What To Do With Wet Backpacking Tent


The wet tent is one of the worst backpacker’s nightmares, but it is also something you’ll have to deal with eventually. Sudden rain is not uncommon, it may strike anytime and whether planned or not, you may need to act on your tent in case it gets wet. If you decide to ignore it and do everything like the weather is dry, you risk the creation of mold or stains, or even damaging the fabrics.

This article will give you tips on what to do with a wet tent and how to store a tent, so it stays in great shape as long as possible.

Practice Before You Go

Before you hit the road, make sure you know how to properly set up a tent. Test it out in a controlled environment, so you learn how it functions, but also if it has any weakness. Sometimes the product may not be of the best quality, so it is better to try it out and make sure everything works fine. In case it doesn’t, take it back and get a new one.

Tent Care Tips

“Better be safe than sorry,” says one of the oldest sayings, so before we turn to the process of storing your wet tent, we’ll go through some of the most basic tips on how to prevent it from getting wet in the first place.

Footprint Is A Must

Most tents have an option to add a footprint. This will keep your tent’s bottom from ground, debris, dirt, and it will also keep the moisture away, so you won’t have to worry about your tent getting wet from below. If you can’t find the footprint, you could also use a groundsheet.

Duct Tape

In case something goes wrong and you need to make a quick repair, a roll of duct tape will save the day. Also, you may use it to fix poles, small holes, and any smaller problems so you can continue with your trip and prevent repair until you get back home.

Dust Pan And Brush

Sometimes you’ll have to remove the dust and possible sharp debris you’ve brought in on your shoes, and a dust pan and brush will serve this purpose. This will also help you keep the inside of your tent clean.

What To Do If Your Tent Gets Wet

In case your tent does become wet, even if it is waterproof, the following steps will keep your tent safe and help it maintain quality as long as possible:

  1. Wipeout any dirt from the inside and the outside of your tent.
  2. Shake off any extra water, use a clean piece of fabric, like a towel or a cloth, to absorb and remove water leftovers. But make sure that those fabrics are clean.
  3. If you don’t have an option to wait but you have to store the tent while still wet, feel free to continue your walk until the next resting place. If the conditions are better, unpack it literally the moment it becomes possible. Now it is time to set it up somewhere dry to let it air out a bit, or you may hang it on your laundry dry line in your garage. This way you’ll remove any foul smells from your tent and prevent mold from appearing. Also, make sure you’ve packed it separately from your dry gear.
  4. In case your tent needs a deep cleaning, avoid using and strong detergents. Mild soap or a tent wash will help you clean it while keeping your tent fabric strong. Then rinse it and let it dry.
  5. Let nature do its work! Don’t place your tent in front of a heater, or use a blow dryer to speed the process up. This may damage the fabric, so don’t force it and let it happen without a rush, or you risk causing serious damage to your shelter.

Proper Way To Pack Your Tent

The proper way to pack a wet tent may differ from tent to tent, but it all comes down to the same thing – practice. You may need some, but once you master it, doing it properly shouldn’t be any problem, no matter what conditions strike you.

  1. Before you pack it, clean it from the inside and remove any possible water.
  2. If the weather allows, let it air out before you pack it. You’ll do this by leaving it open for a while.
  3. When the time comes to pack it, don’t zip it all the way, leave it partially open so the air can flow.
  4. Unpin the poles from the pins, but don’t remove them. Break the tent down with the poles still in.
  5. Don’t pull your poles but push them out of the sleeves, then fold them.
  6. If you have someone with you, use them to stand at the opposite side of your tent, then fold the tent until it reaches the same width as your bag. Push the air out along the way.
  7. Place the pole and peg bags on top of your tent, then start to roll. Try to keep it tight.
  8. Tie your tent and place it into the tent’s bag. If it goes inside without a problem, you’ll know you’ve done it properly.
  9. If the instructions say you should do something differently, do it! Remember, most of the tents differ, so your tent can be based on different principles than some other ones.

Proper Way To Store Your Tent


When your wet tent has dried, it is time to store it. Storing a tent properly is equally important for keeping it good for a longer period of time and helping it last longer. There are a few rules on how to store a tent:

  • Do not store it wet under any circumstances, but keep it in a dry and cool area
  • Don’t store it on the bag’s end, as it may damage the poles, place it flat on the surface

Other Wet Tent Tips

Sometimes wet tent could drive us nuts because most of us love to stick to the schedule and keep the pace up, but if it does happen, letting it dry out will significantly help you and ease the maintenance. If you don’t have to rush, take your time to let it dry and enjoy nature along the way, or rest in your hammock. Try to make these your daily routine, especially if you plan on going for a longer trip.

Plan the time for these activities ahead. Unplanned stops could seriously affect plans, so to avoid this; better plan your trip so you can achieve all your goals even if something like this goes wrong.

If the morning is sunny after a rainy day and there is a small breeze, it shouldn’t take more than an hour for your lightweight tent to dry out, so if you have to pack it let it dry for a bit before you continue your hike.

Globo Surf Overview

To summarize, packing the wet tent could be one of the worst things you can do to your shelter. This article should help you keep your tent in a good shape, even if it becomes wet while you’re on your trip.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!