Taking proper care of your tent is vital in protecting your tent’s lifespan and overall longevity, and after all that money you’ve spent on your high-quality tent, I’m sure you want to keep it in great condition for as long as possible. Not to stress though, this blog will guide you through what you need to know about cleaning, maintaining, and storing your tent.
How To Store Your Tent
I’ll begin by talking about how to properly store your tent, as doing this properly will reduce the frequency of your tent needing a deep clean or re-waterproofing (these will be explained later).
The first, and most important step to storing your tent, is ensuring that your tent is 100% dry before storage. Storing your tent whilst damp can lead to the growth of mildew, which in turn can not only look and smell terrible, but degrade the waterproof coating of your tent.
Secondly, packing your tent loosely will aid in better ventilation for your tent, which will prevent moisture trapping causing mould and mildew growth. This is best achieved by storing your tent in a large mesh or cotton bag, instead of a restrictive stuff sack.
Finally, the location you choose to store your tent is also important. You want to find a dry and cool area that’s out of direct sunlight (UV exposure can degrade the tent material over time. However gear care products such as the Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof Spray Bottle can help to protect your tent from this!). I’d recommend storing your tent in a spare bedroom or indoor cardboard over places like attics or garages which can often be full of odours and moist air.
Some extra precautions to keep in mind before storing your tent include packing your pegs and tent poles separately, and keeping all zips closed when packing up. Doing so will help protect the tent material from getting damaged.
How To Clean Your Tent
With proper care and precautions, you shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning your tent often; only if it develops a nasty odour or becomes heavily soiled. Otherwise, simply shaking out your tent when packing up after a camp, and/or using a soft brush to remove any debris, dirt, dust etc, is a great habit to get into to keep your tent and stuff sack clean. If need be, you can also use water from a regular garden hose.
If you do notice any bad odours, or patches of mould or mildew on your tent, now is the time to give your tent a good clean. You’ll want to avoid using products such as dishwashing liquid, detergent, bleach and similarly concentrated solutions, as well as using washing and drying machines. Using any of these can deteriorate the waterproof coating of your tent, as well as the machines adding stress to the seams, zippers, and mesh.
To clean your tent, you’ll want to hand wash it with a sponge, warm water, and a mild, non-detergent soap. We’d recommend a cleaner designed to protect the waterproofing of your tent, such as Grangers Tent + Gear Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash. Once cleaned, rinse it well and then allow it to fully dry either whilst pitched, or hung in a clean and open area.
How To Maintain Your Tent
Following all of the above advice will help you to maintain your tent in a fantastic condition for a long time, however there are still some more things you can do to prolong the life of your tent.
It’s good practice to inspect your tent for any signs indicating that it needs re-waterproofing. The first thing to check will be the seams on the tent body, rainfly, and floor. Pay particular attention to corners, pole sleeves, zippers, and the seam between the canopy and the floor. Check that the tape is flat and smooth, and not lifting up around areas of stress. If you find that previously sealed seams are peeling, they will need to be retreated.
I would highly recommend Gear Aid Seam Grip + Sil - Silicone Tent Sealant for this!
For more information, check out our blog How To Seam Seal Your Tent.
Re-waterproofing your tent body, floor and fly should only be needed if the waterproofing has significantly worn away - You’ll know this is the case if the fly or tent walls start to stick together.
A fantastic product for re-waterproofing these is the Grangers Performance Repel Plus. This works best after you’ve deep-cleaned your tent with either Grangers Tent + Gear Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash, as spoken about in the previous section.
Finally, products such as the Gear Aid Zip Cleaner + Lubricant can keep your tent zippers clean and free of any debris that can cause sticking, as well as protecting your zippers from corrosion. The good news is that this zip cleaner can also be used on other outdoor gear, such as outdoor clothing or wetsuits!