When it comes to having an enjoyable camping experience, it can usually go without saying that having a wet tent can be a huge downer.
Whether it begins to rain while you are getting the camp set up, and you don’t happen to have a waterproof tent, or you are planning to store the tent away for the season and you don’t want to risk mold or mildew growing, you will want to make sure that your tent doesn’t get wet.
There are a few different ways that you can make sure that a soaking wet tent isn’t going to be a problem for you the next time you go camping.
First things first, you should make sure that you have a tent that is able to stand up to some degree of water, especially if you are camping in a place that is prone to rainfall.
Second, you should know how to dry your tent off no matter where you are. In some cases, this will mean that you will need to bring the materials to do so on every camping trip.
You should never, ever put your tent in the dryer. Putting a tent on a gentle wash cycle is risky enough as it is, but when you are adding heat into the mix, you are asking for irreparable damage. Putting a tent in the dryer can cause anything from distorted material to melted seams, rendering your tent useless for camping.
If you need to dry out your tent, you should consider some of the following methods, depending on your current situation.
Drying Your Tent When It Isn’t in Use
There are very few situations where you will find yourself needing to dry out your tent, but you also won’t need to use it for the majority of the night. One possible situation is if you have put the tent through a gentle wash cycle and need to air it out.
Other times, it might be because you doused the tent with just a little bit too much bug repellent. No matter the reason, cleaning your tent out this way is going to be one of the easier methods to go through with.
Depending on the size of your tent, you are first going to want to find an area of your property that fits the whole tent. This could be your backyard, your garden, or your clothesline.
If you have a much smaller tent, you might be able to get away with simply hanging your tent up on a curtain rod in a room that you don’t often use.
You will also want to make sure, if you can, that the tent is as much off the ground as you can get it. This will allow the air to flow in through underneath, doing a more thorough job at letting the tent dry out.
While some people will hang their tent up on a pole outside, you could also simply set your tent on two or four chairs outside and let it air out this way.
Drying a Tent in the Morning
Whether it is from morning dew, a late-night rain shower, or a combination of everything, there’s always going to be the chance that you wake up with a wet tent to deal with.
However, just as people take care of chores at home before a long day of work, drying out your tent after you wake up is a “chore” that you will have to take care of when you are camping.
First things first, you will want to find a large and open clearing, preferably an open ledge on a mountain. If you are camping out in the forest where there might not be any rocky ledges, you will simply want to look for a clearing that isn’t completely covered in dew and has a good amount of sunlight.
Additionally, you should look for areas that are exposed to the wind, as this will significantly speed up the drying process.
Once you have found a suitable place to dry your tent, and anything else that needs to be dried out, you will want to lay everything down. Keep in mind that you should be anchoring things that can blow away in the wind.
You can anchor things either by tying them down to trees or shrubs, or placing a heavy rock on them so they cannot move. From here, you will simply want to wait for everything to dry and you will be ready to continue your camping experience.
Putting Your Tent Away
When winter comes and you are no longer in the mood to go camping, you might not be entirely sure about what to do with your tent. Of course, you should be storing it away, but you will need to make sure that you know how to store your tent without risking mold or mildew finding its way onto the tent.
Thankfully, the answer to this is pretty simple. You might want to do a quick cleaning of your tent just to minimize the chances that anything wants to grow on it. You can use cleaners, a simple brush, or a gentle spin in the washing machine.
Keep in mind that the last option should only be done once or twice in the tent’s entire life.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned the tent to your liking, you will want to make sure that you air out the tent and let it dry using the methods above. It becomes incredibly important that you make sure the tent is completely dry before you pack it away.
If it makes you feel better, you can leave it out to dry overnight, rather than a couple hours so that you know there is no chance of it still being wet.
After the tent has been fully dried, you can pack it up and place it into storage until warmer weather comes.
Preventing the Problem
With all of this being said, there is really no exact way to dry your tent. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to try and prevent the problem before it happens.
There are a few different ways that you can combat a wet tent before you even set up camp. Some people opt for special waterproofing sprays, whereas other people will simply purchase a waterproof tent.
Waterproof tent spray is inexpensive, versatile, and depending on what you get, incredibly effective. There are countless different sprays to choose from, each with varying levels of quality.
Each spray will also be more effective on different areas of the tent, such as the seams. In fact, there are special seam sealers out there for keeping water from getting through the cracks in your tent.
Aside from that, you can find sprays that are designed to bring some new life into the urethane coating of your tent. This is the coating on the inside of the rainfly and the floor of your tent that act as the primary barrier against moisture.
Over time and through extensive use, they become worn down and don’t work out as well as they did before. By refreshing the urethane coating, you can rest assured knowing that your rainfly will be catching all the rain and not letting any through onto you.
Finally, there are general water repellents. As you might imagine, these are sprays that you can apply to your tent to make sure that any water that hits the tent bounces right back off without being absorbed or soaked.
A combination of these three materials will help ensure that come morning, your tent will be as dry as you left it before. Making sure you have some of these materials on hand before a camping trip can be thought of as general maintenance and should be a part of your routine care.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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