Whether you use your tent for recreational camping or you keep it handy for survival purposes, it’s important that you understand how to properly care for it. If your tent tears or breaks, it can jeopardize your safety and make wilderness survival much more difficult. Here are 5 tips for tent care and repair that can help you insure that your shelter is always functional.
1. Be Vigilant
You should routinely inspect your tent after each use to check for any damage or broken parts. Make sure that you have all the pieces and they are functioning properly. Check the tent anchors to make sure they are still stable with no cracks or bending. Inspect the rain fly for tears or loose seams. If you spot any problems, you should fix them right away or buy replacement parts. Don’t put it off or you could find yourself in a compromising situation where you need the tent for an emergency, but it isn’t in good working order.
2. Be Proactive
You can avoid a lot of frustration if you take a proactive approach to tent care and repair. It’s always a good idea to keep some extra tent anchors on hand since these are often the first part to break. You should also use seam sealer to reinforce the manufacturer seal around all the edges. This simple precautionary act will double the chances that you stay dry if you are stuck out in the rain. You should also pick up a can of waterproofing spray at the local hardware store and spray the tent from top to bottom.
3. Be Prepared
Include a basic tent repair kit in your hiking bag or bug out gear so that you have emergencies repair supplies on hand. You can build your own repair kit by purchasing a few simple, inexpensive items. You need heavy duty duct tape, sewing needles, thread, and a washcloth. Duct tape is handy to patch tears or rips and keep water from leaking in. You can also use duct tape to quickly repair poles or ripped pole sleeves. A basic sewing kit with needles and thread will allow you to quickly repair any seams that are loose. The washcloth is simply for wiping down your tent to keep it clean and prevent buildup.
4. Be Practical
Sometimes tent care is just a matter of common sense. Don’t set up your tent on rocks, roots, or uneven ground that could damage the bottom. Look for a smooth, level surface before you set up camp. If it’s possible, try to put the tent up in a shaded area and avoid excessive sunlight. Don’t leave the tent out in the sun for long periods of time or the sun’s UV rays could weaken the fabric. If you can’t find a shady spot for a short weekend camping trip, it’s not a big deal. However, if you plan to camp out for a week or you are stuck in your shelter for an unforeseen period of time, you definitely need to make shade a priority. Another practical tip is to always remove your shoes before you enter the tent. This will help you prevent dirt and water from tracking inside.
5. Be Cautious
If you want your tent to last for a long time, you can’t be overcautious. Don’t keep food inside the tent while you are out enjoying the scenery. Wild animals won’t hesitate to rip your shelter to shreds if they can get to the food inside. Make sure you build your fires far enough from the tent to avoid sparks or embers from causing minor burns or holes.
These five simple tips can help you keep your tent in good working condition for months or even years. What steps do you take to maintain your tent?