Like any home, your tent requires a little care and attention if it’s to continue to perform when you need it most. Like everything in life, tents also degrade over time, so a little preventative maintenance goes a long way. To help ensure you get the most from your tent, here we run through just how you can best care for your tent.
Try and minimise the time you leave your tent exposed under the rays of a strong sun. Over time, the UV radiation not only degrades colour, but also the fabric. Polyester flys are generally more UV resistant than nylon flys, but regardless of material, to really care for your tent, it's always best to pitch it where it’s shaded for much of the day.
The first thing to tear or break is often the zippers. On a quality tent, there’s no reason for this to occur aside from using too much force. If the zipper becomes stuck, then gently hold the track with one hand while working the zipper back with the other. If it happens to split, then back it up as far as you need to and try to reengage it.
Come evening on any camping trip, you should always leave your boots outside. This not only serves to keep the inner space clean, but it also serves to protect the tent floor from being punctured by pebbles or grit on the soles of the boots.
Always push the shock-corded poles outward rather than pulling them toward you. If they become stuck after separating, then it can place too much stress on the cord if one keeps pulling.
Once the poles are removed, give the tent a good shake out. Anything inside will be there until the next time you erect your tent, so it’s important to remove any potentially problematic items, like food or sharp objects that might damage the fabric.
Keeping your tent dry is important as exposure to moisture will result in damage over time. Always try and pack up your tent in dry conditions. Even without rain, condensation can build up inside, so it’s important to allow time for it to air out.
If you simply must pack your tent while it’s still wet, then make sure to set it up as soon as you can in dry conditions. Or, at the very least, hang it up somewhere dry.
After extended trips, you’ll want to give your tent a thorough cleaning. Sadly for those who like their modern conveniences, you can’t simply throw your tent in the washing machine! Doing so will harm the fabric, so it’s always best to take the old-fashioned approach of a soft sponge and non-detergent soap. Gently massage the soiled areas, taking particular care on the coated areas of the floor and fly.
With heavy use, even the best-made tents will exhibit signs of ageing and damage. Thankfully, however, with some TLC, you can make some running repairs to any damage before it becomes too severe.
Re-waterproofing your tent is one useful way to increase the life of your tent. With exposure to the elements over time, the coatings will naturally fade, so reapplication will help ensure your tent doesn’t lose one of it’s most important traits. Most sealing products will require 24 hours to dry completely, so it’s often best done indoors in a garage where the environment is free from debris.
Leaky seams tend to become an issue with tents which have been subjected to use. Although most tents are sold already sealed, it’s important to continuously inspect them for damage as they are particularly susceptible areas.
If your tent has been subjected to quite a bit of use, then pay particular attention to any degradation in the fly or the floor.
When it comes to the fly, the first sign of a potential issue is when the fabric starts to peel. For some cheaper tents, it may be better to simply replace it at this point, but for those tents more highly valued by their owners, a running repair can be made. Firstly, gently remove the peeling fabric with a nonabrasive sponge and apply a thin layer of sealant before allowing it to dry.
If, however, your floor is beginning to fail, then sadly it may be time for a new tent.
If you’ve carried out some running repairs, eeked out another season of use, but the end has still come regardless, then at Decathlon, we’re here to help you out! We stock a wide range of tents for a variety of uses in a variety of sizes ensuring you’ll find just the right one for you.