We've put lots of bell tents up and taken lots of bell tents down. We know what it's like to take tents down in the rain and mud and it can be difficult keeping your tent looking fresh. Nobody likes the dreaded mould and if you like your tent to look good and last more than a few seasons it's worth putting in a bit of effort.
We get asked a lot about tips to looking after a bell tent and we see a lot of people making the same mistakes so here are our top 10 tips to keep your tent looking fresh.
- NEVER STORE YOUR TENT DAMP!! This is the golden rule and one that should be followed at all cost. We appreciate that it is not always possible to wait until the tent is dry before packing down but if you do have to, then try and get it back out to dry as soon as you can. We get asked how long does it take till the mould sets in, the truth is we don't know because we never leave it long enough to find out.
- Try not to camp under trees. Pretty as it may look, camping under trees can create several problems. Trees drop sap, twigs and rain drops, sometimes long after it has stopped raining. If you do camp under a tree and you have sap and pine needles drop onto the canvas be sure to knock as much off as you can before packing away as pine needles can stain the canvas.
- When you are putting your tent up, keep the doors zipped up. This way you won't put too much tension on the guy ropes round the door. We see this one a lot. You peg the tent out with the doors open then go to close the doors and relaise they won't shut without forcing the zip. This is a sure way to break your zip.
- Keep a brush with you. When the tent is empty just give it a quick sweep before you pack down. Then it will be fresh and ready for your next camping trip. Nothing worse than putting a tent up and find it minging from the last trip.
- When you are banging the pegs in don't let the guy rope get dragged down into the ground you will end up with a muddy guy rope. And when you come to taking the tent down, take the guy rope off the peg first, don't pull the peg out through the guy rope. Keep your guy ropes clean then they won't transfer dirt onto the canvas when you roll the tent up.
- When the tent is down and ready to roll up. Do the doors up half way and always roll towards the door. This way all the air will be neatly expelled from the tent as you roll. Do it the other way and you will end up looking like that person trying to surf an inflatable slug, desparately trying to get enough air out to make it fit in the bag.
- If the groundsheet is particularly wet and muddy fold the tent in half first, canvas to canvas. Then fold into thirds before rolling. This way the mud will never touch the canvas.
- Keep an old towel or cloth with you. As you roll the tent up give the groundsheet a wipe so it is as dry as possible before putting in the bag, refer to Rule 1!
- Try using a door mat and keep your shoes on it. Remember mud inside the tent can transfer onto the canvas. Even better, keep your shoes outside. Why not buy our Explorer Awning then you have an extra space for cooking, keeping muddy boots out of the tent and drinking a well earned gin and tonic and watching the world go by.
- If the tent will be up for a long period try putting it on a dry platform like gravel or decking. Never let long grass grow up round the sides. Grass holds moisture and you will find the walls will get mouldy quickly.
Follow these top tips and you should give your tent a long and happy life. These are just some of the things we have picked up by trial and error, if you have any others you want to share comment below.