With the good weather in UK, thoughts turn to getting outdoors and enjoying the countryside.
We at Walk Fife are big fans of camping under canvas and as such we know a thing or two about tents.
High performance tents are more affordable then ever and, if you keep after them correctly, they will serve you well for years. Every tent manufacturer has their own guides to caring for their products but we have pieced together a basic guide that will help you ensure that your home from home is kept in tip top condition.
Pitching up your tent
Before heading out on a camping trip it is advisable to practise pitching it by doing this you can understand how to erect kit quickly which will be invaluable if you are required to pitch up in the wind and rain or even in the dark. If you are having difficulty with your tent, some manufacturers provide video guides but if they don’t you will most likely find one on youtube posted by other owners.
By pitching your tent correctly, you will help to minimise any wear and tear the tent may receive when in use. Try to avoid pitching your tent underneath trees as their sap is difficult to remove from fabrics it also can cause tears in the tent fabric as it dries and hardens.
Guylines increase the stability of the tent, particularly in stormy weather. Manufacturers advise that you use all the guylines on the flysheet as these contribute to the overall strength and stability of the tent design.
If your flysheet is made from nylon then in heavy rain it will absorb water and expand causing some sagging. To counter this simply adjust the poles of the flysheet to regain tension. When the tent dries out, loosen the flysheet by once again readjusting the poles. This minimises the risk of damage to both the poles and the flysheet.
Tent poles come under great tension during pitching so make sure that you ensure they are fully connected before gently easing the poles through the sleeves otherwise you can damage the pole or even worse snap the elastic shock cord running through them and believe me you do not want that to happen.
When you have your tent pitched, avoid wearing your boots inside or having objects touching the fabric of the tent as this could cause damage to the fabric.
Just as much care has to be taken when taking the tent down as when you pitched it up. Take your time to push the poles carefully through the sleeves as pulling them can over extend the elastic and cause the dreaded snap. Start by folding the pole from the middle to create an even stretch in the shock cord.
Avoiding condensation build-up in your tent
Condensation is unavoidable and occurs in all tents but it does vary depending on the conditions and the method and material used when manufacturing your tent.
Small single skin tents suffer more from condensation than larger multi-layered tents due to airflow and volume. A good way to encourage air flow into the tent is to leave flysheet doors and vents open as much as possible on dry nights. If conditions are dry in the morning, you can remove the flysheet and shake the condensation off. On windy days keep the tent well ventilated and this will allow the flysheet to dry out.
Cleaning and storing your tent
On your return home from your camping trip it is important that you make sure that your tent is clean and dry before storing to prevent mildew and damp from taking hold.
If you do get some mildew then you can remove using standard tent cleaner and soapy water. You local outdoors store should stock cent cleaner and it usually is fairly inexpensive. Rinse and leave out to dry, preferably in the shade. When cleaning the tent check for signs of wear and tear.
Check that the zips are clean as dirt can build up making zips difficult to use. When cleaning zips, use soapy water, rinse and re-lubricate. If alloy tent pegs and poles are exposed to sea spray or other salt water environments, wash them thoroughly in clean water before drying. Lubricating the metalwork on the tent from time to time can help to prevent corrosion.
It is a good idea to regularly reproof the outer shell of your tent to improve its water repellency. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations before doing this.
Store your tent in a cool dry place, away from direct heat. Try to avoid storing tents in garages or lofts, which can become warm during summer months, and air your tent out every so often to prevent the fabrics from adhering to each other.
Repairing your tent
Even with the best care, general wear and tear will occur so it is always advisable to be prepared. Duct tape is handy to take with you to temporarily repair tears to the fabric etc. Many manufacturers now offer their own repair kits specifically for their tents and you can also buy generic kits from most outdoor stores..
If you keep after your tent it will serve you well on many adventures. We hope that these few tips help you enjoy the good weather while exploring the outdoors!
A big thank you must go to Sumo Survival for their assistance in writing this post.