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6 Tips for Tent Storage

You’ve just made a big investment in an awesome tent and want to keep enjoying it for years to come. Believe it or not, how you store your tent can be the biggest factor in how long it lasts. Follow along as our Gear Specialist, Becky, discusses some great tips for storing your tent at home and on the trail.

6 Tips for Tent Storage Video

Turn tent inside out to make cleaning easier
Turn a tent's corners inside out to make cleaning easier

TIP #1: Clean Your Tent Before Storage

Be sure your tent is clean before folding or rolling every time. Dirt can cause unnecessary rubbing and abrasion, which can cause holes in the tent fabric even while on your backpacking trip.

Trick: Turn the tent inside-out instead of trying to brush dirt out from the inside.

 

TIP #2: Dry Your Tent Before Storage

Be sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away. Even the smallest amount of moisture can cause mildew, and mildew will stain and damage the fabrics and cause odor.

Set the tent up in front of a fan to dry it out faster
Use a fan to dry out a tent faster
  • Trick: If the tent is still wet when you get it home from a camping trip, set it up with a fan blowing on it to dry quickly.
  • Trick: While on an extended camping or backpacking trip, don't pack up the tent first thing in the morning; rather, set it in the sun and give it time to dry out while doing other tasks around camp to ensure it's not packed wet.

 

TIP #3: Store Your Tent in a Cool, Dry Place

If storing in a basement, the basement should not be humid; this type of environment will cause damage to the rainfly/waterproof treatment. If storing in an attic, the attic should not get extremely hot, which can also cause damage to the rainfly/waterproof treatment.

  • Trick: Install a dehumidifier in a damp basement storage area if you must store your tent in the basement.

 

TIP #4: Remember that Tent Poles and Stakes Can Damage Fabric

When breaking down your tent, be sure that pole ends do not have a chance to damage the fabric of the tent. (The same thing goes for tent stakes; be sure that stake ends are not able to puncture or otherwise damage tent fabric).

  • Trick: When breaking down shock-corded tent poles, start at the middle and work your way out to put even pressure or tension on the shock cord that won’t cause undue stress on the ends.

 

A larger stuff sack can allow a tent to breathe and avoid damage
A larger stuff sack can allow a tent to breathe and avoid damage

TIP #5: Carefully Roll or Stuff the Tent Back into Its Stuff Sack

 

Think ahead to the next time you will be unpacking the tent and roll or stuff it so that the tent can be removed easily without having to pull on small pieces such as corners, which can potentially damage the fabric.

  • Trick: Just because your tent came with a stuff sack does not mean that it has to be stored in the included stuff sack. If you have a larger appropriate bag or sack at home, you can store your tent in it for long periods so it is not as compressed.
  • Trick: You can use silica gel packets as a desiccant inside the tent if you know it will be stored for a long duration; this helps diminish moisture.

 

TIP #6: Follow these Fabric Care Do's & Don'ts for Long-Term Tent Storage

Tent fabric is designed to be strong and relatively resistant to damage, but it does require some special care. When preparing to store your tent after returning home from a camping trip, especially if it might be several months until you next use your tent, be sure to follow these important care guidelines:

  •    Never machine wash a tent.
    •    To clean a tent, use a non-abrasive sponge, cold water and a non-detergent soap. Gently scrub soiled areas by hand. Rinse thoroughly, then set it up in a shady spot and let it air dry completely.
  •    Avoid using household cleaners such as dishwashing liquid, bleach, spot removers or laundry presoaking products on tent fabrics.
    •    Why? Virtually all household soaps are perfumed and will attract bugs, mice and other critters. These soaps also interfere with a tent's durable water repellent (DWR) finish coating. Use an outdoor gear-specific protective product instead, such as Nikwax Tech Wash or Granger's Tent Cleaner.