In a lot of instances camping can be an adventure and very enjoyable. When it comes to packing up the campsite and cleaning the gear for the next camping trip it is not nearly as enjoyable and at times can be a chore. When most of us pack up our gear we tend to be in a hurry and do not take the time to properly clean the gear while at the camp site. This article will specifically address the cleaning and storage of tents. There are some basic procedures that need to be followed in order to properly clean and store the tent until the next camping trip. Proper cleaning and storing of a tent is not difficult when you know what needs to be done. The steps include:
• Taking down the tent,
• Cleaning of tent once home, and
• Storage of tent.
tents should be stored dry, free of debris, and folded and rolled in the same manner as when you unpacked the tent.
Prior to taking the tent down the interior of the tent should be preliminarily cleaned. If you have a whisk broom it is suggested to sweep out the interior to get as much dirt as possible out. This is also a good time to check all of the pockets in the tent and empty them as well. If you were camping with children, then you probably will find some surprises such as candy wrappers, or other items they stowed in the pockets of the tent. Keeping the inside of your tent free of twigs, leaves, rocks, and dirt will help prevent holes and tears when you pack it up. Once you have the interior of the tent emptied of all items and swept you can now remove the tent stakes, ropes and tent poles. After wiping the dirt from the stakes you can pack all of them in their storage pouches. Now is the time for you and your camping partner if you are not camping alone to grab onto the corners to lift and shake any dirt off of the outside of the tent. Lay the tent back on the ground and begin to fold the tent in on itself along the same fold lines when it was unpacked. Depending on the size and type of tent, the tent may be folded, rolled, or a combination of both. It is recommended that the tent be packed in the same manner in which it was unpacked. Place the pouches containing the stakes, poles and ropes on the folded tent and roll the tent over them if it was rolled before unpacking and setting up your tent. If your tent was not previously rolled then simply place the folded tent in the storage bag along with the other storage pouch.
Now the tent as well as all of your other gear can be loaded up for the trip back home. Once home the job is not complete, the tent needs to have its final cleaning. This final cleaning does not need to be done immediately but it is recommended not to delay the cleaning too long as the longer the you delay the less likely it is that the final cleaning will be completed. Watch the weather and when there is a span of two or more days of good weather without rain or storms then it is time to finish cleaning the tent. Unpack the tent and unroll and/or unfold the tent and lay it flat on the ground. Now hang the tent on a clothes line or from a tree so that it is elevated off the ground. Once again sweep or vacuum the interior floor of the tent to remove any remaining loose dirt. Hose down both the interior and exterior of the tent. Give the tent a nice shower. Turn all pockets inside-out and thoroughly spray it with water. Now is also a good time to hose down the tent stakes to remove any remaining dirt. Shaking the tent will help remove some of the water from both inside and outside, but the tent will need to be hung for a day or two until completely dried. It is very important at this stage to make sure that the tent is completely dry in order to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
Since the tent is completely dry you can now once again fold it up, roll it and place in the storage bag along with the stakes, poles and tie down ropes. It’s OK to refold your tent the same way every time. Modern tent materials are tough and durable. Poles, ropes, and stakes are usually stored in separate ditty bags, which are rolled up inside the tent. Keeping these essential items with the tent means you’ll always know where they are.
The final item to be done is to store the tent away until the next camping adventure. Hopefully the next camping adventure is only a short time away, but in case it isn’t you should store the tent in a dry location away from heat sources, rain or other moisture as well as direct sunlight. If the tent is not stored in a location away from heat sources, the tent material cold become brittle reducing the life of the tent. Likewise storing the tent in rain or other moist locations could result in the growth of mold or mildew making it a potential health concern and again possibly reducing the life of the tent. If you thought it was a chore to clean the tent after a camping trip the removal of mold and/or mildew will be a job far worse. Storing a tent in direct sunlight will result in the fading of the tent colors and may over a long period of time could also result in the tent material becoming brittle. Most frequently the only drawback to storing the tent in direct sunlight in the short term would be the fading of the colors.
Cleaning and storing a tent is not difficult when the process is broken down into the three steps presented in this article. The steps consist of taking down the tent, cleaning of tent once home and storage of the tent. Each step is equally important and skipping one or more of the steps could make the task of cleaning and storing the tent for the next outing more difficult and time consuming or may shorten the life of the tent. Additionally after each step it would be beneficial to have the tent dry and this will prevent the start of any mold or mildew growth. When you know how to clean and store a tent you will find it is not difficult and will help ensure it will last for countless camping adventures and hundreds of nights in the wilderness.