Looking After Your Tent
Properly looked after your tent will last you several seasons/years and you are less likely to have a nasty experience when actually using it! Simply follow these basic tips.
Get to know your tent. Before the initial camping trip, practice pitching your tent in your garden or local field.
Check that all the parts are present and undamaged.
These days tent seams have waterproof taping on them but no tent is 100% waterproof so invest in some seam sealant in case there is any water seepage.
New polycotton and cotton tents need to be ‘weathered’ (see below)
If you pitch your tent properly it should withstand most weather conditions. However, remember it is a folding, lightweight structure which can act like a kite or sail when erected, so remember wind/storm damage is NOT covered by your warranty.
Select an area that is as flat and level as possible. Avoid low lying or marshy ground which could flood in heavy rain.
Clear the site of anything, which could damage the groundsheet (e.g. rocks or tree roots). We recommend the use of a footprint groundsheet for added protection.
Do not peg the groundsheet out too tightly.
It is best not to pitch under trees. It drips long after the rain has stopped, some trees drop sticky sap and birds don’t care where they drop….
Make use of any natural windbreaks, such as hedges and try to face the tent door away from the prevailing wind.
How you pitch your tent determines whether you sleep peacefully and confidently at night. So, peg down every pegging point and guy out every guy line – that’s what they are there for.
Zips, Pegs and Guys
It’s important that you pitch the tent with all zips closed. If you tension the tent out with the zips open you will find yourself forcing the zips to close the doors and windows later on.
Avoid treading on zips, especially if wearing boots as this may slightly bend the zip and promote it ‘sticking’. To combat sticking try some silicon lubricant or rub with a pencil.
Drive pegs in at a 45 degree angle to the direction of pull to get the best grip in the ground. Peg out guy lines in line with the direction of the seam on the tent and at about 1.5m distance from the tent.
Pegs situated at the base of zips should be crossed over to take off any strain.
Elasticated guy loops should be stretched sufficiently to tension the fabric without overstretching.
DO NOT place cooking, heating or lighting appliances near the sides or roof of the tent or fabric.
Keep tent exits clear and try to avoid creating tripping hazards.
It is recommended that you carry spare pole (s), pegs, seam sealant and/or a tent repair kit in case you need to make running repairs.
At night a significant amount of condensation can be created in nylon/polyester tents and should not be confused with leakage. To reduce condensation, ensure that the tent is well ventilated at all times.
Striking (taking down) the Tent
Before taking down your tent ensure that it is completely empty and clear of debris.
Open (unzip) all the doors and windows as this will help you expel any trapped air when you start to fold the tent up.
Un-peg the guy lines first. Next, un-peg the ring and pin at the base of each pole. Take out the pins from the base of the poles and let the flysheet fall to the floor with the poles still inside the pole sleeves. Push (don’t pull) the poles out of the sleeves and break down the poles.
Un-peg the remaining pegging points around the base of the tent. Fold the tent neatly lengthways until what you have left is a long strip that is no more than the width of the tent bag in which you tent came.
Roll up the strip as tightly as you possibly can making sure that any trapped air is expelled along the way. If you have done things correctly, the roll you have created should fit into the tent bag. If the roll does not fit, you clearly haven’t done it properly. This might be a good time to go buy a newspaper and let your wife have a go (she’s been itching to have a go).
If your tent was wet or damp when you took it down it is essential (even if a complete and utter ball-ache) that you unpack it again as soon as you get home to dry it out.
It is essential that before re-packing and storing your tent that it is completely dry and that all mud has been removed.
Tents are best stored in a dry well aired environment. The garage, attic or basement would be ideal.
If stored damp mildew will invade the fabric of the tent. Apart from the unpleasant small and the unseemly stains (that you cannot remove) that it leaves on the fabric, it will also affect the waterproof performance of your tent fabric.
If your tent has suffered a mildew attack, brush off the excess mildew and use a mild soap or proprietary cleaning product from Nikwax or Grangers to wash away what you can. Dry thoroughly and then use a re-proofer to re-waterproof the fabric.
Cotton and polycotton tents are not at their best until they have been thoroughly weathered - wet and then naturally dried out. You should try to erect your tent in your garden ahead of taking it away and then allow it to be rained on or spray it with a hose. The tent should then be allowed to dry out naturally. This will have the effect of shrinking the cotton (and the needle holes on the seams) to form a watertight seal.