Permanent wrinkles on tent's rain fly

9:34 p.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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I have an old (bought around 2006) North Face Rock 32 tent. It is in good shape.

Although, there are some permanent wrinkles on the rain fly (probably caused by storage; I just stuffed it into a storage bag).

Those wrinkles make the rain fly rough (not slick) and it doesn't have the same water repellent effect it had (the wrinkles make some sort of miniature water bowls which hold water). In summary, it is not as slick as it used to be, so the water doesn't glide down the rain fly anymore.

Is there anything I can do? I guess ironing it is out of the question.

Any tips?


6:41 a.m. on January 25, 2013 (EST)
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They should go away if you pitch it nice and tight and leave it up for awhile.

You can probably iron it just fine, just use the right setting for the material. Test a small section first. you could also put a thin cloth under the iron as a barrier.

5:54 p.m. on January 25, 2013 (EST)
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Do not iron coated rain flies!

The wrinkles won't affect keeping the tent dry underneath.  Ignore your inner OCD, everything will be just fine.


2:04 a.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Hi Camil and welcome to Trailspace,

I would have to agree with Ed in the fact that you do not want to iron your fly.

I've had this problem with tents that I have bought from people that have been stored in there stuff bags for years and even decades. I have had some success with washing the tent or the tent fly using one of the gear washes (such as Gear Aid products) using warm water (not hot) and then carefully setting up the tent or fly. It is especially successful if you can set it up on a warm day in the sun. This usually gets the wrinkles out and may help with the water flowing of off the fly. In your case I would have the tent already set up and then take the fly directly out of the wash and put it on the tent being very careful as the fly material will be more delicate and will be much easier to over stretch the fabric as you just washed it in warm water.

Regardless if the rain fly does not allow any moisture thru it is then just a cosmetic issue and will not be a problem.

If it is letting any moisture thru then I would contact TNF and see what they have to say. Most people including myself who have contacted their warranty dept. have had great success and satisfaction with the results as TNF warranties their gear for life.

This is one of the reasons that one does not want to store your tent (or any other gear) in a tight stuff sacks while not in use.


Here's a auction on Ebay for a fly only.  It's kinda pricey at the moment but as it has a 'make an offer' option you might wait awhile and offer them a much cheaper price as this is winter and I highly doubt that it will sell for the price their asking. 



9:23 a.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Hi apeman,

Thanks for the exhaustive reply. When you say "take the fly directly out of the wash". How should I wash the rain fly? I read everywhere that washing machine were out of the question. I read I should just spread out the fly and wash (with sponge, bucket water and nikwax) and rinse both sides. Is that what you meant by out of the wash?

Once again thanks for replying. It really helps.

I am planning a 2 months long canoe trip in Northern Canada, so I want all my gear to be in an A+ shape.


10:50 a.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Wash by hand, set up the tent on a warm day and stretch it out.

3:54 p.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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As ppine says I would wash by hand. I would fill up your bath tub with a small amount of very warm (but not hot) water and add your gear wash. The just dip the fly into the water and slowly agitate by hand. Let if soak for 10-15 min.  If the fly is dirty I would take a soft sponge (those big soft sponges they sell to wash cars work great) and carefully clean the fly using small light strokes over the entire outside of the fly. Very rarely does the inside of the fly get dirty. I would then take the fly outside, or to the place the tent is already set up and put the fly on the tent so that the wrinkles are pulled out of the fly. Usually I notice that the fly has either lost it's wrinkles while in the water or that the wrinkles are very much reduced. Usually putting the wet warm fly on tent finishes the job. Some fly’s have tightening adjustments (buckles or grommets)so that you can cinch the fly down even tighter than if the fly just has elastic cords. If your fly has adjustments then tighten the fly just enough to stretch the wrinkles out and no more. It is very easy to over tighten and stress the fly material when it is warm and wet.

5:32 p.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks a lot for the tips

6:11 p.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Sure. Let us know how it works for you if you try the above suggestions. and have a great trip. Sounds like a blast........

7:02 a.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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Hi camil Just seen your question and thought this may help. we have had the unfortunate experience of owning a couple tunnel tents from hilleberg and had terrible trouble with condensation. You may be wondering what this has to do with you. Well with a tunnel tent there tends to be a larger area of flat fly and when water sits on the top will cause a cold spot on the material which in turn causes moisture from inside to be attracted to the wet area then condensates making it appear that it's leaking. Sorting out the creases will help but also try and keep the tent as well ventilated as possible .

9:35 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Pitch it in 60 mph winds...... That for a fact will remove all the wrinkles ;-)

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