We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Canada version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Home >  Latest Articles > Kitcare part 5: Tents

Kitcare part 5: Tents
Trek & Mountain Magazine

Kitcare part 5: Tents

Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015   |   831 views   |   Leisure Interest   |   Comments (0) Ryan Waters continues his series with some sage advice on looking after tents

They are our home away from home in the mountains. They provide comfort, rest, shelter, even safety and are probably the most important piece of kit we own. We are talking about our tents of course.

Thanks to advances in lightweight ripstop nylon and aluminium pole construction, mountaineering tents have evolved into relatively lightweight and strong shelters. They are durable but they take a beating and must endure everything from ultraviolet sun exposure and rough, rocky surfaces to general neglect or outright abuse from the dirtbags that inhabit them (that’s us!). It is easy to think that shelling out loads for an expensive top-of-the-line mountain tent means you are literally covered, but years of experience in the harshest environments on earth have taught us that tents need as much care – if not more – than the rest of our kit.
THE FABRIC
Mountaineering tents come in two main types, single-wall and double-wall. No matter which you use, the forces of nature and humans for that matter, are the same. The sun is your tent’s enemy and its ultraviolet rays are always at work breaking down the material. The constant warming and cooling of the fabric also wreaks havoc on sewn pull tabs as the tent fly stretches tight in the sun and slack in the cold night. A really pro tip is to loosen your fly sheet in the day as the sun cooks it into a super-tight position. This gives it some slack and avoids wear and tear; tighten the straps back before night when he fabric will loosen and rattle.

Pay close attention to where you pitch your tent. If applicable, use a footprint which will save the floor fabric on rough or rocky surfaces and always shake or sweep out debris and dirt from the inside before packing away. Keep a very close eye on the seams of your main tent body and flysheet. Most tents come from the factory pre-sealed and taped at the seams. These need to be re-sealed from time to time to repel water from critical connections of fabric. Use a product such as Seam Seal and closely follow their directions for application.

WASH AFTER USE
This will greatly increase the lifespan of your tent and remove the grime and dirt from the fabric as well as make it more pleasant inside. Hand-wash your tent in a mild soap or use a product like Grangers Tent Cleaner. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and hang it to dry in a shady spot. Always carry ripstop tape and a pole sleeve in your repair kit. If you get a hole or a tear in the ripstop nylon of your tent or fly you can cut a circle-shaped patch from your tape and stop the hole from getting worse.

POLES
Poles have come a long way over the last several decades. They are incredibly light for how strong they can be, but you must avoid a hasty job of connecting the poles and avoid slamming them into place. This will wear out the ends of the poles and stretch out the bungee cord that connects the individual pole sections. You never know when you will have a broken or cracked pole so the pole sleeve in your repair kit is there in an emergency and can substitute as a temporary taped-on system to make your pole last through the trip.
ZIPPERS
These are the waiting timebomb on a heavily used tent. Wear and tear on zippers causes the slider – the piece that you actually zip up and down to close the fabric teeth – to start to wear down due to dirt and grit. This makes the zipper teeth fail to engage and open up behind the slider. Keeping your tent clean, especially the zippers, will reduce the time it takes for them to fail, but eventually it will happen and you may need to replace the slider or entire zipper strip. A quick fix is to pinch the slider from front to back with pliers, which will often cinch down the inner workings enough to engage the zipper teeth for the short term.

DRYING AND ROLLING
A dry tent is a tent that is ready to be either packed or stored. It is crucial to dry out all the fabric before packing it away. If not, the moisture will create mildew causing unsightly staining and funky odour inside your tent. So hang your tent in a shady breezy spot if you have it, before you pack it away for long-term storage.

To role, or not to role, has been debated for years; what about stuffing? The common wisdom dictates that it does not matter wether you roll your tent, fold it, or stuff it into the supplied stuff sack for storage, but that you alternate the methods from time to time. This will keep any creases from forming in your tent. It is also recommended to store your tent long term in a simple box or cotton stuffsack so it is loose and can breath. Just make sure it is in a dry place out of direct sunlight to avoid mildew.

RE-PROOFING
Like our waterproof shell layers, our tents are often coated or impregnated with a Durable Waterproof Repellent (DWR). Like our shells they need to be retreated from time to time. Again, pay close attention to the signs that say you probably should re-treat (typically after a couple of seasons of normal use, say); water no longer beading and running off the surface of the rainfly; more condensation forming on the inside of your tent during the night; precipitation no longer beads up but appears patchy wet on the material.

After you wash your tent and let it dry, find a nice spot to set up the tent, ideally a covered area so you have time to apply the re-proofer and let the tent stand for drying. Choose a product like Grangers Tent Care which is a durable silicone based waterproofer specifically designed to jump start your DWR finish back to life.

For more great articles like this get the January 2014 issue of Trek & Mountain Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - Jul-Aug 17 Replica Edition included
$5.49
Or 549 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.17 per issue
SAVE
24%
$49.99
Or 4999 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.99 per issue
SAVE
27%
$3.99
Or 399 points

View Issues

About Trek & Mountain Magazine

Trek & Mountain is aimed at trekkers and mountaineers of all levels, and features the world’s most spectacular mountain regions in every issue. Our experts give you vital information on which routes to choose, what equipment to buy and what techniques and knowledge you need to safely achieve your objectives. Whatever you dream, our aim is to help you ‘reach your peak’.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Trek & Mountain Magazine today.

Most read articles this month


Ghost towns!

Ghost towns!

Abandoned towns, empty cities, uninhabited villages… You can find ghost towns all over the world. Here are a few famous ones. [Please note, the complete article comes complete with a glossary box, an audio file, and exercises.] More...
48 hours in Venice, by land and water

48 hours in Venice, by land and water

From the pages of Italia!, Sara Scarpa takes us on a tour of her native Venice, following a route that accentuates the close relationship the city has with the water that surrounds it… More...
How to make a Paper Tea Cup with Crafts Beautiful

How to make a Paper Tea Cup with Crafts Beautiful

Old books are the inspiration for Clare Youngs' dainty papercraft creations in the most recent May issue of Crafts Beautiful... More...
How do digital magazines work?

How do digital magazines work?

Digital magazines can seem like an alien experience for devoted magazine fans. Where will you be without that new glossy magazine smell? The sound of the page turning? A quiet half hour to just devour the latest news and views on your favourite hobby? More...
STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

Adam Osborn reviews Blocks Magazine More...
STAFF PICK: Autosport

STAFF PICK: Autosport

This week we ask our Marketing Executive Jimmy about his favourite digital magazine. More...
7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

Whether it’s a busy schedule, life commitments or simply a lack of motivation, it can be tough to stay on track with your exercise regime. Your Fitness magazine asked Jim and Fiona Crossley, the founders of F45 Kingston (f45kingston.co.uk), for their tips on how to keep up with your training and achieve your fitness goals. More...
 3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

The shades are out, the sunscreen is on and all you need to complete your summer chill is the best ice cream! More...
STAFF PICK: Olive

STAFF PICK: Olive

Felicity Mikellides reviews Olive magazine More...
How To Make Sugarcraft Elephants with Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft

How To Make Sugarcraft Elephants with Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft

Taken from the February issue, sugarcraft superhero Lindy Smith of Lindy's Cakes made these amazing little elephants to adorn a Mandala cake. Here's how to make them! More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points