So, here it is…camping season officially over! Sob!
Most of you (apart from you die-hard mighty campers) will turn your attention to packing your tent away for the winter. There are a few jobs that need doing to prolong the life of your tent and ensure everything is ready and raring to go for the next season:
- Make sure your tent is dry.
Before packing your tent away for winter, it must be thoroughly dry to ensure the nasties like mould and mildew don’t get a hold of it as these affect the weather-proofing and life span of the fabric.
The ideal ‘taking down’ situation would be a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze – when this happens, we like to empty the tent of all contents, (including sweeping out the crumbs) zip up the insect doors (if you have them), unzip all the rest and let the breeze air the inside of the tent thoroughly for an hour or so. Then, when rolling it up, partially zip up all the doors to allow extra air to escape and use towels to wipe away any mud, wet grass and damp. This means your tent is ready to pack away with no further intervention needed.
If you have the unfortunate situation of rain when packing away, then you will have some work to do at home! You need to get it dry as soon as possible so either re-erect it in your garden as soon as you get a dry spell for it to dry and air or, if you have the continued adverse weather conditions that we had this year (see Six Things We Have Learnt Whilst Camping This Year), get the tent laid out/hung up in a large shed/garage within 2-3 days. Again, use towels to help rub down any wet patches – particularly round windows – to help it dry as quickly as possible. Make sure it dries naturally, however, and not near another heat source as this can affect the fabric.
- Check your tent
Whilst packing your tent away, do check for any rips, damaged seams or zips, broken poles, etc. Make it your priority to get these sorted when you get home, or the likelihood is you’ll forget about them until you erect your tent for your next holiday and you’ll be in big trouble with your family!
Most tents come with a basic repair kit and its as simple as gluing and sewing patches on. There is loads of help available online these days so if you are in any doubt, check out videos/tutorials available for repairing your make of tent.
If you have had your tent for a while, you might also want to consider waterproofing it. Again, check out any recommendations from the manufacturer of your tent in terms of products and method.
Do replace any broken poles, wonky pegs, worn guylines, etc. at this end of the season, again to avoid panic at the next camping trip!
- Where to put it?
The size of your tent has a direct bearing on where to store it! Most can be stored safely away in a garage, shed or loft/attic where it is dry and out of sunlight. Take care about preventing rodent damage by storing up high, or in another bag/box – also by ensuring you thoroughly swept out any remnants of crumbs when packing away to prevent the little varmints being attracted to your precious tent!
- Ready for your next trip?
It’s not just your tent that needs checking.
Sometimes, you get back from a camping trip and need another holiday after you’ve sorted everything out!
For me…it’s the washing mountain pile.
Some people just air their sleeping bags, but I like to wash them to minimise the stink of our family. All bedding, air beds, etc will need thoroughly drying and airing before packing away to again, prolong their life and keep everything smelling sweetly.
All of your kitchen equipment, food containers, etc. will need checking, cleaning and drying before packing away to make sure a proper job is done – sometimes, you can’t quite get that at a campsite. Then think carefully about storage – ideally, keeping everything together makes for an easy task when going on your next trip. If this isn’t possible, then make a note of where things are to prevent grumpiness next year.
After you have replaced anything that needs replacing, thoughts might move on to your next purchase. What did you feel that you needed at your last camping trip? What did you see of another’s set up and think ‘that’s what I need’? Do you need to upgrade your tent?
A fun thing to do is pop along to a camping show and check out the gigantic range of tents and accessories available. Here you can check things out thoroughly before committing to buying, compare prices, spec and just exactly what is out there. For a list of these check out Camping and Caravan Shows Spring 2019.
Chin up – only six months to go until camping season 2019!