Cleaning and Storing Your Family Tent


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If you have a family tent that goes camping with your family each year, you probably want it to last as long as possible. Since it may be used just a few days in the summer, or perhaps a few weeks at most, with proper care and storage your tent may continue to be a source of fun and wilderness protection for many years to come. But if the tent receives little or no protective care, it can quickly disintegrate and stop providing valued safety and coverage from the elements.

When setting up the tent, remember to follow the owner’s manual guidelines for erecting it the proper way. Carelessly placed poles or improperly secured tent pegs will not only lead to accidents and tent breakage, but this type of treatment also will cause the equipment to break down more quickly. Handle and place each piece correctly and carefully so it will continue to do a faithful job, year after year. Don’t let the kids or the family dog toss around the pieces in play or otherwise use them carelessly. Store unused pieces in their protective carton or casing to keep them safe and available for the next time they are needed.

While using your tent on a camping expedition, treat it carefully. Don’t place the portable cooking stove too close to your tent. Zip or button flaps so they don’t wave wildly in a breeze and perhaps get broken, or become soggy or muddy during a thunderstorm, especially if you will be away from the campsite and unable to secure it if a storm blows in. Avoid letting kids wrestle in or near the tent, and don’t let them hang heavy items on its sides or interior, which could snag or tear the canvas walls. Also be careful about setting anything on top of the tent that could cause it to sag or tear. Wipe up each stain promptly, using the recommended materials that are indicated in the owner’s manual.

As your trip comes to a close and you take down your camping tent, make time to correctly disengage each piece rather than pull it down hastily and perhaps lose or break important hardware. Fold the tent as indicated, making sure it is first dry. Rub it clear of any rain or twig and leaf debris so that it goes into storage clean. You can wait to give it a thorough cleaning at home, if you prefer. Store the tent as suggested in a cool, dry place. Try to keep it in an area that doesn’t leak or one that is unlikely to attract insects that could nest in the canvas material or eat through it during the winter. Avoid using pesticides or other chemicals on the tent or near it, as the residue could later be toxic to kids and pets.

At home, don’t lay heavy items on the tent that could cause it to break. Then it will be ready when you are for the next camping trip.

Learn more about how to keep your tents in great shape by visiting the Tent Spot at


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