Respect the Roof

Tips and Tactics to Sustain Your Tent


2004 Buyer's Guide: Tent Care

» KEEP IT CLEAN. Don't set up in the mud, and enforce a no-boots, no-pooches policy beyond the vestibule. Sand and grit will scratch the waterproof coating, clog zippers, and encourage mildew growth.
» Buy some clear polyvinyl sheeting at a hardware store, trim it just smaller than your tent's footprint, and place it on the ground beneath your tent; it will help KEEP OUT MOISTURE and protect the floor from damage.
» Try to set up your shelter in the shade. And ALWAYS USE THE FLY, even in dry weather—consider it sunblock for your tent's canopy.
» Don't make a show of snapping poles out to full length; unfurl them one segment at a time. An occasional drop of silicone lubricant at the joints will help smooth the mating process.
» Try not to chip the anodized coating on your tent poles—it prevents them from corroding.
» With the tent up and the doors open, SHAKE ALL THE DIRT OUT. Pack it as unsoiled as possible, or the grit will abrade the fabric and provide a safe haven for mildew.
» GO EASY ON THE ZIPPERS. If they grow stubborn, apply some dry graphite lubricant.
» Repair any tears with adhesive nylon patches ASAP; neglect rips and they'll grow.

» Pull your tent from its bag and give it a good once-over. CLEAN OFF ANY DIRT with a sponge, using a little mild detergent, then let it air-dry. Store in a loose, breathable bag. Extend the poles so the cords don't get stretched out.
» WIPE ANY DIRT OFF THE STAKES you pack away with your tent, lest mildewing nasties colonize it.

More Gear