Sportsman’s Guide to Tent Maintenance
Which tent is better for me?
The type of tent which best suites you depends on how you plan to use your tent, each offers different benefits and characteristics. The two most popular and widely used tents are those which are either constructed from Canvas or those from Nylon.
Material: Canvas tents are a heavy, plain-woven fabric made from cotton, hemp or a blend of the two. While Nylon fabric tents are constructed from a more lightweight, silky material made from nylon fibres, a synthetic polymer.
Durability: Canvas tents are more durable than nylon tents, however if a tear should occur canvas can be easily repaired or mended using a simply sewing kit. Nylon on the other hand requires a more specialized repair kit. Most new nylon tents are specially woven with “ripstop” material preventing the tear from getting bigger should it occur at all.
Breathability: Cotton breathes better then Nylon, keeping the interior humidity levels similar to the outside environment. Nylon tents however keep their interiors cooler in warm weather and warmer when it is cooler outside, perfect for climates which experience sharp temperature drops.
- Find a dry, level spot to set up camp
- Choose a nice high spot to prevent your tent from being swamped in a rain storm
- Prepare the camping ground, before pitching your tent, by removing all rocks and sticks to create a clean environment to ensure ultimate comfort during the night.
- Before you embark on your camping adventure, ensure that you assemble and pitch the tent as to familiarize yourself with the workings of the equipment as well as how to pack it away with ease.
- Ensure that everything you need to put your tent together is within the provided packaging, and that it is undamaged.
Nylon and Three/Four Season Tents
Taking care of the tent:
- Always keep tent clean and dry, to prevent insects and mildew from occurring.
- Wash and dry tent thoroughly before storing it away.
- Secure tent when pitched as this will prevent wind damage
- Use a ground sheet
- Should seam leakage occur, apply a generous amount of sealer
- A tear can be repaired with duct tape or a nylon repair kit, and should be dealt with immediately.
- Spare pole kits are available at stores, always keep spare parts hand in case of breakages.
- Avoid pitching your tent under a tree that may drop sap or gum which will stain and damage the tents material as well as its waterproofing.
- Avoid pitching your tent in direct sunlight, or near to possible heat sources.
Tent Maintenance Do's and Don'ts
- Before your first use of your new tent ensure that you spray it thoroughly with water, this is to ensure that the cotton threads that are used to bind the canvas swells to fill all and any possible gaps left behind during the making of the tent.
- After you have cleaned your tent ensure that it has dried completely before packing it away, this will help prevent mildew and other mouldy residue from forming. Even though most tents are treated against mildew, nothing is “mildew proof”.
- Secure your tent properly to the ground once pitched, as strong winds then cannot damage it or cause movement of internal components as well as lead to the prevention of any tent movements.
- Make sure that all components and parts are properly cleaned before packing them away.
- Make sure all tears and holes are taken care of immediately and properly.
- Store your tent on the concrete floor.
- Store your tent in a damp state.
- Spray your tent with insecticide.
- Stand on the canvas of the tent.
- Wash your tent with detergent, the chemicals could lead to the materials used in the construction to lose some of its protective properties.
- Pitch your tent under a tree which may drop sap or gum, these substances can stain and even affect the tents waterproofing properties.
- Pitch your tent near a fire, tent fabric is highly flammable.
- Use excessive force when pitching your tent, some components are be damaged easily.
- Proper tent maintenance leads to the extension of its product lifespan, the better you look after your equipment the better it will look after you in the great outdoors.
- When cleaning your tent, brush it with a very soft bristle to prevent damaging it.
- A proper cared for tent will need to be re-waterproofed. Only use recommended waterproofing products when doing this as to comply with product warranty.
- Apply a seam sealant to seal the seams and tears on your tent.
- Coastal camping: When you return home, wash and dry all poles and frames to prevent rusting.
- Lightly sponge out stained areas, using lukewarm water only to prevent damage.
The warranty does not cover damage caused by or due to normal wear and tear, neglect, improper use, mildew and rot, colour fading or wind action.
In cases where tents are still under warranty and the conditions for repair are acceptable, customers must ensure that the tent is clean and dry before handing it in for set repairs.