When you spend money on something like a tent, it’s important to know how to make that investment last. That means storing it safely. But where to put the tent without ruining it?
It’s acceptable to store your tent in hot locations such a non-insulated shed or in your garage if the location is dry and if you are storing your tent after it has been properly cleaned and dried to prevent mildew.
Although tents are durable, certain conditions can leave them smelling unpleasant at best or even damaged by mildew at worst. Consequently, knowing how to store your tent so that it stays clean and dry is very important if you don’t want to be purchasing a new tent every year or two. Continue on and you’ll learn what you need to do to store your tent safely.
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Is It Too Hot in My Shed To Store A Tent?
When it comes to storing a tent, campers may find themselves concerned with factors like temperature and humidity. Some may have the space to keep a tent safely tucked away in a closet or extra room, but how do you know if your tent will be okay stored in a garage, attic, or shed?
I felt that the best way to find out what a tent can handle was by asking people with experience. Tent manufacturers don’t really share this kind of information, so it seemed like the best way was to find out from those who know.
I learned that people have numerous ways of storing their tents, and they’re often happy to share their opinions and stories about what worked and what didn’t.
I found that, in most cases, tents are able to keep up well when they are stored in dry areas. The temperature of that space didn’t matter as much, as long as mold couldn’t grow in it. One person said they’ve stored tents in their hot Texas attic (we also have a hot Texas attic, and this is no joke… it gets well over 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the Summer) and they haven’t had any issues.
Others stored their tents in their garages and sheds without heat related issues.
For the most part, tents are designed to be able to handle quite a few different weather conditions. A large percentage of tents on the market are considered “3-season tents”, which means you can use them in the spring, summer, and fall without too much of an issue. Meanwhile, some other tents are able to be used all year long. In our article on using four-season tents in summer, you can learn more about just how durable and versatile tents can be.
The real killer to a tent material isn’t so much the heat as it is the sunlight. Leaving your tent out in the open really can affect the tent’s longevity.
When The Shed Won’t Cut it
Because tents aren’t often affected by the temperature, your shed can be a perfectly suitable place to store a tent, as long as it’s able to protect the tent from getting wet. Otherwise, you might find that your tent comes out smelling rather odd when you need to get it out again.
That might mean you need to think about the sturdiness of the shed you want to keep your tent in. In other cases, it might depend on the time of year. Storing your tent in the shed might work just fine in the hotter, dryer months but not so well when it’s cold and rainy outside.
It’s also going to be a good idea to take a look around your shed for signs of vermin. If there’s any chance there might be some mice or other critters living inside, it’s best to clear them out before storing your tent in there. Otherwise, it could end up being used as a nest. If that happens, it’s going to take a lot more than a good scrub to get the tent back in order.
How To Store A Tent
The most expensive part of most people’s gear is their tent, so it makes sense to learn the best way to store your tent.
Will It Hurt Your Tent To Store It In A Shed, Attic, or Garage?
Store your tent in a hard container, like a tote.
So, right now, we are storing our tent in our shed, and we learned the hard way that storing your tent in a shed can actually damage it. But not in the way you might think of first.
We have critters that frequent our shed—it’s very important that your tent is in a tote or other container that won’t allow rats, mice, possums, snakes, (yes… snakes), or whatever to get into it.
The only other thing that could damage your tent is the heat. If it gets really hot it’s possible that the seam tape may heat up and cool off multiple times, eventually wearing out the seam tape.
Other than that, our tents are still functional and working fine, so 100+ degree weather hasn’t ruined them, yet.
Is It Better To Store A Tent Folded Or Rolled?
Just about everyone who has a tent also has an opinion on the best way to store that tent. While most agree that wrapping the tent up tightly and storing it in the tent bag isn’t the way to go, there can be some debate about whether you should roll your tent up for storage or fold it.
According to REI, the answer to this debate is that neither rolling nor folding the tent is the way to go. Instead, they recommend stuffing the tent into a breathable bag.
When a tent is packed up too tightly, it keeps the materials from getting much air. Furthermore, the tent isn’t able to relax while it’s out of use. A relaxed tent is a tent that tends to last longer according to REI.
In some cases, that lack of airflow may also contribute to the growth of mold if there are any damp spots left on the tent.
Upon taking a look through several camping forums, we’ve found that a lot of campers prefer the “stuffing” method. However, there are also campers who find that rolling or folding can work just fine too, as long as the tent is still relatively loose.
Whatever method you choose, the most important aspect is to make sure that the tent is able to get enough airflow while it’s in storage. That way, you can have a tent that is fresh, clean, and ready to go for your next camping trip.
How Do You Store Your Tent For Winter?
Although some campers may enjoy the activity enough to continue it through the colder months, many choose to pack up their camping supplies until spring and summer roll around again.
If you fit into the latter group, you may find yourself wondering how you can best store your tent so that it’s still in great shape when you need it again for the next camping season.
Your first step to storing your tent for the winter should be to clean it up. A good cleaning will make your tent that much more inviting when you need it again. Start by setting up your tent in a yard (if you can), and sweeping it out. Follow that up with a gentle wash and rinse.
When you’re already out cleaning your tent, it’s a good time to think about your other camping supplies that might need to be cleaned too. Tackling it all at once can speed along the process so that you can get everything stored away quickly and cleanly. If you’re a cot owner, our article on cleaning your camping cot will guide you through getting that clean too! Check it out here.
The final step will be making sure it’s able to air out completely before you pack it away for winter. This is an incredibly important step, as it keeps mold from growing on your tent while it’s in storage.
How Do You Air Out A Tent?
If you have space, the easiest way to air out a tent is to set it up somewhere to dry. When the weather allows for it, setting it up outside with the doors and windows open is a great way to make sure both the inside and outside of the tent can get dry.
However, if the weather refuses to cooperate you can opt to set it up inside a garage. That way it will still get some airflow, though it could take a little longer for any wet spots to finish drying.
Those who don’t want to set up the tent, or who don’t have room, can also choose to hang it over something. You could use a balcony railing, tree branch, fence, or pole. Whatever will be sturdy enough to hold the tent up and allow it to get air will work. Just keep in mind that you may have to adjust it from time to time to make sure the whole tent gets dry.
Different kinds of tents can get greater benefits from drying in different ways. For example, you may need to use different drying tactics between nylon tents and canvas tents. I go through many more methods of how to dry your tent as well as what mildew can do to your tent fabric here.