The Ultimate Guide to Tent Care

Camping is a fun-filled activity anyone can do with family or friends. A great way to explore nature and grow appreciation for the great outdoors, there’s no better way to spend time with loved ones rather than to go out and experience survival of the fittest without the use of gadgets and the internet! But when it comes to camping, it isn’t all s’mores and campfire. You also need to have the proper equipment, with the tent being one of the most vital ones you need.

A tent is your source of shelter, your temporary home when you are outside camping. It not only needs to be durable and of great quality, but it also needs to be maintained and cleaned in order for you to be able to use it for your next camping trips. After all, you can’t just leave your tent to care on its own after an intense trip from the camping grounds! If that were the case, then your tent would be broken in no time. That is why it’s important for you to know how to keep your tent clean and ready for the next camping trips to come.

It may be confusing and a bit challenging to learn how to care for your tent, as people think it only takes a good washing to keep it from tearing apart. But little do they know that maintaining the quality of a camping tent is far more than just washing it properly. There is more to how you treat your tent, and also ways on how to use it right to avoid it from breaking apart. While your tent’s instruction manuals will be able to help you with that, it can only say so much, such as how to wash it and set it up. There is a lot more to tent care than just setting it up and washing it properly, though! Luckily, there are guides like this that will be able to help navigate your way through proper camping tent care.

Here are things you need to know about your tent, along with advice and tips on how to properly keep it durable and of good quality as if it were still brand new!

First Thing’s First

You just purchased a new tent? Great! The number one thing you should do upon getting home is to prepare your tent for your camping trip. How? By learning how to set it up in the grounds, checking its waterproof material and how it can hold water, as well as how to properly pack and store it when through with the trip. That way, you won’t be confused in the campsite trying to set it up or pack it away. Not only will you save time and effort, but you will avoid being embarrassed as well! It’s best to know your tent before using it, so read the instruction manuals to know how to properly set it up, wash, and store your tent.

How to Keep Your Camping Tent Clean and Dry

If you purchased a new tent, then that’s great, as new tents are usually made of waterproof material that can dry quickly. Unfortunately, the quality and material of the tent does tend to wear out over time, making it easy to absorb water and start smelling musty. So if you are dealing with a tent that has a funky odor or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it’s best to use a cleaner specifically for tents to clean off the dirt from the last camping trip. Using these cleaners will not only ensure a clean camping tent, but it will also prevent the material from breaking, as compared to washing it with other products, such as dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent.

clean tent

credit: flickr

You can purchase cleaners for camping tents from any store or online (More on the products later). To clean it, simply follow the instructions of both your tent and cleaner, rinsing the tent with water and handwashing the tent in a big basin or tub. If the camping tent is already worn, it’s okay to put it in the washing machine, just follow the instructions.

If the tent is now peeling, then it becomes a bit trickier, but there is a solution: You can try to scrub it with a brush and wash it using the washing machine to try getting as much peelings off as possible.

How to Pack Your Camping Tent Properly

credit: flickr

credit: flickr

You do not just throw your tent in the storage room after a camping trip, because that way, it will break easily and accumulate a lot of dust and other dirt from the area. Your instruction manual may already provide a how-to on packing your tent properly, so here are some tips on keeping it packed without it breaking:

  • Make sure that if you have just cleaned or washed your tent, it is properly dry and ready to be packed to avoid it from getting mold or mildew.
  • Leave it out to air before packing it
  • Zip the tent’s doors a bit in order to avoid extra air from coming out.
  • Remove the poles properly by pushing it out instead of pulling it
  • Fold the tent with help if needed, pushing air out each fold.
  • Once it’s folded, roll the tent with the poles to fit into the bag

How to Store Your Camping Tent

You should not only care about how to pack your tent, but where to properly store your tent as well. Like mentioned, don’t throw it just anywhere! Here are tips on how to properly store your camping tent:

  • Do not store your tent wet
  • Do not store your tent when it is still dirty to avoid it from accumulating more dust or damaging the material
  • Make sure that you store it in a cool and dry place without any chances of it getting wet or under humidity. Do NOT store it in the basement or garage with no air circulation. Try storing it in your room or closet instead.
  • When storing the tent, make sure you place it flat instead of by the sides to avoid the poles from breaking
  • Instead of using the original bag, opt to store it in a duffel for the air circulation. That way, your tent will smell fresher than it were if it was in its original packaging.
  • Make sure that the bag you use to store your tent is big enough for your camping tent to fit in to minimize the stress on its parts
  • Store it loosely packed if you choose to use its original storage bag

How to Reproof Your Camping Tent

When you have used your tent multiple times, there are chances that the material starts to wear out from the grounds it has been on, especially if you have been camping in wet weather conditions. But no need to fret or purchase a new one. Your tent can be saved and may just need to be reproofed. You will be able to know if your tent needs to be reproofed when:

  • It starts to let water in rather than “bead out”
  • When your tent starts to leak

When you feel like it is time to reproof your tent, you will be able to find products that will help you keep the quality of your tent’s material. Tent reproofer is available in stores that cater to outdoors and camping, as well as online stores. The directions will be stated in the reproofer you buy, which is easy to follow. It’s best to apply two coats, leaving the first on for about a day. Use a foam brush when applying the reproofer to make it have a nice finish. Your tent will look brand new that way!

It is recommended to NOT use detergent as it will destroy the material of your tent.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew From Your Wet Camping Tent

The first thing to do to prevent your camping tent from obtaining mold and mildew is to keep it away from wet or humid areas when storing it. Make sure that your tent is dry before packing it up, and to dry it out after going home from a camping trip.

But sometimes, getting mold and mildew on your tent can be inevitable, especially when camping under extreme weather conditions (From rainy to sunny, or experiencing humid weather). Mold and mildew makes your tent look really bad. Not only that, but it smells and will destroy the material as well! While it’s best to prevent it using the tips above, some may have already experienced it. Here’s what you can do to remove the mold and mildew from your tent:

  • Lightly scrub it off with a sponge
  • If it is still there, then you may try products that can remove mold and mildew, soaking your tent in a tub or big basin after applying the product.
  • If it is just in one area, you can just use the product while using a scrub for spot treatment
  • Dry your tent out in a shaded and cool area
  • A cup of salt, a cup of lemon juice, and a gallon of hot water will help, too. Mix the solution together and scrub it in the visible molds found on your tent. After that, dry it out again

How to Repair Your Camping Tent From Tear and Wear

While it’s best to keep your camping gear well protected as possible, it can be inevitable. Unexpected weather conditions and accidents can happen when on the camping grounds, which results to a broken tent with a few tears or broken poles. But you do not need to worry and look for a new one, or spend a lot on having it repaired. You can actually repair your tent on your own, especially if it is just minor tears. Here is how to repair your tent from the following damages:

Rips and Tears

When dealing with a bit of tear from your tent, it’s not the end of the world, but you should not ignore it either. You can fix it up using duct tape if you are on the camping grounds. It’s a temporary fix until you get to properly repair it when you get home. There are also tent adhesives being sold or that come with your tent that you can use to repair it from small tears. Just make sure that when you apply it, your tent is dry and on a flat surface to prevent it from getting any wrinkles.

When at home, you can easily sew the tent together and add a sealant. If the hole is bigger than usual, then you can still add an adhesive patch.

Split Seam

There are sealants that will effectively repair your tent’s split seam. Simply follow the instructions found on the sealant. But make sure that you leave it on for a few days before using your tent again to make sure that the sealant has stuck to your tent’s material.

Broken Pole

While you can purchase a replacement pole, you may need to cut them in order for it to fit when pitching your tent, as they come in a generic size. But duct tape comes to the rescue again! Simply tape the broken pole together, ensuring that it would still fit into the holes when pitching your tent.

Intense Damage

If ever your tent has already experienced intense damage that cannot be simply repaired at home (Such as a huge tear from extreme weather conditions, too much mold or mildew to be cleaned, etc), then it’s time to either call a professional to have it fixed, or to sadly replace your trusty tent. Check if your tent is under warranty in order to score a nice replacement or repair deal to avoid the hefty costs of having your tent fixed or purchasing a new one. That is where customer service of your tent’s manufacturers come in.

Recommended Tent Care Products

You will be surprised to know that there are dozens of different products you will need for your tent in order to keep it well maintained. Not only that, but there are hundreds of brands that cater to camping tents as well! But that doesn’t mean you will need to purchase everything you see. All you need are the essentials, as well as leading brands that do the job in keeping your tent clean and in good quality. Here are some recommended tent care products you need to keep your tent nice and clean:


If you have a problem with mold and mildew, then you can partner homemade solution and a scrub with MiraZyme in order for your tent to be effectively clean from the dirt, as well as making it smell fresh again. Simply add 0.5 oz of the product to every gallon of hot water for spot treatment, or 1 oz to 20 gallons of water when washing your whole tent. Unfortunately, it won’t remove the stain from the tent.

Nikwax Concentrated Tent & Gear Solarproof

For those who need to reproof their tents, then this product is recommended, as the sealant will be able to double the life of your tent. When applying, it will help keep the waterproof material of your tent, as well as increase its UV protection from the sunlight. What sets this apart from other products is the fact that you can apply this to a wet tent and is easy to carry around.

Kenyon Seam Sealer 3

If ever your tent needs to be repaired from split seams or rips, then this sealer is recommended as it is durable and strong.

Hopefully this ultimate guide to tent care will help you know how to properly maintain your tent’s quality and state, making it last for many more uses. If you are just starting out and need a new tent, then you will be able to check out guides to choosing the proper tent for you, as well as purchasing it in your local athletic store or online, where you are able to get good advice on how to choose your camping tent.

It’s best to be knowledgeable on how to be a responsible user of tents to avoid having to spend more money on repairing or purchasing a new tent. That way, you will have more fun and won’t need to worry about your camping tent breaking when on the campsite. Again, your tent is your temporary shelter for the whole trip, so make sure you treat it right in order for it to properly keep you warm and dry throughout the night.


My name is William, a family man with two kids and the passion for camping. I started Pandaneo with sharing memorable camping experiences back as a newbie camper, introducing my family to the love for the great outdoors. As time passed, we started traveling across states, trying to hit as many campsites we can!