Tent Care

Tents come in all shapes and sizes from single-person tunnels to family frame tents however the principles of care fro all types of tents remain the same. if you use your tent for backpacking, purchase a second stuff sack so that your inner tent can be packed separately from the flysheet. this allows the tent to be packed away more quickly and in wet weather allows the relatively dry inner to be separated from the flysheet .

General

Inner tents pretty much look after themselves they should not be waterproofed as this will impair their breathability. However all parts of the tent must be thoroughly dried before storing away in order to stop mildew taking hold. Cotton tents may take several days to dry completely. Do not use detergents to clean your tent, plain water and a brush should remove most dirt. Always take the time to practice pitching a new tent at home in fair weather and foul and at night!- before departure. Pack a small quantity of adhesive tape for running repairs.

Flysheets

All flysheets will eventually degrade as a result of exposure to UV light. to minimise damage, keep the tent packed away in a cool dark place when not in use. if pitching your tent in one location for more than two or three weeks consider covering the flysheet with a sheet of coloured plastic. Guyline will need adjusting after a heavy downpour in order to keep the flysheet taut. Some nylon flysheets come with taped seems. Those that do not will need a proprietary sealant applied to all major seams in order to prevent water from penetrating through the stitch lines. Ensure that this is carried out in the dry, well ventilated area several days before departure in order to allow the sealant to cure. tent flysheets (particularly those made from cotton) can be periodically re- proofed to extend their useful life with a reproofing agent. consult your retailer for advice on the most appropriate sealant or reproofing agent for your tent.

Groundsheets

Ensure that all groundsheet seams are sealed, Groundsheets are expensive to replace if ripped. much better then to place a piece of plastic sheeting or a dedicated nylon sheet that matches the floor shape under your tent. on particularly rough ground place your closed-cell foam mat under the groundsheet. In cold weather a piece of thin foam cut to fit the inside of the tent floor will create a warm carpet for the occupants to sit and sleep on.

Tent Poles

T ent poles should be separated, wiped down with a clean cloth (especially if the poles have been exposed to salt air) and dried thoroughly before storing. if the poles are shock-corded pull them apart and lay them side-by-side so that the cord can be shortened/replaced if it loses its elasticity. carry a short length of metal piping of an appropriate diameter to tape over a section of pole if one becomes broken in use. Occasionally spray the ends of metal poles (and door zips) with a silicone-based spray.

Trailer Tents

If you are towing a trailer tent, ensure that the hitch is properly connected, the snatch/brake cable is attached and that all lights are working. pack heavy items as close to the road and as near to the axle area as possible. lighter items - such as sleeping bags can go higher up on the roof rack but make sure they are in waterproof bags.

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Top Stove Tip

Using a pan lid and lightweight wind shield will dramatically reduce boiling and cooking times. Stoves are potentially one of the most hazardous outdoor products. Used correctly they can provide a powerful and efficient means of cooking food and boiling water.

Burners

There are two main types of burner- pressurised and un-pressurised. Un-pressurised burners( such as methylated sprit stoves and solid fuel cookers) produce a semi-controllable or uncontrollable flame that requires no priming or preparation to light. They are fine for low altitudes where a low heat output is all that is required. pressurised burners may run from a liquid fuel such as petrol or paraffin, or from bottles gas. most pressurised burners can have their heat output regulated but may need 'priming' in cold conditions in order to turn the fuel from a liquid to a gas.

Fuels

All fuels are highly flammable and must be handled with caution. keep all fuels away from naked flames until you are ready to light the burner. Some cautionary notes about particular fuels follows:

Solid Fuels

Certain brands give off toxic fumes. only use outside in very well ventilated areas

Methylated Spirits

In much of Europe this is sold as a clear rather than purple fuel, making it almost impossible to see the flame produced. Ensure that the stove is properly extinguished before refilling the burner.

Petrol / Paraffin

Can easily taint clothing and equipment, take time to evaporate when spilled. So clean up before re- lighting. Fuel quality, particularly in third -world countries, can be extremely variable so ensure that the fuel line and jet in your stove can be easily dismantled and cleaned.

Gas

Re-sealable cartridges with a valve and screw thread may be removed when only partly used. Puncture style cartridges must be empty before removing. Empty cartridges must be carried out of the wilderness areas and disposed of safely. Do not throw into regular rubbish containers. In the UK most council-run waste disposal sites have separate processing facilities for these items. Large refillable gas cylinders( such as those found on caravans) do not attempt to refill small gas cartridges. never use a gas cylinder or cartridge on its side.

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Top Tips

  • 1.Practice the strip, clean & assemble procedure for your stove, and carry the relevant maintenance kit.
  • 2. always cook in a well-ventilated area and avoid cooking in a confined space( such as a tent)
  • 3. keep stoves away from flammable materials such as clothing, sleeping bags and tents.
  • 4. reducing the pressure in liquid fuel bottles will produce a smaller flame to enable simmering to take place.
  • 5. never leave a stove unattended or within reach of children.
  • 6. A leaking stove can result in an explosion, a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Check that all washers and connectors are in good condition.
  • 7. Take care not to over- pressurise fuel tanks. Follow the manufacturers instructions regarding releasing pressure before refilling.