In the outdoors, your tent is your sanctuary. It protects you from the elements, provides a barrier between you and nocturnal critters, and gives you a place to lay your head at night. But even though it does so much for campers’ security and comfort, many neglect to give their tent the care it needs to stay clean and sturdy. To keep your own tent from becoming dilapidated or tattered, use these maintenance tips regularly.
1. Treat it like your home in the outdoors.
Tent floors tend to hold up much better and last longer if you enact a no-shoes policy. Aside from trekking in mud and dirt, the hard soles of hiking boots can damage the tent floor with surprising ease. So, unless you’re in a rush, try to keep your boots’ tread out of the tent.
2. Act quickly on fabric tears and stains.
The walls and roof of any tent, no matter where it’s set up, are bound to sustain a little damage from time to time. From falling acorns to bird droppings, stains and rips are a common sight on a tent’s outer layers. Instead of letting Mother Nature get the best of your shelter, clean off any stains and sew up any tears as soon as you see them. Taking action as the minor damage occurs will avoid a buildup of problems that eventually leads to your tent making its way to the bottom of a trash can.
3. If your tent’s not waterproofed in the factory, do the job yourself.
Though most tents come waterproofed, it doesn’t hurt to reapply after sustaining a few heavy showers. Most home improvement retail stores carry all purpose waterproofing spray that’s perfect for use on tent walls and roofs. A fresh coat of the spray on occasion will help to avoid any uncomfortable leaky tent situations.
4. Store it in a safe place.
Tents that get stowed away in garages or barns can sometimes carry unpleasant surprises waiting to be unfurled. Mice, bugs, and water damage in storage can ruin a packed away tent without you even knowing it. Find an indoor closet or storage area to stash your tent when it’s not in use, and you’ll prevent those surprises from coming to fruition.
5. Bring a small tent maintenance kit on camping trips.
If a problem arises with your tent at the campsite and you have no means of fixing it, you’re up a creek without a paddle. So unless you’d like to try sleeping under the stars, packing a small kit with a needle, thread, washcloth, and cleaning solution isn’t a bad idea.
Like many other important pieces of camping equipment, your tent needs a little TLC from time to time to stay in top shape. While it’s definitely easier to shrug off a little tear or mud on the floor, preventing and taking care of small problems immediately will inevitably keep the big ones from happening too soon.