastly, don’t forget about your poles and zippers. Ensure zippers are cleaned during this process as trapped dirt and sand easily can easily damage the mechanism. If dirt or sand has become trapped inside the poles, rinse them in freshwater and allow them to dry fully before storing. Rinsing the poles is especially important if you have been camping near saltwater.  



Ensure your tent is completely dry after a trip or a cleaning session before storing it away. Storing your tent damp can promote mould and break down the sealant that keeps the tent waterproof. When drying your tent do not leave it exposed to direct sunlight as prolonged UV exposure prematurely ages the synthetic material. 



Store the tent in a cool, dry place. Excess moisture and heat in storage can damage the materials and waterproofing agents. Instead of storing your tent in its original stuff sack, it’s best to use an oversized mesh bag for prolonged storage. Alternatively a large, cotton pillowcase will do the trick. 

When you put your tent away for storage ensure that the sharp edges of poles and tent pegs are safely kept away from the delicate tent material. 

A loosely packed up hiking tent for storage

Photo credit: Dave Casey

There are few things more disappointing than pulling out your hiking tent and realising it smells of mildew or has gained a small hole in storage. With ongoing cleaning and maintenance you can successfully keep your tent around for many seasons. Getting into the habit of caring for your tent is easier than it sounds and with practice these tips will become a regular part of your hiking routine.


Nemo tent set up under the stars

Photo credit: Lachlan Gardiner


We love seeing all of your trekking adventures, so don’t forget to tag us in them on Instagram!

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin



About The Author


Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

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