Over the years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time lounging by the pool on a cheap last-minute getaway to Spain, stayed at a decidedly dodgy motel in LA, and, thanks to the marriage of a fancypants relative, once even managed to spend the night in a 5-star hotel.
But, try as I might, hotel trips just aren’t for me. Camping is my real passion, and the only way I feel able to truly unwind and recharge my batteries. My trusty tent has taken me and my assorted North Face gear to the middle of nowhere and back again – Scotland, France, Austria, Germany and all the way to campgrounds in Myrtle Beach – it’s how I like to see the world. That’s why I know the importance of maintaining camping equipment!
As a thank you to the little canvas buddy that’s given me so many pleasurable breaks over the years, I like to take good care of him, and so, I thought I’d pass on my tips to other happy campers, so that they can take care of theirs too. A little TLC goes a long way, and makes sure you’ll be able to enjoy nights out under the stars for many years to come, without having to bid goodbye to your trusted friend (and without having to fork out your hard-earned cash on a replacement).
Seal up seams
Even waterproof tents can let in water along the needle holes of seams, and the problem can get worse over time, with wear and tear. You can buy seam sealant in applicator bottles that you rub along the inside of all your tent seams – it’s a quick and easy job that will prevent any mould and mildew. You can use sealant on other areas of your tent that may be letting in water, just make sure your tent is completely dry when you apply it.
Protect the ground cloth
Most new tents now come with an attached groundsheet, and you can extend its life by laying down a tarp sheet before you pitch your tent on top. You can buy special groundsheets designed for this purpose, or you can buy polythene sheeting from your local DIY store or builder’s merchant. Just make sure that you don’t leave any of this sheeting sticking out from under your tent, as it becomes really slippery when wet. This extra layer will not only give you extra protection against the damp and cold of the ground, but it will also help prevent rips, tears and little holes from damaging your groundsheet. It’s crucial to look after your nice North Face tent, or you’ll have to make an order from Blacks.
Pack a brush
I always pack a little brush in my camping bag to make it easier to clean all the bits of debris that inevitably end up in the tent. Sweeping all this out before you pack up the tent to head home makes sure that there aren’t any small stones or twigs in there that can rip your tent or cause little holes that can let water in. The brush is also handy for sweeping away debris from the spot where I’m going to pitch my tent, making for a smoother surface to pitch on too.