Sleep In The Dirt

Dial Down the Funk:
Washing your BA Tent

Stuff We Like

You know all those delightful camping smells? Campfire smoke, wet dog, socks worn a couple too many times. They are badges of honor in the backcountry. But after your tent marinates in those smells for a few days (or months), it can get downright foul. With winter on its way, it’s good to remember to take care of your tent, like it took care of you all summer long. Here are a few pro tips for keeping your tent clean and fresh while you store it for its hibernation.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burr

Whether you spilled hot chocolate on your Copper Spur floor or accidentally bear maced yourself in the middle of the night, we’ve been there . Camp smells don’t have to haunt your home. Giving your tent a bath is easy and cheap.

You will need:

1. Warm water (not hot).

2. A tent-specific wash. We recommend Nikwax Tech Wash, it’s super eco-friendly.

3. A sponge.

You may be tempted to throw your tent in the washing machine and call it a day. RESIST THE URGE! The machine has potential to shred your tent. Detergents, bleach and dishwashing liquid can ruin waterproofing. If you must use a washing machine, ONLY use an over-sized front loading washer.

Do It:

1. In a shower, bath tub or back yard, wet down your tent with warm water.

2. Apply tent-specific wash.

3. Gently lather your tent with the soap and sponge.

4. Rinse it out thoroughly.

5. Hang it up to dry. Avoid prolonged direct sunlight, as UV exposure can compromise waterproofing. Use extreme caution when drying your tent. Avoid chain link fences and bushes.

6. When your tent is BONE DRY, fold or stuff your tent, and store in as large of a stuff sack as you can. FYI: Your tent is like a human, it prefers cool, drier climates for prolonged storage. Throwing your tent in the trunk of your car or attic can create mildew and delaminating of your tent. Yuck!

7. Hit the trail, get filthy and do it all over again!

Bonus: Increase your zipper health by brushing their teeth with a toothbrush. Our repairs gurus recommend McNetts ZipCare.

Image by Brad Cole

Comments (5)

5 responses

  1. jde

    what is the name of the tent in the picture?
    The one with the bike, guy pouring something and his big toe

  2. Grizzly Bear Mom

    Thanks for these great instructions. I rolled my Copper Spur 2 tightly and packed it away in the attic, but will go rescue it and open it up to breathe all winter after reading these tips.

  3. Julia

    What household cleaners would be safe on the ultra light/waterproof material? Baking soda? Vinegar? Something else?

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