Your Tent or Awning- Questions answered & Caring for It
If you look after your tent it will last for many years. It is advisable to give your tent a service at the start and end of your camping season. The best way to clean your tent is to fully erect it. Pick a nice sunny day so that any cleaners or reproofer will dry quickly, allow at least 3 Hrs per treatment.
CLEANING YOUR TENT
GENERAL CLEANING – Give your tent a general clean with warm water to remove any mud or bird droppings. NEVER USE DOMESTIC DETERGENT PRODUCTS AS THESE DESTROY THE PROOFING. If necessary use a specialist cleaner like Fabsil Universal Cleaner, Nikwax Tech Wash, to remove any dirt. If only part of the tent requires cleaning then clean the complete panel as this helps prevent the tent looking patchy. Be careful to follow the instructions for the product you are using.
MOULD OR MILDEW – Mould or Mildew is the greatest threat to any tent; especially Canvas tents NEVER PACK YOUR TENT AWAY WHEN IT IS WET OR DAMP. Mould is a living organism and if you suspect your tent has mould you need to ensure you have killed the spores or the mould will get worse. A dilute solution of a sterilising fluid such as Milton is also ideal (No stronger than 1 part sterilising fluid to 10 parts water). Carefully sponge the solution onto the mould leave for after half an hour then rinse off with cold clean water. It is a very good idea to test a section of fabric that is inconspicuous before treating other areas.
DO NOT FORGET TO CLEAN THE GROUNDSHEET
TIP One of the worst offended for destroying the proofing of tents is Children’s Bubble solution. It contains concentrated detergents.
PROOFING YOUR TENT
Tent Flysheets or outer material will require reproofing when you notice water starting to penetrate the fabric rather than beading off. Dependant on the quality of the material we would suggest every few years dependant on how much you use your tent. Reproofing will also help protect the material from UV degradation, especially if you regularly camp for extended periods.
Tip. THERE IS GENERALLY NO NEED TO REPROOF A TENT OR AWNING EVERY YEAR.
NEVER REPROOF THE INNER TENTS AS THIS WILL IMPAIR BREATHABILITY
There are several reproofing products on the market. We recommend Fabsil and Storm.
Fabsil-A highly effective silicone-based water repellent treatment for all kinds of tent, tarpaulin, canopies and awning fabrics including Canvas, Cotton, Polycotton, Polyester and Nylon. Spray or Brush on application, dries to an odourless and colourless finish. Fabsil is traditionally sold as a brush-on formula, Brush on being the most cost effective method, especially where large areas require reproofing. It is also available as an aerosol and pump spray which can be used top up the repellence from earlier proofing in an emergency. Fabsil also adds UV protection to treated Material.
Tip When using Fabsil, reproof a complete panel. Fabsil can leave a stain or wet mark, if used as a spot reproofer, especially on canvas, by reproofing a complete panel you avoid this.
Most reproofing products are solvent based and the canvas needs to be clean and dry before use. Storm makes a water based reproofer which is ideal as an emergency reproofer as it can be applied to wet canvas.
Apply the proofer by brushing on or spraying Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If spraying on the best results are obtained by using a pressure spray, the type where you fill the spray bottle then pressurise it, by pumping a handle. These give a more consistent and finer spray for a more even application. Aerosol cans of reproofer are better for small areas or emergency patch reproofing, if reproofing a whole tent it is more economic to use a larger can of liquid proofer.
Caring for Tent Poles and Pegs
POLES - Check for damaged poles. Pay particular attention to fibreglass poles, Check for splits and cracks. At some point Fibreglass poles will break, fortunately they are easily replaced as a DIY job or by you retailer (See separate HOW TO SHEET). Steel poles should be checked for damage and corrosion. Over the winter or for prolonged storage it is advisable to separate telescopic sections to prevent corrosion caused by condensation. Steel poles can be given a light coating of spray silicone grease,to protect them from corrosion over the winter, but be sure to remove any excess before using the tent.
TENTS PEGS - Remove the worst of any mud and if necessary wash them in a bucket of water and dry thoroughly. Replace broken or damaged pegs and make sure you have some spare pegs
GUYLINES - Check for fraying or loose knots. Replace where necessary. It is worth having spare guylines and packing them away with the tent.
ZIPS - Check all zips for damage and ensure they run freely. There are products available to lubricate zips. These are mostly silicone based. Zips are always a week point as far as water resistance and it is not unusual for tents to leak through the zips. This is why most manufacturers protect the zips with fabric or plastic flaps.