18 Top Tips For Looking After Your Tent
Keeping your tent well maintained should extend its life by several years.
Checking for damage and carrying out running repairs is only part of the story – you also need to keep the tent clean, store it properly and make sure it continues to be waterproof.
A tent is a big investment but look after it properly and you could make it last for years. Here’s our guide to essential tent maintenance and fixes.
1. Dry your tent before packing it away at home after a camping trip. If it’s raining, spread it out in a spare room, garage or shed if you can, rather than leaving it in the bag while wet.
2. If you discover a leak inside your tent (and make sure it’s not just condensation) check the seams – treating them with seam sealer should solve the problem.
3. If the rain starts to darken the flysheet, your tent will need waterproofing treatment.
4. The ideal time to treat a tent is towards the end of the summer, before the weather starts to change
6. Small tents can fit into washing machines but large models will have to be pitched and washed by hand.
7. Before applying proofer, thoroughly clean the tent fabric
8. Spray-on proofing treatments are convenient and easy to use. After treatment, dry the tent naturally outdoors before packing away.
9. If a fibreglass pole splits along its length, an effective temporary repair is to wrap it in Duck tape. First slice off any splinters to tidy up the break then wrap the tape as tightly as possible round the pole so it is secure but will still bend.
10. To repair a snapped pole, slide a short metal tube, usually referred to as a repair sleeve, over the break and tape in place as an effective temporary solution. Most tent repair kits will have one but if yours is mislaid then a length of tube from a hardware shop will do the trick (check the diameter first).
11. On inflatable tents, if you are sure you have a puncture in a tube, let out all the air and locate the damage
12. Clean the area around the puncture then carefully apply a repair patch (Stormsure, Tear Aid and Storm all supply suitable products. Once the adhesive is dry, replace the sleeve and inflate, leaving overnight to make sure the repair has worked. When you get home, contact your retailer and find out about a replacement tube.
13. Push poles through the sleeves rather than pulling them. Pulling allows them to separate and cause damage to the pole and fabric as well as over-stretching the shockcord. If the pole runs into a snag, check it out and sort the problem rather than trying to force it through.
14. Small tears or holes can be repaired with self-adhesive patches or a short-length of Duck tape. Spray all around the repaired area with reproofer to make it more waterproof.
15. For a permanent fix, rips can be sewn back together, either by hand or with a sewing machine, then coated on both sides with seam sealant.
16. Damage to inner tents, even ragged tears, can be stitched up fairly easily as they don’t need to be made waterproof.
17. Keep the zips free of dirt or grit and occasionally lubricate them with bees wax to help them to run freely.
18. Use a specially designed footprint or simply a sheet of tarpaulin to protect sewn-in groundsheets from damage, especially if you are pitching on a hard standing or on stony ground.