Monday, 22 February 2016

10 Tips on how to care for your new tent.

So you've just bought your brand new tent!  Congratulations!  The purchase of a new tent is often one filled with much consideration, and sometimes deliberation!

Now,   you need to make sure you look after it so you can ensure get the maximum life from your tent!

Here's how to look after your tent, and ensure you get the most satisfaction from it!

1 - Set your tent up before going away.
I cant stress this enough.  Before you drive many hours away from your home check your gear over.  There is nothing worse than arriving at your camp site and having to turn home because you forgot to put the pegs back into your tent after you borrowed for another job that time. 

Setting your tent up prior to heading away is a cheap insurance to ensure your holiday is going to be great!  Make sure you weather your tent.

2 - Weather your tent.  

Prior to using your tent in the field.  Ensure you weather your tent.  The process of weathering your tent is entirely soaking it in your back yard, then letting it dry.   4-5 times.  This process allows the thread to swell into the needle holes.

This process also allows you to identify anywhere on your tent where this process has not worked,  allowing you to correct this using wax stick or seam sealer to fix these issues.  Apply this to the outside of the stitching.

Generally, if a tent is to leak.  It will be through the stitches.  Because of these stitches, no tent can be guaranteed to be 100% waterproof.  It's very uncommon for a tent to leak through the material itself, this is nearly always condensation.

In todays manufacturing processes, there is no other method available to connect two individual pieces of material together aside from stitching.  Stitching is flawed in that it needs a needle to push the thread through.  This needle, needs to be a bit bigger than the thread.  This is where water can get through.

If you follow this weathering process religiously,  and at the end your tent is not leaking.  If you do then find yourself getting wet inside your tent whilst camping you can be nearly 100% certain that your tent is not leaking but you are instead suffering from condensation.  To fix this,  you need to improve ventilation!

3 - Always peg your tent out. You may be able to get away with using only four pegs to set your tent up. However, if you encounter any wind, rain or otherwise which results in damage to your tent. No warranty will apply.

4 - Always use the guy ropes. The fashionable ropes that hang from your tent are also functional.  It's critical, that you use these for your tent to give it the structural support it needs.  Sure, you can probably get away with using just a few pegs and leave the ropes hanging but be warned!

The best way to look at guy ropes on your tent is that they're the foundation of your tent.  All homes have foundations,  your tent needs a good foundation too.  Not using the guy ropes is a recipe for failure.

If a strong breeze comes along in the afternoon when you're out exploring, your tent could potentially fail resulting in a ruined holiday.  So take the few extra minutes, drive in the extra pegs and be satisfied that you've done all you can to ensure your tent has the structural integrity to withstand the elements.

5 - Use a tarp UNDER your tent.
Whilst it is not necessary to use a tarp under your tent.  Doing so will provide the floor of your tent with an extra barrier to the rocks, sticks and sharp objects you've potentially missed.  All of which could potentially pierce the floor of your tent. 

You can read more about why you should use a tarp under your tent by clicking here.

6 - Attend to your tent!!
Keep an eye on your tent.  It is not possible to set and forget a temporary structure.  You will need to adjust the guy ropes and re peg occasionally. 

It's especially important that you do not allow water to pool on your tent.  Water resting on the tent places additional strain along the whole tent and will result in failure in the weakest point.   

Adjust awnings, re peg and reset if necessary to avoid water pooling.  If you allow water to pool and leave it be, you'll likely break your tent.  Worse yet, you wont be covered by warranty.

7 - Keep ventilation ALWAYS!  
Tents are often accused of leaking unfairly.  More often than not, its due to condensation.  Condensation comes from many sources including your breathe,  wet clothing inside the tent combined with high humidity and colder temperatures outside your tent.

To avoid condensation, always have plenty of ventilation.  This is especially important in winter and in tropical climates where high humidity is common.  All tents have been designed to allow for ventilation even when it is raining, make sure you use these. 

This also means that you need plenty of ventilation in winter.  If your tent feels much warmer than outside, you'll definitely suffer from from condensation issues and will get wet!  Wear warm clothes to stay warm inside a tent!

8 - Cleaning your tent
It's extremely important that you do not use any cleaning agents on your tent.  Always try using just water, and avoid scrubbing.  Scrubbing or using any cleaning agents, can potentially remove the waterproof coatings on the tent. 

Dont worry if your tent is a bit dirty, having a dirty tent shows that you're an experienced camper.

9 - Peg Removal  -  Never remove pegs using the peg loops or tabs.  Always use another peg, or a peg puller!  Using your tent is placing unnecessary strain on your tent and will likely tear it at the very least it will damage it.

10 - Storage-  Always store your tent totally dry and as clean as possible.  Being material, tents are prone to mould.    Mould can be identified as black spots on your tents material.  If notice any mould, immediately air your tent and clean the affected area with mild soap and water.

Do you have any tent care tips you wish to add?  Drop them in the comments below!

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