Tent Care 101: Keeping Your Tent Clean & Dry

After months of adventuring, it’s smart to inspect your gear for wear and tear, conduct any necessary maintenance and, if it’s time to put it away, prep it for longer-term storage. The good news is that if you take care of your MSR tent, you’ll have it for years to come. Here are three frequently asked questions and tent care tips from our customer service department that can help you keep your tent in good working order.

MSR double-wall tent

1. What’s the best way to store my tent between trips?

It’s best to store your tent in a dry and cool area, not in direct sunlight. Instead of storing the tent in its stuff sack, keep it in an oversized, breathable cotton bag or mesh duffel, just as you might store a sleeping bag. Or using a simple pillowcase can work just as well.

setting up tent while winter camping

2. How do I prevent my tent from growing mildew?

All MSR tents feature waterproof protection, but prolonged exposure to moisture can cause hydrolysis—the premature break down of the waterproof coating—in even the most waterproof tents. To prevent this layer from becoming soft, sticky and no longer waterproof, and to keep the fabric from growing mildew, make sure to avoid packing or storing your tent if it is wet, damp or dirty.

It can take as few as 24 hours for mildew to start forming on a wet, crumpled tent, which can cause it to stain and smell, as well as compromise its waterproof coating. Airing out and drying your tent can help protect it. (Mildew and moisture damage are not covered under our Limited Warranty.)


3. How do I clean my tent?

Your tent is designed for the outdoors, so you’ll only need to clean it if it has an offensive odor or becomes heavily soiled. You can remove most loose dirt from the fabric using water pressure from a regular garden hose. For heavy-duty cleaning, set up your tent and hand wash it with warm water, a sponge and a mild, non-detergent soap. Rinse well and allow to it fully dry while pitched, or hang to dry.

Make sure to avoid dishwashing liquid, detergent, bleach and similarly concentrated solutions, and never dry clean, machine wash or machine dry your tent. Any of these methods can remove the tent’s waterproof coatings.

Keeping your tent dry, clean and properly stored can protect it for years to come.

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Updated. Originally published on May 19th, 2014.

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