How to store a tent
The correct storage of your tent is an important thing if you want to keep it in great condition. Storing your tent in the incorrect way will mean that your tent could even in the long run become damaged beyond function. This is a shame, as it is nice to invest in a tent for the long term. If you do want to make memories with your tent for a long time to come, then it is key to find somewhere clean and dry to store it. Otherwise, it may become damaged by mildew, or will take on an unpleasant smell which might just spoil your next trip. Here are a few guidelines to follow which will help you to look after your tent in the best possible way.
Make sure the tent is dry and clean
The first step to storing a tent correctly is to make sure that it is clean and dry before it has been packed away and put into storage. Firstly, let's look at the matter of dryness. It is all very well finding the driest spot to store your tent, but if your tent is still wet when it is placed there, it will still be likely to suffer from the effects of damp. For this reason, before you store your tent, it is always worth hanging it up to dry, or pitching it in the fresh air. If it is not dry weather, then just pitching it by open windows in a fresh, dry room until all moisture has evaporated will be the best course of action to take.
If your tent has come back with you carrying some of nature's beauty with it in the form of mud, grass, and even a few creepy crawlies, then it is also going to be crucial to clean it. For minimal cleaning, you can get away with simply using warm water. Simply wipe away any small bits of mud and grime with water and a cloth, and then you can go through the drying process as outlined above. It is important to consider before use that some non-specialist cleaning agents may end up damaging the properties of the tent material. Therefore, if the tent needs a deeper clean, then you can also purchase specialist tent cleaning products, which we stock at Outback Jacks. These are free from the perfumes, optical brighteners, and heavy cleaning agents which many multipurpose cleaning products contain.
Pack your tent loose
So, your tent is clean and dry - that is perhaps the most important step taken care of. Now that is done, you need to pack it away so that it isn't taking up a whole room's worth of space. All tent users will agree that it is best to avoid packing your tent up into the tight-fitting storage bag that you use when you are camping. Although this is a handy way to operate when you are on a walk, hike or cycle because it means that you can travel with it on your back, it is better to pack your tent away loosely when you are back at home.
Although this might seem unsatisfactory for those who value tidiness above all, the best way to pack it away is simply to loosely scrunch the tent into a spacious, breathable bag. Make sure the bag is big enough so that you don't have to pack the tent in super tightly. The air gaps this will leave, along with the breathable surface of the bag, will mean that your tent always has airflow moving through it. This will highly reduce the chances that mould will develop on your tent, keeping it as fresh as you packed it for the next time.
Choose a cool, dry place
Once you have your tent loosely packed away, it is time to give it its home. The key things to think about at this stage are dryness and coolness. When we say coolness, we do not mean that the environment has to be cold, but rather that it is not going to be stuffy and warm. If the room is warm, then the most important thing to consider is whether the space is going to be humid because of its temperature. If you have, for instance, a spare room that is warm but never humid, then it will do just fine. On the other hand, of course, if your room is cool but wet, then you will do much better with the warmer, dryer room.
For the reasons already covered, you will want to make sure that the place you choose does not become damp at certain points in the year. This means you will need to double-check spots like sheds and garages, as these spaces will differ when it comes to how dry they are. This might depend on various factors such as how old they are and how they have been built. Some places such as sheds will be perfectly dry in the summer and spring, but may become damp during the winter when it is cold and the rain is lashing down outside.
You should also try to make sure that your tent bag is not too close to windows, as direct sunlight is to be avoided. Although tents are made to deal with direct sunlight, if your tent is exposed to sunlight while it is not in use then it will effectively be in the same condition as if it were a tent far older than it actually is. If you store your tent away from wind, rain and sunlight, then your tent will only be aging as it is in use during your camping trips.
More top tips
If you have the space to do this, then it is recommended that you store your poles partially assembled, as this will take away some of the tension from the cord. Of course, this will take up a lot more room than will likely be convenient for most spaces, so an alternative is to make sure that you collapse your poles from the centre outwards. This will distribute the strain most evenly across the cord.
We would also recommend that you store your tent elevated if it is going to be placed somewhere such as a garage. If you ever have a visit from a hungry little mouse, then it is best that your tent is not on the ground level so that it is safe!