The tent is the center of any camping trip. The more comfortable you are inside, the more fun you’ll have outside. Follow these tips for a tent full of happy, well-rested campers.
The most important thing to remember for yourself and your family is to never use a stove or fuel lantern inside your tent. Instead, pack a much safer option such as a battery-operated lantern or flashlight.
Unzip for better z’s
To make sure you get that much-needed shut-eye, unzip the tops of your windows before you nod off. That minor adjustment will help air get out of the tent, in turn keeping sleepers cooler. If the air outside is muggy, also open the bottom of a window. The two openings will create a bit of a chimney.
Once you’re up, unzip those sleeping bags every morning and let them air out. Once they’re dry, fluff them up a bit. They’ll be a lot softer and more comfortable the next night.
When it’s time to go home, clean and dry out the tent before you take it down. Open doors and windows in order to allow air to escape as the tent is collapsed; letting the air escape as the tent is collapsed will make rolling and storing it easier. Rolling the tent toward the open doors and windows will help, too.
Take out the poles first. It’s natural to want to pull them out, but pushing them through will keep them around longer.
It may be easier to fold the tent along original fold lines. However, after a few years, this becomes more difficult as the lines fade. A good rule of thumb is to fold the tent about the same length as the tent poles before you roll it up.
When you’re putting the tent away, be sure it gets back in its case by folding it no wider than the collapsed poles. Roll your tent lightly and neatly with poles and stakes (in their bags) rolled into the tent body. This technique uses the tent poles as a structure to help roll the tent. A slow, tight roll of the tent is one of the easiest ways to compact the tent for an easy fit into the storage bag.
Extend the life of your tent
While tents don’t cost nearly as much as actual homes, they are a bit pricey—pricey enough that you wouldn’t want to buy one every season. The following tactics will help keep your tent in good shape, year after year:
At the campsite, set up your tent on a tarp to keep any unseen debris from poking through the bottom.
- Make sure the door is positioned away from the wind.
- If your campout lasts more than a week, think ahead and find the shadiest place to set up your tent.
- When you’re finished using the tent, put it away. It’s fun to leave it out in the backyard as a fort the kiddies, but the sun can damage a nylon tent that’s left outside for weeks at a time.
- If you need to wash your tent off after a particularly rainy or dusty trip, just use a sponge and water mixed with a little mild soap. Don’t put it in the washing machine.
- Seal the seams every season.