Mitchell, Campgear.com author and photographer extraordinaire breaks down proper tent cleaning technique for the up coming camping season.
As part of spring gear cleaning, it’s time to bust out the tent. If you’re anything like me and have a 3-season tent—the missing 4th season is coming to and end! Also, if your 3-season tent is anything like mine—your tent has been basically locked up for the last few months. In preparation for camping season, it’s best to start off fresh and get that tent clean! I’m here to give you some pointers on cleaning and a bonus-tip on storing/packing your tent.
Bonus Tip: You may notice my tent is stuffed into the stuff sack in a very messy way—this is correct! When I was young, I properly folded my tent and rainfly the same way every time I packed the tent away—this is wrong! If you repeatedly create those creases in the same place, those creases will wear faster than the rest of the materials. This causes structural weaknesses, but more importantly, weakens the waterproof ability along the creases. So, the solution is to use your stuff sack as a proper stuff sack and just jam your tent and fly in there! Any crease and fold patterns are fairly unique and will increase the longevity of your tent.
Step 1: Be sure any larger particles, like small gravel and whatnot, are removed from your tent before washing it. It’s difficult to photo-document doing this, but you can get the picture.
Step 2: Place the tent in your washer. I used Nikwax Tech Wash for all of my initial gear washings (some stuff, like hard shells, need more steps with additional cleaning and care products). You may notice that there are no directions for washing tents (only garments), but I typically go with ½ cup of Tech Wash.
Step 3: Place your washer to ‘large load’ and ‘warm.’ Also, set it to ‘gentle/knits’ just to be safe. Are you done already? Press ‘start’ and you pretty much are!
Step 4: Don’t put your tent in the dryer. Hang it out to dry, or pitch it in the sun and let it air out. Definitely do not pack up your tent while it’s still wet!
Step 5: Probably go get yourself a beer…?