Save the pennies on this summer's adventures by camping. Here's how to keep your tent in good nick so you enjoy plenty of wild nights out
Before using your tent, it is advisable to practice pitching – full instructions should be included with your tent. Some companies also provide video pitching guides. Pitching your tent correctly will help to minimise any wear and tear the tent may receive. Avoid wearing boots inside or having sharp objects touching the fabric of the tent. Try to steer clear of pitching your tent underneath trees as sap can be extremely difficult to remove from fabrics.
Always use all the guylines on the flysheet, as these contribute to the overall strength of the tent. Guylines increase the stability of the tent, particularly in inclement weather.
If you have a nylon flysheet, in heavy rain, the nylon fibres absorb water and expand, which may cause it to sag. Adjust the poles of the flysheet to suit the conditions and retain tension. When the tent dries out, loosen the flysheet by once again readjusting the poles, minimising the risk of pole damage.
Poles are under great tension during pitching, ensure they are fully connected before gently easing the poles through the sleeves.
When taking the tent down, push the poles carefully through the sleeves as pulling them can over extend the elastic and cause breakages. Start by folding the pole from the middle to create an even stretch in the shockcord.
Condensation occurs in all tents, but will vary depending on the conditions and type of tent. For example, single skin tents and bivi bags are more likely to suffer from condensation than conventional tents. One of the best ways to prevent heavy condensation is to keep your tent well ventilated. There are ventilation systems designed into the majority of tents.
One of the best ways to encourage air flow into the tent is to leave flysheet doors and vents open as much as possible on dry nights. If conditions are dry in the morning, you can remove the flysheet and shake the condensation off – or on windy days, just keeping the tent well ventilated will allow the flysheet to dry out.
Camping in the woods (Shutterstock)
Make sure your tent is dry before storing, as when stored wet the tent can show signs of mildew and damp. If this occurs, sponge a solution of tent cleaner and soapy water on the affected areas to prevent permanent damage. Damp may also corrode the poles – if corrosion occurs, clean the pole with a cloth and re-lubricate.
On your return home, it is a good idea to clean your tent before storing. Cleaning the tent is easy enough to do and will help to keep the tent in good condition.
Use either a tent cleaner or pure soap with warm water to clean the tent. Rinse and leave out to dry, preferably in the shade. After cleaning, it is a good idea to reproof the outer to improve its water repellency – some even contain UV protection.
When cleaning the tent, take the opportunity to check for signs of wear and tear. Detecting any problems early on can enable you to repair the tent before the damage worsens.
Check that the zips are clean as dirt can build up making zips difficult to use. As with poles, it is important to never use force as this is likely to cause more damage. When cleaning zips, use soapy water, rinse and re-lubricate. If alloy tent pegs and poles are exposed to sea spray or other salt water environments, wash them thoroughly in clean water before drying. Lubricating the metalwork on the tent from time to time can help to prevent corrosion.
Store in a cool dry place, away from direct heat. Try to avoid storing tents in garages or lofts, which can become warm during summer months, and air your tent out every so often to prevent the fabrics from adhering to each other.
Even with the best care possible accidents and general wear and tear will occur, so it is always advisable to be prepared just in case. Gaffer tape or duct tape is handy to take with you to temporarily repair tears to the fabric while out. A needle and thread or a synthetic adhesive would also suffice. A comprehensive Emergency Repair Kit is available to purchase from www.terra-nova.co.uk.