HOW TO PACK AND STORE A WET TENT
Packing away and forgetting about a wet tent is a sure-fire way of destroying it, not to mention it is absolutely disgusting. I have had the misfortune of opening a tent bag to reveal a forlorn looking sodden and damp tent that had been sitting in a dark garage for months and I can tell you it isn’t pleasant. The black mould runs rampant staining the materials for good. The waterproof material becomes useless and can’t keep even the lightest shower out.
For the sake of spending a few extra minutes packing your tent away properly, you could save yourself from having to buy a new tent in 6 months’ time. So, do you really want to open the bag to find a ruined, stained black tent?
This is how I deal with a wet tent before packing it away. Maybe I am a bit fastidious, but hey, I’ve learnt the hard way.
Look after your tent investment with these tips.
PACKING UP THE TENT
Unfortunately, I have had to pack up my tent in the rain on a number of occasions. It’s rubbish. There’s no denying it. If it’s raining heavily the first thing I would say is, do you have to pack it up today? Can you wait for tomorrow? If packing it up in the rain is essential then do it, but if it can be avoided or postponed I would highly recommend it. There is nothing fun about it.
If you have an inner wall and an outer fly layer, then begin with the inner wall. You need the outer fly to provide much needed shelter from the rain for as long as possible. Most inner walls use pole clips and can be unhooked from the inside. The inner wall should be dry and can be packed away in your waterproof tent bag.
Once you have the inner layer safely stowed away it’s time to take down the fly. If it’s only lightly raining, then give the fly a shakedown to get rid of the worst of the water and pack the damp fly sheet into a separate bag. If it’s chucking it down, then there’s no point. Just get it in a waterproof bag away from your dry inner lining. I usually carry a few extra bin bags or sacks for wet clothes which work fine for me.
Once the rain stops, you need to hang the fly sheet out in the sun to dry at the first opportunity. Make sure it is completely dry before reuniting it with the inner lining in the tent bag so it doesn’t damped anything else.
Storing the tent correctly is essential to preserving the waterproof capabilities of your fly sheet. Ensure everything is totally dry and store your tent in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. This provides conditions which make it difficult for mould to grow. It is also advisable to store your tent flat, instead of propped up on the end as this can damage the poles.
UNPACKING A DAMP AND MOULDY TENT
If you do happen to come to your tent and you find that your mate you lent it to didn’t pack it away properly and some mould spots have appeared, you will need to check it is still waterproof. Clean the mould off using soapy water. Do not use bleach, as bleach will remove the waterproofing components. Once it’s clean set it up in the garden before a storm, or gently hose it down and check it still has water resistant capabilities. If it does, then wait for it to dry and repack it properly. Don’t forget to get your mate to buy you a beer for his or her negligence.
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