You're home from the back country and ready to toss your tent back in storage until the next time you travel out on an adventure. Before you do, make sure you know how to store it properly. Tents are an investment that can last for many years if you take care of them the correct way. This guide is here to help.
#1: Get It Dry
Never, ever store a wet tent. Before tossing it in your storage unit, set the tent up at home and let it dry out completely. Outdoors is best, although you can set it up inside if you have a space big enough. If you don't, and outdoors isn't an option, then drape the tent over your shower curtain rod and let it dry hanging for a few days. You can even pitch the tent inside your storage unit, if it is large enough, just don't forget to go back and put it away after a couple of days.
You need to dry or air it out for at least one day, even if it didn't rain on your trip. Even mild dampness from dew or humidity can lead to mildew or mold issues once the tent is packed up.
#2: Make Repairs
Chances are you will want your tent ready to grab and go next time you head out for a camping trip. The easiest way to do this is to always pack it away in camp-ready condition. Sweep out the inside and then examine the tent for any tears or holes. Repair these using a tent repair kit. With these kits, you secure a small piece of ripstop nylon over the hole or tear with a special waterproof glue. Once dry, the tent is as good as new.
If your tent was leaking, you may need to apply a fresh coat of seam sealer over the seams. Also, replace any broken zippers or ties before packing it up.
#3: Choose the Best Storage Method
It may be tempting to fold the tent back up and stuff it in its bag, but this can lead to permanent creases that weaken the fabric or lead to leaks. Instead, loosely stuff the tent into a larger bag or a box. Plastic garbage bags or plastic totes work best because they are moisture and pest resistant. This way you don't have to worry about damage to the tent inside the storage unit. If it's humid in your area and you don't have climate-controlled storage, you can even toss a couple of silica gel packets