Taking care of your tent

8:45 p.m. on February 18, 2009 (EST)
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Mountain Hardwear is one of the top tent (and other outdoor gear) manufacturers. This URL is their discussion of tent care and storage -

Tent care and storage

A few pertinent quotes:

Pole Care
When assembling the poles, never allow the pole sections to snap against each other. Always make sure that all pole sections are fully engaged before bending. Keep the poles clean and free of silt, sand and salt, taking special care with the aluminum tips, as they are not anodized and can corrode.

 

Zippers: One of the keys to zipper longevity is to keep them free of sand and grit. When pitching your tent, be careful to keep the door and window zippers out of the dirt. Never step on the zipper. Keep zippers clean by washing them (at home) with a garden hose and pressure nozzle. Most zipper failures result from wear to the coating on the inside of the zipper slider (the metal toggle). Once that coating wears off, the metal abrades rapidly, and the zipper slider no longer joins the continuous plastic coils securely. The plastic coils then tend to separate behind the zipper slider.


Storage
Store your tent in a cool, dry environment. Pack the tent loosely, and, if possible, leave the shock-corded poles completely or partially assembled.

Never pack or store your tent if it is dirty and/or damp. If you do so, mildew can form and ruin the waterproof coating on your tent. Mildew will cause your tent to smell and can eventually delaminate and damage the polyurethane coating. This will cause your tent to leak. There is no cure for mildew damage. Prolonged moisture on the polyurethane coating (storing the tent wet for more than a few days) can cause hydrolysis. The coating becomes soft and sticks to itself, peeling from the fabric which will lead to leakage.


Cleaning Your Tent
Never machine wash or machine dry your tent. For localized cleaning, use a sponge with warm water. When cleaning the entire tent, wash in a tub (bathtub) of cold water. Never use hot water, bleach, dishwashing liquid, pre-soaking solutions, or spot removers. If you use soap, always use a non-detergent soap. Dry your tent by pitching it in the shade or by line drying only. Never machine dry your tent.

2:37 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Mountain Hardwear is one of the top tent (and other outdoor gear) manufacturers. This URL is their discussion of tent care and storage

I agree with this tent care instruction. I believe ALPS Mountaineering has a similiar posting on their website: http://alpsmountaineering.com/ALPSMountaineeringTentTips.htm

I always take good care of my tent(s)-that's why they are lasting so long and still look good.

9:04 p.m. on May 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill S

"Wash" ? --- my tent? how could I be a dirt bag then?

Jim S

11:57 a.m. on May 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Easy, Jimmy. Being a true dirtbag is all in your head ;) For folk like you and me it just comes "naturally", even with a piece of brand new gear.

3:13 a.m. on June 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Was just about to start a new thread but this thread should do!

Having just purchased a fully free standing tent, would storing it fully erected(dry of course) in a spare room rather than in it's storage bag be beneficial in any way?

Mark

12:17 a.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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I always dry my tents by hanging them upside down by the by the tent stake loops on the corners, from a patio cover or garage rafters. They always dry completely this way in an hour or two.

11:15 a.m. on July 5, 2009 (EDT)
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I've dried my tents (and other outdoor gear) in the dryer for years with absolutly no harm. Just be sure to use air dry only, or a heat setting that does not get hot.

6:55 p.m. on July 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I've dried my tents (and other outdoor gear) in the dryer for years with absolutly no harm. Just be sure to use air dry only, or a heat setting that does not get hot.

Look back at my original post where I quoted from Mountain Hardwear's website. There is a reason they state:

Cleaning Your Tent
Never machine wash or machine dry your tent. For localized cleaning, use a sponge with warm water. When cleaning the entire tent, wash in a tub (bathtub) of cold water. Never use hot water, bleach, dishwashing liquid, pre-soaking solutions, or spot removers. If you use soap, always use a non-detergent soap. Dry your tent by pitching it in the shade or by line drying only. Never machine dry your tent.

Dryers weaken and eventually tear your tent.

12:59 a.m. on July 13, 2009 (EDT)
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I was just letting people know what I do. I've been camping since a kid and a serious climber since 1979. I bet I've dried my tent 25 times with no harm done to it.

12:04 p.m. on July 21, 2009 (EDT)
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If you can store your tent out of the bag that is great. If you don't have a lot of space, like many of us these days, it is best to store it in a bag that breathes. Tents usually come with waterproof bags which hold in any moisture and contribute to mildew.

Just as you would store your sleeping bag in a bag that is loose, and then pack it in a stuff sack to travel with it, it is a good idea to store your tent in a loose breathable bag.

I have been making and repairing outdoor gear for 20 years and I've seen even just nylon fabric mildew from sitting in damp area (garage or basement).

There are synthetic fabrics that are breathable these days that will not rot themselves. (Don't use goretex because goretex isn't breathable unless worn against the body because it needs heat to transfer the moisture out)

Suzan

10:34 p.m. on July 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Hi Susan, Welcome.

I store my tent (MH Skyview 2) in a large mesh laundry bag, same with my sleeping bag, inside my house. In my experience basements are the worst place (I've experienced) to store any type of fabric, hot attics are terrible too.

4:49 p.m. on October 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I store my tents and sleeping bags the way I store my best suit - in the closet on a hanger - the same closet in fact!

July 25, 2014
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