You’re back home from another successful camping trip, and you’re tired. Rather than haphazardly tossing all your gear back into the garage, it’s rather important to take the time to properly unpack and store everything—especially a tent. Properly cleaning and storing your gear will pay off in spades, long extending its life expectancy and preserving the quality.
You want your tent to be two things in storage: dry and relaxed. Improper storage can cause mildew and material breakdown. Here are some tips on how to store a tent.
Dry the tent completely
Once you get home, it’s time to dry out the tent again. Unless you let it sit out and completely air dry before packing it up, chances are it’s still carrying some moisture.
Even a slightly damp tent will create mildew if it’s rolled up and stored away for short periods of time. You know the smell, and you don’t want to have to sleep in that on your next outdoor adventure. The moisture can also eat away at the tent over time and damage the waterproof coating.
To ensure your tent is thoroughly dry, hang it up or set it up in a cool, shaded spot, ideally outdoors.
If the tent wasn’t properly cleaned before, now’s the time to ensure you remove any dirt, sap, dust, etc. before packing it away and storing it at home. Read more about how to clean your tent.
Let your tent breathe
Just like your sleeping bag, tents don’t like to be stored long-term in the small carrying case or stuff sacks they came in. Fabrics need to breathe and relax. The constant pressure and compression is not ideal for long periods of time.
Grab an old pillowcase or other loose bag for your tent that can breathe easily. Roll up the tent or fold it neatly into the bag, rather than stuffing it in.
Store the tent in a cool, dry place
Ideally your tent is stored in a cool, dry place like an indoor closet or the garage. If the garage gets too warm or is plagued by humidity, perhaps you can find space indoors. Similarly, damp basements and steaming hot attics are best to avoid.
For tent poles, the ideal scenario is to store them assembled, so there is less pressure on the shock cords over time. Most people won’t have the space to do this. Instead, you can definitely store them disassembled, but start breaking down the poles in the center and working your way toward the ends, which helps to more evenly distribute tension throughout the cord.