How to care for your tent


Correctly caring for your tent will extend its life and provide many enjoyable camping trips. Our guide will explore the best tips and advice for using, cleaning and storing your tent, along with some handy ideas for tent maintenance. 

Tent Care Tips

Tent Care includes three main areas: use, storage and maintenance. Keeping your tent clean, dry and in a good state of repair will ensure a long life for your tent. The North Face explores tent care in detail, so you can enjoy your camping trip without worrying about your shelter.

How to care for tents during use

Tent care begins before you set off on your trip. Get your tent out, check everything is intact and that you have everything you need. Pay particular attention to the seams to identify any peeling. If you have a new tent, you should practice pitching it at home before building it in more challenging conditions.

Choice of pitch contributes a lot to the ongoing life of your tent. Look for somewhere with some protection from the elements and clear away debris such as twigs and stones, which could damage the tent floor. As you construct the tent, take your time to ensure it is staked out correctly, with appropriate tension in the poles and guy lines. This will avoid snapped poles and ripped flies if the wind picks up.

When entering and leaving the tent, the groundsheet is prone to damage. Sweep away the dirt and dust regularly and consider using a groundsheet protector as extra insurance.

If you’re camping in sunny conditions, ultraviolet radiation can cause the outer flysheet to degrade and become brittle over time. You could consider removing the fly during the day or covering the tent when you’re not inside.

Condensation can build up on the inside of your tent during the night, so take every opportunity you can to allow airflow. The Talus Eco 3 Person Tent is engineered to optimise ventilation and maximise space, making it an ideal backpacking tent.

Cleaning your tent

Tents should only be stored when they are dry and clean. Before packing away, wipe any noticeable dirt from the tent’s surface using a mild soap solution. Then wipe down with a clean cloth to remove as much water as possible. When possible, leave to air dry before packing.

If you have to pack your tent away while it is still wet, you should aim to air it out as soon as possible. Get the tent out at home and allow it to dry - outside or in the garage. Resist the temptation to speed up the drying process using heaters, which will enable the tent to dry naturally.

Packing your tent

Careful packing will prolong the life of your tent. When you are ready to pack away your tent, partially unzip the doors allowing room for air to escape. Detach the poles and push them out of their sleeves. Pulling tent poles makes them more likely to snag, putting undue tension on the pole elastic and the tent fabric.

Fold the tent to the same size as your bag, don’t just stuff it, as this is more likely to damage the fabric.

Storing your tent

Tents should only be stored when the poles and the fabric are completely dry – storing while wet can encourage mould growth and cause the breakdown of the waterproof coating. Store your tent in a coo,l dry place, out of direct sunlight. If you store the tent for extended periods, consider packing it loosely in a larger bag so that the fabric is subject to looser folds.

Always store the tent bag with the poles lying flat. Standing it on its end can apply unnecessary pressure to the poles over time. If you are not using your tent for a long time, it’s a good idea to get it out every few months to air it out.

Tent Maintenance

Tent Maintenance can be broken down into two categories: ongoing maintenance and repairs. Regular upkeep will reduce the likelihood of problems occurring, but proper repairs will keep your tent in shape when they do. From cleaning to waterproofing, our tips will make sure your tent is always ready to go.

Keeping on top of regular maintenance is a small time investment that extends the life of your tent. Spot clean and hand wash any areas that are obviously dirty and allow to dry naturally. Lubricate your zip using wax; this will enable it to slide efficiently and prevent dust and sand from getting in during high winds. Zip lubricant can also be used on poles, allowing them to slide more easily through the sleeves and providing a barrier to moisture.

For holes in your tent, duct tape is fine for quick fixes while you’re camping, but use a specific tent repair kit when you get home. Ensure the area is clean and dry before applying the patch and carry out the repair on a hard flat surface to prevent creases under the patch.

Check the seams of the tent for peeling. If the seal has started to peel, remove along the length of the tent and apply seam sealant. Allow the seam sealer to dry in a cool, dry place for 24 hours to provide a watertight seal.

Water-resistance is a crucial feature of any tent. The Assault 2 person FUTURELIGHT™ Tent uses our advanced breathable waterproof fabric technology. Designed for intense conditions, it can handle anything mother nature throws at it.

If your tent has been well used, the water-resistance may become less effective and water may start to enter the tent. Re-waterproofing the outer fly can be done with products that are usually sprayed onto the fabric. Again, allow it to dry thoroughly to achieve a waterproof finish and prolong the life of your tent.

A high-quality tent that is well looked after will provide a reliable shelter for many camping trips. The North Face tents have been built to provide a reliable shelter in all seasons. Made from tough but light fabrics, browse our selection of backpacking and mountain tents in various sizes. For guidance about which type of tent you need, see our guide to three and four-season tents.