So, you've spent all this money on this new tent. You had a great time. There was drinking, dancing and song. Stories were shared around the old campfire and new memories were made. When it came to pack up and go home, you broke down the tent no problem. It took a little more effort to shove the tent back into its stuff sack than it did to take it out, but you got it in there. When you got home you threw your tent straight into the closet.
Fast forward three months…
Your buddies have just called you up and asked if you would like to go camping this weekend. Yes. You already have a tent. You don't have to go buy anything except some ham and cheese and a case of beer. It's going to be awesome!
Well it WAS going to be awesome, and then you started to set up your tent. Your once pristine tent is now covered in white mold. It smells like a family of cats lived, had babies, and died inside. As you unfurl it, you notice a three inch tear along the bottom. What the hell? Four hundred bucks down the drain. You should have taken better care of it.
Here's what you should have done.
1) Make sure to clear away any and everything you find in the space where you are going to pitch your tent. Go over it with the proverbial fine tooth comb. Campsites are not made. They are found. So start off with a good site and improve it.
2) Lay down a footprint. A footprint can be something as simple as a tarp you put underneath your tent or something as elaborate as a custom made to fit pad.
3) Treat your tent like your home. In a sense, it is. Take off your shoes and any dirty clothing before you go inside. Keep dirt and debris out. In fact, if it's a free standing tent it's a good idea to give it a good shake before you take it down.
4) Take care of your poles. Don't snap them around. Don't have sword fights with them. Take apart and put them together carefully, and they will last a long time.
5) Careful when refolding your tent. You don't want to do it the same way every time. This causes stress points and creases and could lead to tears.
6) Now when you get home. Take it all out and set it up in a shady spot.
7) Clean it with water and a non-detergent soap (not DISH SOAP)
8) Leave to air dry
9) Fold and put up
If you follow these steps every time you use your tent it should last you for years and give you a great return on your investment.