Whether you are camping, hiking or going on a canoe trip, your tent is your most important piece of equipment. So, when you get home, it should get the royal treatment and not just be thrown in the basement or attic. It needs to be cleaned, aired out, dried and properly stored. Otherwise, mould and bacteria will grow and the tent could get damaged.
After purchasing a tent
Before you head out for your trip, it is always a good idea to set up your new tent. This gives you a chance to get familiarized with your tent. You can learn how it was packed and how to set it up.
Before you leave the camp site
It is always best to put your tent away, when it is dry. However, this is not always possible. If it isn’t raining and the ground isn’t wet, then sweep any dirt, stones, twigs, etc. out of the tent and let it air out. Once the tent is clean and dry, knock off anything that is on the outside and loosely roll it up and put it in the bag.
After you get home
When the ground is dry and there’s no chance of rain, set up the tent, open the door and windows and let the tent air out. Sweep out any dirt, twigs and debris and then, using soap and water wash the tent (inside, outside and poles). Do NOT use any harsh detergents or chemicals because they can ruin the protective layering on the tent. Rinse all of the soapy water away and then let the tent dry completely. Again, any moisture can allow mould and mildew to form or cause the protective coating to breakdown.
Storing the tent
When the tent is clean and dry, put the poles and pegs into their proper bags. Roll up the tent with poles and pegs (in their bags) rolled into the tent body. Do this in the same way that it was rolled up when you bought it. It should not be rolled too tightly or with anything (poles or pegs) poking it. Then store the tent in a dry location.