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Tent Maintenance...

Introduction

 

Maintenance of tent involves looking after it so that it will last many years.

 

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Doors and Walls

 

The most common door fastening on smaller hike type tents is a simple zip. On a larger, heavier canvas tent it is more likely to be a set of loops and eyelet's. To do the door up with the loops start at the top and put the first loop through the eyelet. Then take the next loop and place it through the eyelet and then through the loop hanging down. Continue like this down the door..

 

You should not touch the wall of a tent when it is raining else it will leak. Even the best fabric may leak water when something touches the wall. Be careful with what you spray inside the tent too. Insect repellent or possibly even deodorant can damage tent fabrics and destroy the waterproofing of the tent..

 

When it is wet the ropes and canvas of the tent will shrink. This may mean that the canvas or ropes may split or fray due to the extra tension. It may even pull the pegs out of the ground or rip the tent. If you are not using the tent of an evening or more importantly when the weather is wet (this includes fog and early morning mist) slacken the guys and ropes. An easy way to slacken and tighten all guylines and ropes in one go is to adjust the height of the uprights. You can place a piece of flat wood under the uprights to tension the tent when it is dry and you can place the uprights in a small hollow (dig a small hole near to the upright) to slacken the canvas and ropes..

 

If a tent is not properly tensioned then it may cause just as many problems, especially in windy weather when the canvas starts to flap..

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Airing

 

A tent can be aired in two ways. If the day is dry you can roll up the walls using the loops provided on most tents for this purpose. You can also air the tent and prevent rotting of the sod cloth by hanging the walls on the brailings of the tent. When airing a tent you should also remove the groundsheet so that the grass can get a chance to breath..

 

Rolling up the sides of a tent during the day also means you can keep the inside tidy (or alternatively see how messy the inside has become). If the sides are not rolled up in warm weather then the inside will become very hot and humid and may end pretty much like a sauna, including 'sweating' of the canvas which can cause problems similar to getting the canvas wet in the rain. Wet canvas will rot if left unattended not to mention the fact that it smells terrible. .

 

When you roll the sides up roll them so that the outside walls are rolled in towards the tent. This will let the excess water on the outside drop off instead of collecting it within the roll where it will start to rot the canvas..

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Cleaning

 

Always clean your tent thoroughly before you pack or waterproof it. To clean a canvas tent simply wash it with clean water and a stiff brush or use a well rinsed pressure washer. Be very careful about using detergents or other cleaning agents, they may destroy the waterproofing of the tent..

 

Allow the tent to dry naturally before reproofing..

 

Cleaning a tent should also include simple things such as brushing off the mud and dirt that accumulates each camp. Use a dry cloth to clean off as much grass, dirt, twigs etc. as you can as you are folding your tent up..

 

If you have a tent with a sewn in groundsheet then check very carefully before you move or fold the tent. It is easy to miss a small item which may rip the tent when you come to fold it. Brush all the items to the front of the tent with a dry cloth. Hold the edge of the tent down level with the ground and brush everything onto the floor. Have one last check in all the corners before you fold the tent..

 

Nylon hike tents can be washed with just a wet cloth to make sure there is no mud or other dirt on the tent. Allow the tent to dry completely before packing..

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Repairing

 

Always keep your tent in good repair. Before packing up your tent for storage, look it over for needed repairs and make those repairs before storage. It is a good idea to have a tent repair kit as part of your camping/backpacking equipment, so to make on-the-spot repairs. Depending on the cloth material used in your tent, you may need to occasionally re-waterproof the fabric and seal the seams. Check the instruction from the manufacture before using a waterproofing material on your tent..

 

If you do have any damage make sure it is repaired as soon as possible. Canvas can simply be patched and new eyelet's can be punched in with ease. New ropes are easy to cut and make..

 

Always leave a clear note with the tent detailing any items that need repairing or replacing and ensure your quartermaster knows the exact condition of the tent when you return it..

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Drying

 

The tent will probably spend most of the year in your stores so make sure it is stored correctly..

 

The most important fact to remember is that it should be dry before you pack it away. A wet tent will cause mildew and may even rot given enough time. If nothing else they smell terrible! .

 

Always notice how a tent was stored when you bought it. This is likely to be the proper storage method for that tent. .

 

Never pack away a wet tent. Try to air the tent as long as possible, pack all the rest of your equipment and leave the tent until last. If the weather is wet and you have to put it away wet then make sure that as soon as you get home you hang it up to dry. .

 

Always let a tent dry naturally. Do not use any artificial drying methods. Having said that be aware that the Sun can damage nylon. Over time, too much exposure to direct sunlight can weaken fabric, especially nylon. Don't leave your tent set up in the sun any longer than necessary..

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Storage

 

Tents and their related equipment will possibly be the most expensive items in your store. However, properly looked after they can last many years and be well worth the initial outlay..

 

Before you actual store the tent away ensure that everything has been maintained correctly..

 

Any damage should be marked down and attached to the tent. Ensure that damage is repaired or replaced as soon as possible..

 

Ensure that the tent is stored in a dry but well ventilate area. Make sure the tent is stored somewhere where it is easy to get to else the tent will be pulled and shoved creating unnecessary damage..

 

A shelf at waist or shoulder height is ideal. Large and heavy canvas tents should be stored next to equipment such as a wheelbarrow. Never drag a tent across the floor..

 

Poles should be stored together and in a set. Use large rubber bands to hold poles together in a set. Ensure that the poles are colour or number coded so it is easy to place them back in a set should they be separated..

 

Spare pegs and other sundry items should be accounted for. If you have something left over it may well mean that a tent has an item missing. Check this now else you will go to your next camp with only half a tent..

 

Any genuinely spare items should be stored safely. Have a box labelled for each type..

 

Mallets should be checked for damage, ensure that they are still safe to use. As with an axe do not repair broken shafts, replace them..

 

Look for:

Wet or damp canvas/ropes

Dirty canvas/ropes

Dirty Pegs

Loose items (e.g. pegs)

Items within the tent

Rusty metal pegs (clean all metal pegs with an oiled cloth)

Damaged or frayed ropes (replace or whip/splice)

Uncoiled ropes (coil and tie them)

Damaged poles (look for splinters and breaks)

Loose seams

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